Chris Schwarz has a dream job.

As the strength and conditioning coach of the Ottawa Senators, Schwarz helps keep world-class athletes such as Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris and Mark Stone finely tuned.

Schwarz isn’t referring to those star players, nor is he citing recent flu virus issues in the NHL when he says: “I can’t tell you how we’re in trouble. It’s an epidemic.”

Schwarz is talking about the lack of athleticism among our youth, even including some elite hockey players who didn’t play other sports or freelance in the playgrounds as children. He offers this simple test for parents: “Ask your kid if he or she can somersault. See if they can play catch with both hands. Can they run backwards? Do those three things. I think most parents would be astonished that their kids can’t do it.”

Those same parents approach Schwarz at his Fitquest private strength training centre and ask him to “make my son skate fast.” Unfortunately, it’s a losing proposition if the child hasn’t first learned to run and play; to kick and throw a ball.