Plyometrics: The Truth and How to Use Them – Joe Powell

One of the most misunderstood, and often misused, training methodologies in the strength and conditioning field today is plyometrics. Far too often exercises that simply involve jumping around in some odd manner are being labeled as a “plyo” drill. It seems the most common culprit is when a coach or trainer calls any type of jump in the presence of a box a plyometric exercise. It should be understood that many physiological principles are taking place when performing a true plyometric exercise. Plyometrics, by definition, are “an exercise that is a quick, powerful movement using a pre-stretch or countermovement, that.. More »

Acceleration Mechanics – Jim Kielbaso

Acceleration mechanics are incredibly important to address with athletes who need to improve their speed.  This is a “behind-the-scenes” video of Jim Kielbaso teaching acceleration mechanics to a group of athletes preparing for the NFL Combine. Jim has done other videos and written articles on acceleration mechanics, but rather than just talking about it, this video shows him actually teaching athletes so you get to see exactly how he explains things. Some of the main points covered in this video include what Jim calls the Power Position, stride length, body lean, knee drive, head position and an explanation about WHY.. More »

6 Speed & Agility Tips for Coaches – Jim Kielbaso

Coaches are constantly asking me for speed & agility tips to make their programs more effective. After talking with hundreds of coaches and looking at what is happening all over the country, I have come up with six keys to increasing the effectiveness of any speed & agility program.  Here are the 6 simple speed & agility tips: 1. Educate the athletes. If your athletes don’t have an understanding of why they are doing a drill, there is a good chance they are thinking of it as torture or punishment. It is up to you to explain the purpose of a.. More »

Conscious Coaching with Brett Bartholomew

Conscious Coaching: The Art & Science of Building Buy-In is the name of Brett Bartholomew’s new book, and it encapsulates years of coaching and research that has gotten Brett to this point in his coaching career. In Conscious Coaching, Brett breaks down coaching into easy-to-understand parts so that we, as coaches, can be sure to address each one.  His research and thought processes are incredibly thorough, but his style is to keep things practical and understandable.  Conscious Coaching is a perfect mix of that. He describes it best as “Developing a balance between the physical, psychological and cultural elements of sport is.. More »

Youth Development with Brett Klika- The Impact Show Ep. 34

Recently, we posted a couple of great articles on youth development from Brett Klika on the IYCA blog, and we’re excited to have an entire podcast with him on The Impact Show. Brett is a leading authority on youth development and how coaches can assist in this maturation process.  He worked for world-renowned trainer Todd Durkin for several years, heading up his youth development program.  Eventually, Brett co-created a program called SPIDERfit Kids that teaches coaches, trainers and educators the intricacies of helping young people become more physically literate. Brett breaks this process down into 9 distinct segments: Body Awareness: .. More »

Behind the Science: Improving Change of Direction Ability

Change of direction (COD) ability is a key component of agility. Biomechanics research can help us identify which factors lead to better change of direction performances. In a comparison of rugby athletes, starters were able to accomplish the same COD tasks in a shorter period of time. Importantly, it was the deceleration phase (the time before the knee starts extending) that was the main contributor to this difference. So deceleration ability (which is determined by eccentric strength) may be a key factor. In another comparison of athletes, stronger subjects were faster, displayed higher ground reaction forces, had a more horizontally-directed.. More »

Speed vs Conditioning – Quality vs Quantity

Recently, I’ve had several conversations with both parents and athletes about the difference between training for speed/power vs conditioning/fitness work.  These are two very different training methods that have very different goals and elicit very different results, but there seems to be a lot of confusion about this. Think of it as QUALITY vs. QUANTITY. I often hear parents & coaches wanting athletes to be constantly moving (QUANTITY) and feeling extremely tired from a workout.  Athletes who are used to practicing like this often feel like the quality of a training session is based on their level of exhaustion. While.. More »

The Maturation of Effective Coaching by Vince McConnell

What you need to understand about the maturation of effective coaching: The profession of coaching is a commitment to continued learning before it can progress into a lasting career of application. There is no universal “the” way, or “the best” way for a strength coach to do his/her job in regards to techniques, methods, or systems. “New information” does not have to be something you’ve never heard of to be innovative.    All information is useful whether you choose to apply it all or not. A career in coaching is about using a program to fit and develop athletes– rather.. More »

Mike Boyle – What I Learned From Coaching Kids, Again

In the past few months I have gone back to coaching kids. It’s something that I haven’t done in quite a while, really since the early MBSC days 15 years ago. The sad truth is the higher level you work at the more spoiled you get.  I’ve been spoiled by training primarily professional and Olympic athletes. I’ve always said that coaching great athletes can give you a false sense of your coaching skills. Dealing with athletes that have a higher training age and more athletic ability inevitably makes you take some things for granted.  Dealing with better athletes can also.. More »

Increase Your Productivity & Avoid Business Mistakes

People interested in making an impact are busy.  It’s important that we increase productivity so we can get a lot done in a limited amount of time.  I’m often asked how I’m able to maintain a high level of productivity, but I wish that I could accomplish even more each day.  I truly believe that productive people always feel that way.  Many of the most productive people I know constantly talk about how they wish they had more hours in the day.  They are always interested in getting more done. Because I’ll never get more hours in the day, I’ve.. More »

