Archive for “Strength And Conditioning” 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?

Capture

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!

Capture2

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 www.resistancebandtraining.com : RBTIYCA15

RBT-15offyouthequip-coupon-V2

Pushing Power in Athletics

Power in Athletics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Progressions:

Plank on elbows/hands

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

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

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


Mountain Climbers

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

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

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

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

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


Assisted Push Ups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Push Ups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADAPT and Conquer,
Coach Jared


About the Author: Jared Markiewicz

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

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

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

Career Highlights

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

Push Ups Help Develop Powerful Athletes:

Learn more power evolution techniques today.

IYCA-PowerEvolution-V1

 

Overworked and Underpaid

Overworked, Underpaid and…Exhausted?

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

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

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

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

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

What to do?

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

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

Take a 30,000 foot view, quarterly:

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

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

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

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

Know your numbers, monthly:

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

Numbers you have to know:office-620822_640

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to think about?

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

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

Written By:

IYCA-newsletter-julie sig-v1 (1)

 

 

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


Program design can require a lot of time.

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

IYCA-LTAD-LM-Blog AD-V1

Understanding Low Back Pain in Adolescents

 

Low Back Pain in Adolescents

 

By Jake Moore

 

Every one of us has worked with a young athlete with low back pain. In fact, we have all likely have worked with and missed the signs of serious low back pain in our athletes. Looking back at my career so far, I’m sure I have. Of those young athletes with lower back pain, up to 47% have spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis (1). Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis are injuries to the posterior vertebrae and result from excessive spinal extension loading. Unfortunately too many young athletes are over-trained and exposed to poor training, leaving them at risk for these injuries. On the positive side, these injuries are preventable with good movement training and knowledgeable coaches. As IYCA professionals we expect to be held to a higher standard than youth fitness professionals when working with young athletes. If we can recognize the signs of serious back pain, and how to train to prevent such injuries, it will go a long ways in diminishing low back pain amongst your youth fitness athletes, help those with low back pain get timely treatment and decrease the impact of low back pain into adulthood.

 

Young athletes are at a vulnerable time to develop low back pain from excessive trunk extension. In late middle school and early high school they may be participating in multiple sports throughout the year. It is not uncommon to be in-season for one sport and still participate in off-season training for their club teams. (It would be worth another article to discuss how these athletes would benefit more from developing fundamental movement skills instead of being in-season all year.) In addition these athletes will be asked to begin a youth fitness or strength and conditioning program in their school as part of their athletic participation. Meanwhile this athlete is at a time in their development where:
1. The rate of bone growth is often outpacing the lengthening of muscle and fascia, leading to tight hips and poor posture.
2. Growth plates are still open and bone density is not yet fully developed.
3. Core strength is not developed as the body adapts to having longer limbs.
4. Motor control and posture are continuing to be shaped.
If these athletes are asked to perform fully loaded strength movements with poor form with an immature and ill-prepared body, the body has but one choice to accomplish this task. That is to hang onto ligaments and bony restraints instead of utilizing muscular control.

 

youth fitness

 

Pelvic influence on spinal curves

 

The spine has three curves. A lordosis, or slight backward bend at the cervical and lumbar spine, and a slight kyphosis or forward bend at the thoracic spine. This helps the spine absorb shock and increases stability versus a completely vertically stacked spine. The lumbar spine position is controlled largely by the pelvis. The pelvis is able to anteriorly and posteriorly rotate based on the muscle pull on the front and back side of the body. The images below demonstrate the muscles involved in creating rotation of the pelvis. The line of action of the hip flexors and spinal erectors pull on the pelvis to create anterior rotation. This anterior rotation results in increased lumbar lordosis. On the other hand, the glutes, hamstrings and abdominals create posterior rotation and a decrease in lumbar lordosis. It’s common to see individuals with inhibited glute and abdominal musculature and tight hip flexors and spinal erectors. The result is a tendency to position the pelvis in anterior tilt and increase compression of the lumbar vertebrae. When this occurs repeatedly over time, the posterior structures of the lumbar vertebrae are at risk for injury.

