Archive for “Coaching” Tag

Ron McKeefery – Making a Difference

ron mckeeferyRon McKeefery has become one of the most influential men in the industry by simply being himself and caring about people.  He has been a strength coach at the highest levels of football – University of Tennessee and the Cincinnati Bengals – as well as programs that he had to help create a winning culture – University of South Florida and Eastern Michigan.  He has also helped more young strength coaches break into the field than just about anyone through an outstanding internship program he created over 10 years ago.  He wrote the book The CEO Strength Coach a couple of years ago and is now the Director of Education for PLAE USA.

Even though he has done so many big things, it still all comes back to making a difference in people’s lives.

“I chose to be a strength and conditioning coach and why I love being a strength and conditioning coach is it’s a laboratory for life” explained Coach Mac in a recent discussion about how coaches make a difference. “Every single day, you walk in and you have an idea, you have a goal, you have a concept of what’s about to happen, but then all of a sudden you get smacked in the face with a tough workout, you know? And now you have to deal with adversity, you have to deal with success, and you have to work as a team, and you have to create energy when there’s none. What a better, it’s a microcosm of life. What a better laboratory for developing the skill set that you need to be successful after sport by doing that each and every day. So why would you every compromise those values to not reinforce that for their entire life?”

But, coaches can’t just start with crazy workouts and an abrasive attitude anymore.  We’ve learned that there is much more to being a strength coach than just lifting weights.

“I think I would go back a little bit further and start with your meetings with the athletes” McKeefery suggests. “Too many people don’t haveron mckeefery internship those initial meetings about why a kid is actually there. I call them WHY meetings. There’s a great book called Start With Why by Simon Sinek and there’s a good TED talk on it if you’re not into reading.  These meetings really help get down to the core of why they do what they do.  Maybe this is their only escape.  Maybe this is the only way that they see that they have a future. Maybe they just love being around people and interacting with people.  When you find out what their WHY is, you know the buttons to push. Just going up to a guy and saying ‘that bench press right there is not gonna get you into the NFL’ may resonate with them. He may not even care about that.”

Coach Mac went on to talk about how he handles different athletes when he knows more about them:

“If you know what their WHY is, then you find those little buttons to push as you’re walking around the room.  Some people like the public challenge. They like the limelight. They like the audience and the gladiator style deal. So, in that group you’re blowing the whistle and you’re getting everybody around and being loud when you’re talking to the guys so it brings attention. Then there’s other guys that don’t like that at all. They don’t like that attention but they want to know somebody cares about them. So, you put your arm around that guy so he knows you’re there for him. There are moments like that in every session where it’s almost like being a CEO.  Sometimes you have to run the entire room instead of just one squat rack.”

ron mckeefery weight room“I try to find touch points with every single person that’s in the room. That touch point may be putting my arm around a guy. The touch point might be play boxing with somebody. It might be cracking on this guy and it might be telling the next guy to come meet me after the lift so we can talk about home situation. But I find touch points with every single guy as I’m going through the room. By doing that, when they know that you care about them more as a person than as a player, then asking them to do things that are uncomfortable, which people don’t want to do in this society, you can do that.  You’ve been given that permission.”

Another interesting way Ron McKeefery gets to know his athletes is by asking them about their most challenging life experiences.

“Sometimes you’d be surprised what you hear when you ask about challenging life experiences. I had a player who watched his dad shoot his mom and then shoot himself right in front of him. He grew up in a foster home. And this kid, he’s a doctor now. You would have never thought. He’s happy, go lucky, smile on his face every day kind of kid. You would have never thought that this guy grew up that way.  And, I probably would have never found that out had I not asked him what’s the most challenging thing you’ve ever gone through. So, when you do those things, you start to find out at the core what is important to them, and then you can help counsel them, not just from an athletic standpoint but from a life standpoint.”

To get ever further into his relationships with athletes, Coach Ron McKeefery tries to create experiences for them.  Experiences they will never forget.

“When you create life experiences for kids, they hold you in a different light.  We’ve done all sorts of things, like taking them to the sand dunes on Lake Michigan, or shutting down the roads of a small town and doing a workout in the middle of the street.  After that kind of thing, when you’re asking them to give you another sprint, it’s not the guy that’s being a jerk with the whistle saying do it. It’s the guy that cares about me and he thinks that the sprints can help me. He believes in me. He’s investing in me.”

You don’t have to plan an elaborate trip.  You can create experiences right in your space by doing special workouts, bringing in speakers and having new experiences.

The IYCA philosophy of making an impact on people’s lives is one of the things that makes our community so amazing, and it’s great to see someone like Ron McKeefery placing such a high value on this aspect of the profession.

To get more Ron McKeefery in your life, listen to an interview with Ron McKeefery on The Impact Show podcast talking about making an impact through your business or listen to his podcast Iron Game Chalk Talk where he interviews coaches from all over the world.

LTAD Can Change the Lives of HS Athletes

LTAD Complements the HS S&C Coach

In this video, Jim Kielbaso gives you some insight into how the LTAD Model complements the goals of the High School Strength & Conditioning Coach.

