6 Reasons Your Athletes Shouldn’t Deadlift – Phil Hueston

Deadlifts are the worst. Let’s face it, everyone hates them. They’re not fun. They’re not cool. They’re hard. Doing them is just a grind. I think your athletes should skip the deadlifts. Find something better, easier and cooler to do in their place like some fancy, new piece of equipment or the sexy new exercise variation you just saw on Instagram. Just don’t include the deadlift in your athlete’s training plans. Here’s the reasons why your athletes shouldn’t deadlift. 1. Everyone loves an anterior pelvic tilt – The glute and hamstring activation stimulated by the deadlift helps correct anterior pelvic.. More »

Progressive Overload: Training vs. Exercise – Jim Kielbaso

The principle of progressive overload is perhaps the most important concept for coaches to understand when developing athletes.  It is one of the most basic differences between training and simply exercising. Unfortunately, this concept is often misunderstood and misapplied, especially when working with athletes under 18 years old.  While developing athletes can be a very complex undertaking, I’d like to simplify the concept of progressive overload and discuss how to most appropriately apply it as part of an overall training program. The most simplistic way to explain progressive overload is to slowly challenge yourself to do more than you’re currently.. More »

Improving Strength to Weight Ratio with Your Youngest Athletes – Brett Klika

According to the Centers for Disease Control, it appears that roughly 32% of children are either overweight or obese. Compound this with large scale youth inactivity and the result is a growing number of young athletes who will struggle with poor strength to weight ratios beginning at a young age. As youth strength and conditioning coaches, we are in a position to help these children improve this important component of health and athleticism while minimizing frustration with our youngest athletes. While bodyweight exercises may prove troublesome for these youngsters, there are other effective movement strategies that can help them build.. More »

Concussion Awareness & Mitigation, Part 2 – Joe Powell

Part 2 of 2 on concussion awareness and mitigation for the S&C Professional discusses when and how to program strength training for the neck, as well as exercise variations that can fit any program. Strength Training the Neck and Its Associated Musculature Neck training and its importance is not a new-found fad or focus in the strength and conditioning community. However, as part 1 detailed, what has emerged recently is concussion awareness and hopeful prevention has spread from not only the contact sports, but to the non-contact type as well. Clinical diagnosis along with research-based studies are showing athletes in.. More »

Exercise Stimulates The Brain – Karlie Intlekofer Ph.D.

Exercise Programming that Maximizes Brain Benefits As young athletes develop, part of their growing skillset includes the ability to follow verbal instructions and make good decisions. This challenges kids to direct their attention and remain organized as they carry out goal-directed behaviors, using an ability known as executive function. Young athletes have an advantage in developing executive function because the brain regions that help us stay on task are highly sensitive to aerobic exercise. In fact, a child’s executive function is immediately improved by a single bout of physical activity.1-4 There is also a long-term cognitive improvement after regular exercise.. More »

Training Muscles vs. Movements – Karsten Jensen

Regardless of which process strength coaches use to create training programs, such a process must have a step where exercises are selected. Exercise selection is always executed based on certain criteria that include: Scientific research Foundational bio-mechanical principles First person experience with athletes. It is logical to assume that the better the criteria, the greater the likelihood of a positive outcome of the training program. Criteria include principles, strategies, and tactics. This article suggests the 1st Principle of exercise selection, followed by a description of primary exercise selection strategies. Last, current research findings on the effects of single-joint vs multi-joint.. More »

Action Potentials, Plants & Paul Revere: The Spread of LTAD & A Call to Action – Joe Eisenmann

Currently, there is considerable interest, discussion and debate about long-term athlete development (LTAD) in America. The IYCA is one of several groups educating and creating awareness on this topic, and there have been several excellent blogs and resources made available. My entire life has been dedicated to the growing, maturing, exercising, and performing youngster. In the past year, I have given several talks along the lines of ‘LTAD: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ that cover a range of topics and concepts such as the current issues in youth sports and physical activity; the history and underpinnings of Long.. More »

How Physical Activity Enhances Brain Power – Erica Suter

If you’re a sport parent or coach, chances are, you enroll your kids in strength and conditioning programs so they become stronger, faster, and more resilient. Of course, you want kids to perform at their best physically, whether that is by scoring goals, blowing by defenders, shooting three pointers, outrunning opponents, bodying off defenders, or making the audience “ooh” and “ahh” with sharp agility jukes. Expounding further, you want your kids safeguarded from injury and able to enjoy their sport, instead of being sidelined. While performance and injury prevention are the backbone to youth strength and conditioning programs, I’d argue.. More »

Athletic Scholarships & Dream Teams – Greg Schaible

The allure of earning athletic scholarships drives people to take massive action.  This phenomenon has been around for years, but it seems to be intensifying.  This article will address some of the factors involved in earning athletic scholarships and will use my personal experiences to illustrate the challenges of this process.  Competition vs. Talent Stacking First it was the Dream Team! Then it was the Big 3 with Lebron, Wade, and Bosh. Now it’s the Warriors or pretty much anywhere Lebron is playing. It seems to be most prevalent in the NBA but certainly it happens across all pro sports.. More »

Muscle Clean & Muscle Snatch Variations – Jordan Tingman

Add the muscle clean and muscle snatch to your toolbox As a collegiate strength and conditioning coach, we deal a lot with rookies coming into the weight room with little-to-no technique with regard to the Olympic variations.  Many people think the Olympic lifts are simple, but we spend a great deal of time teaching them and cleaning up errors that have been developed as a result of poor instruction.  Take your time when teaching these lifts to young athletes so they learn good habits, and progress slowly instead of focusing on how much weight is on the bar.   In order.. More »

