4 Simple Strategies to Increase the Value of Your Programs – Brett Klika

“Little Timmy loves working with you, but this guy comes to the park right next to our house.  He played some college baseball, so he knows strength and conditioning stuff.” As passionate, knowledgeable, and experienced youth performance coaches, we’ve all heard the old “right by our house” dodge.  Regardless of our resume of experience and parents’ quest for the best for their child, very few aspects of a program can beat convenience. Heck, the selection for my 3-year old daughter’s Saturday dance class was based on a Google map search of “Dance studios near 92131”.  I’m pretty sure her teacher.. More »

6 Steps to Selling Out Your Summer Program – Brett Klika

We introduced Brett Klika to the IYCA community at the last Summit, and he has been incredibly excited about your passion ever since.  He did a fantastic presentation on youth fitness at the Summit, but his hands-on session was even more incredible.  What we also quickly found out about Brett was that he also loves talking about business strategies, just like many others in the IYCA community.  He came to the Sports Performance Business Academy and added tons of value to everyone who attended.  His combination of coaching, making a difference and business strategies are what makes Brett such a.. More »

Early Sport Specialization Is Making Youth Less Athletic

Early sport specialization has become a hotly debated topic in many sports circles.  The youth sports scene has changed dramatically over the past two decades, and while a lot of improvements have been made, some changes have not been good for children. A recent study from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, which included over 1,500 high school athletes, found that athletes who specialized in one sport were twice as likely to report a lower extremity injury as compared to those who played multiple sports. It was also found that 60% of athletes that specialized in one.. More »

Dave Gleason – How to Train Young Athletes

Dave Gleason is considered one of the top youth training coaches in America for good reason.  He’s awesome! Dave has been a huge part of the IYCA for years.  He has spoken at many events, helped write the LTAD Roadmap and Game Play Performance and has contributed videos and articles that have helped thousands of people create better programming for young athletes. In this short interview, Dave drops knowledge bombs about training young athletes.  You can tell how passionate he is about this, and he always gives the IYCA community something to think about.

Force Vectors & Speed Development – Kevin Hollabaugh

Learning about force vectors in speed development can change the way you instruct, cue and provide feedback to athletes training for speed.  I am a firm believer that a coach who is good at teaching speed and agility is good at understanding vectors of force and how they need to be used in order to gain efficiency in expressing movement language. A vector is a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another. In other words the direction in which you apply force into the ground directly correlates.. More »

Ron McKeefery – Making a Difference

Ron McKeefery has become one of the most influential men in the industry by simply being himself and caring about people.  He has been a strength coach at the highest levels of football – University of Tennessee and the Cincinnati Bengals – as well as programs that he had to help create a winning culture – University of South Florida and Eastern Michigan.  He has also helped more young strength coaches break into the field than just about anyone through an outstanding internship program he created over 10 years ago.  He wrote the book The CEO Strength Coach a couple.. More »

Mike Boyle – Coaching Kids

A while ago we had a great thread on the forum entitled Athlete Engagement and Behavior. Anthony had suggested that I expand my thoughts from the thread into an article. The thread began with this question: “Would really appreciate if anyone could share their experiences or direct me to some good resources regarding engaging young athletes (13-15 year old female athletes) in structured strength and conditioning sessions.” My response ( expanded on here) began with this: Training kids is a balancing act. Kids are kids. They should be having some fun training. However, at 13 -15 they should also be.. More »

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 »