Archive for “School Athletes” 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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

5 Easy-to-Remember Aspects of Program Design

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

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

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

Plan & Prepare

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

What is your plan? How do you prepare?

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


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

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Lifelong Lessons

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

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

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

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

Application to sport

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

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

Confidence Building

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

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

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

Evaluate

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

  1. Evaluate the athletes
  2. Evaluated by the athletes

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

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

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

Summary:

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

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


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

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

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Author: Julie Hatfield

Julie Hatfield (1)Julie is the Executive Director of the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA). She grew up as an athlete and played collegiate softball at Juniata College. She currently owns and operates her own youth fitness business pouring into young athletes. Her areas of expertise are youth sport performance, youth fitness business and softball training/instruction. Julie grew up on a dairy farm and can challenge the best of the best in a cow-milking contest. 😉

Pushing Power in Athletics

Power in Athletics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Progressions:

Plank on elbows/hands

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

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

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


Mountain Climbers

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

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

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

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

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


Assisted Push Ups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Push Ups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADAPT and Conquer,
Coach Jared


About the Author: Jared Markiewicz

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

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

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

Career Highlights

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

Push Ups Help Develop Powerful Athletes:

Learn more power evolution techniques today.

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Core Training For High School Athletes

 

Training A High School Athletes Core

 

By Wil Fleming
 

Not very long ago AR Bloomington was fortunate to get IYCA Board of Experts Member, Mike Robertson, to do an in-service for our entire team and he really knocked it out of the park.
 

Mike’s selected topic was “Core Training”, needless to say his presentation changed the way that we both think about and train an athlete’s core.
 

The IYCA training system is at the forefront of training high school athletes, so I thought that I’d share with you my takeaways from Mike’s presentation.
 

First off let’s try to define what the core is. Some people suggest that it is only the abdominals (and specifically talk about the rectus abdominus and external obliques), others begin to include the spinal erectors, and others go even further.
 

We will go with a description that includes deeper muscles (multifudus, transverse abdominus). By including these muscles we will be able to get to a better and deeper model of core training that is more applicable to high school athletes.
 

Athletes use their core for specific purposes, Mike termed the 2 uses for the core as the 2 R’s “Re-Distributing force and Re-Directing force”. This simple idea is on the cutting edge of performance training and shapes how we train the core.
 

Re-Distributing force is the idea that the core should take stress off of the lumbar spine and prevent pain. A strong core in this sense will focus on the ability to maintain and get in a neutral spine and pelvic position.
 

By doing this athletes will have greater core stability in their movements. When a football player has a glancing blow they will not go down as easily because their core keeps them stable; when a tennis player is in an extended 1 leg stance returning a ball they will be less likely to get injured. In this way Re-Distributing force keeps athletes healthy, and is the basic part of core training.
 

Re-Directing force is the next step in core training, by using core stability to re-direct force athletes swinging a baseball bat will be able to transmit power from the lower body and turn it into rotation at the shoulders.
 

A weak core in this sense is like a poor power line. All the power in the world can be generated at the power plant, but if it doesn’t get to your house, you don’t have any use for it.
 

To train each of these try the following movements with your high school athletes:

 

Planks….With a dowel on your back
 

Nearly everyone has tried the basic plank, but by making 1 simple change this becomes a tremendous exercise for training re-distributing force. Place a dowel rod along your back while in a plank and have 3 points of contact with it: the back of your head, your thoracic spine and your pelvis.
 

In the region of your lower back there should only be the space of your hand in between the dowel and your back. This position is the neutral spinal alignment we look for. Increasing time and decreasing stability (through removing a point of contact) are two easy ways to progress this exercise). Increasing the angle (i.e. elevating the upperbody by putting them on a bench) is a great way to regress the exercise.
 

MB Side Throws
 

Medicine balls throws are a big part of the AR Bloomington training system at the younger age and should remain so as athletes reach the 14+ group. There is no better way to train athletes to re-direct force than through the use of MB throws.
 

Ensure that the athletes are getting rotation through their hips, remaining stable through their lumbar spine and then again rotating in their thoracic spine. Changing the cadence (adding steps or recoiling in a rhythm) can add variation to the program and add a degree of specificity that High School Athletes really enjoy.
 

