Archive for “Central Nervous System” Tag

Outcome Based Coaching In A Nutshell

 

Young Athletes Coaching Style In A Nutshell

 

By Dave Gleason

 

The primary coaching style we want to use with our youngest athletes is called outcome based coaching. This style of coaching puts more emphasis on the outcome of the activity or exercise you have asked for from from your athletes.
 

Outcome based coaching utilizes very little cueing or technique modifications if any. Our 6-9 year old athletes can suffer from goal confusion, leading to frustration and a less than average experience. As athletic revolution franchisees our goal must be to provide an exciting, memorable and remarkable experience – EVERY TIME.
 

A communicative coaching style such as outcome based coaching is exactly what a young person needs to ensure the indoctrination of a healthy physical culture. At some point in life every athletic career ends. Our role is to provide an opportunity for their ability to move and exercise to continue long into their adult lives…no matter their current level of sporting success.
 

In addition, it is imperative that a young athlete discovers movement patterns on their own as much as possible. The central nervous system is considered more plastic for a young athlete. That is, a young athlete’s CNS is very sponge like or magnet like. Internal and external stimulus is more readily assimilated, learned from and transferred to movement patterns. This aspect of neural development is a crucial component of the natural development of a child. Let your young athletes “Discover” movement patterns on their own.
 

Here are some practical concepts to think about as you engage in outcome based coaching:
 

Be careful what you ask for. If you cue your athletes to skip across the length of your facility and what a few of them perform is a high skip in a zig pattern…they are STILL giving you what you asked for. Encourage their creativity followed by layering one or two appropriate boundaries with simple cueing. In this example ask the entire group to skip in a straight line on the next try.
 

Be a reflective coach. During and after your sessions reflect on the effectiveness of your coaching cues. Take note of what was successful and what you and your coaches need to improve on. Communicating more effectively with your young athletes will only result in more fun for them..and you!
 

Praise and praise often. When a child gives you their interpretation of what you asked of them praise them for it. If modifications or boundaries need to be communicated use simple cuing. For instance, a lunge walk with a pronounced forward lean at the hips can be corrected by saying “heads up, eyes up, or reach for the sky”.
 

Use names. Calling and praising a child by name will add tremendous value to the relationship building process and significantly increase the enjoyment your young athletes experience while in your care. In short, it makes it personal.
 

Take these concepts and coach your young athletes with your heart first, head second.

 

Keep changing lives!
 

 

Young Athletes & Coordination – Part 2

Young Athletes & Coordination Series

 

Part 2: Coordination – Can You Teach Young Athletes?

 

The answer, in short, is yes.

 

Coordination ability is not unlike any other biomotor – proficiencies in strength, speed, agility and even cardiovascular capacity (through mechanical intervention) can be taught, and at any age.

 

The interesting caveat with coordination-based work however, is that its elements are tied directly to CNS (Central Nervous System) development and therefore have a natural sensitive period along a chronological spectrum.  The actuality of sensitive periods tends to be a contentious topic amongst researchers and many Coaches – some of whom are not satisfied with current research and therefore not eager to believe in their existence and others who accept sensitive periods of development to be perfectly valid.  It’s worth pointing out that I am in no way a scientist or researcher, but have read numerous books and research reviews on the subject and feel satisfied that they do exist and can be maximized (optimized for a lifetime) through proper stimulus.

 

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Top 3 Speed & Agility With Young Athletes Mistakes – Part 2

Speed & Agility With Young Athletes

It is very standard for Coaches and Training Facilities to both expect and ‘sell’ parents on the fact that the young athletes in their care will become decidedly better in only 6 or 8 weeks’ worth of training.

 

And in fact, they’re correct in saying so.

 

But not because their training system is somehow superior or because they possess unique talents as a Coach, quite simply, it’s because human beings are adaptive machines that alter (become better) under the strain of applied demand (training).

 

This is especially true for young people in the age bracket of 6 – 18.  This time of life represents a literal coming of age with respect to maturation and athletic ability.  The Central Nervous System is learning to master the art of movement, bones are growing more dense and muscles are becoming naturally longer and more powerful.

 

You could, quite literally, ask a 15 year old soccer player to run stairs 3 times per week for 6 weeks and show improvements to both their speed and power output capacity.  That doesn’t mean running stairs is an efficient training style, it just means that the human body is designed to accommodate the stress it is placed under by getting faster and stronger.

 

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Overtraining Young Athletes – Part 2

 

 

Young Athletes

In my last article on overtraining, I offered the suggestion that as trainers and coaches, we must take a deeper look at how we program for and train our athletes. I have made a career out of advocating for the use of more moderate training intensity and volume with young athletes, but this goes even further – it goes to the route of our programming abilities and skills. How much time do we truly spend in designing, monitoring and dynamically adjusting our training programs?

