WYC 141 – Youth Sports – Jenn Casey talks Fun in Movement & Crossfit Kids

Jenn Casey is the Program Director for CrossFit Kids and Swing Fit (a Kettlebell Sport class) at CrossFit Kennesaw in Marietta, Georgia. She is the President and Co-Founder of Georgia Kettlebell Sport, which has the mission to develop and promote Kettlebell Sport in the state of Georgia and the greater Southeast Region of the US. She is developing a youth-focused Kettlebell Sport program and is taking her youth team on their first road trip in December 2017. Jenn is an active Kettlebell Sport athlete and in 2017 was chosen to participate in the IUKL World Championship in Seoul, South Korea as part of Team USA where she placed 4th in 16kg One Arm Long Cycle.

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Quitting at age 13, because it wasn’t fun anymore

  • Jenn was on the team track in gymnastics, but by age 12 or 13 she quit because it wasn’t fun anymore. Then she didn’t do much of any athletic activity for 2 decades.
  • At age 39 she jumped into Crossfit


  • Look like a cannonball with a handle
  • You can use them for hip-hinge movements, but they also can be great for cardio
  • The competitive side of the sport involves Kettlebell overhead lifts
  • The competitive side involves how many overhead lifts you can do in 10 minutes

Keeping the fun in movement

  • Give kids lots of opportunities for success and catch them doing things right
  • Ask lots of question – ‘where do I put my feet in a squat?’, etc.
  • Definitely praise when they self-correct
  • Rep / No-rep – Coach does a rep, some correctly and some incorrectly, then the kids call out whether that was a good rep or a no-rep.

Good analogies

  • ‘Glue your feet to the ground. Pretend you have concrete blocks on your feet’
  • ‘Your knees don’t like each other’
  • ‘Pretend you are lifting an elephant over your head’

Mental toughness

  • Jenn was a kid who was good in practice, then would freeze up in competition/tryouts
  • Breathing is key to keep your heart rate steady
  • Do practice reps using the same routine you will use in games
  • The Talent Code – by Daniel Coyle
  • Mindset – by Carol Dweck
  • Mastery – by Robert Greene
  • Coaching Better every season – by Wade Gilbert
  • Start with Why – Simon Sinek

Best borrowed/stolen ideas

  • Gamifying deliberate practice

Parting Advice

  • Find the fun in whatever you’re doing.
  • Get the kids involved. Have them help design a practice.

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