Training Kids With Autism: The LDD Approach – Eric Chessen

“Okay so we’re gonna do squats so what I need you to do is first go to the ball and then feet out and look forward and remember…” “Hold up. You want to see how I do it?” (coach nods) “Squat.” (Then I demonstrate the squat) It’s one of those crossover moments where a coach might find me during a bathroom break and tell me that there are striking similarities between coaching young athletes and coaching athletes with autism. Yup. We talk about simplification in coaching and there is the constant pull to give more information. The art of coaching,.. More »

Conditioning Games for Young Athletes – Brett Klika

Working with children at any age is an art as well as a science. As coaches, we aim to push our young athletes out of their comfort zone so they can grow physically and mentally within their sport and beyond. Science continues to provide methods by which we can do this effectively. However, we must also find ways make the process enjoyable and engaging for the kids involved. Many of us remember the “lines, laps, and lectures” that marred our experience with youth sports. We also remember that special coach or training environment that brought out the best in us… More »

In the Fast Lane – A Speed & Agility Roundtable

Having quick, agile athletes is vital to most sports, so it should be a focus for every strength and conditioning program. We asked a roundtable of experts how they satisfy the need for speed in their training. When thinking about speed and agility, many people picture the highlight-reel moments—an Olympic sprinter blazing through a 100-meter dash, a wide receiver breaking away down the sideline, or a baseball player stealing second. What do those three scenarios have in common? The athletes are running in a straight line. However, as strength coaches know, speed and agility training is not so straightforward. Linear.. More »

Set the Bar – Allen Hedrick

At Colorado State University-Pueblo, strength coach Allen Hedrick uses historical lifting averages to establish weightroom goals and guide players’ offseason programming. I often tell my athletes: You can get strong enough, but you can never get powerful enough. What I mean is that depending on their sport and position, athletes can reach a point where further strength gains won’t benefit performance. When that happens, it’s best to shift the training emphasis from increasing strength to increasing power. At Colorado State University-Pueblo, we have developed a system that allows athletes to make this transition seamlessly. It’s centered on a set of.. More »

Concussion Awareness & Prevention for the Strength Professional – Joe Powell

Part 1 of 2 on concussion awareness and mitigation for the S&C Professional focuses on defining the injury and its primary root causes, as well as clearing up common misconceptions about the injury. The article focuses in on published research to define prevalence and rate of instance among popular sports.  The term concussion has long been feared, yet largely misunderstood by both athletes and coaches alike. However, as of late, concussion awareness in athletics has been at an all-time high. Increases in clinical diagnoses of the injury as well as research devoted to the cause, effects, and preventative strategies have.. More »

Top 10 Posts of 2018

The IYCA would like to thank you for another incredible year.  We have several amazing things coming in 2019, but before we get there, let’s take a look back at the Top 10 posts from 2018.   Find a nice place to read (or watch videos) and spend a few minutes during the holidays to go through anything you’ve missed.  There is a TON of great information from some of the best in the profession (These are NOT necessarily in order of “importance”): #10 Power Clean Progression – Tobias Jacobi – Tobias was named the High School S & C Coach of the.. More »

Sprinting Mechanics – How to Run Faster: Paul Aanonson

Coaching Sprinting Mechanics must not be ignored in speed training! ‘SPEED’, the buzzword in the world of sports. Those who have mastered the art of sprinting dominate those who have yet to develop it. Speed wins, every time. Top speed sprinting is one the most complex, high-velocity human movements in sports. Top speed means 10+ yards after acceleration. Sprinting is a skill and it CAN be learned. To coach a skill, you must first seek to understand the movement and then master the mechanics. True speed can be an elusive skill to master, and as a result, is often not.. More »

Metabolic Conditioning for Athletes, Part 2 – Phil Hueston

In Part 1 of this series on metabolic conditioning, I explored what energy is and how the body’s energy systems work. In this article, let’s have a practical look at what metabolic conditioning is and why we should do it with athletes. The 3 Forms of Metabolic Conditioning Metabolic Conditioning comes in three basic forms, two of which relate directly to exercise and training: 1. Anaerobic-based – According to Plisk, this is “Motor unit activity, substrate flux and force-speed production patterns such that anaerobic bioenergetics pathways are preferential.” (1) In other words, this form is based on muscle and system.. More »

Fun Core Exercises for Young Athletes – Erica Suter

“Okay kids, it’s time for core work!” says the team coach. After these words are uttered, young athletes might sigh in frustration or dread the countless reps of Sit-Ups ahead.  It’s like they’ve been programmed to expect core training to be boring and difficult.   While I am not totally against Sit-Ups, we must ask ourselves as youth coaches, ‘what am I trying to accomplish?’ when programming core exercises. Moreover, ‘how am I helping these young athletes become more resilient for their sport?’ Core training must be approached in a multi-faceted manner, which takes more than just instructing kids to do.. More »

#1 Predictor of Coaching Success – Karsten Jensen

This brief article is inspired by a recent newsletter posted by Jim Kielbaso on the topic of diving deeper with respect to educational knowledge.  If you’re not getting the newsletter, sign up HERE.   For some individuals, diving deeper into a topic appears as natural as walking. If you fall into this category, you may question the usefulness of an entire article on the topic. At the other end of the spectrum, however, are coaches and trainers for whom diving deeper does not seem to come as easy. How can that be? There appear to be at least two pre-requisites to.. More »