Archive for “Fitness Training” Tag

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?


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!


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.


Check out our Youth Athlete Assessment Certification to begin evaluating and monitoring your athletes.

Learn More

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

Bands for 6-13 Year Olds

Need bands? Here is a special coupon for your purchase at : RBTIYCA15


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?

Check out the IYCA Youth Fitness Specialist Credential and take action!

Learn More

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. 😉

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
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.


Blueprint to Building Your Ideal Youth Fitness Business Video


Youth Fitness Business Building Success


Do you wake up each day excited to go to work?


I’m sure you are passionate about helping your clients or athletes achieve their goals but are you doing EXACTLY what you want to be doing?


Well, if your answer isn’t an enthusiastic YES, then I have something special for you.


IYCA Expert Dave Gleason did a presentation where he shares the exact plan he used to dump an unfulfilling career as an In Home Trainer to open his dream facility and build an ultra-successful business serving the hottest market in the industry: Youth Fitness & Sports Performance.


In this Free Video you will discover the secrets to never having to work with another single client you don’t love again while building the business or career of your dreams!


I wish most fitness pros would enjoy what they do half as much as Dave enjoys what he does… and in this video he’s going to share exactly how he turned his passion into a thriving youth fitness business.


Remember why you got into this industry and start loving your career again. Here is a blueprint to how Dave made that happen for him and how you can do it too.


Turn your fitness passion into profits starting with this video ->


Dedicated to Your Success,




P.S. – Check out Dave Gleason’s youth fitness business presentation where he shares his story on how he went from an In Home Trainer who didn’t really enjoy what he was doing to building one of the top youth fitness businesstraining facilities in the U.S. while loving every minute of it.



Fitness for Kids: Pirates and 6-9-Year-Olds

I have referenced the “pirate game” several times in the past in the context of utilizing a fun game to provide several aspects of fitness to young athletes 6-9 years old. As a backdrop, we must remember that our programming for this age group must be rooted in body awareness/movement exploration, coordination, object manipulation, and game play/cooperation. By extension, when programming for young athletes, you need to approach things from a systemic standpoint while maximizing neural or bio-motor development.


‘Base Building’ for High School Athletes?




High School Athletes coaching should focus on the five biomotor abilities. By Latif Thomas

When my mother attended her first ever Parent-Teacher Conference, she expected Mrs. Candlette to tell her how smart I was. Or how polite I was. Or to hear about some other facet of my considerable six year old intellect…


Instead, the first teacher to parent description to fall upon her ears was,


“Wow, Latif sure can run fast!”


What can I say? I owned Duck, Duck, Goose!


So, when I arrived at the University of Connecticut, track and field scholarship in hand, I thought I was well on my way to the Olympic Games.


You can imagine my horror when, a few weeks before the start of my first Indoor Track Season, my coach pulled me into his office. He told me, not so subtly, that I was being red shirted. He then told me, not so subtly, that he thought I was a fluke. That he had no idea, based on what he saw from me that fall, how I possibly ran 10.8 for 100m, 22.1 for 200m or 48.8 for 400m as a 16 year old. (That was pretty good for New England back in the mid ’90s.) He then reminded me that scholarships are year to year and that I was not on pace to have mine renewed!


I slowly shuffled back to my dorm in a state of panic and disbelief.


How did it get to this point? I work my butt off. And I set all types of records when I was a high school athletes.


Sure, I had lost the bulk of my senior year to a torn hamstring. But, how was I supposed to know to do a ‘dynamic warm up’ before a race? I didn’t know what that was. My hamstring was tight that day, so I static stretched it even harder. (more…)

Olympic Lifting & Young Athletes

Olympic Lifting Educational Opportunity

I posted this article on my blog back in 2009 but decided to re-hash it for a very good reason…


On Monday July 11, the incredible Wil Fleming of Athletic Revolution will be joining me for a free educational event:


Olympic Lifting – Technique, Programming & Progressions


You can join us live (Monday at 7:30pm – EST) OR you can register now and enjoy the playback whenever it fits your schedule.


Click below right now to register for absolutely no charge:


Now, read this to see the depth of Wil’s knowledge of this subject:



Youth Fitness Greatest Coaching Resource?


“Children and Sports Training” by Jozef Drabik.


By far, the most important read I’ve ever had.


An incredibly detailed look at developmental youth fitness, critical elements of coordination and pedagogical (Coaching) science.Youth Fitness


You can find this book virtually anywhere online for next to nothing.


Just Google the name and author.


How about you?


What is your #1 resource of all time and the one book, course or DVD that has had the greatest impact on your career?



Youth Training: My Top 5 (Part 3)

Youth Training Tip # 3

Another ‘no-brainer’ reason you need to hear about.


For fun, I call this our “shake the hands and kiss the babies” policy!


In truth, it’s one of the factors that separates the IYCA Summit from every other conference out there.


The Personal Touch.


Our Speakers are contracted, not just to present, but to be available all weekend long in order to answer YOUR questions.


