Transitioning Sports Seasons

Transitioning from one sport season to another is something many athletes deal with.  Whether it’s a multi-sport athlete transitioning into a totally different sport or a single-sport athlete moving from club to school seasons, these periods can be both exciting and tricky. The transitions will vary greatly depending on the success the team/individual had during their season, so plans must be flexible.  As a strength and conditioning coach, if you work with a school’s full athletic program the number of multi-sport athletes that you encounter will greatly depend on the size of the school and number of sports offered. I.. More »

Power Clean Progression

Power Clean Progression:  Part 3 of 3 in a series of exercise progressions by Tobias Jacobi In the previous installments of this article series we talked about the importance of progressions and the progressions we utilize with our middle school and high school athletes in the Front Squat and Pause Bench Press.  These can be found at http://iyca.org/front-squat-progression & http://iyca.org/bench-press-progression.   In this installment we will be discussing our Power Clean Progression.  We will also give you the progression plan we implement with our athlete’s and recommendations for both middle school and high school athletes.  In the last portion of.. More »

How to Extend Your Positive Influence Beyond Training

If you own a gym, studio, or performance center that caters to young athletes, you are aware of how saturated the market has become. In order to stand out, we have to create a program and experience that not only delivers results, but creates raving fans out of parents and athletes alike. As I have shared in previous posts (IYCA Free Content), we have an opportunity to do this when children enter our program daily, when they exercise with us, when they exit our program daily, and when we extend our positive influence with them. When a coach creates an.. More »

A Place for Olympic Weightlifting in an LTAD Approach

Olympic-style weightlifting exercises have found their place in the process of developing athletes, a process that often begins during childhood and early adolescence. Their exact role, however, is still controversial. While the Olympic-style weightlifting exercises have found their place in the training of elite athletes, the best way to utilize them with youth and adolescence athletes is still unclear. At its core, strength training essentially gives an upgrade to basic motor patterns like squatting, hinging and pressing but also lunging, pulling and pushing, and this increase in muscular strength is an important part of the development of a young athlete… More »

Top 12 Posts of the Year on IYCA.org

The Free Content Section on IYCA.org has become an incredible library of quality content.  We picked out the Top 12 pieces from 2017 so you can go back and revisit anything you missed. The contributors to the IYCA have also been outstanding this year, with professionals like Mike Boyle, Brett Klika, Ron McKeefery, Brett Bartholomew and others bringing you excellent material.  Here are the Top 12 pieces from 2016: #12  Making a Difference – Ron McKeefery:  Legendary S & C coach Ron McKeefery talks about how important it is to make an impact on the athletes we train – right.. More »

Where to Start With Youth Athletes

As a coach, there is nothing more exciting than welcoming a new athlete to your program.  Whether you are coaching at a school, in a private facility or training kids in the neighborhood,  starting a young athlete in a training program can be exhilarating. There are many ways coaches  introduce their clients to their facility and program. Here are some of the key considerations for where to start with youth athletes the next time a new client enters your program: 1. Needs Analysis 2. Evaluation 3. Goal Setting 1. Needs Analysis. A needs analysis is probably one of the most.. More »

Bench Press Progression – Part 2 in a Series on Exercise Progressions

Pause Bench Press Progression – In the last installment of this article series, we talked about the importance of exercise progressions and the front squat progression we utilize with our middle school and high school athletes.  It can be found at http://iyca.org/front-squat-progression.  In this installment we will be discussing the importance of the Pause Bench Press progression.  We will also give you the progression plan we implement with our athletes and our recommendations for athletes in  7th and 8th grade and high school.  In the last portion of this article, we will discuss some problems or issues that may occur when.. More »

Pre-Puberty Performance Plan

Training youth isn’t merely “miniature-izing” adult programs. Prior to puberty, youngsters’ physiology, psychology, and a host of other factors are significantly different than adults. As a matter of fact, the training effect of a program could be drastically different between a 10- year old and a 14-year-old. These differences are well documented in the literature, however, practical program strategies to account for these differences are not.  In this article, I will be highlighting some of the unique  physiological and neurological aspects of pre-pubescent athletes, and how to program for success.   Supercharging the Sensory System As humans, our sensory system.. More »

How To Talk to Parents About “The Next Level”

If you’ve worked with young athletes very long, you’ve probably met “that” parent.  You know, the one with his/her kid’s entire scholastic/scholarship/sign-the-mega-contract future all planned out. And the “kid” is only 7!  Oy! Thankfully, that particular species of parent, Mykiddus Secondcomingus, is extremely rare. This annoying and sometimes fatal (to any hope of a childhood for the 7 year old in question) species is often mistaken for the less-dangerous, easily-confused species called Stellacus Oculus Parentus, or “Starry Eyed Parent.” While often annoying, this species can be helped if you are patient, well-informed and willing to uplift their child while planting.. More »

What is Impact?

There is a marked difference between influencing someone and truly impacting them. You can command, motivate, or manipulate someone to act or behave differently. Or… You can educate, instruct, and inspire someone to BE DIFFERENT. The bottom-line difference between influence and impact is that IMPACT is lasting while INFLUENCING has a temporary effect. Communication and consistency are the deciding factors of making impact or not. When you communicate, you connect; and consistency in communication develops respect, trust, and relationship. No matter how good your instruction may be, communication and consistency determines its value and beneficial effect on others. Some questions.. More »

Anthony Renna on Running Your Own Race

Anthony Renna often thinks of himself as “the man behind the man.”  In fact, you might not even recognize his name because he tries to stay behind the scenes.  But, Anthony has quietly made several huge contributions to the strength & conditioning profession, and he is considered a sort of pioneer in the industry. Before podcasts were cool, Anthony became one of the first guys to put out a podcast focused on strength & conditioning.  The Strength Coach Podcast featured Mike Boyle and a host of other great professionals, and Anthony helped usher in an era of podcasts in our industry.  The.. More »

Front Squat Progression – Part 1 In a Series on Exercise Progressions

Front Squat Progression When I started working as a high school strength and conditioning coach after 15 years in college S & C, the importance of proper progressions took on a whole new meaning to me.  Not only are progressions critical to development, but the safety aspect simply cannot be understated.  The primary movements I have selected for our high school strength & conditioning program are the Pause Bench Press, Front Squat, and Power Clean.  In this article I will be covering the Front Squat Progression I use in our program.   Each step in the front squat progression progression.. More »

Strength Training with Resistance Bands for Women’s Basketball

Strength training with resistance bands can be a training solution for many sports.  When implementing a women’s basketball strength training program at a high school or small college program, there are several challenges that often stall progress. Access to weight room for the female athlete is a universal issue among many high schools and small colleges with the male sport dominance. After school the weight room is often dominated by off-season football or power-lifting making it difficult for female sports to access and in most cases weight room size does not allow both programs to train simultaneously. Striking a balance.. More »

ACL Injury Prevention in Women’s Basketball Players: Accelerated Deceleration Drills

ACL Injury Prevention is always an important topic with female athletes.  There are several reasons why a female basketball player has a 50% more likelihood of suffering a non-contact Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury than their male counterpart. Many experts have looked into why and have rationalized several different theories that focus on possible biomechanical difference, hormonal changes, poor neuromuscular integrated strength or a possible decrease in ligament tensile strength. Along with these theories there are also a few research facts that reflect: 1. A higher degree of thigh dominant versus hip dominant strength which can predispose female athletes to.. More »

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 sprint 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 »