Archive for “Coaching Young Athletes” Tag

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 learning that there is a serious aspect to training. If you are having trouble controlling a group, I strongly advocate removing those who are most disruptive, or at least threatening to do so. The threat of getting kicked out adds a bit of “what if” to the equation. What if I have to go home and explain that I got kicked out of a training session?

This “threat” gets the message across. You are the boss and this is a practice. What you really have to learn is to be “tight but loose.” You have to establish the boundaries. With kids it’s a constant push- pull. Sometimes you are pushing them forward from an effort standpoint and other times you pull them back from silliness. With females you can be pushing them to try a heavier load, with males you might be pulling them back from trying to impress the other boys.

Start with simple organizational stuff. Put them in lines, keep them in lines. Call out those who distract the others. Always lines, no circles. Keep everyone where you can see them. Kids behind you is like an invitation to screw around

With kids we want to be light on science and heavy on structure. You can keep them busy as the loads are light and the work is primarily technical. Rest between sets is not nearly as critical as it is with older, stronger, more experienced athletes. I use their energy as a guideline. If they have time to screw around, we are probably going too slowly.

On the flip side, develop relationships with the problem kids and realize that winning them over is the goal, not kicking them out. Kicking them out should be the last resort.  In truth, develop relationships with all the kids. Learn all the names, ideally learn about them. Do they have siblings? Do they have two parents? Do they have two moms or two dads (more common than you think these days).  In truth, the relationships will end up being the best part of coaching. You will be changing lives for the better.

I advocate a John Wooden style of teaching for everything we do. This works particularly good with kids. Wooden had a simple, do this, not this, this approach.

Show them three times (while telling them). Give a good demo followed by the most common mistake, and finish with the good demo again.

Remember, the demos mean much more than the words. Kids today are powerfully visual. Keep the talk to a minimum and let them learn by doing.

Training kids can either be the best experience or the worst. You just have to remind yourself that you are the facilitator, the culture creator. You will get what you ask for.  Ask for more.

Michael Boyle is one of the foremost experts in the fields of Strength and Conditioning, Functional Training and general fitness. He currently spends his time lecturing, teaching, training and writing. In 1996 Michael co founded Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning, one of the first for-profit strength and conditioning companies in the world.  Go to StrengthCoach.com to interact with Mike on his popular message boards.

 

Your Opportunity for Impact in Youth Fitness & Performance

Making an Impact in Youth Fitness and Performance

In this video, Jim Kielbaso talks about three of the ways you can have the greatest impact in youth fitness and sport performance.

Listen to what he has to say, and let us know what you think. What ways do you feel coaches and trainers can make a big impact with the kids they are working with?

Watch this video for more!!

Comment below!


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Baseball Season is a Marathon – Not a Sprint

As baseball season is well underway in most areas of the country, youth athletes across the country are dusting off gloves and bats and have geared their arms up for the spring season.

At any age, there is a sense of urgency to make every toss faster and further than the one before it. No matter the position, throwing can cause wear and tear on even the most prepared arm.

Here are THREE recommendations that every athlete should follow to keep them ON the field and OUT of the doctor’s office.

#1: Mechanics over Throwing More

The idea that to throw better you just need to “throw more” is rampant in the youth sports arena. It seems the same goes for all sports. Shoot more baskets, hit more slap shots, or simply jump until you can’t jump higher.

There is some truth to this but the key word here is some.Boy Throwing

Pro Tip: There are volume limits of which the shoulder and elbow can tolerate before breakdown sets in and thus the title of this article.

Young athletes come out of the gate sprinting in late winter/early spring and wear their arms out before things really heat up.

Teaching proper mechanics is one great strategy to reduce wear and tear on the arm. No different than a car with poor alignment where one tire wears faster than the others, the same is true for throwing. A great way to do this is to focus on throwing mechanics at the beginning and end of each practice. Perhaps it’s odd to focus on mechanics when the arm is exhausted but this is where education is most important.

The goal here is two fold.

First, having the athlete focus on throwing correctly, even for short distances, will reinforce correct mechanics while tired. Second (and most important), if a baseball player cannot throw correctly because their arm is too tired or it hurts, then it’s time to stop!

Too often athletes will just “sling” the ball or alter mechanics to keep throwing. This is a very bad idea. This is another solid education moment for any athlete because fatigue and pain seems to help absorb words better than when things are going well.

#2: Strengthen the Support System Throughout the Season

Once the season starts, the strength and conditioning that was done in preparation seems to go by the wayside. This makes sense, as there are so many hours in the day and hitting your cutoff man takes precedent over crunches.

Throwing requires a complex series of movements and too often we focus on only a few parts of the chain. Postural and scapular muscles are very important to position the shoulder correctly. When these muscles are strong, the rotator cuff doesn’t have to work as much to maintain good positioning while throwing.

Strengthening the postural muscles in the middle of the spine, obliques, and lower trap muscles helps. The combination of these muscles rotates the trunk and creates ideal arm angle during throwing. As long as these muscles are all working together, the rotator cuff doesn’t take as much of a beating.

Pro Tip: Simple exercises will do the trick such as superman’s, prone shoulder flexion with light dumbbells, and supine single leg adduction drops from side to side to engage the core.

What does swinging have to do with it?

Child at batThousands of swings over the course of the season reek havoc on the hip, pelvic, and lower back. This is because all the force transfers from the legs, up through the back, into the arms, and then contact is made with the ball, sending a jolt of energy back through the system.

This is important to throwing because many hitters and athletes will start to develop tight psoas, chest, and lat muscles from swinging and sprinting. When all these muscles become over-tightened, they tend to pull the lower back into extension and then shoulder into a downward rotated position.

What does this mean? Thousands and thousands of throws will become challenging, reducing the efficiency and quality of every throw.

Pro Tip: Be sure to keep the hips, chest, and lower back muscles nice and loose to maintain ideal body mechanics with throwing.

#3: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Every long distance runner knows they have to pace themselves because training only for 20 miles won’t finish the race. Baseball is no different. Having and executing a long-term game plan to ensure that a young athlete’s body is working from start to finish is paramount to long-term athletic success.

Too much of youth sports focuses on a game, a tournament, or a showcase. If attitudes and habits only address the now, the future for baseball—or any sport for that matter—is nothing more than a crap shoot.

