It’s Not Them; It’s Us – Better Coaching With Young Athletes: Brett Klika

Coaching young athletes isn’t as easy as it seems.   “Use your hips, not your knees!” My 4-year-old daughter’s swim coach echoed this cue over and over as my daughter lay in a backfloat, churning water and going nowhere. The swim coach, myself and the host of other parents at the pool knew what she was trying to say.  Unfortunately, despite my daughter knowing what her “hips” where, her relatively limited experience as an earthling lent to trouble in deciphering what her teacher meant by “using” them. Water continued to churn, my daughter didn’t move, her teacher looked defeated. My wife.. More »

Anti-Rotation & Anti-Extension Core Exercises: Jordan Tingman

When coaches hear the term “abdominal exercises,” they often think of movements such as basic sit-ups, Russian twists and crunches. While these exercises may create a feeling of working the abdominals, they do not train the core to do what it’s real job is: stabilization. A stable core is a healthy core. It doesn’t always mean that it will look “shredded” (that has more to do with diet that exercise), but it can resist unwanted movement throughout the spine to protect the back. With proper core training, your athlete can learn to lock the spine into place during loaded exercises.. More »

What’s Really Limiting Thoracic Spine Rotation? – Dr. Greg Schaible

It’s no secret that rotational power in sport is imperative to a successful athlete. Much emphasis has been placed on making sure an athlete has adequate thoracic rotation to complete the task. Many coaches have probably noticed that a decent number of athletes have poor thoracic rotation. Or they achieve thoracic rotation in a compensatory way. The purpose of this article is to show you how many athletes compensate and what to consider biomechanically when someone does rotate through the T-spine. The most common way people will look at T-spine rotation (aside from directly watching a sport or lifting movement), is.. More »

Creating Athlete Buy-In with Joe Powell

How do you get athletes to like and trust you? While most coaches are worried about exercise selection, technique and programs (which are all important), none of that matters if you can’t create athlete buy-in. Unfortunately, many coaches think this is just about personality and most think their personality is a perfect fit for coaching.  While your personality is certainly an important factor, there is much more to it. In the video below, Jim Kielbaso talks with Utah State Strength & Conditioning Coach Joe Powell about how he creates trust and buy-in.  Joe has the ability to make this happen,.. More »

You Can’t Microwave an Athlete – Jim Kielbaso

Note: This article was originally intended for parents and/or coaches, but it can be helpful for anyone who helps develop athletes.  The IYCA encourages you to share this with parents or other coaches to help them understand the process of long-term athletic development.  Please feel free to copy & paste this into an email to parents, for use on your website or to share on social media.  It may be a little long for newsletters, so please divide it up however you feel is your best opportunity to spread the information.  It’s important for us to work together to educate.. More »

How To Avoid the Post-Summer Slump – Brett Klika

June, July and August are a whirlwind for many performance coaches. The absence of school and organized school athletics allow for plenty of time to train.  For many coaches, this is the rare time of year they can apply their knowledge while gaining experience working with kids from morning until night. The days are long, but the experience, impact and financial reward is often much greater than any other time of the year. Without a little planning however, the spoils of summer can quickly turn into the famine of fall. Veteran youth S&C professionals have undoubtedly experienced the near burnout.. More »

Skill Reinforcement: “Ooh, Shiny” Doesn’t Work – Phil Hueston

Skill reinforcement. That’s the name of the game for real, sustainable training. Whether your goal is multi-sport fitness, high-level “sport-specific” athletic performance, or general physical preparedness, reinforcing movement and athletic skills makes all the difference and delivers results. Every. Single. Time. Too often we blindly pursue the “new, cutting-edge” fitness program, modality or tool. As a result, we fail to master the basics or fully appreciate their huge impact on health, fitness and performance. One risk of this approach is that clients don’t benefit from the metabolic and performance boosts that come with movement mastery. Another, is the higher risk of injury.. More »

Physio Ball Exercises: Training Options – Joe Powell

Physio Ball Exercises – The physio ball is an extremely versatile piece of equipment that is used for a multitude of purposes across a broad range of professional fields. It is commonly referred to by a host of different names which is fitting given its wide range of usage. You may know the physio ball as an exercise ball, swiss ball, balance ball, or therapy ball, among many other names depending on its intended use. Within the strength and conditioning field alone, physio ball exercises can be used for a wide range of purposes. The versatility and practicality of a.. More »

Athlete Development Model – Jim Kielbaso

Long term athlete development has been discussed for years, but the concept is still incredibly confusing for practitioners.  Part of the reason for this confusion is that the models are missing details and coordination of efforts between coaches, trainers and parents. At the 2018 IYCA Summit, Jim Kielbaso offered a new way of thinking about athlete development and offered a solution for how we move forward.  He spoke about where we’ve been, what has been done and outlined a model that will add to the already existing LTAD models. While most of the theoretical models have great thoughts and rationale.. More »

Creating a Program for the Multi-Sport Athlete – Jordan Tingman

Multiple-sport athletes in the high school setting are extremely common. However, coaches may find it hard to create a training program that can cater to the various requirements each sport demands. As strength and conditioning professionals, our job is to create a comprehensive training program for these athletes. The goal is to build their baseline of training, make them fundamentally sound and progress their movement throughout their program.  Multi-sport athletes should be able to learn their weaknesses, balance them out structurally and exercise different degrees of motion to become a better overall athlete. These concepts are key when creating a.. More »