 

youth fitness

 

Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis

 

Some of the most significant injuries affecting adolescents are spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. We all have likely trained athletes with this injury, whether we knew it or not. Spondylolysis refers to a stress reaction of overload to part of the vertebrae. In the lumbar spine this is often the pedicle or pars interarticularis. Spondylolisthesis is an advancement of spondylolysis with an identifiable fracture to the vertebrae and possible forward slippage.

 

youth fitness

 

The pedicles and pars interarticularis are located on the back side of the vertebrae and are placed under compressive and shear load when the spine moves into extension. Injuries to these structures often occur gradually over time. As an athlete is asked to do exercises that are beyond their ability for the core musculature to control, the lower back will drift towards extension to find stability. Think about trying to bend a copper wire. As you initially bend the wire a hinge point develops. As you do this over and over again the wire will bend more easily and eventually break. This is exactly what is happening to young athletes with spondylolysis. It’s critical that these individuals get treatment before it is too late (spondylolisthesis).

 

youth fitness

 

Recognizing serious low back injury

 

To recognize the signs of spondylolysis or athletes at risk, look at posture, core strength, hip mobility and activities. Posture is often excessively lordotic when doing squats, overhead presses, deadlifts, back extensions, push-ups and planks. These athletes may be some of your more capable squatters and deadlifters because they understand how to keep the spine from rounding forward. The problem is they can’t control spine extension. Athletes with poor core strength are more apt to use this type of strategy to make-up for inadequate active lumbar stabilization.

 

youth fitness

 

An athlete with limited hip mobility is also at risk. Without flexibility in the hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors, the athlete will have to bend more through the spine on order to perform sport specific or weight room movements. Tight hip flexors will pull the spine into excess extension and poor glute and hamstring mobility will force the athlete to contract more through spinal erectors. The end result either way is increased posterior spinal loading. Any athlete who has made recent large increases in loading in the weight room should be monitored closely for low back pain. Football players and gymnasts seem to be most at risk as well as athletes participating in multiple sports at the same time.

 

Initial symptoms of spondylolysis may be a dull ache in the back with no initial onset. These athletes often have the most pain with running and jumping due to large ground contact forces. Squats, cleans, deadlifts, overhead presses, planks and leg lifts are also exercises that can increase symptoms. These athletes may be able to do every exercise in your program but have pain doing it. These symptoms may go on for months before they bring it to your attention. It may even recur every year, increasing during track season for example, going away during the summer only to return during football season. Once diagnosed, these athletes may be held out of sports and put in a brace for up to 6 weeks with another 4-6 weeks of rehab before full sport participation. An athlete who develops spondylolisthesis may battle low back pain on and off for the rest of their lives.

 


Keys to prevention of Low Back Pain in Adolescents Through Youth Fitness Programs

 

Low Back Pain Youth Fitness Solution #1
Teach pelvic tilt. Understanding how to pelvic tilt is fundamental to developing awareness of the position of the spine and pelvis. An athlete who does not know how to posteriorly pelvic tilt will have difficulty controlling trunk extension and rest on boney structures during exercise. The athlete who cannot anterioly tilt the pelvis will have a hard time learning how to hip hinge and keep neutral spine with squats and deadlifts. Teaching pelvic tilt is easily done if doing and floor based core exercise. Have your athletes start with knees bent, feet flat. Have athletes practice arching the lower back up off the floor, keeping the glutes and shoulders down, then have them smash the lower back down into the floor. This can be progressed to quadruped, tall kneeling and athletic stance positions. Once your athletes understand pelvic tilt, many of your strength exercises will be easier to teach.

 
Low Back Pain Youth Fitness Solution #2
Train in neutral spine. Have your athlete’s pelvic tilt both ways and then find a happy medium. That’s roughly what we would call neutral lumbar spine. To find neutral spine a stick placed along the lower back works well. The athlete should be able to contact the stick at the sacrum, thoracic spine and back of the head.

 

youth fitness

 

Floor based core exercise should use neutral spine as well. Dead bug progressions work very well here. Have your athletes lift one leg or extend one leg and opposite arm, keeping neutral spine. Check under their back to be sure there isn’t an increase in the gap between the spine and the floor. Exercises such as double leg straight leg lifts will be too challenging for most athletes without a progression. This is why kids put their hands under their butt if asked to do excessive leg lifts with a weak core.