At work, we put money into a 401k for retirement, we exercise to keep the heart strong and pumping, and we take vacations to keep stress from eating our body’s apart.

Do all the little things right and the big things will take care of themselves.

Play ball!

Dr. Keith Cronin, DPT


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About the Author: Keith J. Cronin

Keith CroninKeith J. Cronin is a physical therapist and owner of Sports and Healthcare Solutions, LLC. Keith currently supports US Operations for Dynamic Tape®, the “Original” Biomechanical Tape®, providing guidance for education, research, and distribution. He graduated with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from Belmont University in 2008 and later earned his Orthopedic Certification Specialist (OCS).

Prior to graduate school, Keith was a collegiate baseball player and top-level high school cross country runner. He also had the opportunity to work as a personal trainer (CSCS) prior to his career in physical therapy, providing a very balanced approached to educating fitness and rehabilitation. Keith has focused his career on the evaluation, treatment, injury prevention, and sports conditioning strategies for athletes, with particular attention to youth sports. He currently lives in the St. Louis, MO area with his wife and two daughters, Ella and Shelby.

Additional noteworthy items about Keith:

  • Keith is currently a reviewer for the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy (IJSPT) on a variety of topics including throwing athletes, concussions, and ACL rehabilitation.
  • Keith has produced several online CEU courses for PTWebcuation.com on the topics of running injuries, ACL rehabilitation, Patellofemoral Syndrome, and injuries to the Foot and Ankle.
  • In 2012, Keith participated in a concussion education program in Newcastle, OK that resulted in the documentary “The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer” which had several runs on PBS worldwide.
  • Keith has also been published in a variety of media, publishing almost 100 articles through venues including MomsTEAM.com, Advanced Magazine, the 9s Magazine, the American Coaching Academy, and Suite101.
  • Keith was also featured on Fox2News several times on topics of concussions and ACL injuries.
  • In 2008, Keith was a winner of the Olin Business Cup at Washington University for his product innovation “Medibite” a jaw rehabilitation system designed to improve the outcomes for individuals suffering TMJ dysfunction.

Monitoring Part 2- Monitoring Tools That Every Coach Needs

In Part 1 of this blog I discussed why we monitor and considerations for monitoring your athletes.  Part 2 is going to deal with how we monitor at the high school level.

Monitoring can be an expensive venture, but there are also less expensive ways that can be implemented by virtually anyone at any level.

This blog will detail two practical and inexpensive ways in which, monitoring can be implemented to help you make decisions, allowing you to meet your athletes where they are at on any given day.

#1 Surveys

Having your athletes take quick daily surveys can help create awareness regarding their habits.  These surveys can be simple  and ask as few or as many questions as you would like. Keeping it simple is best. Here is an example of some of the questions to ask:

  • How many hours did you sleep?
  • Did you eat breakfast?
  • How many bottles of water did you drink?
  • How tough was practice yesterday on a 1-5 scale with 5 being the hardest?
  • How tough was your workout yesterday on a 1-5 scale with 5 being the hardest?
  • How do you feel overall 1-5 scale with 5 being the hardest?

You could make a survey through excel pretty quickly and log your information there to keep track of long term trends with your athletes. There are a couple of ways in which this can be beneficial for you.

  1. Make educated adjustments to your plan dependent upon feedback from the athlete
  2. Identify, where you feel they are at from a readiness standpoint that day.
  3. Look at long-term trends both individually and globally to make better decisions in programming for your athletes.

Individually, you may find that your athletes do not get enough sleep on Monday nights due to practice and academic obligations. Globally, you may find that the football team’s toughest day is on Tuesday every week. Knowing that your athletes average 6 hours of sleep on Monday nights and also have their toughest day on Tuesday allows you to adjust and make the best decision for your athletes that day.

It is very important that you use the data that you collect!

Pro Tip: Collecting data for the sake of collecting data is counter-productive. The adjustments you make off of the data collections is what is of real significance.

You can also up the ante and implement technology to take surveys. There are programs that exist where athletes can enter survey information into their phones, and it collects and organizes the data. This is a real time saver for busy trainers.

Here is an example of a survey:

Monitoring Part 2 Image- Fred Eaves

#2 Autoregulation (APRE-RPE Scales)

A second cost-effective way to monitor your athletes is by using an APRE/RPE scale in their strength training programming. APRE is defined by Dr. Bryan Mann as Autoregulatory Progressive Resistance Exercise.  APRE is a method that takes the daily readiness of the athlete into account through adjustment protocols that dictate working sets.  

There are two warm up sets, and then the third set is a set to failure at a prescribed rep max (RM). The results of the third set dictate the weight used on the fourth and final set.

As a coach, this can be used to help the athlete train to the highest level possible for that specific training session according to the physical state of the athlete.

We do not use strict percentages in our program but rather we use them as a guide.

Use this auto-regulation method to dictate our training loads for the day.

Pro Example:

I always use the example of the athlete who slept 3 hours the night before a hard training session that is under tremendous personal and academic stress when describing the need for this type of training. This athlete may have a prescription to hit 2 reps at 95% that day, but due to his physiological state that 95% is really more like 105% that day. This is why autoregulation can play such a key factor in the development of your athletes.

Dr. Mann from the University of Missouri has done a tremendous amount of work in this area, and has written an E-book specifically on APRE methods. 1

Mann’s Example:  

Here is what typical APRE protocol according would look like:

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SET 4 ADJUSTMENTS- REFER to this chart after set 3

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An RPE scale in conjunction with APRE methods is another effective manner in which to implement RPE. RPE  stand for rate of perceived exertion.  Athletes use this rating scale to rank the difficulty of a set in training.

Pro Example: Sample RPE rating scale

2016-02-29_1607

Pro Example:

An example would be an athlete does 155lbs. for 10 reps. When he finishes this set on set three, he rates whether or not he had one rep, two reps, or multiple reps left in the tank. Then picks an appropriate weight to finish his fourth set, using the adjustment chart below.

Here is an example of what this looks like:

2016-02-29_1604
SET 4 ADJUSTMENTS- REFER To This Chart after set 3

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Look at long term trends when recording their numbers to make sure there is consistent progress.  Do not worry about disp as this is common due to the variable nature of the high school athlete.

