Archive for “Agility Drills” Tag

Running Your Own Coaches’ Speed & Agility Clinic

As a coach and trainer, I spent years looking for ways to educate more athletes, more coaches and more parents. As my business grew, so did my reputation for being a softball coach and youth fitness specialist. Proof came in the results: athletes running faster and quicker and ultimately feeling stronger and confident.

It wasn’t long before I knew that I had to take my game to the next level and start educating the coaches of my athletes. After all, their athletes were only with me one or two times per week, but were with their coaches for 3-5 times per week. Sport coaches spend hours with their athletes, so why not join forces?

I found that my annual coaches’ clinic became a great forum to do this. Not only was it my direct link to hundreds of athletes (for every one coach there are 10-20 athletes connected to them) but it was also a way to bridge the gap between coaches and trainers.

We now work together for one common purpose: to give the most and the best for the athletes that walk into our programs.

Types of Speed Clinics

In this post, I want to talk about the two different kinds of speed clinics that you can host as well as when, where and how to go about getting your first coaches’ clinic underway. Essentially, I want to give you my coaches’ clinic template.

High school summer conditioning program - Coaches' ClinicThere are many different kinds of clinics beyond these, but this is what I will touch on today.

1. Speed & Agility Clinic
2. Speed & Skills (Combination Clinic)

Personally, #2 has always been my choice, but #1 is effective as well. If you do know skills of a particular sport, you can usually play to that strength and draw more coaches. Here are some steps when setting up your own coaches’ clinic:

Determine What Kind of Clinic You Will Have

What Will You Cover in Your Clinic?

– Speed? Skills? Drills?
– Sport Specific? General?
– Olympic Lifting? Lifting Mechanics, etc?

Figure out where your strengths and knowledge are, and play to those. If you are an excellent baseball coach and know how to teach skills and speed, build your clinic around those two aspects. Coaches love sport specificity.

Naming Your Coaches’ Clinic

When marketing your clinic, you want to be able to relate the name of your clinic to your market. When naming your own coaches’ clinic, think simple. Here are some suggestions:

1. Game Speed Coaches’ Clinic
2. [Insert Sport] Coaches’ Clinic
3. Speed & Agility Coaches’ Clinic
4. Making Athletes Faster Coaches’ Clinic
5. Strength, Power and Quicker [Insert Sport] Coaches’ Clinic

Try to include a few things that play on the “needs” of your target market. For example, if you have softball athletes – “Increasing your athletes’ hitting power” plays to an aspect of the sport that all coaches want to coach to. Ask yourself, what does your target market want?

Picking a Date/Time for Your Coaches’ Clinic

clock - Coaches' ClinicWhen setting the specifics of your coaches’ clinic, remember that these are adults, not kids.

Many meetings for them occur between 7pm-9pm M-Th, so focus on those times. Providing a two or three week-long clinic is also valuable and can allow you to cover topics each session.

Be sure that you pick a day of the week that is not a holiday. Plan for at least two months of marketing for this clinic.

Duration of Your Coaches’ Clinic

2 hours. Again, if you have more content to cover, do it over a couple weeks, rather than a 4 hour clinic.

Rate of Your Coaches’ Clinic

Generally $10-$20 per hour for clinics is a good rate.

Example Details for Flyer/Email

So, you have decided on all of these things, here is an example of what it would look like:

Sport Specific Flyer/Email

Title: Softball Speed, Skills & Drills Coaches’ Clinic

Time: 7-9pm, Mondays in February (4 Days, 8 Hours of Coaching Instruction)

Location: Add your facility location name

Rate: $80.00 per coach/parent

Student Rate: (14+ athletes): $15.00 per athlete

 

Speed Only Flyer/Email

Title: Game Speed Coaches’ Clinic

Time: 7-9pm Tuesday January 13th

Location: Add your facility location name

Rate: $30.00 per coach/parent

Student Rate: (14+ athletes): $15.00 per athlete

 

Marketing Your Own Coaches’ Clinic

Now that you have the details of your clinic, it is time to start marketing your clinic. There are a number of ways to market your own coaches’ clinic:

Work With Multiple Local Recreation Teams

In this situation, if you connect with the president or director of the organization, you can offer organizational rates. In many cases, different leagues promote learning and education, so if that director feels that their coaches can benefit from your clinic, they may just do the marketing for you.