 

Look at how your athletes perform planks. Ideally the glutes should be tight and spine neutral. The pelvis position should not change when doing planks or push-ups. If it does, then the abdominals are fatigued or the athlete has poor core control and the lower back passive restraints will bear the load. Discontinue the set. This means push-ups may be limited more by core strength than by upper body strength.

 

youth fitness

 

Neutral spine applies for other strength exercises as well. Athletes should be able to use the force couples around the pelvis, engaging the glutes and abdominals to help control pelvic position. Exercises should maintain lumbar lordosis without forcing end range lumbar extension. Back extensions for example should be taken to full hip extension without hyper-extending the low back. For strength exercises, the cues to squeeze the glutes and tighten the abs will often help create balanced forces around the pelvis to control excessive pelvic tilt.

 

youth fitness

 

Low Back Pain Youth Fitness Solution #3
Improve hip mobility. As mentioned earlier, the hip flexors can create a force pulling the pelvis into anterior rotation, increasing lumbar lordosis. Keeping the hip flexors mobility is essential to allowing for neutral spine positioning when strength training and running. For younger athletes a specific static hip flexor stretch is not necessary. You can adequately train the hip flexors with lunges and split squats to develop mobility and neuromuscular control. Again use a dowel held along the spine and cue abs tight to improve pelvic control during the movement. On the other end of the spectrum, the athlete with tight hamstrings may not be able to utilize their glutes well when doing deadlifts, squats or getting into athletic stance. Getting the hamstrings more mobile will help young athletes access their glute strength and decrease demands on the lumbar extensors. Again, an isolated static hamstring stretch is not needed. Get your athletes to hip hinge with a stick and RDL with a neutral spine and you will develop functional hamstring mobility and trunk stability. These types of exercises along with many of the hip mobility exercises from your IYCA certification will help your athletes develop great hip mobility and allow for decreased demands on the lumbar spine during training and sport participation.

 

If you encounter Low Back Pain in Adolescents or an athlete who complains of LBP, take it seriously. Suggest that they see a therapist or physician for further evaluation. If their back pain is still there, suggest they see an orthopedic specialist. To help diminish the risk of spondylolysis, teach pelvic control through fundamental movement patterns and core exercise. Correct excessive spine extension just as much as you would the athlete who tends to round over. Teaching athletes how to move well and stay injury free is the essence of an IYCA professional and avoiding Low Back Pain in Adolescents. Being aware of the risk of spondylolysis in adolescent athletes will help direct those who need it to medical attention while improving the quality of training for all our athletes.

 

 

1. Motley G, Nyland J, Jacobs J, Caborn D. The pars interarticularis stress reaction, spondylolysis, and spondylolisthesis progression. Journal of Athletic Training 1998; 33 (4): 351-358

 

If you are interested in learning more about proper programming for youth fitness programs check out the IYCA Program Design System.

youth fitness

 

 

Youth Sports Training Program Design Considerations

 

Youth Sports Training Variables

By Art McDermott
 

The purpose of this article to present some of the key variables required for a successfully designed youth sports training and performance program. This topic always seems to produce some VERY strong opinions about what works, what does not and what the latest and greatest techniques may be.
 

Once all the sweating, lifting and marketing are done, sometimes it may be difficult to tell the difference between one sports performance facility and another.
 

With rare exceptions, even a young athlete’s parents do not know the difference between a good program and one that is not so good. As a strength and conditioning professional, it is your job to be able to clarify this.
 

At the end of the day, there is one thing that cannot be hidden from the light. Results. Physical Testing at the start of a summer program and then a retest at the conclusion of the training will always reveal the answer to the single most important question.
 

Did the youth sports training program work?
 

We cannot cover all the facets that go into a complete program in one article. This topic takes an entire semester when I cover it with the physical therapy students at UMass Lowell. However, I will do my best to present to most pressing issues.
 

There are nearly as many different approaches to youth sports training program design as there are coaches in the industry. However, here some of the factors that should be considered when designing an effective program.
 