Conclusion

Two simple and cost-effective measures in which to monitor and adjust for your athletes have been outlined.  Use these tools to tremendously impact your athletes in way that is both feasible and practical.

 


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About the Author: Fred Eaves

Fred Eaves, Ed.S, M.Ed, CSCS, RSCC, IYCA, USAW, USATF, BIOFORCE Conditioning Coach Certified,  2015 NSCA H.S. Strength Coach of the Year, 2013 Samson Equipment & AFM H.S. Strength Coach of The Year
References

  1. Mann, B. (2011). THE APRE: The scientifically proven fastest way to get strong.

 

Monitoring Readiness in Athletes: Part 1

Athlete monitoring has risen to the forefront of the physical preparation industry over the last several years. Monitoring and readiness is part of a continued evolution in a field that is never static. Athlete monitoring is a way in which sport scientists and coaches are using information gathered from the athlete to gauge how physiologically, psychologically, and emotionally ready their athletes are for training and competition.

Sport scientists and coaches are relying more and more heavily on both objective and subjective measures to help adjust and determine training protocol for both athletes and clients. There has been a steep rise in the implementation of monitoring technology in physical preparation from the professional all the way to the high school level. GPS units, heart rate variability monitors, velocity based measurement, and multiple phone apps have become an integral part of physical preparation programs across the United States. We are going to take a look at monitoring in three distinct parts:

  1. Why we monitor and considerations for monitoring
  2. How we monitor at the high school level
  3. What difference can monitoring make in the development of your athletes?

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Part 1 of this blog is going to focus on why we monitor and considerations for monitoring. The “why” is the most
critical component of any method that you may choose to implement in your program. If there is not a clear understanding of why something is being implemented into your program, then I would advise you to immediately pause and determine what that “why” is for you.

I am going to be giving a high school perspective as to why we believe that monitoring has become extremely important with our athletes. The “why” for why we began to monitor became very clear for us before we began to implement any monitoring strategies at Battle Ground Academy.

The demands on today’s high school athlete are tremendous. Many of these athletes are participating in rigorous academic programs, highly competitive high school and club athletic programs, as well as consistent physical preparation training. It has been my observation that this athlete’s readiness levels are some of the most variable a coach will experience. These athletes rarely experience true off-seasons due to multiple sport participation, private skills training, and club participation. This leaves this athlete under a tremendous amount of stress on a routine basis, and it puts the physical preparation professional into the role of a stress manager.

My concern for my athletes ultimately came from growing to understand the intense physiological, psychological, and emotional demands that not only came from their sports, but the chronological and developmental age of the athlete. An athlete’s high school years can be some of the most stressful and challenging of their lives. Once again, they are experiencing rapid changes physically, mentally, and emotionally that can make the demands placed on them through athletics participation a daunting task. Expectations, realistic or unrealistic, have also become a major stressor for these athletes. Our society has set the bar high in term of expectations both academically and athletically during these formative years.

Through the data tracking of our athletes, we would see a great amount of variability in the strength levels on a regular basis. All of our long term trends would be very solid, but we could see that at times there could be as much as a 17% fluctuation either positive or negative in a core lift from one week to the next in what we measured from an athlete!

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This was not the standard fluctuation of course, but it was not unusual to see significant weekly fluctuations in strength levels. Looking at this data ignited the “light bulb” moment for me. Most of us who have been in the profession for a while most likely came out of programs with a strict percentage based mentality that did not really take the daily readiness of the athlete into account. We programmed volume and intensity into the program, and hopefully it lined up with where our athletes were that day.

Throughout this process the “why” for us became this: we want to meet our athletes as close to where they are as possible from a readiness standpoint on a daily basis. We want to do what is best for our athletes, and also what will help them achieve their goals in the safest and most efficient manner possible. I typically find that this is the goal of any coach who wants to implement a monitoring program with his or her athletes. The next step was to discern how we were going to implement a monitoring program that can be executed in an efficient manner. We first needed to consider what some challenges or limiting factors may be at the high school/youth level.

The most obvious challenges for most are going to be financial cost, time expenditure, and athlete compliance. All of these can be difficult because they are outside of your control for the most part. Finances are usually set at a certain point by a multitude of different factors dependent upon the situation. Time can be limited by access in an educational and private setting for different reasons as well. Finances and time are usually very scarce commodities in the world of physical preparation, and it must be taken into account to understand what type of monitoring program is right for your situation. Athlete compliance is the third area that is very important. Monitoring and measurement can be useless if the athlete’s in non-compliant. Non-compliance can be a lack of reporting or dishonest reporting by your athletes. There has to be athlete buy in to make all of this work!

Another factor to consider is making sure that data collection is in line with the amount of data that you can manage successfully. Collecting data for the sake of storing data in your computer is a futile exercise at best. There needs to be a plan in place to both collect and use the data.

It is important to implement any change in your program in stages, and implementing a monitoring program is no different.

It is important to implement any change in your program in stages.

It will be an adjustment for strength coaches, sport coaches, and athletes.

It is important not to place excessive demands on all involved in the early stages of building your monitoring program.

It is also important to help your athletes correctly understand the information you are asking for as well as explain the relevance of the information being collected.

It is vital that you repeat this process with everyone who is going to be involved in the process to ensure its success. This includes sport coaches, administrators, as well as parents.

Part two of this three-part series will look at methods from technology to programming that can be implemented at the high school level to monitor, evaluate, and adjust to help your athletes achieve optimal results.


 

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About the Author: Fred Eaves
Ed.S, M.Ed, CSCS, RSCC, IYCA, USAW, USATF, BIOFORCE Conditioning Coach Certified, 2015 NSCA H.S. Strength Coach of the Year, 2013 Samson Equipment & AFM H.S. Strength Coach of The Year

The Fastest Way to Get Quality Leads

We are all looking for ways to get new leads.

Look around, the people in your sessions are your greatest fans, they believe in you and what you do. They may even be, your ideal client. They should be. What if you could have more people just like them?

Is there any client that you would want to clone? Remember— it isn’t just about the kids here, it is about the parents too. How do you get great parents, great kids and long time customers that believe what you do, walking through your door?

Leverage the people you already have to find more leads like them. Here is this process broken down into steps.