Start with the young kids coming to the weight room. Enjoy your time with the super strong and older kids, but find those kids that aren’t doing a great job, and help them become better at it!

He gives a great example of just how a HS S&C coach can make a HUGE impact on a young athlete, taking that awkward kid and turning him/her into a confident collegiate athlete!

Pro Tips:

1. Work with kids when they first get into the weight room.

2. Focus on the Freshman.

3. The long-term success of your program hinges on early-on instruction and programming.

4. LOVE THEM UP!

Watch the video for more!!


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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

2016-02-29_1611

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

2016-02-29_1603
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.

 


Are your athletes prepared to perform?

Download our free PDF and Overview video on the long term athletic development model.

WFIYCA


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.

 

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.


Do you have a referral strategy that rocks?  

Share it with us on our Facebook Page!


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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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.

IYCA-PowerEvolution-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.

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4 Levels of Youth Sports Training Business

 

Youth Sports Training Business Success

Youth sports training business success

 

By Ryan Ketchum

 


Training youth athletes can be hard.

It might be one of the most enjoyable experiences in all of coaching, but it can be difficult to gain traction in your community if you have no previous relationships with coaches or sports organizations. The toughest part, much like any other aspect of business, is getting started. Once you have a little momentum behind you all it takes is consistency to grow your youth sports training business at an incredible rate.

 

For some reason it has taken me a few years to figure out just how easy and simple building your youth sports performance business can be if you follow the right steps.

 

Over the past several months I have implemented this system into our business with great success. It is almost scary how easy it is to follow and how quickly it can have an effect on your bottom line.

 

The greatest part of this system is that it doesn’t require you to be great at marketing or selling. I modified this system so that any coach can sell with the experience of their coaching and the results that come because of their great coaching. All you have to do to make this work is be consistent and dependable.

 

The first level of building an incredible youth sports training performance business is leveraging your network to build relationships with coaches, parents and leaders of youth sports organizations. You should focus on an area that you already have traction in and put all of your energy into it. If you aren’t sure where you might have traction I suggest you focus on middle school or younger athletes and female athletes. Stay away from football unless you are established or have some great connections. Building relationships is easier than most people think, but it requires you to step out of your comfort zone. For a little while you have to take a back seat to being the expert and ask for advice. Call up coaches, parents and organizational leaders and ask their advice on what they see a need for in their sports training. Take them to lunch, grab coffee and don’t step on their toes!

 

Once you have established a relationship and secretly found out what the biggest need in that sports community is (that is why you asked for advice earlier) you can offer a solution. The next step is offering a free clinic to help the coach or organization’s athletes better prepare for their sport. This clinic should be catered to meet the needs that were unveiled by those in your network.

 

To make this clinic extra successful you should have as much done for you material as possible. Write the emails for the coach, set up times that are convenient for the entire team, create the fliers and deliver the copies, etc. The easier you can make it on the coach or those in charge the more likely it is that you will get access to a lot of athletes.

 

When selling this free clinic idea to a coach you must explain how it will help them. How is this going to make their life easier and their athletes better? How can they use this in their practices and training?

 

Once you have established a date and set up the clinic your only job is to show up and be ready to wow the parents, coaches and athletes with your knowledge and coaching ability. Connect with the kids, make it fun and give them what they want. If you can show immediate results and improvement with the kids speed, agility or strength you will have won them over.

 

At the end of this free clinic it is time to move onto the third level. We must speak the language that coaches and parents are used to hearing, we have to do the unspeakable when talking about long term athletic development, we must offer a short term sport specific and skill specific academy!!!!

 

You might be wondering why we would offer a short term program if we have already won these athletes and their parents over?

 

The reason you offer a 6-8 week program to start is because that is what they are conditioned to believe will produce the best results. Create an offering that will help get them prepared for the season or improve a specific skill. The goal for the 6-8 week program is to educate them on the long term athletic development model and continue to build a relationship with the athletes and those in charge.

 

You can offer this program on site at the team’s location or at your own location. Many times it is easier to take the athletes off site to your location. We have got the athletes in our funnel now and we should do our best to move them into our long term training programs.

 

This 6-8 week program should be low cost, with a specific purpose. Our goal here is not to make a lot of money, but rather to gain the confidence of the athletes and the community. It is a great way to “slow cook” your leads and earn their trust. This works particularly well if you are new in the sports performance community.

 

Towards the end of the 6-8 week program you will now attempt to move these athletes on to level 4. This is your long term development program, your core offerings and strength and conditioning program. After 6-8 weeks of education and a phenomenal experience it should be an easy sell to get them into your programs so that they can continue their athletic development with you.

 

The key to transitioning these athletes from the short term to long term program is understanding their needs at the time of the conversion. If they are going in season it would be silly to recommend a three time per week training program, however you could offer a one-time per week program to ensure they maintain their results and continue to make progress so that come playoff time they are in the best condition. If they are going into an off season you will want to make the most appealing offer, which is a complete off season solution for them.

