Archive for “Absorption” Tag

Plyometric Progressions for Young Athletes

Young Athletes and Plyometric Progressions

By Wil Fleming

On the surface plyometrics are all about force production. For young athletes they are a great way to learn to produce force, apply it into the ground and propel their body in a new direction.

The overlooked part of plyometrics, that needs to be considered is the role of force absorption in an athlete’s development.

If athletes never had to land, or never had to stop there wouldn’t be as many injuries. Plain and simple. Almost 70% of knee injuries occur from non-contact movement. A great percentage of those injuries occur in change of direction movements or landing.

These types of stats should raise our eyebrows and make us look not only at force production but at force absorption. We must prepare our athletes for landing, otherwise plyos are like equipping your your young athletes with a bigger motor, but no brakes.

Applying the brakes to plyos can be done simply by using a progression of multi-planar jumps. Young athletes should do each jump at a high intensity and then “Stick” the landing for 3-5 seconds.

This progression is appropriate for athletes of nearly all ages, and will be challenging to young athletes of all ages.


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How To Shape Speed Training – Part 1

Speed Training

Many articles, books and information products discuss the development of speed from its physiological perspective of bio-motor enhancement.

 

How to get athletes stronger so as to create more force production and absorption.

 

How many sets and reps are necessary in a given training program in order to elicit the greatest possible hypertrophic response.

 

How long should the rest times be between sprints or cone drills so as to ensure maximum recoverability.

 

These are all valid considerations and the purpose of this article is not to diminish their value.

 

The pursuit of lasting speed and movement enhancement with your athletes however, should not be reduced to learning and applying just the overviews of quality programming. There is a much larger picture to consider – and it requires a more long-term approach and keen eye from a coaching perspective.

 

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Developing Young Athletes: Intelligent vs. Dumb

 

 

>Developing Young Athletes With the IYCA

‘Intelligence’.

 

Defined by the dictionary as –

 

“The capacity for learning, understanding and aptitude for grasping relationships”

 

That sets the stage very nicely for the meaning of this IYCA-based term.

 

What about ‘Athletic’?

 

It’s defined as such –

 

“Involving the use of physical skills or capabilities”

 

String those two definitions together and you’ve got the basis for the main motivation needed when training and developing young athletes.

 

In short –

 

“Increasing the capacity for learning and understanding various physical skills and how they relate”

 

That is the crux and critical requirement with respect to programming for young athletes.

 

And how backwards do we have that these days?

 

Increase the capacity for learning:

 

It’s not about over-coaching pre-adolescent children.

 

Teaching them the ‘mechanics’ of how to throw a baseball or kick a soccer ball.

 

It’s about enhancing their knowledge and understanding of how to perform these actions via Guided Discovery.

 

Allowing them to play.

 

Get a feel for the motion themselves and through trail and error, develop bodily aptitude.

 

Understanding various physical skills and how they relate:

 

Through this ‘trail and error’ period of development, it can’t be about specificity, either.

 

It’s about indirect, global stimulus.

 

Running fast, for example, isn’t just based on the action of running.

 

It’s based on:

 

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Young Athletes & Poor Technique

Correcting Young Athletes Technique

 

With young athletes who exhibit poor technical quality on a particular exercise or group of exercises, the best method of offering correction is often to become less dogmatic or predictable in your teaching method.

 

When teaching the squat for example, most Trainers and Coaches tend to take a ‘top down’ approach to skill execution

 

They teach the young athlete to set their feet and proceed through an eccentric-concentric progression.

 

The nuances as to why a squat may be faulty are many, but very often, it is the inability of the young athlete to get to and summarily regulate the base of the squat phase (the ‘hole’).  When inaccurate applications of force production/absorption are applied to the eccentric and ‘pause’ phase of the eccentric base (no matter how quick or seemingly inconsequential), the ability of the athlete to apply correct force sequences towards the concentric motion will be compromised.