Identify 10 Ideal Clients

Identify 10 of your Ideal Clients, these are the parents & kids who believe in what you do, they are walking-talking billboards. They may be other coaches, parents, or staff members. Write down these 10.

Schedule a Meeting

Block off time to spend with each of these clients. It shouldn’t take more than 15-20 minutes, but it needs to be private. It can be either on the phone or in person. Tell them in advance what the conversation is about.

“Hey (NAME) I was wondering if I could speak with you for about 10 minutes later today or this week?  You are such a great client and member that I wanted to pick your brain a little bit about what we are doing here, but also if you had any recommendations of who would be a good fit for our (Gym/Facility/Family atmosphere)”

Note: If they say yes, schedule the time. If they say no, make a note of it.

Ask & Be Transparent

This is the most critical step.

It is as simple as asking. Be completely transparent about what you are trying to do.

Here is a script for you to tweak :

“Hey __(Customer Name)___, so I think you and  (Athlete’s Name)  are such a great fit for our business and what we are trying to do here. You have been with us for awhile now and I wanted to know how we can improve and what you think about our values and what we offer”  (Let them talk first. Get their feedback and address it)

“Well, we definitely appreciate your feedback, so please keep it coming”

“Since you are literally our ideal client, and I really wish I could clone you and your family, I was wondering if you could possibly help me out?  We really want to grow our business, but not with just anyone…with people like you…are you interested?”   

“That is great, I was wondering if you could give us 3 names of people who you would love to see in this program with you, or maybe even a coach that you think would be open to what we have to offer” (Client gives you a couple names)

Note: It isn’t essential that you get the referrals contact information in this approach

“Thank you so much, would you be willing to bring them to a session in the next week, completely free?  That is essentially all you would have to do”   (Answer: Yes)

Note: A new lead could possibly bale on you the first time, but likely won’t bale on a friend- try to get them to come together for the first time

“You are the best, I will follow up with you in a couple days if I haven’t heard anything (Promotes accountability)– but I really appreciate your effort in this, and the great part is, when your friends come in we will do the rest of the work. If one of them (Purchase/join/etc) we will give you a gift for your hard work every time”   

Note: A gift isn’t essential, but if you are going to give one, you need to know what it is in advance and pay it EVERY TIME

Follow Up

This is a critical component of every referral program, and many ‘drop the ball’ here. Schedule a time to follow up with this client. It can be days later, but no more than a week. If you haven’t seen their referrals in your sessions,  it is now good to ask for contact information.

This process is just that, a process. Write it down and document it for months and years to come.


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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. 😉

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What Coaches Must Be, Have, & Do to Make a Difference

There are many reasons to become a sport performance coach. Whether it is an undeniable passion for working with kids, a need to fulfill a void that you never had during your athletic years, an experience with a great coach, or even an experience with a bad coach….

…whatever the reason, the kids in your community need a strong, confident leader and an educated leader. It is the “educated leader” that I think we miss the most. It concerns me. Does it concern you?

Unfortunately, the uneducated performance coaches aren’t likely reading this blog, so my question is…what can we do to educate more coaches, more trainers, more parents and more athletes so that we can have a bigger impact, reduce injury and create strong, healthy athletes?

What Coaches Must Be

Education begins with an individual: an open mind to evolve, grow, forego past assumptions and adopt new ways (or improve upon old ways). Leading by example is a surefire way to educate those that you come in contact with.

Providing informational sessions, newsletters and a strong culture, based in the concepts that you can find in the IYCA Youth Fitness Specialist Credential, will give you the confidence and courage to program & teach all athletes.

What Coaches Must Have

It is really easy to get side-tracked and pulled into multiple directions. The best performance coaches know their vision, and it’s a compelling and powerful one!  When you have a compelling vision, others will believe in you and ultimately follow you, not the other way around.

The best performance coaches know their vision

When we look at the latest trends and fads, one thing stands true—they are all temporary. Build a vision that can last. Invest yourself in your vision. Live it. Love it. Learn to say NO to the paths that do not lead your in the direction of your vision.

What Coaches Must Do

Knowledge is power…right?  So why do we so often keep it to ourselves? One of the biggest challenges that you may face, is educating others who may/may not be open to it.

That high school coach who has been doing the same routine for 30 years, or that volunteer parent who played Division I athletics and trains the kids like mini-adults, they may need a voice of reason when it comes to coaching youth.  

Share your knowledge, but do it gently. In order to educate, sometimes it’s more important to listen. Find a common cause or purpose that we all can rally behind.

Here at IYCA, we love the saying, “A high tide raises all ships.” Take that approach to coaching. Do your part to raise the tide and make the industry better, and our athletes better.

With a common purpose at the forefront, work on gently integrating your techniques, thoughts and vision. It isn’t about trying to be “right” or the “best” coach for the job. Don’t try to compete, work along-side them, and watch the tables turn.

You will win some over…but then again, there will be some that you won’t. Let that go.

And…Never Quit Learning.

It is easy to throw your hands in the air and stop trying to educate others. Understand that not everyone will be receptive to the concepts that we teach here at the IYCA, and that you teach in your programs.

Remember, for every one coach/trainer that you get to impact, there are potentially hundreds of kids that they may coach in a lifetime, so keep educating yourself and others, the kids need you, we need you.


Want to get started on your path to Youth Fitness today?

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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. 😉

5 Easy-to-Remember Aspects of Program Design

The best youth coaches are always looking for ideas, tips and tricks to improve their program development. Maybe it’s because they are the “never settle for anything less than perfection” type personalities, or just because they are getting bored with their current programming.

Either way, we have found some great techniques for how to approach program development, that will help you improve your programming, mix up the mundane, and continue to get great results with your athletes.

Pro Tip: When developing a program or improving an existing program, think of the acronym P.L.A.C.E. to make sure that you are delivering an extraordinary experience.

Plan & Prepare

Every program needs a good amount of planning and preparing. It is no secret that the best performance coaches in the industry have a tried & true system when it comes to planning and prepping their sessions.

What is your plan? How do you prepare?

Quality planning and preparation will take your training to the next level


Learn how to prepare your athletes to perform and to design programs that fit within a model of long term athlete development.

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Lifelong Lessons

You have an amazing opportunity to simulate and help athletes overcome many barriers and obstacles. Find ways to relate training back to life and make it a part of each program.

