Josh also embodies the runaway free-for-all youth sports have become. Specialized training. High school coaches lining up to woo players. Working out to the point of total exhaustion. Repeating a grade for athletic advantage. Bouncing from team to team. It's all part of his family's all-in, college-scholarship-or-bust gamble.
Sound extreme? Consider: this past year, Josh's family spent more than $15,000 on specialized training and thousands more to parade him around at showcases, tournaments and all-star events from Florida to California.
With access to 10 private trainers and coaches — at an annual cost of more than $15,000 — Josh McKenzie, 15, trains at a level professional athletes might find overwhelming. Josh, a rising freshman at Bergen Catholic, even wears a specialized breathing mask when running to simulate training at high altitude. (Andrew Mills | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
Most of the 10 specialized personal trainers he will see during the year — that's right, 10 trainers — rely on state-of-the-art techniques and put Josh through futuristic workouts. He takes it a step further by wearing a Darth Vader-like elevation mask to restrict breathing and simulate training at elevations.
Josh's stable of experts includes a mindset coach, an isokinetic performance trainer, a nutritionist, three sprinting specialists and a power-lifting guru. He also has a family friend who acts as his public relations guy, although Josh already speaks like someone who has had extensive media training. Even his most mundane activities are meticulously planned and closely monitored. So, for example, he will record every morsel he eats in his iPhone app or log book, making sure to consume exactly 4,500 calories and 175 grams of protein each day.
"In this stage of my life, football's my main focus," Josh says. "My friends and all that partying can take a side seat for now."
Incredible article/report on NJ.com. I'm all for seeing improvements and developments to allow people to progress and improve to for top performance but this is stretching my opinion. However it does have positive aspects that give hope so I'm reserving judgement as I don't have a full insight into his/their world:
When asked why he chose this all-or-nothing college route for Josh, Bill says there wasn't any single reason. He wants Josh to earn a scholarship and to support his passion for sports. But Bill also says emphasizing a commitment to training and putting in more effort than the competition teaches a lifelong lesson that hard work pays off, whether in sports or in life. Josh's around-the-clock dedication doesn't concern Bill because he says it's what Josh wants.