Physio Ball Exercises – Training Options

Physio Ball Exercises – The physio ball is an extremely versatile piece of equipment that is used for a multitude of purposes across a broad range of professional fields. It is commonly referred to by a host of different names which is fitting given its wide range of usage. You may know the physio ball as an exercise ball, swiss ball, balance ball, or therapy ball, among many other names depending on its intended use. Within the strength and conditioning field alone, physio ball exercises can be used for a wide range of purposes. The versatility and practicality of a.. More »

Athlete Development Model

Long term athlete development has been discussed for years, but the concept is still incredibly confusing for practitioners.  Part of the reason for this confusion is that the models are missing details and coordination of efforts between coaches, trainers and parents. At the 2018 IYCA Summit, Jim Kielbaso offered a new way of thinking about athlete development and offered a solution for how we move forward.  He spoke about where we’ve been, what has been done and outlined a model that will add to the already existing LTAD models. While most of the theoretical models have great thoughts and rationale.. More »

Creating a Program for the Multi-Sport Athlete

Multiple-sport athletes in the high school setting are extremely common. However, coaches may find it hard to create a training program that can cater to the various requirements each sport demands. As strength and conditioning professionals, our job is to create a comprehensive training program for these athletes. The goal is to build their baseline of training, make them fundamentally sound and progress their movement throughout their program.  Multi-sport athletes should be able to learn their weaknesses, balance them out structurally and exercise different degrees of motion to become a better overall athlete. These concepts are key when creating a.. More »

The Summer Survival Guide for Youth Performance Coaches

Summer is “Black Friday” for many youth strength and conditioning coaches. Kids are out of school, the weather is good, and parents are motivated to fill their kids’ time. During the summer, you have more of an opportunity than any other point in the year to make a difference with a large number of kids. Of course, along with this opportunity comes 80-hour weeks, coaching, motivating, and guiding from sun up to sun down. You return home every night exhausted, vocally strained, and baked by the sun, but still excited to do it all again tomorrow. We’re lucky to be in a career.. More »

A Strength Coach Career Path – A Winding Road

As the popularity of sport continues to boom across the globe, so too does the interest in pursuing a career linked to our favorite past times. Coaching, athletic training, front office personnel, and you guessed it, strength & conditioning/athletic development, have all seen meteoric rises in popularity among young adult choosing a college major and career path. Unfortunately, the number of people interested in the field compared to those who actually earn a living in it is quite unbalanced. So, why do so many individuals get turned off to these career paths and change their route altogether?  That answer is.. More »

The Stretching Conundrum, Part 2

In part 2 of the “Stretching Conundrum” we are going to cover how to start best implementing these alternatives to stretching. Inevitably, Part 1 of this series opened Pandora’s Box for a plethora of questions… If you are not stretching, then what are you doing? We do dynamic warm-ups, so why would I need to do these active positional breathing exercises? How would you place these into a client’s programs? Don’t worry….We have you covered! The purpose of a warm-up is to simply prepare the body for whatever task or event is at hand. The cooldown is a time to.. More »

Bodyweight Training Progressions

Ask any strength coach, and they will tell you that most athletes lack strength, control and mobility in many basic bodyweight training exercises. Utilizing bodyweight training, “can result in both physical strength and stamina” (Harrison, 2010).  This is why bodyweight training progressions are such an important part of any strength training program. We often think that bodyweight training is very simple, so we don’t spend much time thinking about it.  We want to rush into more advanced training methods because they seem more exciting.  Unfortunately, when we skip over fundamentals, it catches up to us down the road.  Spending time.. More »

The Stretching Conundrum, Part 1

Stretching for athletes can often be a polarizing topic among rehab and performance specialists.  On one end of the spectrum you have people who seemingly hand out stretches for every injury, and think it’s the solution to every problem. On the other hand, you have people who believe that you should never stretch, and that there are no benefits to stretching whatsoever. Before we start talking about what is right and wrong, we first need to appreciate what stretching really is, so we can discuss the potential reasons why one may choose to stretch or not to stretch. Ultimately, people.. More »

Rethinking Long Term Athlete Development

The concept of long term athlete development (LTAD) has been around for several years, but it has more recently become a hot topic amongst youth sports and training organizations.  It seems that everyone now needs a formula for how to develop great athletes so they can represent their countries and succeed as professionals.  Several academicians have taken the lead on reviewing the relevant literature and have written articles and books about the topic.  They have used this literature to create several different models for developing athletes.  While these models were a great start, their oversimplification of athlete development seems to be steering.. More »

Early Sport Specialization: Getting Them To Listen

Early sport specialization has been a hot topic for years, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.  As strength and conditioning coaches, it’s baffling when we see parents and coaches embracing the notion of early sport specialization despite the mountains of data, expert opinion, and well- reviewed evidence highlighting the downfalls. Our heart breaks when youngsters in these situations get injured or depart from sports and physical activity altogether. The last thing we want to have to say is “We told you so.” But, well…. “We told you so.” Despite us “telling” parents, coaches, and our local communities about.. More »

Practical is the New Functional

I love innovation. I love new exercise variations. I love learning new methods. I love new technology. It’s fun for me to watch new trends come and go, and I enjoy trying to predict what’s coming.  People love throwing around the term “functional” and seem to use it as a blanket reason for anything in their program. Over the past year, however, it’s been hammered home time and time again that, while function and creativity are great, practicality is one of the most important – and neglected – factors to consider in programming. This is especially true when working with.. More »

Laterality in Sport – Overcoming Unilateral Dominance

As young athletes develop, their bodies adapt in many interesting ways.   The nervous system, musculoskeletal system, and cardiovascular systems are in a constant state of adaptation as young athletes play, train and practice sports.  Most coaches look for structural changes that result in stronger, faster and more resilient athletes, but those changes are typically preceded by changes in the nervous system that aren’t recognized as easily.  While these neural changes may not be seen as easily, they often have a huge influence on the structural adaptations (i.e. strength, speed, size, power) coaches desire.  It’s important to understand that sport-specific structural.. More »

Preparing Female Athletes for College Sports

Each year, college strength & conditioning professionals look forward to working with the new class of incoming freshman. We see a wide variety of abilities with incoming freshman ranging from athletes who have never touched a weight in their entire life, to those who came from big high schools with a solid strength and conditioning program.  Some have even worked with trainers at a private sports performance facilities before making their way to college athletics. More often than not, we see females who have very little training before getting to college.  When they arrive, they quickly realize that they are.. More »

Warm Up for Athletes: Starting a Great Training Session or Practice

To build the perfect training program, strength and conditioning professionals make many tailor-made considerations for their athletes. Settling on the right exercise selection, training volume, and load volume can be painstakingly time-consuming and difficult. However, to execute the perfect training program, a perfect warm-up must also be present. The warm-up is every bit as important as the aforementioned program design qualities. However, far too often it is designed haphazardly, executed poorly, or worse yet, skipped over altogether. Without a well-constructed warm-up at the onset of a training session, athletes will likely not reach their potential training ceiling for that particular session,.. More »

How to Finish a Youth Training Session

“Time to stretch!” Many of us as young athletes and physical education participants remember the above phrase as the universal signal for “we’re done.”  All parties involved would treat this portion of our training as such. Coach was done coaching.  We were done learning. Time for everyone to check the “we stretched” box.  This “check the box” convention of post-exercise static stretching continues today. This is despite the fact that research is inconclusive on the safety and effectiveness of directed static stretching with children prior to transitioning into puberty.  Significant amounts of time spent with this type of training for.. More »

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 »