Overcoming barriers, fears, weakness and obstacles can easily be brought into a training program in a non-threatening, manageable way. It is a great moment for you to impact that athlete for life.

On a similar note, when you program from the long term athlete development model and principles, not only do you get to spend many years with a single athlete, you also get to implement a rock-solid foundation in movement that will change their life.

Never lose site of the bigger picture: lifelong health & happiness.

Application to sport

It is an unfortunate reality that many athletes are defined by the sports that they play. Educating them on the need to be well-rounded, foundationally sound and the concepts of long term athlete development is essential.

But the reality is still there. That is why “application to sport” is still an important part of your program. Don’t over-emphasize this topic, but give your sport-athletes as much as they they need when it comes to relating components of your program to their sport.

Confidence Building

Confidence building should be an integral part of each and every session when working with athletes. Providing a platform for confidence building will allow your athletes to achieve goals and perform at a higher level.

How will you help your athlete(s) mentally? Whether it’s in the confidence that you have in them, or the way that you play to their strengths and build their weaknesses.

There are many ways to instill confidence as a coach, so make it a priority.

Evaluate

There are two pieces to the evaluation part of your program:

  1. Evaluate the athletes
  2. Evaluated by the athletes

Every time you see an athlete, there should be a constant evaluation process that takes place. How are they feeling, how is school, how busy are they, how do they look when they move?  

Much of this evaluation should occur in your warm ups and before they start working.

Secondly, they evaluate you. At the end of each session, you can ask for feedback. How did they rank the session? How did they rank their performance? (I use a # system, 1-10)

Summary:

The good news is that the acronym PLACE is easy to remember, and will help you think through the basics of what to include in your program design.

What others tips, tricks and recommendations do you use? We’d love to hear!


Want to help make sure your athletes are prepared to perform for the long-run and not just for next week’s big game?

Download our FREE Prepared to Perform Video to hear youth coaching expert Wil Fleming break down critical aspects of the long-term athlete model.

IYCA-LTAD-LM-Blog AD-V1


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. 😉

Pushing Power in Athletics

Power in Athletics

When it comes to developing the ability to push someone around, a skill necessary for almost every team-based sport, there isn’t a better training tool than the push up.

I’m sure there are plenty of 5/3/1, Bigger Stronger Faster, or other weight room guys that will argue a big bench trumps someone who can crank out a bunch of push ups any day.

That’s when I refer to the great Earl Campbell and Herschel Walker, two incredibly successful and punishing running backs in the NFL, who reportedly were body weight training guys. They swore by push ups and body weight exercises and clearly had no problem pushing around the best in the world over and over.

Additionally, you have to look at the population of athletes in front of you. We have mostly late middle school or high school age kids who have a low training age and lack the ability to activate their entire body. The push up and its progressions give us an opportunity to teach that skill to our athletes.

More importantly, a girl that can crank out 10 full push ups and a boy that can knock out 25, in our experience, has a body well-prepared for sport and the contact typical of most team sports.

Finally, from a biomechanical standpoint, I look at the push up and see the direct correlation to pushing necessary for sport. The body stabilizes on the ground with four contact points, but the majority of the body MUST be active when pushing away from the ground. Otherwise, we might as well be doing the worm.

That pattern very closely resembles an athlete pushing someone on a field or court, with two legs on the ground and the entire body activated.

Conversely, when assessing the mechanics of a bench press, the back, glutes, and (sometimes) thighs are in contact with a stable surface. I don’t know of a situation in team sports where that much of the body comes in contact with a surface while pushing. The exception, of course, is being on the bottom of a pile of players after a tackle and pushing someone off you, which is not ideal for high performing athletes.

So let’s take a look at our progressions to get a young athlete crushing push ups on a regular basis!

Progressions:

Plank on elbows/hands

When doing a plank on the elbows or hands we are looking for rigidity of the entire body and will use various cues to teach each body part how to activate optimally:

  1. Active legs (straight as an arrow)
  2. Glutes (squeeze a quarter between the cheeks)
  3. Trunk (brace like someone is going to punch your gut)
  4. Shoulders (envision a towel between the elbows or hands and try to rip it apart)

The plank requires a lot of focus and should be difficult to hold for a long time. Therefore, we find it much more beneficial to teach athletes a plank by having them fire everything for brief periods (10-20 seconds) rather than hanging out in a plank for a minute with just enough activation to make it look good.


Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers, in our world, don’t differ greatly from a plank. The only difference here is that the athlete now must learn to stabilize in a dynamic setting.

By only moving one leg at a time, they get the chance to maintain full body bracing, like the plank, while actively driving the knee towards the trunk.  Here, the athlete must be on his or her hands. Thus we implement a new cue, “push the ground away.”

By using that cue, the athlete now aggressively pushes his or her body away from the ground, giving the leg more room to move and activate the scapular stabilizers that are generally very weak and assist in poor posture with young athletes.

We also ask athletes to “torque the ground” with the intent of turning the hands away from each other. The hands shouldn’t move, but when torquing occurs, the arms become more active and better prepared for a push up later on in the progressions.

Once an athlete shows quality movement with the mountain climber, we will have him or her start to move the leg with aggression while stopping it at 90 degrees to the body. The exercise then turns into an excellent front leg drive drill for acceleration training.


Assisted Push Ups

We use two main variations of the standard push up to help young athletes progress towards completing a push up that is repeatable and consistent through fatigue.

Our first and most common assisted push up is completed via the use of a resistance band attached to the athlete’s body and a point well above the athlete’s body (typically 7-9 feet high on a rig or hook).

There are some significant benefits to this variation. First, the movement is quite similar to an unassisted push up from the ground. Second, the athlete can torque the ground with his or her hands and arms like we cue during an actual push up.

Once an athlete has developed sufficient assisted pushup strength and can perform the movement without the band, there is almost no adjustment necessary for a body weight push up.

There are, of course, limitations to any assisted pattern.

First, the core is supported during the assisted pushup and for many of our athletes who are stuck in anterior tilt, core strength is the limiting factor and sometimes allows them to continue doing the worm instead of a push up once the band is removed.