The Summer Survival Guide for Youth Performance Coaches – Brett Klika

Summer is “Black Friday” for many youth strength and conditioning coaches. Kids are out of school, the weather is good, and parents are motivated to fill their kids’ time. During the summer, you have more of an opportunity than any other point in the year to make a difference with a large number of kids. Of course, along with this opportunity comes 80-hour weeks, coaching, motivating, and guiding from sun up to sun down. You return home every night exhausted, vocally strained, and baked by the sun, but still excited to do it all again tomorrow. We’re lucky to be in a career.. More »

A Strength Coach Career Path: A Winding Road – Joe Powell

As the popularity of sport continues to boom across the globe, so too does the interest in pursuing a career linked to our favorite past times. Coaching, athletic training, front office personnel, and you guessed it, strength & conditioning/athletic development, have all seen meteoric rises in popularity among young adult choosing a college major and career path. Unfortunately, the number of people interested in the field compared to those who actually earn a living in it is quite unbalanced. So, why do so many individuals get turned off to these career paths and change their route altogether?  That answer is.. More »

The Stretching Conundrum, Part 2 – Dr. Greg Schaible

In part 2 of the “Stretching Conundrum” we are going to cover how to start best implementing these alternatives to stretching. Inevitably, Part 1 of this series opened Pandora’s Box for a plethora of questions… If you are not stretching, then what are you doing? We do dynamic warm-ups, so why would I need to do these active positional breathing exercises? How would you place these into a client’s programs? Don’t worry….We have you covered! The purpose of a warm-up is to simply prepare the body for whatever task or event is at hand. The cooldown is a time to.. More »

Bodyweight Training Progressions – Jordan Tingman

Ask any strength coach, and they will tell you that most athletes lack strength, control and mobility in many basic bodyweight training exercises. Utilizing bodyweight training, “can result in both physical strength and stamina” (Harrison, 2010).  This is why bodyweight training progressions are such an important part of any strength training program. We often think that bodyweight training is very simple, so we don’t spend much time thinking about it.  We want to rush into more advanced training methods because they seem more exciting.  Unfortunately, when we skip over fundamentals, it catches up to us down the road.  Spending time.. More »

The Stretching Conundrum, Part 1 – Dr. Greg Schaible

Stretching for athletes can often be a polarizing topic among rehab and performance specialists.  On one end of the spectrum you have people who seemingly hand out stretches for every injury, and think it’s the solution to every problem. On the other hand, you have people who believe that you should never stretch, and that there are no benefits to stretching whatsoever. Before we start talking about what is right and wrong, we first need to appreciate what stretching really is, so we can discuss the potential reasons why one may choose to stretch or not to stretch. Ultimately, people.. More »

Rethinking Long Term Athlete Development – Jim Kielbaso

The concept of long term athlete development (LTAD) has been around for several years, but it has more recently become a hot topic amongst youth sports and training organizations.  It seems that everyone now needs a formula for how to develop great athletes so they can represent their countries and succeed as professionals.  Several academicians have taken the lead on reviewing the relevant literature and have written articles and books about the topic.  They have used this literature to create several different models for developing athletes.  While these models were a great start, their oversimplification of athlete development seems to be steering.. More »

Early Sport Specialization: Getting Them To Listen – Brett Klika

Early sport specialization has been a hot topic for years, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.  As strength and conditioning coaches, it’s baffling when we see parents and coaches embracing the notion of early sport specialization despite the mountains of data, expert opinion, and well- reviewed evidence highlighting the downfalls. Our heart breaks when youngsters in these situations get injured or depart from sports and physical activity altogether. The last thing we want to have to say is “We told you so.” But, well…. “We told you so.” Despite us “telling” parents, coaches, and our local communities about.. More »

Practical is the New Functional – Jim Kielbaso

I love innovation. I love new exercise variations. I love learning new methods. I love new technology. It’s fun for me to watch new trends come and go, and I enjoy trying to predict what’s coming.  People love throwing around the term “functional” and seem to use it as a blanket reason for anything in their program. Over the past year, however, it’s been hammered home time and time again that, while function and creativity are great, practicality is one of the most important – and neglected – factors to consider in programming. This is especially true when working with.. More »

Laterality in Sport – Overcoming Unilateral Dominance – Antonio Squillante

As young athletes develop, their bodies adapt in many interesting ways.   The nervous system, musculoskeletal system, and cardiovascular systems are in a constant state of adaptation as young athletes play, train and practice sports.  Most coaches look for structural changes that result in stronger, faster and more resilient athletes, but those changes are typically preceded by changes in the nervous system that aren’t recognized as easily.  While these neural changes may not be seen as easily, they often have a huge influence on the structural adaptations (i.e. strength, speed, size, power) coaches desire.  It’s important to understand that sport-specific structural.. More »

Preparing Female Athletes for College Sports – Jordan Tingman

Each year, college strength & conditioning professionals look forward to working with the new class of incoming freshman. We see a wide variety of abilities with incoming freshman ranging from athletes who have never touched a weight in their entire life, to those who came from big high schools with a solid strength and conditioning program.  Some have even worked with trainers at a private sports performance facilities before making their way to college athletics. More often than not, we see females who have very little training before getting to college.  When they arrive, they quickly realize that they are.. More »