If you have a parent of an athlete that plays in an organization, this is one of the best ways to leverage your efforts.

Email Your List

Allow all customers 14+ to join, this includes parents. Many parents just want education on this, so do not limit your clinics to coaches only. Open the door to athletes, parents, and coaches. Again, this helps bridge the gap.

Create a Press Release

Reach out to your local media channels, including local newspapers, television stations, and any other outlets that can possibly grab this story and run with it.

Offer Group & Early Bird Discounts

The great thing about this is that there are a number of ways to offer discounts. If a league brings multiple coaches, they can get a discount. Early bird discounts are possible, too. This will help you determine your baseline, as well.

Be creative here. Give incentives (especially for your first clinic). Once you get them in the door, then you can work your magic.

Structuring Your Coaches’ Clinic

clipboardThey walked through your door.

Whatever way it happened, you now have coaches sitting in front of you, waiting and willing to learn.

What do you teach them?

Well, that is up to you, but this is the template that I suggest.

Remember to keep it interactive. Get them up and get them moving. Coaches need to “feel it” to “get it,” too.

Template 1: Speed-Focused

1. Introduction and Overview of Clinic and Your Business (10 Minutes)

2. Prepare to Move by Moving to Prepare (10-20 Minutes)

  • Perform and teach a thorough team warm-up (let coaches participate).
  • Allow for Q & A during this time.

3. Foundations of Speed (10 Minutes)

  • Discuss the importance of mobility, range of motion, etc.

4. Mechanics of Speed (10 Minutes)

  • Break the mechanics of speed down in this section. Take them through drills, as if you are first teaching your athletes about the mechanics.
  • Have attendees do it/feel it.

5. Speed Drills (Pick your #) (60 Minutes of Content)

  • Name it.
  • Demonstrate it.
  • Break it down and teach it.
  • Have attendees perform it.
  • Show 1 or 2 variations.
  • Indicate application to different sports (or specific sport that you are doing the clinic for).

Repeat this process for as many speed drills that you would like to cover.

6. Q&A (10 Minutes)

Template 2: Sport/Skills-Focused

1. Introduction and Overview of Your Business (5 Minutes)

2. Prepare to Move by Moving to Prepare (10-20 Minutes)

  • Perform and teach a thorough team warm-up (let coaches participate).
  • Allow for Q & A during this time.

3. Teaching Speed (10 Minutes)

  • Briefly discuss the mechanical breakdown of speed (have attendees do it/feel it). This is foundational to any sport, so allowing your coaches to learn HOW to teach it (focus on cue words and form) is key.

4. Drills & Skills (Pick your #) (75-90 Minutes of Content)

  • Name it.
  • Demonstrate it.
  • Break it down and teach it.
  • Have attendees perform it.
  • Show 1 or 2 variations.
  • Indicate application to different sports (or specific sport that you are doing the clinic for).

Repeat this process for as many speed drills that you would like to cover. Allow for Q&A during this time.

5. Q&A (10 Minutes)

These templates can work with almost any coaches’ clinic. Be sure to fill in the blanks with activities, skills and drills that are unique to your facility and business. Give the coaches and parents a “taste of your culture” and I would highly recommend giving them an offer at the end.

In our businesses, it is important to get kids through the door. Offering a team training session, a discount and/or something specific to that clinic will allow you to successfully get more athletes through the doors.

Tips/Tricks

  • Be sure to collect all contact information for your list.
  • Extend a “Thank You for Attending” email after your first clinic.
  • Plan an annual clinic to add consistency and enable time for growth (I have little league directors that expect coaches’ clinics annually).
  • Have your “plan”.
  • Have opportunities for their athletes (make the offer at the clinic).
  • Find what works for you in terms of duration: one day or multi-day clinics are effective.
  • Elicit the help of your young athletes to help demonstrate in real-time.
  • Bring your “A” game to every clinic.