Second, we often miss full range of motion (ROM) with our younger athletes, particularly boys. They want to crank out 20 push ups because, “that’s what I did when I tested for football!” However, the only way their chest would touch the ground with their “testing push ups” would be if they had a 60-inch chest. And I have yet to see a 16-year-old that looks like Lou Ferrigno.

**We started using bean bags (like the ones used for bean bag toss) to force full ROM. Our athletes need to touch their chest to two bean bags stacked on top of each other and then progress to one bag before we take the band away and have them train the full push up. **

The other variation we use is an elevated barbell on a rack.

Again, there are both positives and negatives to this assisted push up variation.

First, it is great for younger female athletes who truly lack upper body strength. They can see gradual improvements in strength since the holes on our rack are 1-inch apart. They can make small gains, sometimes within a singular training session, and certainly over a 6-week training program.

Second, because of the height, those athletes who lack upper body strength can start to make significant gains in chest, shoulder, and arm strength since they don’t have to struggle through the pattern and can truly focus on form, positioning, and muscle tension.

But this variation also leads to some potential issues of which coaches need to be aware.

First, due to the angle the athlete is at, the shoulders tend to elevate once the chest and arms have fatigued. So you either need to stop the set before that point or cue the athlete’s “shoulders away from their ears.”

Second, since the hands are on the bar, not on the ground, torquing is nearly impossible. I am not going to lie to you and say I haven’t seen it done, but generally those just learning a push up can’t start pulling apart a bar plus do all the other things they need to do correctly.

Remember, this isn’t our end all, be all. Instead, it is a stepping stone from a mountain climber to a full push up from the floor.


Push Ups

The push up is our end all, be all. I fully believe an athlete does not need to train bench press unless they are required to test for their sport. For the sports required to test the bench, like football, there is enough contact and pushing involved in practice and play that it justifies working the bench press into programming.

However, no matter how advanced our athlete is starting out, I want to PERSONALLY see them do ten perfect push ups before they put their face under a bar and start benching.  All too often we have athletes come in who bench and are stuck at a certain weight.

When they show me their push up, it’s evident they lack the full body activation necessary to do a push-up. Once we train the push up correctly, they go back to the bench and magically set a new personal best.

The things we coach in a quality push up stay consistent with everything taught in the previous movements, but we add additional cues to maximize pushing power.

  1. Create rigidity through the body (body is one long piece of solid oak)
  2. Torque the ground through the hands (rotate the hands away from one another)
  3. Pull the body to the floor (rip the ground apart to give the chest space)
  4. Push down as your body comes up (push the ground away)

Once an athlete shows the ability to accomplish this and get his or her chest to the ground for a reasonable amount of push ups, we may add resistance in the form of plates on the athletes back. We had some strong male athletes rep out ten push ups with 90+ pounds on their back, so if you don’t think you can overload the push up, you’re wrong!

By taking the proper steps in progressing a young athlete through the push up, you will create a powerful, stable athlete capable of pushing around anyone he or she chooses.

And when the athlete returns to his or her team and can crush all teammates in push ups, they walk a little taller. When we as coaches can create confidence like that, we win!

ADAPT and Conquer,
Coach Jared


About the Author: Jared Markiewicz

JarredJared is founder of Functional Integrated Training (F.I.T.). F.I.T. is a performance-based training facility located in Madison, WI. They specialize in training athletes of all levels: everyday adults, competitive adults and youth ages 5-20+.

The long-term vision for F.I.T. is recognition as the training facility for those desiring to compete at the collegiate level in the state of Wisconsin. Alongside that, to also develop a platform to educate those in our industry looking to make strides towards improving the future for our young athletes.

Find out more about Jared’s gym by visiting F.I.T.

Career Highlights

  • 2014 Fitness Entrepreneur of the Year – Fitness Business Insiders
  • 2014 IYCA Coach of the Year Finalist
  • Volunteer Strength Coach for West Madison Boys Hockey and Westside Boys Lacrosse
  • Helped develop dozens of scholarship athletes in 3 years of business
  • Instructed Kinesiology Lab at UW-Madison
  • Houses an internship program at F.I.T. that started in 2013
  • Member of Elite Mastermind Group of Nationwide Fitness Business Owners

Push Ups Help Develop Powerful Athletes:

Learn more power evolution techniques today.

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Overworked and Underpaid

Overworked, Underpaid and…Exhausted?

If you are reading this, it’s fair to assume it is because you answered “yes” to at least one part of that question.

Let’s be honest here, most of us feel this way at some point or another, no matter what industry you’ve worked in.

Many sport performance coaches spend countless hours planning, preparing and delivering, only to fall short on financial performance and feel exhausted. After all, we wake up before the sun, and go to bed just before it rises again…right?   

tired-418902_640If you are like most performance coaches, passion got you started—persistence keeps you going—and pride keeps you from quitting when the going gets tough. If you are feeling that you are 

overworked, underpaid and exhausted…well, the going has gotten tough.

What to do?

Take a few steps back, and figure out how you can turn your youth fitness business into a lucrative and successful place…afterall…the world NEEDS you!

Here are 3 Ways to avoid burnout as a performance coach:

Take a 30,000 foot view, quarterly:

Sometimes we can’t see what is really going on inside our businesses until we remove ourselves.  It isn’t always physically possible, but what if you could look at your business from the outside…

… what would you see? Would you like it? What wouldn’t you like? Is it what you envisioned when you started? Would you come into your own gym as a client, and why?

These questions serve to spark your curiosity, knowing what your business is really about is probably the most important thing you can do when it comes to being lucrative.

If you lose sight of your vision, your dream and the reason you started in the first place, likely that passion will fade and so will your business.

Know your numbers, monthly:

Many youth fitness business owners hate showing their numbers.  Knowing your numbers is a sure-fire way to gain insight into your business.

Numbers you have to know:office-620822_640

  • Gross Revenue
  • Expenses
  • Profit Margin
  • Leads
  • Clients Lost

There are more than these, but this is a good start.   Do you know these answers? If you don’t, you need to. If you want to make money, you have to know what is coming in and going out.

Don’t have “time” to track them, then keep ignoring them and the result (likely not the one that you or I want for you) will come, or acknowledge them and have the power to create solutions and change the course…and WIN!

It is that simple. Numbers tell the story, get to know your business’s story!