 

Coaching in the Weight Room

 

Coaching High School Athletes in the Weight Room

 

By Jim Kielbaso
 

Just about every sport coach now recognizes the fact that a strength program can help their athletes optimize performance, reduce the risk of injury, and improve overall health and self-esteem. Some coaches are very comfortable in the weight room, while others feel totally out of their element. Either way, there are a few easy steps to follow to maximize your effectiveness in this environment.
 

Many coaches get overwhelmed in the weight room and never really give their best instruction or encouragement. But, many high school athletes need you there to show proper technique, get through the routine quickly, keep traffic flowing, give safe and effective spotting, and maximize effort.
 

In addition to reducing the risk of injury and enhancing performance, the weight room is also an excellent place to develop relationships and create team unity. Unfortunately, many coaches miss out on this because they are sitting in the corner or absent from the room altogether. Never underestimate the long-term benefits of polishing your weight room coaching skills.
 

Here are a few easy steps you can take to optimize your coaching effectiveness and help your athletes get the most out of their training time:

 

1. Educate Yourself. If you haven’t implemented a program because you don’t feel knowledgeable enough, put that excuse to rest. You don’t have to be an expert to help your team reap the benefits of strength training, and there are plenty of books that can give you a decent understanding of technique, program design, and how to spot different exercises. Go to your local bookstore or at the very least get online to find something to fit your needs. There is plenty of mis-information online, so just be sure to read with a critical mind. Always check the source before you completely buy into something that sounds too good to be true.
 

Avoid the trap of feeling like your athletes need an incredibly specialized training routine. It’s best to keep it simple with high school athletes. They will benefit from a basic, well-rounded program, so just get them started and feeling comfortable in the weight room by introducing a few basic exercises that you can easily teach. Remember, you can always add more later on.
 

2. Teaching Sessions. Before you turn your athletes loose in the weight room, spend a couple of days teaching them how to perform all of the exercises and how to safely spot each other. Take your time up front to save a lot of time and energy down the road.
 

3. Record Keeping. Once you’ve created the training routine, give it to your athletes on a piece of paper or card-stock so they can record the amount of weight lifted and number of repetitions performed on each set. This serves a few important purposes. For the athlete, it tells them exactly what they should be doing on every exercise and gives them a goal each day. This will help them make progress and eliminates guess-work.
 

For the coach, a workout card quickly gives you a lot of information and tracks attendance. You are going to be bouncing around from athlete to athlete, spotting as many athletes as possible; you want to spot each athlete on at least one exercise each day so you have a little contact with everyone. As soon as you’re done spotting one athlete, look around the room, see who is ready to lift, and get there quickly.
Having the workout card available allows you to easily see the weight and repetition goal for each set before you begin spotting. You can assess progress and effort on each exercise by taking a quick look at the chart. This is a great way to increase accountability and improve your ability to coach multiple athletes in the weight room.
 

4. Exercise Selection. In an effort to keep your training sessions time-efficient, it is recommended to select exercises that utilize a large amount of musculature rather than focusing on isolation exercises. For example, squats, leg presses, lunges, bench presses, dips, pull-downs, rows, and military presses all use multiple joints and recruit several muscle groups. These exercises should be the foundation of your program.
 

Curls, wrist extensions, and triceps pushdowns are examples of isolation exercises that can eat up a lot of valuable time.
 

It is also highly recommend that you select exercises that are relatively easy to teach, learn and execute. Lifts like the power clean and snatch are very technique intensive, require a great deal of coaching expertise, and are often performed incorrectly, which can be dangerous. There is absolutely no need to include exercises that are problematic for your situation. Whether you don’t feel comfortable teaching an exercise or the athletes just aren’t getting it, drop any exercise that is causing problems.
 

5. Traffic Flow. I often see traffic jams in high school weight rooms. This makes for an inefficient, frustrating experience that can be avoided. Rather than performing several sets of each exercise, have your athletes perform one set of 2-4 different exercises for the same body part to keep traffic moving.
 

For example, instead of performing three sets of bench press, try doing one set of bench press, one set of incline press, and one set of push-ups. Not only will this keep everyone moving, it also allows the musculature to be trained at several different angles and is equally effective in developing strength. This eliminates a lot of standing around that ultimately creates distractions and decreases training intensity.
 

You can also create different versions of a workout. Change the order of exercises for some athletes so the equipment is being used at different times. This small change will allow more athletes to workout simultaneously without traffic jams.
 