* Time Frame – How long do you have to work with the athlete?
* Sport – What position does the athlete play?
* Gender
* Time of Year – Is this a pre-season program or an off-season program?
* Muscle balances and weaknesses – If any imbalances or weaknesses are present, are these the result of overuse, a lack of training, injury other factors?
* Level of Experience (Training Age) – Has the athlete be training for years or are they just learning to train or lift weights?
* Chronological Age – What level of physical maturity has the athlete reached?
 

Let’s examine why these elements are important before designing a youth sports training program:

 

1) Time Frame: This is the first question I ask ANY athlete that comes to our facility. How much time do you have to train (in weeks)? This will determine nearly every aspect of the program. How much corrective work can I do? What kind of strength level can we expect to achieve? Will we have time to properly periodize the program? Basically, can we do our job effectively? We have literally had parents call us and say, “My son has hockey tryouts in two weeks and we would like to get some training in. What can we put together?” Short answer: Not much.
 

2) Sport: This is a given. Very rarely can two athletes in different sports be on the same program. The physical requirements from sport to sport vary too widely. This is why having “Today’s Workout” posted on a board is a far cry from a properly designed program. A thorough coach should understand the needs of each sport or at least be adept at doing the research to gain this knowledge. The coach must then customize each athlete’s program accordingly.
 

3) Gender: This one is also fairly obvious. There are particular movements that MUST be in every female’s programs. Among them are: Knee and hip stability, hamstring work and upper body work. ACL injury is epidemic among female athletes but the incidence of ACL tears can be reduced by up to 70% according to some studies, if a proper program is put in place. A disproportionally weak upper body is usually the standard for females and should be addresses as well. As Martin Rooney says, “Who decided it as OK for females to do push ups from their knees?”
 

4) Muscle Imbalances and Weaknesses: While some imbalances may be genetic, many are a result of the trend towards early specialization in sport at too early an age. Examples are: Hip flexor shortening in hockey players, spine injury in gymnasts and figure skaters, dominant arm hypertrophy in tennis players, etc.
 

Muscular Weaknesses abound and have multiple sources. Most younger athletes are weak everywhere…unless they are one of those high-end gymnasts. Pinpointing muscular weaknesses allows the coach to correct them. Once the musculature is in balance, the entire “system” will be able to gain strength more effectively overall.
 

5) Time of Year: This refers back to point #1. The time of year will have a clear impact on exercise selection. Generally, as the competitive season gets closer there is a shift from general work to more transferable strength and power work.
 

6) Level of Experience: This is an easily overlooked parameter. If I am training a gymnast, she could be in her 8th year of high-end training and still only be 15 years old. On the other hand, you could have a 15 year old male who has ever been in a weight room but wants to try out for baseball in high school. Should these two be on the same routine?
 

7) Chronological Age: This one varies in a very important way from Training age. Actual chronological age looks purely at the physical maturity of the athlete. Keep in mind that one major factor impacting program design is onset or completion of puberty. If an athlete has significant androgens present in their system, additional intensity and volume options become available.
 

While not all-inclusive, I hope this article demonstrates the need for a properly designed youth sports training. From the testing procedures used to the energy system program used, making sure each program the right program for your athletes is vital for the athlete’s success as well as yours!
 

 

Co-Existing With Today’s High School Athlete

 

How To Co-Exist With High School Athlete Programs

 

By Wil Fleming
 

Some of my fondest memories of training came when I was in high school training with my Olympic Weightlifting club 3 nights per week. We had a great time and became better athletes in the process. To me it was a lot like AR before there was an AR. I loved going because I knew that what I was doing was aiding what was expected of me as a high school football player and track athlete.
 

My coaches supported me and would often come by just to watch training. My high school coaches knew that I was not participating in a competing program but rather one that was only aiding in my development. My high school coaches knew that I was working with experts in the field of strength and conditioning.
 

As a high school athlete I never felt pressure to choose 1 or the other. This allowed me to enjoy the experience fully and fully commit to getting better when I don’t suggest that we all run weightlifting clubs, but I do think that there are some valuable lessons from that experience to apply to your coaching. It is important to coexist with the high school programs already in place instead of trying to take their place.
 

Here are my top 4 ways to successfully coexist with programs for a high school athlete already in place.

