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 »

Metabolic Conditioning for Athletes, Part 1 – Phil Hueston

Metabolic conditioning has been a “buzz phrase” in the fitness profession for many years now. Before that, it was the subject of research dating back at least 40 years. So when I hear a certain “Biggest Loser” trainer telling the world she coined the phrase, I just have to shake my head.  Ummm, yeah….I’m gonna need you to stop that. If you could just go ahead and remember it’s a science phrase, that’d be great. Thanks! Metabolic conditioning (metcon) has been defined as the use of exercise to increase the storage and delivery of energy for any activity. Bergeron defined.. More »

Understanding How Thorax Position Impacts Scapular Orientation – Dr. Greg Schaible

We understand the body can move in three planes, giving us many options to move with numerous degrees of freedom. Most can then appreciate how each joint will have different amounts of freedom based on the type of joint. The scapula is one area in which many people are able to name all the movements, but not necessarily appreciate all its movement capabilities. Performance professionals often work with athletes who either perform overhead movements (i.e. throwing) or suffer from shoulder pain that can often stem from thoracic/scapular issues. The main purpose of this article is to call your attention to how.. More »

Building Agility From the Ground Up – Brett Klika

As youth strength and conditioning coaches, we often find that the basic skills of athleticism we once took for granted with youngsters are now underdeveloped or missing altogether.  This is most apparent in pre-pubescent athletes as inactivity and lack of physical education has left them at a developmental detriment. When we have a chance to work with these children, our role now includes introducing and building the most foundational constructs of many athletic skills. In essence, we have to be able help kids build athletic skills from the ground up.   Agility is an athletic skill that many deconditioned or.. More »

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 »