 

General overtraining syndromes impact both the central nervous system as well as the endocrine system. Given that the regulation of many hormones within the endocrine system serve to oversee and manage our stress levels, it is fair to imply that general overtraining could be considered a stress related issue.

 

Two types of general overtraining have been recognized –

 

1. Addisonic Overtraining – This version is related to Addison’s disease and involves a reduction in the activity of the adrenal glands. This class of overtraining impacts the parasympathetic portion of the autonomic nervous system, but shows no striking signs at first. A general stagnation or dip in an athlete’s performance (day-to-day) may be an indication or symptom.

 

2. Basedowic Overtraining – This version is connected to thyroid hyperactivity and named after Basedow’s disease (also known as Graves’ disease). This class of overtraining impacts the sympathetic portion of the autonomic nervous system and brings with it a host of identifiable symptoms (reduced reaction time, tire easily, poor motivation, appetite and sleep requirement changes).

 

I offer these two definitions in an attempt to encourage us all to take a closer look at our young athletes when they walk in our doors. As I mentioned in last week’s article, over the past number of training sessions, I could see subtle signs of both these overtraining conditions in the actions and reactions of my athletes.

 

The Winter Holiday (complete with inappropriate nutrition and sleep deprivation) had combined with Final Exams Week (complete with undue amounts of psychological stress, inappropriate nutrition and sleep deprivation) leaving many of my young athletes looking and feeling lethargic. That isn’t to say that notable extraneous circumstances alone (i.e. Winter Holiday coupled with Finals) will always account for a potential overtraining situation, in fact, very often it can be quite subtle:

 

  • Broke up with girlfriend or boyfriend

  • Received a ‘C’ in math

  • Doesn’t understand English homework

  • Is freaked out about driver’s test coming up in a few weeks

 

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Youth Strength Training Mistakes

 

 

Youth Strength Training Done Right

Should pre-adolescent kids lift weights or shouldn’t they? Will it stunt their growth or increase their likelihood of future sporting success? Is growth plate damage a real concern or merely an exaggerated issue?

 

This debate has raged on for years.

 

Hopefully, this article will help clear up some of the concerns on youth strength training.

 

To start, there are definitive differences between adolescent boys and adolescent girls with respect to strength and strength production. In boys, absolute muscular strength (the greatest amount of force an individual can produce) grows consistently between the ages of 7 – 19. In girls, strength gains are incurred on a consistent level until about the age of 15, when a period of stagnation occurs and strength gains plateau, and in fact begins to fall. By the end of the pubescent ages, boys are roughly 50% stronger than girls.

 

There are several factors to consider when programming strength training for young athletes –

 

Central Nervous System Maturity – The true argument with respect to children and weight lifting should not be based on the maturity (or in this case immaturity) of the child’s muscular system, but rather the advancement of the child’s CNS. Within proper application of load, volume and intensity, a child’s muscular system will not be compromised by weight training activities. However, a lack of motor control (a function of the CNS) will affect the child’s ability to perform weight-training exercises safely. It is therefore the maturity of the CNS that is the ultimate determining factor.

 

Cross Section Of Muscle – A larger muscle infers a greater strength potential. While hypertrophy of this sort is not hormonally possible with pre-adolescent athletes, this fact is why I advocate that early adolescent athletes train with hypertrophy-based responses in mind.

 

Biological Maturity – Biological age, unlike a child’s chronological age, is not actually visible. Biological age is based in large part to the “physiological development of the various organs and systems in the body” (Bompa, 2000). For example, the adequate development of bone, the efficiency of the heart and lungs to transport oxygen; these are examples of items that comprise biological age. This becomes important when determining the volume or intensity of the training program for the young athlete.

 

Hormonal Issues – Androgenic (muscle building) hormones are low in pre-adolescent athletes. This means that hypertrophy-based responses are all but impossible. Strength gains, however, are very possible.

 

Technical Issues – Providing a proper foundation of the technical merits of youth strength training is paramount when working with youngsters.

 

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Youth Sports Training: Do You Confuse Your Young Athletes?

Youth sports training with kids

You could open an interesting debate with respect to teaching sporting skills to kids.

 

I did last week during a presentation I gave to area basketball coaches.

 

Some trainers and coaches have decided that the skills required to achieve a certain task should be taught from the beginning.

 

Others believe in the concept of motor patterning – allowing the young athlete to find his or her own way of achieving a task.

 

The debate gets even trickier when you factor in the varying nuances and therefore objectives of different sports.

 

For example, in basketball, if the ball goes in the hoop, it doesn’t really matter how it got there.

 

But in diving, you know going in that once you jump off the platform, gravity will pull you into the water – the style in which you get there is all that really matters.

 

Where do you sit on this debate?

 

I asked the coaches in my audience the same question.

 

Should you teach or over-teach a certain style of execution to young athletes from day one, or should you allow the young athletes to learn the relative motor patterning via exploration and natural refinement?

 

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