 

  1. Find out what the high school is doing. My weightlifting club would ask coaches at high schools about the current focus in training. At AR Bloomington, I like to find out what the coaches’ focus is at the time and try to augment their results. Being redundant in training is the last thing you want to do, athletes will not want to attend an AR session where they are planning on doing a heavy quad dominant exercise when they did back squats at school the same morning.
  2.  

  3. Offer to assist the coach. Assisting the coach is one of the easiest ways to coexist successfully with a high school program. Inviting the coach to watch your sessions is an easy way to show that you have an open door and are not competing for their athletes time, but instead just aiding in their development.
  4.  

  5. Don’t Pressure the athletes. Although we remember our high school days fondly and the carefree attitude that was associated with that time, athletes today feel pressure from every direction. Not even mentioning the season during which nearly every hour after school is accounted for on everyday, athletes are expected to attend workouts year round for their sport, expected to participate in club or travel team practices and games. Giving the impression that a high school athlete should only be a part of your program is a quick way to lose athletes from your business.
  6.  

    Despite evidence that year round participation in a sport is a poor route to choose for athletes looking to improve, trying to force this message on your athletes only adds to the pressure that athletes are feeling.

     

    Most importantly is point number 4 below:
     

  7. Become an expert and then some. Coaches often feel like they must be a jack of all trades, they have to develop their schedule of competitions, they have to handle the gate receipts, they organize fundraising, they have to plan the x’s and o’s and then plan their strength and conditioning program. So why would they send their athletes to train with another jack of all trades?
  8.  

Instead find something to be the “go to” expert in your community. Speed and agility, recovery and regeneration, and Olympic lifting are great places to start.
 

No matter your current level of knowledge, keep improving. My area of expertise is the Olympic lifts and many high school coaches have sought out my help in this area, but I am not satisfied with my current knowledge and have read nearly a dozen books or manuals this year on the subject to keep improving and further separate myself as the go to expert in my community. By improving these skills your business will always be the place to send athletes looking to improve in that area.
 

The excellence of your training program cannot be experienced without the approval of high school coaches in your area.
 

Working to gain their trust and acceptance is worth it to get the opportunity to impact more new High School Athlete everyday.

 

 

Should Your Young Athletes Be Doing Power Cleans?

 

Young Athletes: Are Power Cleans with an Efficient Use of Our Time?

 

Young Athletes

 

By Jim Kielbaso

 

There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence and personal experience that comes into play when strength and conditioning coaches select strength training exercises, speed drills or conditioning routines for young athletes. The risk vs. reward scale is a great place to start, but not the only factor that should be considered. As a professional, I believe it is my ethical responsibility to prescribe safe exercises. But, according to the thought processes I’ve been hearing lately, it seems like a lot of people believe there are no bad exercises, just bad implementation. I understand the point to a degree, but I disagree. Risk vs. reward is one reason I feel this way, but there is another factor I weigh when making decisions.

 

Another ethical responsibility I think we all have is to implement “efficient” programs, and that is something I see missing more often than not. What I mean by that is that I think a lot of trainers waste time and energy doing things that won’t necessarily elicit the response with the young athletes that they’re after. I can see where someone may think “well, it might help, so I’ll implement it a little.” I can see that, but I hate to see coaches spending an inordinate amount of time on things that we’re not sure work better than other alternatives.

 

Let’s take the Power Clean as an example. Olympic lifting is a sport. There is a governing body and athletes compete against one another in the lifts. It’s possible that the lifts develop power, but it has never been shown that they develop power better than other alternatives. In my opinion, some of the alternatives such as dumbbell/trap bar squat jumps, pulls, DB pulls, and plyometrics are also much easier to teach and are much safer to implement and will elicit the same result. I’ve heard many coaches talk about how the catch is the most critical part of the clean to work on because that’s where the problems will be seen. The catch is also completely unnecessary, from a physiological standpoint, for developing power. Yet, as strength coaches, our romantic enchantment with the exercise keeps us doing it.

 

You’d think that if the exercise was SO great for young athletes that the rewards completely outweighed the risks, we’d have plenty of research showing just that. We don’t. We don’t have anything. It’s simply not out there.