Good luck,
Julie Hatfield


About the Author: Julie Hatfield

Julie Hatfield (1)Julie is the Executive Director of the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA). She grew up as an athlete and played collegiate softball at Juniata College. She currently owns and operates her own youth fitness business pouring into young athletes. Her areas of expertise are youth sport performance, youth fitness business and softball training/instruction. Julie grew up on a dairy farm and can challenge the best of the best in a cow-milking contest. 😉


Want to Develop Speed and Agility in Your Athletes?

If you want to develop speed in your young athletes there is no better resource than the 15 Free Agility Drills. Learn Jim Kielbaso’s secrets to improving your athlete’s coordination, balance and speed.

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Misuse Of Speed and Agility Drills

Coaching Mistakes With Speed And Agility For Athletes Training

jim kielbaso 2

Alot of people in this field call themselves Strength & Conditioning Coaches. I don’t have a problem with the “Strength” part of the title, but the “Conditioning” part could use a little work.

As a former college S & C Coach, I fully understand the time constraints of the collegiate or high school environment. Running a private facility for athletes, I also understand the limitations of this situation. In both cases, it is very difficult to give every athlete the time and instruction they need. Still, there is one area of our profession that I feel is in desperate need of some attention. That area is what I call Movement Training.

Recently, I was asked by a college coach what mistakes I have made in the past and what I would do differently if I could re-live the past 6-10 years of my career. At first, like many coaches, my ego didn’t want to admit to any mistakes, especially to another coach. But, after some thought, I realized that the area in which I have the greatest impact on athletes today, I simply did not understand when I was younger.

A few years ago, I thought the best S & C Coach was the one who most fully brutalized his/her athletes. I thought I was supposed to lift my athletes until they puked and condition them until they couldn’t see straight. Don’t get me wrong, I still think that stuff has its place. I love putting athletes through brutally hard workouts, and I think that kind of hard work can have amazing benefits (it also has terrific entertainment value). But, through time, I have gained a better understanding of how to maximize the “Conditioning” or “Speed and Agility Training” part of my job title.

Conditioning via Speed and Agility For Athletes?

To a lot of coaches, conditioning means creating running programs that enhance the physiological processes involved in aerobic or anaerobic metabolism. You may not think of it this way, but that is essentially what many conditioning programs are designed to do. I have no problem with this. Conditioning sport-specific energy systems is a vital part of athletic success.

Speed and Agility drills

Many coaches also implement speed, agility, and plyometric routines into their programs, and I think it’s great to see coaches making an effort to improve the physical abilities of their athletes. Unfortunately, I see way too many mistakes being made in this area, and I think many coaches are doing their athletes an injustice.

Over the years, we have read articles by some great coaches about specificity, but the full message of these wise men is often lost in an effort to use their message to support our own views. I’m sure you’ve done it. You’ve read an article, and thought to yourself “That’s what I’m talkin’ about. That’s why I do what I do. I’m going to use this article to support my training philosophy.”

The articles have been great. They have helped a generation of S & C Coaches formulate their strength training philosophies….strength training philosophies. Why didn’t we see that the same information we’ve applied to strength training can also be used to develop effective programs when it comes to speed and agility for athletes?

In my opinion, a lot of S & C Coaches approach speed and agility for athletes the same way they approach strength training. They find out what other coaches are doing (through reading summer manuals, watching workouts, etc.), and duplicate it in their environments. This has worked out pretty well for strength training because there are a lot of good Strength and Conditioning Coaches to learn from.

Speed and Agility For Athletes

Unfortunately, there are a few problems with learning about speed and agility or athletes this way. First, there are not nearly as many quality speed and agility coaches to learn from. Second, most of us didn’t learn anything about effective movement patterns in school. Third, proper coaching of speed and agility is highly dependent on coaching prowess, movement analysis, and the ability to understand proper movement patterns. It is more like teaching a sport skill; instructor knowledge is vital, and you can’t just apply a cookie-cutter approach like many coaches do with strength training. Nonetheless, we’ve learned our speed and agility drills from Strength Coaches not Speedand Agility coaches. The best case scenario for many of us was to learn a few drills from a track coach or catch an article outlining a couple of exercises. This kind of coaching just doesn’t cut it. I believe that movement training falls under the “Conditioning” part of our job title, and it’s time we take full responsibility for this important part of our jobs.

