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 »

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 »