 

Now, it might develop power. Let’s put that aside and think about whether or not it is efficient? How long does it take to get an athlete good enough at the lifts that they can actually derive the benefits? How much coaching and supervision does it take compared to, say, a squat jump? How safely will it be done when we’re not around or another coach is supervising? How many sets and reps are required to 1. Become proficient and 2. Get more powerful? We don’t know. And, is moving a bar with heavier weight even going to transfer to sport?

 

Hmmm. Again, we have no idea. What I do know are many professional strength coaches who tell me it takes them months to get their young athletes proficient enough at the clean that they no longer require daily instruction.

 

The principle of specificity states that in order for one skill to transfer to another, they need to be kinetically and kinematically the same for transfer to occur. The clean has been shown by Canavan to be dissimilar to a vertical jump, which is what is commonly argued as the movement it is most like. If it’s not like a VJ, then it’s nowhere near any other sport movement. So, is the transfer gone? I don’t know, but this principle seems to point in that direction. The principle also states that if x gets you better at y, then y should get you better at x. Playing a sport or practicing jumping does not make you better at the clean, so why do we expect the clean to get us better at a sport?

 

So, if we have no idea if it’s going to help us in sport, it takes a lot of time and energy to coach and implement, and it can be dangerous if done with slightly poor technique, is it an efficient way to spend our young athlete’s time? I have an opinion, but I don’t know the answer. I can kind of understand the argument that it helps prepare for sport, but is it efficient?

 

What I do know, is that gymnasts are incredibly powerful, flexible, and have great core strength and balance. So, should we all go through certifications for gymnastics and start implementing them with other young athletes because we want them to have all of those things? I would say that would be a poor use of our time. I know that jugglers have amazing hand-eye coordination. Should we implement juggling into our programs because we want our athletes to have that kind of coordination? Again, probably a waste of our time. So, why do we train for one sport to get better at another?

 

So, forget about whether the clean is safe or not. There are plenty of arguments either way. But, is it efficient?

Is it the best use of our time with young athletes?

Do we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is the best use of our time? In my opinion, if we can get the same result in half the time, why not use that option? I use the same thought process when determining workout volume. If I can get the same results in 45 minutes, 3 days a week, why would I ask my young athletes to train 2 hours a day, 4 days a week? But, many coaches do. I think it’s our responsibility to figure out how to maximize results in minimal time. Most young athletes are not professional strength athletes. They want to play their sport and should spend their time doing so. We should be with them the minimum amount of time possible and still get results. It’s like a prescription drug. A doctor is supposed to find the lowest dosage possible to get the desired response. As strength and conditioning professionals, I believe we should take the same approach when determining which exercises to include in our programs.

 

 

 

Teaching Young Athletes the Kettlebell Snatch

 

Kettlebell Snatch For Young Athletes

 

by Jason C Brown (more…)

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.

 

(more…)

Strength And Conditioning Coaches Misuse of Speed & Agility Training


Strength And Conditioning Coaches Often Overlook Movement

By Jim Kielbaso




A lot of people in this field call themselves Strength &
Conditioning Coaches.

I don’t have a problem with the “Strength” part of the title, but the
“Conditioning” part could use a little work.

 

As a former college S & C Coach, I fully understand the time
constraints of the collegiate or high school environment. Running a
private facility for athletes, I also understand the limitations of
this situation. In both cases, it is very difficult to give every
athlete the time and instruction they need. Still, there is one area of
our profession that I feel is in desperate need of some attention.

 

That area is what I call Movement Training.

 

Recently, I was asked by a college coach what mistakes I have made in
the past and what I would do differently if I could re-live the past
6-10 years of my career. At first, like many coaches, my ego didn’t
want to admit to any mistakes, especially to another coach. But, after
some thought, I realized that the area in which I have the greatest
impact on athletes today, I simply did not understand when I was
younger.

 

A few years ago, I thought the best S & C Coach was the one who
most fully brutalized his/her athletes. I thought I was supposed to
lift my athletes until they puked and condition them until they
couldn’t see straight. Don’t get me wrong, I still think that stuff has
its place. I love putting athletes through brutally hard workouts, and
I think that kind of hard work can have amazing benefits (it also has
terrific entertainment value). But, through time, I have gained a
better understanding of how to maximize the “Conditioning” or “Speed
and Agility Training” part of my job title.