I like to call speed and agility work “movement training” because the goal is to train athletes how to move more efficiently. The problem with most movement training is the assumption that if we put some cones or hurdles out in a cool design and have our athletes run through them, we are making an impact on their movement patterns. The truth is, we’re not. All we’re doing is helping them reinforce whatever movement patterns they are using to get through the drill. Take a few minutes to re-read some of those specificity articles, and I think you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.

I have had the good fortune of working with, observing, and learning from a lot of good sport coaches and instructors. I have never seen a good basketball coach allow players to take hundreds of jump shots with poor shooting technique, and I have never seen a good baseball coach let players pitch and hit with poor mechanics. Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of Strength Coaches allow athletes to perform hours of agility drills using horrible technique. A lot of coaches assume that if the athletes are going through the drills, their athleticism will improve. But, the benefits of performing speed and agility drills are dramatically reduced if the athletes are not executing them with sound mechanics and learning proper technique. If the coach is unable to analyze the movement and give corrective feedback, what good is he/she doing for the athletes?

There are still a lot of questions about movement training, but there are certainly some answers and a lot of room for us to improve. I look forward to examining this misunderstood aspect of our profession in more detail with you in the future.

If you want to learn how I coach speed and agility for athletes in my programs check out Ultimate Speed Drills.

Speed and Agility For Athletes

 

 

Speed and Agility Training Program for Youth Football

Making a Speed and Agility Training Program Work for Everyone

There is often a disconnect between what we know is the ideal training for young athletes and what parents/coaches want for them—especially when it comes to a speed and agility training program.

We know through our education and in-the-trenches experience how to devise an athletic development program and implement it with athletes of various abilities and sports interests.

On the other hand, parents and coaches all too often adopt a “results now” mentality, and they’ve been fed loads of misinformation to boot. What are we to do when the opportunity presents itself to work with an entire youth league of athletes with a board president and coaches who have a philosophy that doesn’t match our ideals?

Make sure you keep your focus on their needs by asking questions—and a lot of them. You will gain the trust of the coaching staff when they know you are there to help them versus taking control over any aspect of their practice sessions.

If you do this with care and patience, the outcome can be very beneficial to your business and most importantly to the young athletes involved.

Youth Football Training Program Case Study

Speed and agility training programAfter several conversations with the president of the youth football league and some of his coaches, I was able to ascertain the areas they were most concerned with. They were, in their words:

1. “Revamping the warm up” to get the kids ready to play

2. Agility in small spaces

3. Injury prevention

Once we narrowed it down to these specifics, I could devise a game plan. They did not want the new programming to be intrusive to their practice time or ability to coach football.

Keep in mind the relationship with the president of this youth football league began nearly 2 years ago. Be patient when engaging coaches.

The outcome was to implement a pre-written youth football training program for every age group in the youth football league that the coaches would learn and implement for every practice.

What we gained from this exchange was exposure to every football player from 1st grade through 8th grade and the buy in of every coach. You just can’t buy that type of exposure for your business.

Upon completion of the last practice session, we set a time for the coaches and I to meet in order to troubleshoot any issues they were having.

The Nuts and Bolts of the Speed and Agility Training Program

Our situation was far from ideal. The coaches had limited time to learn their new programs. I only had one practice session with each team, and there was not enough time to include everything I wanted. Therefore, I knew the programs had to be prioritized.

The speed and agility training program had to deliver what the president and coaches asked for, and it had to be simple enough for both coaches and players to learn.

Templates Put into Action for Each Program

Not included are the descriptions and key points for each age group that were provided for each coach.

Pembroke Titans Football Mighty Mites (1st & 2nd Grade)

–Warm Up–
1. Reactive Game or Fun Activity
    a. Simon Says
    b. Tag Variations
    c. Movement Mirroring (coach or each other)
    d. Rhythm Machine (clapping)
    e. Coach’s Choice
2. Monster Walks
3. Bear Crawls
4. Dragon Walks
5. Log Rolls

–Speed/Agility/Strength = Coordination Training–
1. Scramble to Balance 2x Each leg
2. Rats/Rabbits
3. Red Light – Green Light (add football themed lights)
4. Push Up Hold/High Fives (partners)

–Speed and Agility–
1. Dynamic Repeats (run to stop)
2. Dynamic Repeats with Return (run, stop and return)
3. 4 x 4 x 4 Drill (survive for 7 seconds)
4. Bear Crawl to Hand Taps 6:4
5. Forward Crab Walk to Table Top 6:1

–Cool Down–
It is so important to give parents and coaches what they want while staying true to your beliefs as a coach. Below is a perfect example.