The weight room can be the motivational hub of your program if you create the right environment, and these simple tips can increase your effectiveness as a coach. They will allow you to maximize your coaching skills and give your athletes what they deserve – your attention.
 

 

 

Selecting the Right Starting Position for Olympic Lifts (Part 1)

 

Athletes Options For Olympic Lifts

 

By Wil Fleming

 

Coaches everywhere, and a great percentage of coaches at that, choose to use some type of Olympic lift in their training of athletes. Typically this Olympic lift is a power clean, starting from the floor. While this is appropriate for plenty of athletes, there are multiple variations in the starting position, that it can be hard to determine which is the right place to start.

 

So lets take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of some of the variations in start position.

 

Floor Start Position

 

This is the typical start position and the one used in weightlifting competitions. This position is the one that as coaches we see high school athletes using most often in their high school training program.

 

In this position the athlete starts with the bar at rest on the floor, and the bar should be close (~1-2 inches) from the shins. Athletes starting in this position should slowly, and under control lift the from the floor, ultimately passing the knees.

 

Pros: This position is the position from which the most weight has ever been cleaned or snatched, has been lifted. This is due to the momentum gained from the correct pull off the floor. Using the floor start position requires the athlete to increase hip range of motion due to the low starting position.

 

Cons: This position requires great hip mobility, and therefore, if an athlete is lacking in hip mobility they will typically gain this lower start position through an increase in lumbar flexion. Lumbar flexion with loads in front of the spine have been attributed to greater shear forces on the spine and a corresponding higher incidence of back injury. The typical floor start position also requires athletes to move the bar by the knees. This area of movement is one that requires great technique and for many athletes means that their technical problems occur in this area. More lifts are missed due to the first pull moving around the knee than in any other area of the lift. Poor lifts will have an S pull where the bar will move forward to travel pass the knee.

 

Block Start Position

 

The block start position is used often in the technical training of competition weightlifters.

 

The actual start position can be adjusted in height to meet the goals of the training session, but typically the athlete will start from a static stance somewhere above the knee.

 

Pros: Block starts are a great teaching tool. Coaches can specify the exact starting position that the athlete must achieve. This position is usually close to the 2nd pull (the rapid acceleration of the bar), and requires very little thought from the athlete once the bar is in place. Cueing the pull from a block position is fairly easy for the coach, typically aggressiveness and explosiveness are the only thing needed. The block start position is great for starting strength, no momentum is used and the stretch shortening cycle is eliminated. Starting strength is great quality to develop for nearly any athlete.

 

Cons: Situating the athlete in the correct start position can be hard for the uninitiated coach, differing starting heights require differing positions that are sometimes very dissimilar. Blocks can also be expensive to purchase or difficult to assemble, and therefore many weight rooms or facilities do not allow for the possibility of coaching athletes from a block starting position.

 

There are even more possibilities for Olympic lift start positions stay tuned for Part 2 to learn about 2 of my favorite start positions for young athletes.

 

 

olymic lifts young athletes
Learn More the Olympic Lift Instructor Course Today!

 

http://iyca.org/olympic-lifts/

 

 

Making Your High School Athletes Better

 

High School Athletes Programming

 

High School Athletes

By Wil Fleming

 

Recently I gave some thought to how many questions arise when putting
together programming for high school athletes. Questions about general strength
training practices, how to prioritize training goals, and what to do for speed and
agility are all important, but the most basic of questions that need to be asked by
any coach is:

 

 

What should be included in the program for your high school athletes?

 

As coaches we are all probably very familiar with the elements of a successful high school program in their entirety, but what are the finer points that can take your program for high school over the top?

 

Allow me to share with you the best ways to differentiate your program from all the others by looking at each phase of a high school training session:

 

SMR:A place to impact the health of athletes

 

A pre-workout program should do the job of preparing the athlete for the coming training and to some extent helping them recover from their prior training or practices. Foam rolling or other form of self-myofascial release should be included and should be mandatory prior to beginning that day’s session. High school programs and other coaches are doing SMR as an afterthought, by clearly laying out expectations for your athletes they will get more out of this part of the workout and be healthier.