Work ON the business, not IN the business, weekly:

Performance coaches are good at coaching…we are not always businessmen and businesswomen.  Overlooking critical aspects of our business, like sales/marketing, setting goals, our numbers, strategies and systems, etc. can destroy a business.

By working ON your business, you focus on the strategies and systems that optimize your performance.  Spend an hour or two every week (or a timeframe that works for you), focusing on your business.

What to think about?

  • Strategies
  • Systems
  • Priorities
  • What is working
  • What is not working

If you are only working IN the business, you have blinders on to most of these things. You may know them, but they get forgotten. Don’t let that happen…it’s a good way to burn out.

Written By:

IYCA-newsletter-julie sig-v1 (1)

 

 

IYCA– Executive Director
YFS, YNS, YSAS
Fitness Business Owner


Program design can require a lot of time.

Here is a free video and PDF resource for you to help save you some time (and energy) on program design for long-term athletic development.

IYCA-LTAD-LM-Blog AD-V1

Coaching: Art or Science?

By Alex Slezak – M.Ed, YFS, YSAS, HSSCS

Let me begin by posing a question for you to ponder aimed at the core of your coaching philosophy. Is training young athletes to get bigger, faster, and stronger a sports science or an art form? Do you believe the science, research or training methods are most important? Or do you believe that the art of coaching and working with youth is more important than any science or training methods?

I have spent the past 9 years of my life training youth of all ages and athletic backgrounds in my physical education classes or through my tennis business. I would venture to say that I have spent on average at least 30 hours each week over the past 9 years directly involved in coaching youth in some way shape or form. That is 14,040+ hours of coaching and counting. I believe that gives me some credentials in giving my opinion on this topic.

I firmly believe without a shadow of a doubt that you have to thoroughly grasp the content knowledge of how to properly training youth. You have to fully understand motor development, anatomy, strength, conditioning, mobility, flexibility, soft tissue work, power, speed, agility, and so on. Then you have all the methods of training like kettlebells, bands, free-weights, body weight, suspension trainers, etc. There is just no way around it you have to fully understand the science of sport and athletic skill development or you are just randomly selecting exercises in hopes of getting results.

Art of Coaching

On the other hand ultimately you can have all the knowledge and understanding in the world but none of it matters unless you can convey that information to the youth you are working with in a way that resonates with and inspires them. Not just so that a child understands what they are doing in their training but in a way that inspires and ignites them to be the best athlete and person they can be. Each young person we come in contact with is unique and the art of coaching lies in bridging unique relationships with your athletes so you can share your knowledge, motivate, and inspire.

Youth fitness training, in my humble opinion, is both a sport science and an art form. The best coaches in the industry get it. They understand the science behind the methods to their madness while at the same time are able to move their kids from simply being compliant, to committed, and ultimately over time to becoming passionate about their training. Our job is much more than simply getting youth more athletic prowess. Our job is about motivating and inspiring very impressionable youth to challenge themselves to become the best athletes and people they can be.

The IYCA clearly understands this unique balance between sport science and the art of coaching. In all of their courses they provide cutting edge research, methods, and information for coaches looking to get better. The real genius of the IYCA is that they do not mandate that there is only one correct way to apply their methods. They realize that coaching is an art form, each child and coach is unique, and something that cannot be captured purely by science and data. Albert Einstein said “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” The IYCA provides the knowledge and concepts while at the same time empowering the individual coach to be their own person, let their personality shine through, and take ownership of their work. You would be wise to invest in yourself by picking up any one of the many certifications or courses the IYCA offers. Even after 14,040 hours of direct coaching I am still improving at the art of coaching and adding to the depth of my content knowledge.

Specialization

By Wil Fleming

 

As coaches we no doubt know about the pitfalls of early specialization when it comes to young athletes.

Despite much evidence that early specialization can lead to higher levels of burnout and dropout, many coaches still believe that the only way athletes can reach 10,000 hours of deliberate practice is to begin specialization at an extremely early age.

Recently several researchers (Moesch, Elbe, Haube and Wikman) published a very interesting article in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Sport Science examining just this theory and has amazing implications for the coaching in your program.

The researchers asked elite athletes and near elite athletes to answer questions about their experiences in athletics regarding their training and practice throughout their career.

(more…)

Teaching Young Athletes the Kettlebell Snatch

 

Kettlebell Snatch For Young Athletes

 

by Jason C Brown (more…)

Transition Game For Young Athletes

 

In this video Dave Jack shares a great Transition Game that he uses   to help his young athletes make the transition from school or wherever else   they may be coming in from into their training session.

 

This is a superb way to get the young athletes focussed from their outside stressors.

Young Athletes Transition Game

 

 

Strength And Conditioning Coaches Misuse of Speed & Agility Training


Strength And Conditioning Coaches Often Overlook Movement

By Jim Kielbaso




A lot 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.

 

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.

 

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 speed and agility programs?

 

In my opinion, a lot of S & C Coaches approach speed and agility
training 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

 

Unfortunately, there are a few problems with learning about speed and
agility 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 Speed and 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 Strength And Conditioning Coaches
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 and conditioning 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.


5 Steps To Getting In With Coaches

 

Coaches for high schools and teams need specialists…

coaches
by Ryan Ketchum
 
The biggest obstacle that arises with youth fitness and sports performance coaches and business owners seems to be figuring out a way to gain the approval and access to high school or team coaches. Honestly, 99% of you are probably doing it the wrong way. If you laid out your plan of attack (this is exactly how it will be taken by the coach) for working with the team or the coach’s athletes I would bet that for almost all of you it is being done the wrong way, ineffectively and you are running into a lot of dead ends and bruised relationships.
 
The problem with most of coaches and business owners is placing too large of an emphasis on getting the coach to let you work with the athletes right away or trying to get paid to train the team. I hate to break it to you but unless you are well known in your community for training high level and well respected athletes, have a pervious relationship with the coach or can sell a ketchup popsicle to a lady in a white dress you are not going to have any success in getting your foot in the door.

Here is your five step process to working with teams and getting coaches to give you your seal of approval:

Disclaimer: This is not a get paid quick or only work a few hours a day plan. This will require patience, effort and some ground work. If that isn’t something you are willing to do I encourage you to stop reading now as it will be a waste of your time.
 