A formal cool down is not necessary from a developmental standpoint and static stretching is not advised for this age group. To acclimate the kids to a structure and expectation for future youth football practices, you can put them through the following passive active stretching activities.

1. Cobra 2 Second Hold x 5
2. Alternating Knee Hugs x 5 Each
3. Around the Worlds 2x Each Leg


Pembroke Titans Football Mites (3rd & 4th Grade)

–Warm up–
1. Activity – Game, Laps, etc…Coaches Choice
2. Spiderman 2 x 10
3. Alternating Supine Extension 20 Second Hold
4. Squat to Stand 2 x 5 (squat, knees out, arms up and stand)
5. Prone Extensions 2 x 8
6. Lunge with Toe Touch 1 x 10 Each
Speed and agility training program 67. Dynamic Warm Up
    a. Skipping Patterns
         i. Straight
         ii. High
         iii. Back
         iv. Side
    b. Knee Hugs 1 x 10
    c. Butt Kicks
    d. Straight Leg March 1 x 10
    e. Heel Walks/Toe Walks 1 x 10 Each
    f. Side Shuffle/Carioca (tight) 10 yds Each x 2

–Speed and Agility–
1. Dynamic Repeats (run to stop)
2. Dynamic Repeats with Return (run, stop and return)
3. 4 x 4 x 4 Drill (survive for 7 seconds)
4. Bear Crawl to Hand Taps 6:4
5. Forward Crab Walk to Table Top 6:1

Speed and agility training program 7–Cool Down–
1. Static Stretching
    a. Hamstrings
    b. Inner Thigh
    c. ITB/Hips
    d. Cobra Stretch
    e. Calf Stretch

Choice as needed


Pembroke Titans Football Pee Wees (5th & 6th Grade)

–Warm up–
1. Activity – Game, Laps, etc…Coaches Choice
2. Spiderman/Inside Elbow to Ground 2 x 10
3. Alternating Supine Extension 2 x 8 Each Side
4. Squat to Stand 2 x 5 (squat, knees out, arms up and stand)
5. Prone Extensions 2 x 10
6. Lateral Lunge with Toe Touch 1 x 10 Each
7. Dynamic Warm Up
    a. Skipping Patterns
         i. Straight
         ii. High
         iii. Back
         iv. Side
    b. Knee Hugs 1 x 10
    c. Butt Kicks
    d. Straight Leg March 1 x 10
    e. Heel Walks/Toe Walks 1 x 10 Each
    f. Side Shuffle/Carioca (tight) 10 yds Each x 2

–Speed and Agility–
1. Pro Agility
    a. 5-Hold-10
    b. 5-10-Hold
    c. 5-10-5
2. 4 x 4 x 4 Drill (survive for 7 seconds)
3. Bear Crawl to Push Up 6:1
4. Forward Crab Walk to Table Top 6:1

–Cool Down–
1. Static Stretching
    a. Hamstrings
    b. Inner Thigh
    c. ITB/Hips
    d. Cobra Stretch
    e. Calf Stretch

Choice as needed


Pembroke Titans Football Midgets (7th & 8th Grade)

–Warm up–
1. Activity – Game, Laps, etc…Coaches Choice
2. Spiderman with Hip Lift 2 x 10
3. Supine Extension with Rotation 2 x 8 Each Side
4. Squat to Stand 2 x 5 (squat, knees out, arms up and stand)
5. Atlas Stretch 2 x 6 Each
6. Prone Extensions 2 x 10
7. Alternating Lateral Lunge Walk 1 x 10
8. Dynamic Warm Up
    a. Skipping Patterns
         i. Straight
         ii. High
         iii. Back
         iv. Side
    b. Knee Lift/Heel Lift 1 x 10
    c. Straight Leg March 1 x 10
    d. Cradles
    e. Heel Walks/Toe Walks 1 x 10 Each

