Archive for “Jim Kielbaso” Tag

The Art of Sports Science

Sports science has become one of the hottest topics and trends in the world of strength & conditioning.  It seems like everyone is trying to find the holy grail of athlete monitoring or how to utilize sports science to find the key to athletic success.  Millions of dollars have been poured into technology designed to enhance our understanding of athletes so that coaches can make better decisions about training and practice.  Unfortunately, it does look like those dollars have had much of a return on investment for most programs yet.

This could be due to many factors:

  • Coaches not knowing how to take advantage of the technology
  • Coaches not making decisions based on the technology
  • The technology not giving coaches the most important information necessary
  • Information overload
  • Coaches not knowing what to do with all of the information

Art of Sports ScienceIt could also be that technology can’t tell us everything that is going on.  It can’t account for the human factor in sport, so coaches still need to make instinctive decisions and athletes still need to make plays.

Director of Sports Science & Operations for the University of Michigan Football Program, Fergus Connolly Ph.D., has a unique perspective on the sports science trend.  While Connolly is fully educated on the technology, he also has a deep understanding of the human element present in sports.  In his new book, Game Changer – The Art of Sports Science, he goes into great depth on the ways teams win games.

At first, this seems like just another book on winning, but it’s not.  Instead, it’s an in-depth study of sports at both the macro and micro level that makes you think about sports from a unique perspective.

In this episode of The Impact Show, Jim & Fergus discuss the impact that sports science is having on sports and how we can use it to truly make a difference.  Listen on iTunes at The Impact Show or on your favorite podcast app, or click on the player below to listen now:

 

Pick up a copy of Game Changer – The Art of Sports Science at this Amazon link:

Acceleration Mechanics – Jim Kielbaso

Acceleration mechanics are incredibly important to address with athletes who need to improve their speed.  This is a “behind-the-scenes” video of Jim Kielbaso teaching acceleration mechanics to a group of athletes preparing for the NFL Combine.

Jim has done other videos and written articles on acceleration mechanics, but rather than just talking about it, this video shows him actually teaching athletes so you get to see exactly how he explains things.

Some of the main points covered in this video include what Jim calls the Power Position, stride length, body lean, knee drive, head position and an explanation about WHY all of these things will increase an athlete’s speed.

Being able to teach these concepts in a cohesive way is important for any coach responsible for speed and agility training with athletes.  While this video shows how acceleration mechanics are explained to experienced athletes, the same mechanics also need to be addressed with younger athletes using different language and teaching cues.

Of course, you don’t have to use the same exact language and cues in your teaching, but this video will give you plenty of ideas for how you can teach your own athletes about acceleration mechanics.  Take the words and video demonstrations that Jim uses in the video and create your own system of teaching athletes this important concept.

We also encourage you to share this video with other coaches and even use it when teaching athletes.

The IYCA Certified Speed & Agility Specialist course and certification go into depth on acceleration mechanics, top end speed, agility mechanics & drills, programming for speed, and programming for different ages.  It includes 69 videos, several done-for-you programs and a 249-page manual that is the most comprehensive written material on speed development in the industry.

Click on the image below to learn more about the IYCA CSAS

acceleration mechanics from the IYCA

6 Speed & Agility Tips for Coaches – Jim Kielbaso

Coaches are constantly asking me for speed & agility tips to make their programs more effective. After talking with hundreds of coaches and looking at what is happening all over the country, I have come up with six keys to increasing the effectiveness of any speed & agility program.  Here are the 6 simple speed & agility tips:

1. Educate the athletes. If your athletes don’t have an understanding of why they are doing a drill, there is a good chance they are thinking of it as torture or punishment. It is up to you to explain the purpose of a drill so the athletes fully understand how it impacts performance. Typically, this will motivate an athlete to work harder because they will understand how their hard work will pay off in the game. It also helps you, the coach, to choose drills that will actually benefit the athletes.  If you don’t have a clear understanding of the purpose of a drill, you’re probably missing something.

