Top 10 Tips for Training Young Athletes – Jim Kielbaso

The IYCA has produced hundreds of articles and dozens of courses/certifications on important topics related to training young athletes.  There is a lot to know and understand about long term athlete development (LTAD) and creating exceptional training experiences for young athletes.  While it’s impossible to have a full understanding of everything involved in this process, this article boils it down into the Top 10 tips for training young athletes. Whether you’re a trainer, coach, administrator or parent, this list will give you a basic understanding of the most important concepts involved in training young athletes.   1.  Progress over Performance: Focusing on.. More »

Periodization as a Strategy, Not a Tactic – Karsten Jensen

Do you apply periodization to the training of your athletes? Or do you believe that periodization does not apply to youth athletes? Periodization is a controversial topic within our field. Below are some of the critique points that I have come across in recent years: Periodization is not scientifically proven. Periodization is overrated and over studied. Periodization is too rigid and does not work for our athletes. Periodization is too time-consuming. Periodization is too complex and only for people in lab coats These critique points may be true if your understanding of Periodization is limited to Periodization as a tactic… More »

Escape the Achievatron Machine – Andrew Simpson

“The greatest benefit to your life will not be your accomplishments, but rather what happens inside you while you’re moving toward your goal.” Sports are a big part of many children’s lives, and there are numerous benefits to having quality sporting experience.  Work ethic, mental focus/toughness, cooperation, dealing with ups & downs, perseverance, following directions and sportsmanship are just some of the traits that can be developed through sports.  Unfortunately, many athletes get sucked into the high-pressure part of sports I call The Achieveatraon Machine. The Achieveatron Machine is essentially an endless cycle of attempting to achieve the “next big thing” instead.. More »

Jumping Progressions – Jordan Tingman

When a new athlete comes into a collegiate program, one thing I have noticed is their lack of ability to properly execute correct jumping mechanics. When jumping incorrectly, an athlete is at a much higher risk of injury, but also is at risk of not achieving their full athletic potential. These are the flaws I noticed most often in jumping technique: Valgus knees on load and explode Lack of postural strength Poor eccentric strength Not getting to full extension on explode Loading with the upper body dropping forward and not with the legs Incorrect arm swing on load to.. More »

Plyometrics – 3 Ways They May Be Hurting Your Athletes: Phil Hueston

I cringed and threw up in my mouth a little when he said it. “I know my girls are ready to play. We do thirty minutes of plyometrics at every practice, three days a week.” The earnest young volleyball coach went on to tell me he’d done his research and had “adapted” the program done by a certain university women’s volleyball program. By adapted, he meant he threw away all the functional strength training, core training and stability-oriented training that laid the foundation for the plyometric work. He meant that he ignored the tissue quality, corrective exercise and active recovery.. More »

Is the Guru Always Right? – Brett Klika

As a young strength and conditioning coach, I would read an article or watch a presentation by one of my “big name” industry idols and immediately rush back to my own programs to employ what I had learned. Sometimes, bam! It was like magic. The little programming secret I had learned from coach X helped transform my ability to help kids. Other times, it was more like, thud! The kids didn’t respond. It appeared unsafe for my training environment. I didn’t have the facilities, program setup, or coaching support required. Assuming the problem was on my side (a guru would.. More »

Strength Coach’s Guide to Achilles Tendinopathy – Greg Schaible

When working with athletes who are pushing their bodies to the limit, inevitability you will end up having a client who starts developing a tendinopathy. One of the most common tendinopathies that can develop is in the Achilles tendon. This type of tendinopathy can be a frustrating area for a lot of people because it tends to linger on longer than most other tendinopathies. Before diving into what actions you can take, it’s important to have a general understanding of what a tendinopathy is. Simply put, a tendinopathy occurs when either an acute or chronic overload to a tendon happens.. More »

Lower Body Power Generation for the Junior Golfer – Nelson Morales YFS1

The number one thing that a golfer looks for when they seek an outside professional in the fitness world is to increase their power off the tee.  For those foreign to the game of golf, this is the home plate or line of scrimmage – the first shot on each hole. Tiger Woods ushered in the concept of performance training for golf, and as more and more professionals are seen training, it is becoming a normal part of the golf community. Because of this, parents are more apt to get their junior golfer involved in performance training, which represents an.. More »

Using Agility Bags to Develop Game Speed

When you look up the definition of agility in the IYCA’s Principles of Athletic Strength & Conditioning textbook, it states “agility is the ability to stop, start, and change directions.”  This is exactly what athletes do all the time, specifically team-sport athletes who must react to the movements of opponents.  It’s important for coaches to help athletes develop these skills while incorporating sports skills and the ability to react to opponents.   I work with a lot of football players, but the principles of agility are similar for many sports.  Athletes must learn how to juke, feint and react to opponents.. More »

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 »