–Speed and Agility–
1. Pro Agility
    a. 5-Hold-10
    b. 5-10-Hold
    c. 5-10-5
2. 4 x 4 x 4 Drill (survive for 7 seconds)
3. Turn and Burn (Hip turn and go)
4. Bear Crawl to Push Up 6:1
5. Forward Crab Walk to Table Top 6:1

–Cool Down–
1. Static Stretching
    a. Hamstrings
    b. Inner Thigh
    c. ITB/Hips
    d. Cobra Stretch
    e. Calf Stretch

Choice as needed

Summary

So there you have some great examples of a youth football speed and agility training program that can be applied to nearly any sport. You also have some tips on how to deal with coaches to best suit their needs and ideals.

Dave Gleason


About the Author: Dave Gleason

Speed and agility training programDave Gleason is the owner and head coach of Athletic Revolution in Pembroke, MA. Dave’s career passions are training young athletes 6-18 years old as well as playing an integral role in the development of Athletic Revolution International. Dave was the 2010 IYCA Member of the Year, columnist and presenter. A proud member of the IYCA, Dave is honored to be named to the IYCA Board of Experts.


Want to Develop Speed and Agility in Your Athletes?

If you want to develop speed in your young athletes there is no better resource than the 15 Free Agility Drills. Learn Jim Kielbaso’s secrets to improving your athlete’s coordination, balance and speed.

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Training for Power: The Top 5 Exercises for Athletes to Dominate the Game

 

Training for Power with Young Athletes

 

Young Athletes hang position

 

By Wil Fleming

 

My young athletes are known for explosive power, from middle school volleyball players to football players preparing for the combine all of them out class the competition when it comes to quick bursts of power.  Recently I put together a presentation outlining my favorite exercises to do just that.  I have shared a brief outline of the topics covered in that seminar in the list below.

 

1. Hang Clean and Snatch-

 

You will notice that I did not say the Power Clean or Power Snatch.  Power cleans are the staple of most training programs, but the key is by doing this movement from the hang position i.e. with the bar just above your knees.  This position is much closer to ones athletes actually use in athetics and athletes have a much greater potential for technically sound lifts.

The snatch must be included because it is such a powerful movement as well and can lend diversity to the program.

 

2. CHAOS agility drills

Much of the need for power in football comes in the reaction to a movement of the ball or of the defensive player, because of this football players must also have the mental awareness to make explosive movements as a reaction. Credit Coach Robert Dos Remedios for this one, but my favorite training tool for this are CHAOS agility drills (it stands for Conscious to unconscious Have unpredictability Active to Reactive Open drills Slow to Fast). The idea behind it is to have athletes mirror one another in specific patterns first and then to open ended drills with many different movement patterns, more closely replicating the actions of actual game play.

 

3. Kettlebell Swings

This is a foundation movement for any athlete looking to develop more power. The action in the kettlebell swing is founded on the idea of a hip hinge, this is important because most athletes need to gain better control of the ability to hinge at the hips.  Most athletes are very much Quad dominant and are losing out on the potential of their backside. The Kettlebell Swing does a great job of teaching these motions effectively.

 

4. MB Throws

Using medicine balls in throwing motions (chest pass, Side throws, Throws for distance) is a great way to develop power in the upperbody for young athletes while incorporating the important parts of hang cleans, hang snatches, and Kettlebell swings (hip hinging).  Delivering a Medicine ball with force is a great way to engage the core in explosive activities as well, generating force with the lower body must require active core control to deliver the ball with the arms, This transfer of power is important to all sports.

 

5. Plyometrics

Athletes need to be adept at accelerating and decelerating their own body at maximum speeds. Plyometrics are the first way that athletes can learn to do so.  Maximal jumps with a stuck landing will help athletes develop resistance to injury and will simulate many movements in sport.

 

 

There is a lot more than just power that goes into becoming athlete. It takes general strength, resistance to injury, proper conditioning and a well prepared mind.

 

Focusing on power will take athletes a long way towards getting to where they want to be.