 

To recap here are the 4 levels of youth sports training business success:

Build and develop relationships

 

Set up FREE Clinics

 

Convert into low cost short term programs with specific training focus

 

Convert into long term development program

 

If you follow these simple steps you will have no problem becoming the go-to resource for athletic development and youth sports performance training in your community.

 

 

youth sports training business success

 

Non-Programming Elements of a Great Youth Fitness Program

 

Creating a Great Youth Fitness Program

Youth Fitness

 

By Wil Fleming

 

Non-Programming elements of a great Youth Fitness program

 

That sure is a mouthful for a title. Maybe the meaning is quite self evident or maybe it is a little more veiled. Either way I think that these elements are essential to making your AR successful and helping you to develop great athletes.

 

What do I mean by “non-programming” elements?

 

Sets, reps, exercises, and their order are all the things that you put on paper when you are putting together their training program., those are the traditional “programming elements”. There are things that don’t end up on paper that can make your program successful though.

 

Those things that don’t end up on the whiteboard or workout card are just as important to the quality of your program as what’s written down. They create the environment in which your athletes train.

 

Coaching
This is first. It really should always be first. Great coaching can change the way athletes think, can improve technique, and can inspire. Each day in your AR you should seek to instruct, teach, and inspire each athlete. In fact in my training sessions I aim to do these 3 separate things with each individual I encounter. Your interactions with your champions will be deeper and more meaningful if you approach each athlete with these 3 things in mind.

 

Communication
The way that we communicate with our champions is very important. Maximum uptake of information is dependent upon how we choose to transmit ideas to our athletes. I like to communicate training technique in a “do this, don’t do that, do this” way (first popularized by the AMAZING John Wooden). In essence I tell each athlete how we should do a movement or piece of a movement, then give them 1 way to not do that movement, and then repeat using different cues how to do this movement. For instance in the hang clean if I am verbally communicating technique I might say “Get full extension in your hips. We don’t want to leave your hips behind the bar. It might feel like you are going onto your tippy toes” I communicated the same point to the athlete in 2 different ways and let them know what the improper way to do things might look like.

 

Fun
We hear about fun all the time, but what does it look like? In my AR it is often impromptu competition between athletes or between athletes and coaches. A quick game of wall ball, with rules made up on the spot, as we wait to warm-up. A race with a sled, or relay will do the trick as well. Impromptu feels better than planned, and we try to do something like this everyday. Fun makes communication easier and coaching easier and is the underlying note to creating a great environment for your youth fitness program.

 

I cannot remember who said it to me but I was once told “A horrible program implemented well, will always out perform a great program implemented poorly. ” The non-programming elements are what makes this true, those things which create the environment. If poor programs in a great environment can do well, imagine what a great youth fitness program (your AR program) can do in a great environment (your AR).

 

 

 

Whole-Part Coaching of the Hip Turn for young athletes

 

Young athletes hip turn whole-part coaching

By Dave Gleason

 

Coaching any exercise to Young Athletes
can be challenging.

One of the most effective methods is to break down an activity into its
component parts, often times all the way down to the smallest or
simplest part possible.
 
This is very true when teaching the hip turn, especially to younger
(10-13 year old) athletes.  Unfolding this movement for Young Athletes
in an effort teach them how and why hip/shoulder disassociation is
crucial for their long term success.
 
At Athletic Revolution we use a 1-2-3 method to take full advantage of
variable learning styles and we have found that this tactic works
extremely well for our younger athletes.
 

 
Have fun and change lives!

Early Sport Specialization: Part 1


Sport Specialization

Sport Specialization Vs LTAD

 

The IYCA has championed the notion that the long-term athletic development model, or LTAD, provides the greatest benefit to a developing athlete, in both physical and psychological aspects, over time. 

 

Contrary to ever-popular and growing model of early sport specialization, the LTAD model is intended to optimize performance slowly and equip the young athlete with foundational skills. 

 

Although far from “new,” in light of heavily marketed programs intended to maximize immediate potential sport specific gains, the commonsense simplicity of the LTAD model is starting to gain momentum with some practitioners.

 

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High School Strength & Conditioning (Video)

High School Strength & Conditioning Rules:

The power and necessity of education…

 Coaching High School Strength & Conditioning is no joke.

 

Watch This:

 

 

 

Have Are You One of the ONLY People Who HASN’T Seen This?

 

Quickly ==> http://iyca.org/highschool

 

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Youth Fitness: Outcome vs Form Coaching

Youth Fitness Coaching Principles

What is the difference between Outcome-Based Coaching and Form-Based Coaching?

 

When is one more important than the other?

 

When should you NOT use one versus the other?

 

This video will clear everything up regarding Youth Fitness coaching:

 

 

 

Have you seen the Art of Coaching?

 

Have a Look –> http://CompleteAthleteDevelopment.com

 

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Connecting with Young Athletes

Coaching young athletes is only half about programming

 

It’s also about mentoring, communication and understanding how to make connections…
 

 Watch This:

 

 

 

The Role of a good young athletes coach Is About MUCH More Than Knowing How to Count Sets & Reps:

 

This Is The Key —> http://iyca.org/products/yfs1 (more…)