Powerful Play in Sports Performance, Part 2 – Brett Klika

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the physical and neurological benefits of facilitating play in your work with young athletes.  In case you missed it, here’s the Link to Part 1.  In Part 2, we’ll delve into some simple framework to make gamifying drills and activities quick and easy. As performance coaches, we are often well versed in the pedagogy of teaching specific movement skills.  We’ve acquired a few fun-yet-fruitful activities and games along the way, but we can exhaust these rather quickly when working with kids on a daily basis. The good news is that in order.. More »

Haley Perlus on Mental Toughness

Haley Perlus got interested in mental toughness and sports psychology as a competitive downhill skier.  Her coach used an interesting tactic to motivate her, and it impacted her in a way that made her want to dedicate her life to learning more about it.  Since then, Dr. Perlus has worked with hundreds of athletes including professionals and Olympic competitors. Dr. Perlus has a way of breaking down mental toughness into easily understandable points that coaches, trainers and even parents can use to help athletes prepare for practice or competition.  This episode of The Impact Show will give you a deeper.. More »

Powerful Play in Sports Performance, Part 1 – Brett Klika

“Coach, can we play Power Ball?” I was a strength and conditioning coach for a High School football team, and the reward of 10 minutes of a chase -and- evade game with a tennis ball could get my players to do just about anything during training. This is despite the fact that this particular game, with elements of soccer and rugby, required everyone on the field, including linemen, to run constantly. As a performance coach, you have undoubtedly witnessed this phenomena  working with athletes and non-athletes from kids to adults. The miracle of “gamifying” has now extended from athletics to.. More »

Inattentional Blindness

I’m a big “why” guy in that I want to know the reason behind everything.  I probably drove my parents crazy as a kid as I tend to not take things at face value in search of the reasoning behind most everything.  My purpose is that it helps me make sense of what I am doing and therefore makes it more likely to get done!  For example, as I work with patients and clients to help their low back pain I make it a point to explain to them why I have prescribed a particular exercise because it helps them.. More »

Don’t Get Strong Wrong

Among the many concepts I’ve learned from my experiences as a strength and conditioning coach is: “Don’t get strong wrong.”  Simple and straight to the point. Getting strong wrong is simply loading up athletes on lifts where their mechanics are either poor to begin with, or are being affected negatively due to the load being too heavy for the athlete to complete a full range of motion. This is where we see half squats, rounded backs on deadlifts, barbells stapling athlete’s chests on the bench press, cleans being pulled in atrociously inefficient manners, etc. The list goes on and on… More »

Brian Sipotz on Getting Started in Sports Performance

Brian Sipotz is the Owner of Advantage Strength & Conditioning in Ann Arbor, MI and a co-owner of www.HockeyStrengthAndConditioning.com.  When his professional hockey career ended, Brian wasn’t sure what was next.  By taking risks, meeting the right people and recognizing opportunities, he has created a growing business for himself and his young family. Like many young professionals, Brian Sipotz was faced with many decisions as he set up his new business.  Unlike many others, however, he didn’t know how difficult it was going to be, so he moved forward without worrying about many of the things that would have stopped.. More »

Acceleration and Strength: The Physical Attributes We Truly Covet

JC Moreau, Founder and Director, Strength U  Perhaps the most common question I get from coaches and parents is “how do I get my son or daughter faster/quicker/jump higher?” They are often surprised by my response, as well as what I am about to discuss in today’s article. My answer is typically “get them stronger” and that is usually met with a look of confusion, so I elaborate.  In the past, I’ve written about the values of squatting through a larger range of motion than simply to 90 degrees, I explained in greater detail how strength is undeniably effective at developing speed, quickness.. More »

Eric Cressey on Finding Your Niche

Eric Cressey is at the top of the baseball training world.  His company Cressey Performance has become synonymous with high-level baseball training, but it didn’t start out that way.  Early in Eric’s career, he was simply learning about anatomy, physiology and how to train.  Eventually, he had the opportunity to work with baseball players, and over time, he realized that this was his niche.  He loved it.  He was great at it.  And, it was a good market for him. At this point in his career, and in the grand scheme of the industry, he feels like developing a niche.. More »

Acceleration Correlates Highly to On-field Performance

In the late 90’s, the strength coaches at the University of Nebraska did some internal research to determine which physical tests had the highest correlation to the ability to play the game of football.  They put their athletes through a large battery of tests including the 40-yard dash, pro-agility shuttle, vertical jump, several strength tests and numerous other drills. Next, they had the football coaches rate each player’s on-field ability.  They wanted to find out which athletes were the most effective on the field. They ran a statistical analysis on all of the data figure out which tests had the.. More »

Your Opportunity for Impact in Youth Fitness & Performance

In this video, Jim Kielbaso talks about three of the ways you can have the greatest impact in youth fitness and sport performance. Listen to what he has to say, and let us know what you think. What ways do you feel coaches and trainers can make a big impact with the kids they are working with?