 

To a lot of coaches, conditioning means creating running programs that
enhance the physiological processes involved in aerobic or anaerobic
metabolism. You may not think of it this way, but that is essentially
what many conditioning programs are designed to do. I have no problem
with this. Conditioning sport-specific energy systems is a vital part
of athletic success.

 

Many coaches also implement speed, agility, and plyometric routines
into their programs, and I think it’s great to see coaches making an
effort to improve the physical abilities of their athletes.
Unfortunately, I see way too many mistakes being made in this area, and
I think many coaches are doing their athletes an injustice.

 

Over the years, we have read articles by some great coaches about
specificity, but the full message of these wise men is often lost in an
effort to use their message to support our own views. I’m sure you’ve
done it. You’ve read an article, and thought to yourself “That’s what
I’m talkin’ about. That’s why I do what I do. I’m going to use this
article to support my training philosophy.”

 

The articles have been great. They have helped a generation of S & C Coaches
formulate their strength training philosophies….strength
training philosophies. Why didn’t we see that the same information
we’ve applied to strength training can also be used to develop
effective speed and agility programs?

 

In my opinion, a lot of S & C Coaches approach speed and agility
training the same way they approach strength training. They find out
what other coaches are doing (through reading summer manuals, watching
workouts, etc.), and duplicate it in their environments. This has
worked out pretty well for strength training because there are a lot of
good Strength and Conditioning Coaches

 

Unfortunately, there are a few problems with learning about speed and
agility this way. First, there are not nearly as many quality speed and
agility coaches to learn from. Second, most of us didn’t learn anything
about effective movement patterns in school. Third, proper coaching of
speed and agility is highly dependent on coaching prowess, movement
analysis, and the ability to understand proper movement patterns. It is
more like teaching a sport skill; instructor knowledge is vital, and
you can’t just apply a cookie-cutter approach like many coaches do with
strength training. Nonetheless, we’ve learned our speed and agility
drills from Strength Coaches not Speed and Agility coaches. The best
case scenario for many of us was to learn a few drills from a track
coach or catch an article outlining a couple of exercises.

 

This kind of coaching just doesn’t cut it. I believe that movement
training falls under the “Conditioning” part of our job title, and it’s
time we take full responsibility for this important part of our jobs.

 

I like to call speed and agility work “movement training” because the
goal is to train athletes how to move more efficiently. The problem
with most movement training is the assumption that if we put some cones
or hurdles out in a cool design and have our athletes run through them,
we are making an impact on their movement patterns. The truth is, we’re
not. All we’re doing is helping them reinforce whatever movement
patterns they are using to get through the drill. Take a few minutes to
re-read some of those specificity articles, and I think you’ll see
exactly what I’m talking about.

 

I have had the good fortune of working with, observing, and Strength And Conditioning Coaches
from a lot of good sport coaches and instructors. I have never seen a
good basketball coach allow players to take hundreds of jump shots with
poor shooting technique, and I have never seen a good baseball coach
let players pitch and hit with poor mechanics. Unfortunately, I have
seen a lot of Strength and conditioning Coaches
allow athletes to perform hours of agility drills using horrible technique.
A lot of coaches assume that if the athletes are going through the drills, their athleticism
will improve. But, the benefits of performing speed and agility drills are
dramatically reduced if the athletes are not executing them with sound
mechanics and learning proper technique. If the coach is unable to
analyze the movement and give corrective feedback, what good is he/she
doing for the athletes?

 

There are still a lot of questions about movement training, but there
are certainly some answers and a lot of room for us to improve. I look
forward to examining this misunderstood aspect of our profession in
more detail with you in the future.


IYCA Member Spotlight: Melissa Lambert


IYCA Youth Fitness Specialist Spotlight

IYCA youth fitness specialist

 

I am licensed professional counselor in the state of Connecticut
and work as a child and adolescent clinician at Natchaug Hospital.
I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Eastern
Connecticut State University and was a four year collegiate soccer
player earning All-Region and All-New England accolades as a
defender. I completed my Master’s degree in Clinical Mental
Health Counseling with a concentration in child and adolescent
psychology at Springfield College.

