Monday 23 September 2013 Written by: Adam

Last week we caught up with Lome Fa’atau to find out more about the Young Athlete Development Academy (YADA) run by Falcons partners Storm Fitness. Click here for the first part of that interview.

In this second installment we dive deeper into YADA program specifics and find out about the young athletes who work with Storm.

**Who is this academy aimed at in terms of age groups?**
Lome – The YADA is aimed at young athletes from the ages of 11 upwards and the academy template we use for YADA, as mentioned, is a flexible one that caters to all individuals from all sporting backgrounds. We can manipulate that template to take into account age, gender, sport specific requirements and any other variables specific to the individual young athlete.

We’ve found in some cases that pairing similar young athletes or athletes from the same sport together in their training has produced a positive environment of friendly competition. We often find these young athletes become better athletes by supporting and pushing one another during training and that’s great to watch!

The training environment really is a product of, and a credit to, all the Stormers that walk through the facility door and it’s something we’re particularly proud of.

**Are there any success stories or positive results that you’ve seen within YADA from your young athletes that you’re particularly proud of?**
Lome – We welcome and encourage everyone to come into our facilities with a positive attitude and an open mind. That is the start of any young athlete making that first big step forward towards their goal. For some of them, it’s not an easy step to take and can be daring walking into the unknown, while others take it in their stride, full of confidence with their eye on the goal ahead.

Each athlete that comes through the door has produced great results through their hard work and efforts, whether it may be developing strength, power, increasing flexibility, speed or rebuilding through a rehab phase. Every one of them has their own story to tell and their journey.

**In your opinion what makes a good Stormer? What are you looking to nurture in these young athletes that come onto the program?**
Lome – In this context relating to YADA, It’s easy to say a good Stormer is an athlete who is enthusiastic, full of energy and works hard towards their goal but to be honest that is only part of it. From my own experience, being in a professional environment, I was competing against great athletes and some of the best in the world, also playing alongside them too. I was able to watch and learn how they train and their thought process; many of them would be working on their skills doing extras either before or after training sessions, homework on what they can do to become better athletes. There is so much talent out there! Unfortunately with peer pressures and for many other reasons those talents are not always utilised to their full potential. It shows that it’s not enough to only be gifted with talent, you must be willing to work hard as well towards the goal.

**This links nicely into the quote on the wall at the entrance to the Storm Fitness gym, which reads: “There are millions of talented people in the world, you haven’t heard of 99.9% of them. The reason is simple, talent is not enough.” That seems to strike a chord with what you’re saying?**
Lome – Exactly. It’s about doing the work along with nurturing their talent. The talent will give you a head start, but it’s more often than not the person you don’t see that puts in the hard work that reaches the goal that was once a dream of many others.

Any young athletes interested in working with Storm Fitness or finding out more about the Young Athlete Development Academy can contact the team on on [][1] or visit the Storm Fitness Facebook page [here][2].