Monday, May 15, 2017

Do Your Kids Tri?? Part 2

Mandy Oscarson's "Do Your Kids Tri??" Part 1 got a lot of traffic and hopefully inspired some of your kids to get involved in triathlon this year. Here's Part 2, in which Mandy goes undercover to get the scoop on BAM Kids' Triathlon Camps. Thanks to Mandy and all who contributed!

The BAM Kids’ Tri Camp kicks off in June and goes until right before school starts up again. They work with kids of just about any age and any ability, teaching everything from the very basics to prepping Elite Team members for super-speedy draft-legal races.

The camp runs 4 days a week, mostly at Sugarhouse Park (for biking and running) and at Olympus High School (for swimming). They do other things as well, like hiking and mock-races to prep the kids for their season. Cost and more information can be found on their spiffy new website, which should be up and running pretty soon. In the meantime, you can find more information at

Andrew Stasinos, BAM coach, tries to not only teach kids the basics of swimming, how to grab a water bottle without toppling off their bikes, or how to “parent” the parents out on the run course; he tries to teach them transferrable skills (something I didn’t pick up on until Grad School). “We’re not so results driven. Mainly the reason why I love working with kids is because you can teach them life skills through sports, and that is a big passion of mine. Letting them understand failure is okay and how to get past it, and that’s just life. That’s why I continue to work with kids, you can make a big difference.”

Andrew said that while they don’t have a specific slogan they teach the kids, they try hard to keep it fun while teaching. For example, Andrew explains to the kids that they all choose what to do with their time. Every day. Whether it’s playing video games, reading a book, or doing triathlon, it’s a choice they make. “So, we are going to choose to make the best of our time here, because we are choosing to be here.”

After learning the basics, as the kids get older and more experienced, the BAM coaches actively work with the kids, teaching them how to overcome frustration and realize they’re in control. Coaches teach them how to push when they need to and back off when they need to, how to interact with others when they are frustrated, etc. “This is why we’re passionate about it… to impact these kids. Build confidence so they feel good around their peers.”

I asked two BAM Kids’ Camp participants: What’s the hardest part of a triathlon, and how do you overcome it?

“Oh probably the thoughts like, oh we can’t finish, oh it’s too hard, my stomach’s hurting, my feet are hurting, you know, all those bad thoughts. I usually just tell myself that it’s gonna be okay and if you just think of the finish line and how happy you’ll be after you did something like that.” Ananya Iyengar, 12-year-old triathlete and BAM Kids’ Camp participant

“…running is the hardest for me for some reason. I just think to myself that I can do it. And I do it.” Abhimanyu Iyengar, 10-year-old triathlete and BAM Kids’ Camp participant

From the mouths of babes. As I interviewed Ananya and Abhimanyu, I was amazed that these kids had learned life-lessons that I still struggle to grasp sometimes. I asked them what they liked about having a coach, and they agreed that Andrew makes things fun, but still pushes them to do better.

Their parents, Arjun and Deepthi, who are also triathletes, agreed that their kids were learning important skills at a young age. Arjun was happy that this was keeping their kids active and Deepthi said that triathlon is more challenging than other activities the kids had tried.

that kid in the back with facial hair looks a lot like Keate Avery

Andrew said that they really try to focus on each kid 100%, and what each kid's needs are. I think that shows, because Ananya expressed how her training has given her self-confidence for standing up for her choices:

“Some people say you can’t do it, because… for us we’re vegan, so they say, oh you don’t get enough protein… so I say, just ignore the haters and then you know, just do it.”

She is taking her own advice and plans on competing in a draft-legal youth race in June. Further out, her goal is to make a college triathlon team.

If you have any questions about the BAM Kids’ Tri Camp, again, check out their website: Or you can contact Andrew or Pat Casey, who will both head this year’s camp. And if you happen to see a pint-sized athlete out on the course this season, even if they are passing you, make sure to give them some triathlon community love and encouragement!

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