 

Warm-Up:Continuity creates a great environment

 

Continuity in warm-ups creates the atmosphere at AR Bloomington, so
we stick with one for 2 months or so before altering it. In this way athletes
have very clear expectations of them and nearly all are able to achieve
some level of mastery within the warm-up period. I have also found that
a consistent warm-up is one of the single best times to create a fun and
exciting environment for the athletes through lively and interactive conversation.

 

Specific Mobility:Individualization

 

Specific mobility and activation should be differentiated by sport, position,
or athlete. We should take into account common movement patterns within
the sport, assessment results and injury history when designing this for each
athlete or group. No matter the size of the group, it is important that this time
be differentiated to keep athletes healthy, this touch of individualization even
in a large group goes a long way to insuring your athletes know that you took
into account their needs

 

Dynamic and Explosive Training:A difference maker

 

Dynamic and explosive training should consist of plyometrics and medicine
ball throws. This is a time for athletes to train their nervous system and train
fast twitch muscle fiber. In a lot of settings dynamic training gets thrown together
as an afterthought and sometimes looks like no more than “box jumps”. Smart
programming with progressions moving from: single response, to multiple
response, to shock, and unilateral work can greatly improve results for your
champions.

 

Speed and Agility:Basics first

 

Training for speed and agility can be the biggest opportunity for your AR to
be successful but so many programs go about it in the wrong way. Remember
that as with any other form of training, a foundation of technique should form
the basis of your training. Running mindless drills with no foundation will not
lead to success for your AR. Start with static drills, move to dynamic, and
finally move to randomization. Equip your athletes with the knowledge of
how to sprint, and how to change direction and they will be far better off than
any dot drill can make them.

 

Strength training:Choose to be different

 

Typically our high school athletes will be training with us concurrently with
a program run by their high school so we must take this into account. At most
high schools, athletes are trained predominantly through pushing movements
(squats, bench press etc), like the bench press and squat leaving their entire
posterior chain at a deficit to their front-side musculature. Balance your athletes
out by programming more “pulling” than “pushing”.

 

Energy Systems Training: So much more than just running

 

Athletes are very familiar with running mile after mile or “gasser” after “gasser”.
Exposing athletes to innovative energy systems training by using different
implements e.g. kettlebells or medicine balls, and by using exact intervals to
elicit particular responses, shows creativity on your part, allows you to use
your space more efficiently, and will make you a savior to your champions.

 

Flexibility:A final time to teach

 

Whether from the coach or the athlete flexibility gets a bad rap. Although
not as buzzworthy as mobility, training athletes for flexibility will undoubtedly
be to their benefit, if only for its use as a cool down. As a coach the time for
flexibility is a time for a wrap up of the days events and reminders for
upcoming events. It is your final time to connect with athletes in that given
day. Use it well.

 

Using this framework for how you approach the programming of your
high
school athletes will help you get them more invested and excited to be a
part of your High School Athletes, and make them better.
Remember that we are here to Change Lives!

 

 

 

 

 

High School Athletes Olympic Lifting Transition In 4 Steps

 

Transitioning to Power Cleans for High School Athletes in 4 simple Steps

All of my athletes become very efficient at performing the Olympic
lifts from the hang position, and I love that. This comes from a lot of
practice but also from a very specific and well refined process for
teaching and progressing the lifts in the hang position
While I rarely ask my athletes to do Olympic lifts from the floor, I
don’t however work in a vacuum and in many cases my high school
athletes
are training with their high school as well.  This
means that they are asked to do power cleans at the high school level.
Power cleans must travel a large distance from the floor to the
shoulder level and due to this long bar path there is room for a great
amount of variability in the bar path.  A lot of times this
variability manifests itself by very apparent changes in the catch
position, but the root cause started at the floor.
The largest variable that young athletes encounter is in their starting
position and just as we do with the hang clean, we have a specific way
to teach the proper starting position. As with any teaching
progression, it is important to build the movement off of patterns that
the athlete is already comfortable completing.

To get into the proper starting position we have the high school athletes
start in a standing position.

