60 Yard Sprint – Improving Top End Speed

The 60 yard sprint – baseball’s favorite test of speed. With fall officially here. it is now time for Baseball Showcases and Fall Leagues. During this time, high school athletes have the opportunity to go out and show off their talents to college scouts from the area. These events will afford them the opportunity to show off their speed, strength, athleticism, and baseball IQ. Many of these showcases will take athletes through a battery of tests. Similarly to the 40 in the NFL combine, the 60 yard dash is one of the coveted tests of a baseball showcase. Due to.. More »

Sport Specialization for Youth Athletes: Missing the Mark

True athlete development and sport specialization is more than just year-round training and competition. It should be part of a comprehensive approach that involves both cognitive and physical development through childhood and adolescence.  It should be a well thought-out, long-term pedagogic approach that fosters the acquisition of fundamental and sport specific skills while developing physical attributes such as speed, strength and endurance. Unfortunately, a comprehensive, long-term approach is rarely implemented in youth sports.  Instead, coaches and parents get distracted by trophies, elite clubs and early successes, and they lose sight of the end goal.  This article will discuss a comprehensive.. More »

Top 4 Exercises to Improve the Power Clean

In this article Coach Tobias Jacobi discusses the top 4 exercises used to improve the power clean. The power clean is one of the most popular exercises used to improve sports performance.  The ability to externally load the triple extension of the knee, hip, and ankle is one of the main reasons the power clean is so popular.  Another reason is the coordination required to properly perform the exercise, which leads itself to being a movement that assists in athletic development.  In my time as strength & conditioning coach at both the high school and collegiate levels, I have noticed.. More »

The Art of Sports Science

Sports science has become one of the hottest topics and trends in the world of strength & conditioning.  It seems like everyone is trying to find the holy grail of athlete monitoring or how to utilize sports science to find the key to athletic success.  Millions of dollars have been poured into technology designed to enhance our understanding of athletes so that coaches can make better decisions about training and practice.  Unfortunately, it does look like those dollars have had much of a return on investment for most programs yet. This could be due to many factors: Coaches not knowing.. More »

Youth Athletic Development Fundamentals

Youth athletic development and youth fitness are often talked about as “being important,” but truly understanding the foundations of these topics is critical if we’re going to make a difference in the lives of young people.  IYCA contributor and co-founder of SPIDERfit Kids, Brett Klika, created this in-depth video for the IYCA to lay out some of the fundamental principles involved when working with athletes 6-10 years old. In the video, Brett discusses youth athletic development and youth fitness in ways that most parents and coaches don’t fully understand.  He lays out the concepts of motor development, games and play,.. More »

How to Choose the Right Sports Performance Program

In the ever-changing world of youth athletics, it is becoming more common than ever for young athletes to participate in a sports performance program. This may be done on their own, with a team or within a school setting, but most young athletes are now engaging in some type of training to enhance athleticism. These programs can have a tremendous impact on a young athlete’s overall development, but they can also be a waste of time, or even worse, dangerous. How do you know what to look for in a quality training program? With coaches hard-selling and boasting about their.. More »

Making an Impact From the Inside

Most people see a problem and complain about it.  Other people grab the bull by the horns and do something about. When John Welbourn saw an opportunity to make a change, he stepped up and decided to ruffle some feathers. Making a change to an existing structure or organization is not easy.  That’s why it’s so impressive that the gang at Power Athlete – John Welbourn, Tex McQuilken and Luke Summers – has been able to influence the way CrossFit boxes around the world approach training. Click here to listen to Ep. 40 of The Impact Show – Making an Impact.. More »

Young Girl Forced Into Splits – Bad Coaching is Not Always That Obvious

Recently, a video was released of a cheerleading coach in Denver, CO forcing a 13-year old girl into the splits as she whimpered in pain, cried, and begged them to stop.  The coach was contacted by the media about the situation, and he said that it was a technique he learned growing up. (Long pause to let that sink in) If you’re up for a cringe, you can watch below.  Just remember that you can’t “un-see” this. This video is difficult to watch because the girl was crying, asking for it to stop and making it very obvious that she.. More »

Strength Training Program Blueprint – Mark Naylor

Whether you are training with a full body, an upper/lower split, or a body part routine, daily strength training program design and order of exercise is vital for the overall strength development and safety. Each training day should start with a complete warm-up. Warm-up activities should consist of general activities to increase body temperature before moving to mobility and muscle activation work which addresses joints and muscles that will be worked on that particular day. The warm-up should end with specific movements that the athlete will see during the training day. The warm-up should be concise and not take up.. More »

Measuring Progression in Youth Performance – More Than Speed & Strength – Brett Klika

“You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure.” – Business Leader Peter Drucker As youth performance coaches, we work miles away from the cubicles and boardrooms of corporate America.  However, the importance of being able to measure our impact on the kids we work with is essential to our success. At the end of the day, parents and kids are making an investment of their most valued resources – time/money/energy – and they demand an ROI. Higher vertical jump scores, faster 40 times, increased/decreased bodyweight, and a host of other expectations follow a family’s decision to put their child in a.. More »