Step 1: The first thing that you should do is look at your current athletes and your networking list. I know it seems obvious, but most people try to skip this step. Make a list of all the coaches that you already know, people that might know coaches you want to work with and a list of all your current athlete coaches.
 
The list of your current athlete coaches are the easiest to get in touch with, so start there!


Step 2: Set aside some time each day to make phone calls. Do not email, do not send letters and brochures, and certainly don’t send marketing material to the coaches.
 
One this phone call your main goal is to start building a relationship with the coach and get him or her to let their guard down a bit. The call to your current athletes’ coaches should be focused on finding out what the coach feels the individual athlete needs to improve on and what type of training they think will help the athlete succeed in their upcoming season or get better in the off season.
 
I know what you are thinking…. These coaches don’t know what they are talking about and probably will give me terrible training advice.
 
You are probably right! However you need to let them tell you what they think and start to build the relationship. If you ask them what they think they will feel as if they are giving advice and feel like the expert. This is important to get them to let you into the inner circle of coaches that you so desperately want to be involved in.
 
Step 3: Once you have the advice given by the coach you will ask if they have to meet so you can talk training and find out more about what they are doing and what trends they see in these athletes. Take them to coffee or lunch, invite to a training session, simply find a way to get in front of them.
 
During your conversations you will work hard to ask the right questions to find out what they are good at in their training and what they are lacking in providing to their athletes. The goal is to find an area that you have a lot of expertise in and that will add value to having you work with their athletes.
 
Step 4: After you have built up the relationship and you have found your “in” (the area that you are strong in and the coach is lacking) you will leverage your skill set!
 
Offer to come in during one of their workouts to help with a short 60-90 minute clinic on the area of you have the most traction in for their athletes.
 
This might be Olympic Lifting, Resistance Band Speed Training, Agility Training, or any other number of areas. Invite the other coaches to come to the training session so that you can help them with coaching cues and teach them how to get the most out of their athletes when you aren’t around.
 
You will do all of this for FREE!
 
The keys to this being successful are free, you will do all of this for FREE!
 
The keys to this being successful are free, you go to them, and finding an activity or skill set that you are very strong in and the coaches are weak in.
 
Step 5: Deliver an amazing clinic for the athletes and let the coach know right before you start that you would like to invite any of the players that would like to attend to a 6 week training program for the skill set you are teaching. Let them know it will be highly discounted and you just want to have the chance to help out the athletes further. You can also offer a trial or other program if you feel that is a better fit.
 
You must ask for the coach’s permission before doing this or you will burn the bridge you worked hard to build.
 
Once you get the kids in the door follow up with the coach let them know each athlete’s progress and keep them in the loop.
 
Bonus Step: If you really want to take your business to the next level you will call the coach 3 days after you perform the clinic and ask how the athletes and other coaches are doing with the new skills and coaching cues that they learned.
 
When you get a positive response you should ask the coach to put you in contact with other coaches in the same school or organization so that you can do the same thing. This will allow you to work through an entire school’s athletic department with relative ease and have access to hundreds of athletes.
 
This process will work with cold calling coaches as well, but the initial contact becomes a little tougher. Make it easy on yourself and go with low hanging fruit!
Give this system a try and let us know how it works.

Coaching Young Athletes : Use Feedback as Proprioception

 

 

Brain Food for Coaching Young Athletes.

  by Phil Hueston, NASM-PES; IYCA-YFS

 

Your feedback and communication is brain food when it comes to coaching young athletes.

To develop correctly and effectively, young athlete’s brains need a steady flow of quality nutrients and stimuli. Neural development and conditioning is a process that never really ceases, at least not until brain function does. Since none of us train zombies, let’s focus on how we affect brain development, especially synaptic development, through communication, feedback and the impact of both on proprioception with our living clients.

 

While synaptic structural growth is activity-independent, that is it’s spontaneous, part of the normal physical development of the neuro-muscular system, synaptic performance and modification, delivery efficiency and transient synapse termination require neural activity. By extension, then, all synaptic impulses are affected by previous proprioception. Spatial and kinesthetic differentiation, spatial awareness, force development, stabilization, deceleration and force application are all impacted by the billions of proprioceptive signals processed by synapses.

 

It’s reasonable to state, then, that the development and performance of synapses is affected by the quality (and quantity) of feedback and communication received by the sensory organs. Emotional response to sensory organ proprioception creates new “sub-signals” if you will, that affect the processing of and response to proprioceptive input. That’s because part of the neural response to stimulus is conditioned (more…)

Training Young Athletes Where It All Begins

 

 

Foot Strike: The most obvious but most overlooked component of training young athletes.

 

 

About eight years ago, one of my high school high jumpers, Danielle, came running down to me at a track meet to tell me the news. As the coach of the long, triple and high jumps I was making the rounds at a meet trying to miss as few competitive attempts as possible, in a facility that spread the jump areas out. Needless to say, I missed her high jumps attempts. She was about to fill me in.

 

Between spurts of laughter, Danielle, whose athleticism is best described as “she is a really nice girl”, managed to tell me that during her approach she fell, crashed into the standard, caused a ruckus but rather enjoyed the experience. She then bounded off.  Momentarily, I was relieved to have missed it. Days later I scrounged up the video to see what I expected. Poor foot placement in the latter steps of the approach and some other factors caused the wipeout.

 

Her problem was caused by the same part of athleticism that also led to many of the great performances that day: the” foot strike.”  “Foot strike,” refers to the foot contacting the ground while running. That instant is vital to the success or failure of nearly every sporting endeavor, yet it is rarely emphasized, coached, taught or even discussed. It definitely should be. Since then, the other co-head coach of the track team and I have focused many hours upon this very topic. Here are some things to think about:

 

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Top 5 Summer Training Tips


Summer Youth Training 

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how to approach summer training.

 
You’ve got a number of options, so here’s my take on getting the most out of summer youth training for sprinters (or any athlete in any sport, for that matter):

 

1

Consider not training at all.

 

Summer competitions are more popular in some places than others. Where I live, it’s not incredibly popular. And quite frankly, I’m cool with that.

 

I generally don’t steer kids toward summer training and/or competitions unless the kid is hardcore and keeps asking about it or they’re a scholarship caliber athlete who needs the work in a low pressure environment.

 

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