Rethinking Long Term Athlete Development – Jim Kielbaso

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 – Brett Klika

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 – Jim Kielbaso

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 – Antonio Squillante

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 – Jordan Tingman

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 &   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

The Free Content Section on 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 »

Where to Start With Youth Athletes

As a coach, there is nothing more exciting than welcoming a new athlete to your program.  Whether you are coaching at a school, in a private facility or training kids in the neighborhood,  starting a young athlete in a training program can be exhilarating. There are many ways coaches  introduce their clients to their facility and program. Here are some of the key considerations for where to start with youth athletes the next time a new client enters your program: 1. Needs Analysis 2. Evaluation 3. Goal Setting 1. Needs Analysis. A needs analysis is probably one of the most.. More »

Bench Press Progression – Part 2 in a Series on Exercise Progressions

Pause Bench Press Progression – In the last installment of this article series, we talked about the importance of exercise progressions and the front squat progression we utilize with our middle school and high school athletes.  It can be found at  In this installment we will be discussing the importance of the Pause Bench Press progression.  We will also give you the progression plan we implement with our athletes and our recommendations for athletes in  7th and 8th grade and high school.  In the last portion of this article, we will discuss some problems or issues that may occur when.. More »

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 »