I can’t tell you how often I see coaches lining up cones, ladders and boxes in the name of speed and agility training, but the movements used in the drills have absolutely nothing to do with the movements used in the sport. If you have to explain how it will help the athlete, you are more likely to choose appropriate drills.

2. Focus on mechanics. Allowing your athletes to do drills with faulty movement patterns is speed & agility tips jim kielbasolike a golf pro watching his student hit ball
after ball with terrible flaws in his swing, and never providing any corrective feedback. Athletes practice sport skills and play games all the time, but they are rarely taught how to move properly; they are just expected to know how. But, if a kid has never been shown how to do something, how can you expect him/her to do it correctly?

Of all the speed & agility tips listed in this article, this may be the most important.

It is up to you to teach your athletes some of the most basic movement concepts in sports – running, cutting, shuffling, pivoting, jumping, etc. Athletes are not learning this anywhere else, so it is up to us to teach them these valuable movement skills.  This is exactly what the IYCA Certified Speed & Agility Specialist (CSAS) course teaches, which is why it is such an important course for anyone working with athletes.

Begin by teaching them like they have never performed these movements in their lives. In my writing and seminars, I refer to this as Movement Training, and by implementing Movement Training concepts into your speed training program your athletes will always end up farther ahead.

3. Quality not quantity. Too often, SAQ workouts turn into conditioning sessions. Remember, the goal is improving speed and agility, not aerobic fitness. Keep the work periods short and the rest periods long so the athletes can give 100% effort on each drill. You are trying to teach the nervous system how to work more efficiently, so the athletes need to be fresh. If the rest periods are too short, the work periods too long, or the athletes are simply fatigued from previous work, mechanics will disintegrate and the same old faulty movement patterns will ultimately be reinforced.

For optimal speed development results, keep the work periods to 2-10 seconds and the rest periods as long as 20-60 seconds or even longer if the intensity is extremely high. Explain that you will be giving long rest periods so the drills can be done with maximum intensity, and stick to your word.


4. Sport specificity.
As long as you are trying to teach your athletes to move more efficiently, it makes sense to practice movements that will actually be used in a game. Sprinting and cutting are used in just about every sport, but don’t forget about the very specific skills your athletes need to perform on the field or court. These movements include shuffling, stopping, pivoting, faking, spinning, cross-over running, backpedaling, etc.

As much as possible, include these movements into your SAQ sessions. Baseball and softball players should practice starting sprints like they are stealing a base. Volleyball players should incorporate lunging, approach steps and jumps into their drills. Football receivers should practice their routes. Quarterbacks should incorporate drop steps and linemen should start drills from 2-, 3-, or 4-point starting positions. Use your imagination to create drills that mimic competition.

Ladder drills and plyos are great general training methods, but if you don’t make your athletes practice their most important movements you should never wonder why they don’t perform them well in a game.

5. Consistency. As I stated earlier, SAQ programs are meant to train the nervous system. The best way to make this happen is to consistently practice sport specific skills so the nervous system learns the optimal movement patterns. 5-20 minutes, 2-3 days per week is all it takes.

You can make this happen by adding two short drills to your warm-up routine, or including one or two sport-specific drills into the beginning of each strength training session. This does not mean strength movements that “resemble” the sport movements – I’m talking about actually doing a couple of sprints or agility drills before each workout. As long as technique is emphasized, this brief, consistent practice will add up and allow your athletes to perform these skills perfectly on the field or court without any thought.  You basically have to take the other five speed & agility tips listed here, and apply them consistently to get the best results.

6. Long-term development. Another major problem I see in a lot of SAQ programs is implementing them a few weeks before the season, hoping for a miracle. Starting these drills 2-3 weeks before your first game is simply too late for major benefits to be seen.  Unfortunately, many coaches hope that a few simple speed & agility tips will work like magic.  That’s not how athletic development works, so make sure you have enough time to make a real impact.

You will certainly see benefits from doing SAQ drills during your pre-season, but working the drills into your year-round training program will elicit maximum results. Pre-season training should focus on technical/tactical skills and conditioning. Too often, though, I see coaches conditioning the athletes during the off-season; this is a waste of time and energy. If you have contact with your athletes during the off-season, work on strength, movement training and technical skill development for the greatest long-term results.