 

In that, it is often the incorrect pattern of eccentric loading and ‘hole’ stabilizing that causes an incorrect pattern of force production through the concentric phase of the lift.

 

Many Trainers and Coaches will visually recognize the poor form during the concentric phase, but fail to recognize that it was due to incorrect loading patterns during the eccentric portion.

 

Having said that, a wonderful way to reform poor squat technique (as an example) is to start the young athletes in the fixed, static ‘hole’ position, and then proceed up through the concentric phase.

 

Have the young athlete assume a quality ‘hole’ position and talk them through what they should be feeling:

  • Weight back on the heels

  • Knees pushing outward

  • Neutral low back

  • Chin up

  • Chest push forward

  • Elbows angled downward

 

Do not be afraid to hold these positions for several second counts.  An increase in the static strength of this position can, and usually does, improve technical patterning of the entire squat.

 

Upon ascending into the concentric phase, be sure that the young athlete understands how to push from their heels, using the large muscles of the hip extensors and drive through the ground.

 

Repeated efforts of this exercise, perhaps over a single training session or for several successive sessions, will have a tremendously positive impact on the technical qualities of a young athletes squat.

 

So, whether it is the squat, lunge, push-press or any other compound exercise, think ‘BOTTOM UP’ when trying to create a positive change in the technique capacity of young athletes.

 

 

The Young Athletes Injury Prevention Lie

 

 

Young Athletes Programming Do Reduce Injuries

You can’t build a house on quicksand.

 

You just can’t.

 

When the base isn’t sturdy, the structure is bound to
topple.

 

And that’s the only real lesson you need to understand
when it comes to injury prevention for young athletes.

 

It’s all in building a foundation.

 

From the ground up.

 

As Trainers and Coaches, our entire obligation when
working with younger athletes (6 – 13 years old) is to
fill them with as much athletic knowledge as possible.

 

Nothing ‘sport specific’.

 

Nothing ‘position specific’.

 

Just a full and complete warehouse of information.

 

Force production and absorption.

 

Speed and agility skill.

 

Lift mechanics and positioning.

 

Teaching young athletes how to perform these critical
elements of sporting success in the undeniable key
to the becoming champions.

 

But it’s also the most important factor in preventing
injuries as well.

 

And that is one of the main issues we have wrong in
this industry.

 

True injury prevention does not come in the form of
6-week programs geared towards lessoning the risk of
certain incidents.

 

Real injury prevention occurs naturally as a secondary
result of proper developmental training.

 

It is not an isolating issue that needs to be addressed
separately.

 

Case in point, I was reviewing an ‘ACL Prevention’
program offered by a local hospital last week and saw
the curriculum they teach their young athletes during
this 6-week course:

 

a. Deceleration Techniques

b. Jumping and Landing Mechanics

c. Proper Strength Training Technique

 

Is there anything in there that shouldn’t automatically
be included in a well designed athletic development
training system?

 

What denotes this specifically as an ‘ACL Prevention’
program?

 

A good friend and colleague mine, Alwyn Cosgrove, is
found of saying, "If it isn’t injury prevention that
doesn’t that make it automatically injury promotion?"

 

Alwyn’s comment is meant to make you think.

 

All quality training programs should be based on
preventing injuries.

 

If they aren’t, than they’re promoting them – which
doesn’t seem to make any sense.

 

In the case of young athletes (6 – 13), the most
critical factor in preventing injuries is in understanding
the science and practical application of coordination
development.

 

 

Balance

 

Spatial Awareness

 

Kinesthetic Differentiation

 

Rhythm

 

Movement Adequacy

 

 

How each of these commodities apply to a training
session.

 

How to create fun and engaging drills for each of them.

 

Why they are critical for both future performance and
injury prevention.

 

And it seems to me that when it comes to working with
younger athletes, very few Coaches and Trainers truly
seem to get it.

 

ACL and other debilitating injuries that occur in the
teenage years can be prevented by applying the right
kind of exercise stimulus while athletes are still
very young.