Maybe you’ve always wanted to ask Eric Cressey something about Mobility.


Perhaps Mike Robertson has the key you’ve been looking for with respect to Youth Training (more…)

The Blunt Truth About High School Athletes

High School Athletes

high school athletes


b) Learning Exploration (10 – 13)


  • Very similar in terms of primarily Outcome-Based (roughly 80%) and explorative in nature. In this phase, due to increased Training, Biological and Emotional ages however, we can add points of quantified instruction. The CNS is still very plastic and therefore adaptable to change – what we become fluent in while young, we retain forever.
  • Exploration type activities (games, skills etc) are more formalized and advanced. What was a simple 180-degree jump and land, now is a 180-jump and land with transition to back pedal jog. Adding complexity to movement sequences will increase the warehousing of neural/athletic ability.
  • Teach complex, multi-joint movements in a skill set fashion (4 points that guide young high school athletes from set-up to execution. ‘Squat’, for example:
    • Set Your Feet
    • Eyes Up
    • Hips Back
    • In-Steps Off
  • (more…)

Early Sport Specialization: Part 2

sport specialization


Sport specialization the brief, but telling conclusion…


The study’s findings are relatively convincing.  The elite group tended to devote far less time at earlier ages in sport-specific training. 


Additionally, early Sport Specialization was found to be a likely predictor of classification as a near-elite athlete. 


In other words, while the early sport specialization may have been beneficial to overall performance, the athletes who tended to excel the most had instead focused on multilateral athletic development early in their growth and avoided the high technical skill, intensity, and specificity of unique sport preparation until such foundational skills were well established.



Youth Fitness Equipment – Video

Youth Fitness Tools

What do you REALLY need to train young athletes properly?


What if I gave you an exact template to spend no more than $50, but with that small investment, could stock your entire Youth Fitness & Sport Training business with exactly what you needed to both:


Get started now…


And, be fully equipped to ‘do it right’?


Think I’m crazy?


Then watch this short video:




Youth Sports Training or Youth Fitness?

Youth Sports Training Vs Fitness

How can you engage your young athletes with more than just ‘training programs’?


Is there a difference between ‘Youth Fitness’ and ‘Youth Sports Training’?


Watch This:




Your Key to Training ALL Young People (Athletes & Non-Athletes) Is Right Here




Young Athletes & Their Parents

Do you involve Parents in your Young Athletes training programs?


Should you?


Does long-term success INCREASE when you do?


Why and How you can involve Parents in your facility or Young Athletes training programs to ensure success…



Speaking Of Long Term Success, Look At This:




A Youth Fitness Success Story – Part 3

Here’s where I left off with ‘Part 2’ of the Dave Gleason chronicle:


"More on the training and business side in a bit, though, for now, I want to explain what Athletic Revolution has done for me, my life and my career…"


Now, here’s where we pick it up for ‘Part 3’:



I Have the Opportunity to Effect a Generation and Build Wealth and Financial Stability in the Process



The Fitness & Sport Training industry is very young.


And not unlike any other industry’s growing pains, the evidence of our ‘youth’ can be seen everywhere.


We spend hours creating, designing and implementing training programs for our clients and have next to no time left for business systems generation or management.


We cram in things like marketing, press releasing, advertising and networking whenever we have a free moment (assuming we know how to do any of those things properly at all).


If we get sick or (gasp) want to take a day or week off… We don’t get paid.  And man, can that hurt.


We remain at the mercy of our clients who can freely opt to be without our services at any time and entirely alter our monthly revenues and lifestyle budget with one ‘cancel’ phone call.


We wake up early, work all hours and cater to the whims of whenever our services are wanted for fear of leaving any scrap of money on the table.


We exist in the double-edged-sword world of wishing to grow and expanding our profits, but knowing if we do, we risk spreading ourselves even more thinly.


Sound familiar?


It’s a precarious balancing act that sounds alluring at first (the prospects of making $75 an hour), but reality can set in awfully quick…



Youth Fitness Training Tug-Of-War?

Youth Fitness Training Sample program from Dr. Kwame Brown


Skip Tag 10 minutes


  • Cones (and line chalk if you have it) to mark off area
  • Colored pinnies (optional)



  • Split into teams at opposite corners of the area
  • The first group is “it” (pick a color for them)
  • The second group is to be chased (wearing the other color)
  • Instruct the students that they must skip only
  • If anyone is tagged or caught running, they must do 5 lunges to get back in
  • The game round is over when everyone on Team 2 is tagged.  Roles are reversed



  • Call out “freeze” randomly to keep it unpredictable
  • Make sure that you instruct students on proper touching
  • If the students can’t touch lightly, give them something soft like a balled up t-shirt to tag with



  • Agility
  • Teamwork
  • Acceleration



Youth Fitness Business Insider [audio]

youth fitness business

I start this 60-minute audio interview with the business genius Pat Rigsby by saying:


“You’re not going to get this information out of any books and you won’t hear this any other place”


This is one of the key elements to how Pat and myself have both built successful Youth Fitness business and Sport Training businesses.