Cover your laces, brace your core
Getting the proper distance from the bar is a big part to getting the
in the correct starting position.  Often times athletes will roll
the bar around on the floor before the lift to “Amp” themselves
up.  We want to eliminate this.
Have the athlete approach the bar to the point that the bow on their
shoelaces is covered from their viewpoint.  From your viewpoint as
a coach this will mean that the bar is directly over their mid-foot.
Olympic lift high school athletes

This distance, is much closer to the bar than most athletes start and
initially may feel slightly uncomfortable to athletes. This position is
still far enough from the bar that it will allow the knees to be just
slightly forward at the bottom position

 

 

RDL to your knees

Young athletes

The next step for athletes and the first step in moving towards the bar
is to have the athlete make an RDL movement to the knee. Slightly
unlock the knees and then push the hips backwards. This gets the hips
back and away from  the bar. This position should look identical
to a hang clean above the knee position.  The core should remain
braced and any movement in the lumbar spine should be avoided.

 

Squat to the bar
The next step will apply another fundamental that all athletes should
be familiar with. From the above knee position, the move should
transition from an RDL to a squat. Rather than pushing the hips back
anymore, the hips must descend straight to the ground. By following an
RDL (Hip Hinge) movement with a squat (knee dominant) the athlete will
be able to keep their shins very close to vertical, but still have the
power of the quadriceps to lean on in their initial movement off the
floor.

Once in the squat position the athlete should be able to comfortably
grip the bar in their normal clean or snatch grip.  The athlete
should apply the hook grip to the bar and continue to brace the core.

 

Back Flat, knees back
Now in contact with the bar, the athlete will need to make a directed
move to bring the bar off the ground.  To do that the athlete
should be directed to drive through their heels and push their knees
back.  The knees back cue should be taken until the bar clears
knee height, at this point the athlete should have their knees slightly
unlocked (but not at full extension).
A common problem with the pull off the floor is a forward motion
of the bar to clear the knees, this alters the straight bar path that
athletes should achieve. By pushing the knees back we can eliminate
that problem completely.

The athlete will find themselves in a very familiar position once the
bar passes their knees: the hang clean/snatch start position.
Once comfortable with this 4 part movement pattern the athlete should
work to speed up the process while still hitting each individual
position.
While hang Olympic lifts should be a staple of the your training
program, there are times that High School Athletes will be required to perform
power cleans/snatches. As coaches guiding their training, it is our job
to equip them with the tools necessary to do those lifts to the best of
their ability.

This 4 step process to get to the bar while on the floor and into the
proper start position will ensure that your athletes are always taking
their best attempt possible on the bar.

 

 

Alternative Methods for Training Explosive Strength To High School Athletes

 

 

High School Athletes Strength Training

 

 

high school athletes

By Wil Fleming

Nearly all high school athletes, with very few exceptions, need to
develop explosive strength.

 

 

The instances in which the skill of explosive strength are used in
sports are endless, but when used “explosiveness” is very apparent.

 

A linemen firing off from their stance.

 

A soccer player rising above his opponents to head a ball toward goal.

 

A volleyball player making a quick lateral move to reach for the dig.

 

Instances of explosive strength are very vivid when used and typically are a part of a game changing play.

 

Typically I would now talk about the importance of Olympic lifts, but in some instances using a barbell is not possible due to equipment limitations or even the readiness of the athlete. In those instances, the need for High School Athletes does not diminish, but the need for creativity does increase.

 

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5 Steps To Getting In With Coaches

 

Coaches for high schools and teams need specialists…

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

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

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


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

Creating a Training System That Works

 

 

by Wil Fleming

 

I remember vividly 3 years ago at this time Ryan and I were working our tails off to get ready for our grand opening that was only a couple weeks away. It was a really exciting time for us.

 

We were assembling all the equipment we ordered.

 

We were trying to figure out how to lay 1500 square feet of turf.

 

We were holding free workouts in our PARKING LOT to gain momentum.

 

We knew what we wanted our business to be, and we had a plan to make that happen:

 

A place that actually promised results to their clients and athletes.

 

A place for athletes to train to become the best they can be in their sport.

 

Three years later, we are doing just that, we have put 50 kids in collegiate athletics, we have helped a dozen high school teams reach their best seasons in years, and we have helped 1000’s of kids become better athletes.

 

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Getting Your High School Athletes Faster

 

 

by Wil Fleming

 

The biggest mistake in training athletes to get faster.

 

 

Both speed and agility are critically important for athletes to be successful on the field. Unfortunately I see plenty of programs or services offered by coaches that are skewed in the wrong direction, they promise to "decrease your 40 time" or "drop your home to first time".  While both of these things are important in the recruitment of athletes, they are not critically important to the performance of athletes.  Training speed and agility in some cases, verges on running some sprints and breaking out the agility ladder.