 

Maybe worth looking at a resource that is considered
one of the greatest information products ever produced
when it comes to the training and development of young
athletes.

 

Complete Athlete Development has been field tested on
more than 15,000 young athletes worldwide and changed
the lives of countless Coaches, Trainers and Parents.

 

I’ve been coaching for 13 years now.

 

Not one major injury suffered to a single athlete
yet.

 

Could be chance.

 

Maybe I’m just lucky.

 

Or perhaps there’s some stuff about injury prevention
that you need to know better?

 

Have a look at Complete Athlete Development and find out –

 

http://www.developingathletics.com/cad-short-copy.html

 

Over 3.5 million young athletes will get injured playing sports
this year in the United States alone.

 

Tragic but largely preventable.

 

Give CAD a try –

 

http://www.developingathletics.com/cad-short-copy.html

 

 

‘Till next time,

 

Brian

 

Developing Young Athletes: What is Athletic Intelligence?

 

 

Developing Young Athletes

 

‘Intelligence’.

 

Defined by the dictionary as –

 

“The capacity for learning, understanding and aptitude for grasping relationships”

 

That sets the stage very nicely for the meaning of this IYCA-based term.

 

What about ‘Athletic’?

 

It’s defined as such –

 

“Involving the use of physical skills or capabilities”

 

String those two definitions together and you’ve got the basis for the main motivation needed when training and developing young athletes.

 

In short –

 

“Increasing the capacity for learning and understanding various physical skills and how they relate”

 

That is the crux and critical requirement with respect to programming for young athletes.

 

And how backwards do we have that these days?

 

Increase the capacity for learning:

 

It’s not about over-coaching pre-adolescent children.

 

Teaching them the ‘mechanics’ of how to throw a baseball or kick a soccer ball.

 

It’s about enhancing their knowledge and understanding of how to perform these actions via Guided Discovery.

 

Allowing them to play.

 

Get a feel for the motion themselves and through trail and error, develop bodily aptitude.

 

Understanding various physical skills and how they relate:

 

Through this ‘trail and error’ period of development, it can’t be about specificity, either.

 

It’s about indirect, global stimulus.

 

Running fast, for example, isn’t just based on the action of running.

 

It’s based on:

 

– Rhythm

 

– Movement Adequacy

 

– Efficient production and absorption of force

 

– Body position for optimal acceleration and deceleration

 

These physical skills aren’t only developed via performing endless sets of sprints or start and stop drills for young athletes

.

 

In fact, they are BEST developed singularly. Learned and understood in isolation and then eventually brought together in a relative format.

 

If you haven’t already, watch this basic ‘Skip Loop’ exercise from the ‘Coordination Development’ DVD found in Complete Athlete Development –

 

 

 

 

Rhythm

 

Timing

 

Movement Adequacy

 

Force Production and Absorption

 

Through drills like these, my young athletes are learning how to be ‘intelligent’.

 

It is through indirect methods of enhancing bodily knowledge that kids form the basis of becoming superior athletes in time.

 

It’s a process that can’t be rushed or overlooked.

 

The problem is, we rush and/or ignore this phase of athletic development all the time.

 

And that’s the main reason so few of our young athletes ever amount to much in terms of optimal sporting success.

 

They were rushed through a process.

 

Over-coached and ‘specified’ too early.

 

They simply aren’t Athletically Intelligent.

 

And when you don’t have basic intelligence, you can’t possibly expand your knowledge passed a certain point.

 

You lack the foundational aptitude on which to learn more.

 

Ask yourself this question –

 

Are the indirect aspects of learning addition and subtraction important to the eventual mastery of specific mathematical skills such as calculus or algebra?

 

You better believe they are.

 

Now apply that reasoning to developing young athletes.

 

Isn’t it time you saw firsthand what training for sporting success should REALLY look like?

 

Have a look at Complete Athlete Development and see what you’re missing –

 

 

Complete Athlete Development – Click Here Now

 

 

Brian