If you can teach your freshmen how to move, and include a few minutes of practice before every strength training session, imagine what a difference that will make by the time they are juniors and seniors. It’s never too early to teach kids how to move. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Introduce changes gradually, and continually attempt to make improvements. Speed and agility training will have a positive impact on any team, and incorporating these six keys will help you run the most effective program possible.

I hope these 6 speed & agility tips help you create more effective programs that will make a bigger impact on them.

Click on the image below to learn more about the IYCA Certified Speed & Agility Specialist course, the most comprehensive, and scientifically sound speed & agility certification in the industry.

speed & agility certification

Acceleration Correlates Highly to On-field Performance

In the late 90’s, the strength coaches at the University of Nebraska did some internal research to determine which physical tests had the highest correlation to the ability to play the game of football.  They put their athletes through a large battery of tests including the 40-yard dash, pro-agility shuttle, vertical jump, several strength tests and numerous other drills.

Next, they had the football coaches rate each player’s on-field ability.  They wanted to find out which athletes were the most effective on the field.

They ran a statistical analysis on all of the data figure out which tests had the highest correlation to on-field success.

They figured that, if any of the tests correlated highly to on-field success, they would be able to create programs to improve those tests.

The test that had the highest correlation to on-field ability was the 10-yard sprint.   In other words, the ability to accelerate allows an athlete to perform at a higher level on the field.acceleration

I’d be willing to bet that the ability to accelerate also has a high correlation to the ability to many sports.  Soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, lacrosse, field hockey, track sprints, etc. are all heavily dependent on an athlete’s ability to accelerate over and over again.

The ability to cover ground faster than an opponent will put an athlete in position to make plays throughout a game, and having just one step on that opponent can be the difference between making a play or not.

So, when you’re training athletes, keep in mind what’s important, and be sure to spend plenty of time addressing the ability to accelerate.

To truly improve acceleration, mechanics MUST be addressed early and often.  The athlete must learn how to produce horizontal force, and this doesn’t always feel natural.  It also requires a lot of rest between sets in order to maintain a high level of intensity.  Acceleration work should occur relatively early in a workout, and you should stick to distances under 20 yards.

The volume of work doesn’t necessarily need to be high, but this needs to be worked on frequently in order for the nervous system to retain changes in mechanics.

A sample workout may look like this:

  • Warm-up
  • Acceleration instruction
  • 5 x 10-yard sprints
  • 5 x 10-yard sprints with a weighted sled at 15% of body-weight
  • 2 x 10-yard sprints (contrast training)
  • 2 x 20-yard sprints

This could be done in 20 minutes, leaving plenty of time to work on other things like conditioning, agility or strength development.

It is recommended to work on acceleration 2-4 days/week, and it can even be inserted into your warm-up routine.  It doesn’t have to be lumped together like the sample program above.  You can insert a few short sprints into a warm-up routine that is done every day.

I realize that this is just scratching the surface on acceleration training, but it is covered in much greater depth in the Ultimate Speed Mechanics materials.  I will be bringing you more tips and videos on how to help your athletes accelerate with maximum power and speed, so stay tuned.

Jim Kielbaso

ultimate-speed-mechanics

 

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!


Help Your Athletes Get Prepared to Perform by Checking This Out

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Jim Kielbaso Talks Shop with Cliff Avril

Talking Shop with Cliff Avril and Jim Kielbaso

cliff-avril

Cliff Avril of the Seattle Seahawks joins the Impact Show to discuss his journey from an 0-16 season to Super Bowl Champion.

Cliff talks about the difference between his experiences with the Detroit Lions and the Seattle Seahawks and how the environment really made a difference in the mindset of the entire organization.

What is really interesting is what he says when he talks about what he went through as he prepped as a younger athlete. It’s probably not what you think an NFL football player would say.

LISTEN NOW

Cliff also talks about some of his greatest influences. It’s some good stuff. There are many ways you, as a Coach, can have a positive impact through positive coaching. Go get em’!