 

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Organized Chaos in Kids Training Programs


–>

Kids Training Programs Guest post by Phil Hueston

 

Most sports performance kids training programs (yes, maybe even yours) have 2 fatal flaws:

 

1) they don’t look anything like sports

 

2) they’re B-O-R-I-N-G!

 

 

Consider these questions:

 

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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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Speed Training for High School Athletes

Speed Training for High School Athletes;

Isn’t about ‘running’, ‘cone drills’, ‘speed ladders’ or even ‘sprinting’…

 

Watch this:

 

 

 

Absolutely EVERYTHING You Need to Know About Speed Training for High School Athletes

 

—> http://iyca.org/highschool/

 

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Youth Speed Training Mistakes

Youth Speed Training

Youth Speed Training Expert Opinions

Coach Robert Dos Remedios is considered one of the best Strength Coaches in College sports.

 

And he agrees.

 

So does Sue Falsone.

 

Sue is the former Head Physical Therapist for the Los Angeles Dodgers and current Director of Physical Therapy for the vaunted ‘Athletes Performance’ facility in Arizona.

 

The ability of an athlete to become ‘elite’, ‘professional’ or ‘world-class’ is based almost entirely on what kind of development happened when they were young.

 

Coach Dos explained to me how puzzled and frustrated his is year-in and year-out to have all-state high school athletes come in as freshmen to his program…

 

… Only to be lacking in the BASICS of speed, agility and strength.

 

As far as he’s concerned the ‘Mistakes’ we make at the youth level from a Speed & Agility Training perspective are:

 

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IYCA members updates

Here are your IYCA updates to www.IYCAMembers.com for the week of February 7, 2011:

 

(1) The Athletic Performance Matrix

 

Last week, I gave you an incredible look at Athletic Development from New Zealand through the sample programming of IYCA Member and world-class Coach, Gareth Ashton.

 

This week, I want you to see exactly how and why he sets up his Athletic Development program inside one of New Zealand’s most famed sporting schools:

 

Click Here to Access this Incredible Resource —> http://www.iycamembers.com/members/324.cfm

 

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High School Strength Certified Coach

IYCA High School Strength & Conditioning Coach Certification

Exactly as I predicted, the “High School Strength & Conditioning Coach” certification has been absolutely flying off the shelves since I released it yesterday.

 

There is an unbelievable buzz at IYCA Head Office that, quite frankly, I haven’t seen in a very long time – the whole Fitness and Sport Training industry is lighting up over this new certification!

 

 

(See what all the buzz is about by clicking here —> http://iyca.org/highschool/)

 

 

And why wouldn’t they be?

 

After all:

 

You receive a certification and gain credentials to work with the fastest growing and most ‘in need’ demographic in the entire sports training industry.

 

You learn the inside secret systems for training high school athletes by some of the most successful Coaches on the planet (Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, Wil Fleming). 

 Until Saturday January 29, you can own the “High School Strength & Conditioning Coach” certification for a full $100 discount.

 

But perhaps the most important reason…

 

The lynchpin that is making it so practically every single Coach and Trainer worldwide wants to become a certified “High School Strength & Conditioning Coach”?

 

Because it’s a Risk Free (more…)

High School Certification: Available Now!

IYCA High School certification Strength & Conditioning Coach Certification

 

The “High School Certification is NOW AVAILBLE:

 

Click Here Right Now ––> http://iyca.org/highschool/

 

** Important Notice **

 

The High School Certification for Strength & Conditioning will retail for $297 starting Saturday January 29….

 


Enjoy a full $100 discount right now
:

 

—> Click Here for ‘$100 Off’ the “High School Strength & Conditioning Coach” Certification: (more…)

High School Strength Certification

IYCA High School Strength Certification

 

High School Strength Certification will be released tomorrow.

And today, I wanted to hit you with a few key points for your consideration…

 

Barrington High School

Timothy Christian

Prairie Ridge

 

3 of the numerous high schools I either worked at or consulted for from 2001 – 2009.

 

Without question the most fulfilling time of my career.

 

In those 8 years and with those 6,000+ high school athletes, I experienced more in the way of learning than at any other point in my 15 years inside this industry.

 

I learned that the situation (for multiple reasons) was never going to be ideal and that a practical system was necessary to optimally train these teenagers.

 

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