How to Write & Launch a Book or Product – The Principles of Athletic Strength & Conditioning Story

Many strength & conditioning and youth fitness professionals talk about writing a book or producing an information product.  Most feel that they have something inside them that will make a positive impact on the world, so there is an internal desire to share that knowledge.  The problem is that most people get stuck way before the book/product gets anywhere near completion. In this episode of The Impact Show, Jim Kielbaso discusses the process of creating and launching a book or product, and he goes into detail on how the most recent IYCA product was created. The new IYCA book Principles.. More »

Freddie Walker: Behind the Scenes – Pitt Strength & Conditioning

University of Pittsburgh assistant strength & conditioning coach Freddie Walker was a presenter at the 2017 IYCA Summit and is one of 17 authors in the new Principles of Athletic Strength & Conditioning book.  Coach Walker has been a college strength coach for several years, but he also has a background working with young athletes.  Freddie spent two years working in high schools and with athletes as young as eight years old.  In his current position, he has worked with multiple NFL draft picks and some of the finest athletes in the world.  All of this experience gives him a.. More »

How to Make a Difference

Aaron Byrd owns one of the most successful soccer training businesses in the country.  As a former college and professional soccer players, Aaron clearly has the skills necessary to help improve a soccer player’s abilities, but it’s not the soccer training that makes the biggest difference in people’s lives – it’s the lessons he teaches through his training programs. Aaron started his business by helping two kids of a friend who wanted to get better at soccer.  Two turned into four, four turned into eight, and before he knew it, Byrd had over 100 kids enrolled in camps and training.. More »

4 Simple Strategies to Increase the Value of Your Programs – Brett Klika

“Little Timmy loves working with you, but this guy comes to the park right next to our house.  He played some college baseball, so he knows strength and conditioning stuff.” As passionate, knowledgeable, and experienced youth performance coaches, we’ve all heard the old “right by our house” dodge.  Regardless of our resume of experience and parents’ quest for the best for their child, very few aspects of a program can beat convenience. Heck, the selection for my 3-year old daughter’s Saturday dance class was based on a Google map search of “Dance studios near 92131”.  I’m pretty sure her teacher.. More »

6 Steps to Selling Out Your Summer Program – Brett Klika

We introduced Brett Klika to the IYCA community at the last Summit, and he has been incredibly excited about your passion ever since.  He did a fantastic presentation on youth fitness at the Summit, but his hands-on session was even more incredible.  What we also quickly found out about Brett was that he also loves talking about business strategies, just like many others in the IYCA community.  He came to the Sports Performance Business Academy and added tons of value to everyone who attended.  His combination of coaching, making a difference and business strategies are what makes Brett such a.. More »

Early Sport Specialization Is Making Youth Less Athletic

Early sport specialization has become a hotly debated topic in many sports circles.  The youth sports scene has changed dramatically over the past two decades, and while a lot of improvements have been made, some changes have not been good for children. A recent study from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, which included over 1,500 high school athletes, found that athletes who specialized in one sport were twice as likely to report a lower extremity injury as compared to those who played multiple sports. It was also found that 60% of athletes that specialized in one.. More »

Dave Gleason – How to Train Young Athletes

Dave Gleason is considered one of the top youth training coaches in America for good reason.  He’s awesome! Dave has been a huge part of the IYCA for years.  He has spoken at many events, helped write the LTAD Roadmap and Game Play Performance and has contributed videos and articles that have helped thousands of people create better programming for young athletes. In this short interview, Dave drops knowledge bombs about training young athletes.  You can tell how passionate he is about this, and he always gives the IYCA community something to think about.

Force Vectors & Speed Development – Kevin Hollabaugh

Learning about force vectors in speed development can change the way you instruct, cue and provide feedback to athletes training for speed.  I am a firm believer that a coach who is good at teaching speed and agility is good at understanding vectors of force and how they need to be used in order to gain efficiency in expressing movement language. A vector is a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another. In other words the direction in which you apply force into the ground directly correlates.. More »

Ron McKeefery – Making a Difference

Ron McKeefery has become one of the most influential men in the industry by simply being himself and caring about people.  He has been a strength coach at the highest levels of football – University of Tennessee and the Cincinnati Bengals – as well as programs that he had to help create a winning culture – University of South Florida and Eastern Michigan.  He has also helped more young strength coaches break into the field than just about anyone through an outstanding internship program he created over 10 years ago.  He wrote the book The CEO Strength Coach a couple.. More »

Mike Boyle – Coaching Kids

A while ago we had a great thread on the forum entitled Athlete Engagement and Behavior. Anthony had suggested that I expand my thoughts from the thread into an article. The thread began with this question: “Would really appreciate if anyone could share their experiences or direct me to some good resources regarding engaging young athletes (13-15 year old female athletes) in structured strength and conditioning sessions.” My response ( expanded on here) began with this: Training kids is a balancing act. Kids are kids. They should be having some fun training. However, at 13 -15 they should also be.. More »