“Our family met Michael through family friends, and he’s been an amazing support and influence to our 21 year old son, Leon, ever since. Leon needed someone to drive and inspire him to push through the obstacles in his life. Michael became not only a trainer to Leon, but a friend. Through two weekly sessions, we noticed Leon to be engaged and willing to participate in physical activity. Michael keeps Leon focused and teaches him that he can do anything he puts his mind to.  Leon’s overall demeanor after a session with Coach Mike is bright and bubbly. Coach Mike personalizes each and every session to ensure Leon will learn and flourish. Leon has become a strong, confident, and energetic young man, and we owe it to Coach Mike.”  

                                                                                                                                                                                         - Katie and Nick, New York

My son is now 8 years old, and has been working with Coach Mike both at school in gym class and in private weekly sessions for over a year. I have noticed a tremendous improvement in my son's muscle tone and motor dexterity since he began these sessions. Along with that has come a huge boost in my son's self-confidence and self-esteem. He truly looks forward to his weekly sessions. Coach Mike makes sports activities fun and helps immensely with teaching sportsmanship when other kids have joined in on the sessions in our building's playground. In my son's own words, "Coach Mike has brought kids a long way."

                                                                                                                                                                                               - Sue, New York

We heard about Michael and Empowered Sports & Fitness through our son’s Occupational Therapist.  She felt that it would help him to improve his gross motor skills and comfort level playing sports.  Sports, especially those requiring catching and throwing, have been difficult for him and because of that he was often avoiding them.  Since working with Michael, we have seen a tremendous improvement in our son’s speed and agility.  His ability to catch and throw have also substantially improved.  Most importantly, his enjoyment playing sports has emerged.  He absolutely loves the sessions with Michael, which is a huge difference compared to prior sports classes.  He also now enjoys playing athletic games with his father and friends and has become much more confident trying new sports and activities.

- Emily, New York

Michael Shipper has been working with my daughter Olympia for over a year now once a week after school. Olympia has a rare genetic disorder which makes it difficult for her to speak. Her behaviors can be challenging as well.  Olympia loves her hour with Coach Mike. Oftentimes her siblings will join the session. Michael is always inclusive of the children regardless of their age. He always makes it fun for everyone. They love it! The great thing about Coach Mike is that he manages to get the children moving and thinking at the same time. He engages them with fun activities which challenge their gross motor skills as well as their imaginations. If there is ever a moment where Olympia loses patience he quickly redirects her using different toys, books and games. The children are always engaged and ready for the next exciting game. They can't wait to see what Coach Mike is going to pull out of his sports bag. Just last week we were all at home and the kids begged me to call Coach Mike to come over and play. They had just had their session the day before but they insisted. Luckily he had a cancellation and came right over. All four kids were sitting by the door waiting. They had a ball! Coach Mike is great for all ages - special needs and not - he is patient and fair and the kids love him!

- Natasha, New York

My 7 year old son is filled with energy and enthusiasm for sports, exercise, and fun, but his focus and coordination delays have always made organized sports an over-stimulating, self-defeating experience. After 10+ private sessions with our wonderful, creative, caring Coach Mike, our son has increased his focus, coordination, confidence, and endurance.  He loves seeing Coach Mike, but better than that, he just began his first basketball class with his peers and he did awesome!! That's the true testament of how much he has done for our son. Coach Mike personalizes each session with creative games based on your child's interests (ex. Lego Movie, Avengers, Mario Bros.). This approach  really keeps their interest so they don't even notice how hard they're working. He truly has a gift for understanding the social and emotional component to teaching a child confidence while building their endurance and coordination during exercise. We are so thankful we found Coach Mike and can't say enough wonderful things about him and his work!!

- Lynn, New York

My name is Judith. Our son, Rome, loves sports and being active. In the past, he had difficulty with physical activity due to decreased motor skills and sensory integration disorder. Through the work that Coach Mike teaches, he has progressed and improved so much. He now plays on a Little League baseball team and on a soccer team. We have seen an improvement in social skills and it has definitely increased his self-esteem. Every week, he looks forward to seeing Coach Mike!

- Judith, New York

Coach Mike is dedicated, positive and experienced. He brings his physical fitness expertise along with creative games and terrific, engaging equipment that delivers an awesome session for my sons every time. I can't stress enough how deep his patience and enthusiasm runs. Your child will finish his training stronger, and more importantly, confident and accomplished. I highly recommend Coach Mike.

- Caroline, New York

My name is Gina and I have a 21 year old young man on the autistic spectrum named Alex. Alex has great gross motor skills, but he suffers a lot from anxiety, along with acute sound sensitivity, which has gotten in his way of participating in team sports. We had tried basketball in a special needs league; the people that ran it were amazing, but Alex limited himself to jumping in to shoot a basket (with 99% accuracy) and he struggled to remain in the noisy gym.

I was looking for activities that Alex could master that could get him outside, join others, without overwhelming him. I really wanted to find something that we could do together as a family. Alex never learned to ride a bike, so I thought an activity like that would be perfect. I tried to teach him myself, but it did not work. I reached out to the community social worker at Alex’s school, and she recommended Coach Mike. It is very challenging to find someone who adopts the philosophy of the school my son attends; the DIR (developmental individual-difference relationship-based model) philosophy treats people as individuals that can achieve what we all can, but requires a different approach. Unfortunately, many people treat individuals like my son as “less than” and that never has spelled success or joy for my son.

Coach Mike, on the other hand, seemed to have a unique intuitive sense when approaching my son; his combination of compassion, patience, and fun instantly put my son at ease and made him want to try. We have received WAY more than someone to teach my son how to ride a bike. Coach Mike has worked with Alex on fun exercises, that actually targets his core deficits that have helped him physically as well as mentally. I always believed mind-body-spirit are connected; you can clearly see this after a few weeks with Coach Mike! He has provided me with weekly detailed updates so I can not only track Alex’s progress, but understand the reasoning behind each exercise. I have learned so much in a short time!

Lastly, Coach Mike found the perfect bike to teach Alex, which I happily purchased.  After two sessions, Alex is riding a two wheeler independently! Now I can’t WAIT for the spring! Maybe we will be just like one of the families I have always wistfully observed on the bike paths of NYC.

- Gina, New York




Posted on February 14, 2016 .