 

My experience includes working inpatient, partial hospital
programs, in-home therapy for children and adolescents in crisis, facilitating
parenting classes and writing articles for parenting magazines. I
enforce the importance of movement and play with both children
and their families. I also work on youth nutrition with children

who are currently taking psychiatric medications that often
cause weight gain.

 

In addition, I’m an assistant soccer coach for the U-16 girls’
Southeast Premier Soccer Club and run high school soccer
strength and conditioning clinics. I currently have the following

IYCA
certifications: Youth Fitness Specialist 1, High School
Strength and Conditioning, Youth Nutrition and Youth Fitness

for children with Special Needs.

The IYCA certifications have Impacted my work as both a therapist and coach.

 

I feel the overall philosophy of the program can be utilized when
working with any group of kids, whether it’s fitness related or not.
The IYCA emphasizes building upon the child’s current strengths
while empowering them to become better athletes with a focus
on injury prevention. I like the break down on how to work with

specific athletes based on both the level of skill and motivation.

 

The course material is easy to understand and can be applied
in various environments. I use many of the youth nutrition
handouts with both children in therapy and my high school
athletes as well as incorporating the games from the youth
fitness certification into group therapy.

 

In relation to coaching, my strength and conditioning clinic
sessions were based on the principles provided in the high
school strength and conditioning book (mobility, dynamic
stretching vs. static stretching, speed and agility with emphasis
on decelerating and accelerating properly, etc.) I would recommend
any professional working with children and adolescents (coaches,
various teachers, therapists and other childcare providers) to
become certified through the IYCA organization.

 

Give Yourself the Coaching Edge…For Just $1

Right now, you have the opportunity to give yourself the competitive
edge over every other coach in your area.

 

You have the opportunity to make your athletes better. You have the
opportunity to make your career better. You have the opportunity to
join a team of motivated, like-minded trainers and coaches that are
committed to being the best in the industry.

 

All by becoming part of IYCA Members.

 

So the question is this:

 

Are you committed to being the best coach you can possibly be?

 

If the answer is ‘Yes’ then don’t wait another second… Join IYCA
Members For Just $1 Today!

 

http://iyca.org/membership/

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.

Long Term Training Models: Part 2

Long Term Training…

Point #2 – M.O.L.D: The Key to Long-Term training and Athletic Performance

 

Taken straight from the IYCA’s Youth Fitness Specialist – Level 1 certification material, this acronym should be the calling card for every single professional and/or volunteer working with young athletes:

 

M = Movement Must Dominate

 

Every aspects of your work with young athletes must come under the pretense of ‘movement’. Free-motion-based strength, torso, ROM, mobility, flexibility, speed, agility and cardiovascular training absolutely must be key to everything.

 

O = Open to Communication Variances

 

Coaching and communication are two of the much more important, but largely ignored aspects of proper athletic development.

 

Kids learn at different rates and via different means. If you are not prepared to accept that and create a system of communication that reinforces both positivist and your willingness to educate, you will only ever be half a Coach.

 

L = Learning Style Variances (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…)

Training Young Athletes: Concept vs. Cool

Training Young Athletes: exactly what the IYCA is all about.

Specifically related to our Concepts when training young athletes long-term development.

 

There are certain core values as it relates to training young athletes and people that we disclose within our ‘Youth Fitness Specialist – Level 1’ certification course, and you either need to hear them or hear them again…

 

These centralized principles extend to the entire litany of IYCA material, at large.

 

 

(1) Concept vs Cool (more…)

Speed & Strength For Young Athlete Development

 

Chris Scarborough is a professional Strength & Conditioning Coach who specializes in Young Athlete Development. His information is top-notch and reflects his unprecedented knowledge of this topic.

 

 

 

BG: What’s your background in youth sports and athletics? Have you trained a lot of young athletes?

 

 

CS: As a young athlete myself many years ago, I was always interested in the conditioning aspect of sport. In 1995 I became licensed as a Physical Therapy Assistant in the State of Alabama and took a job in an outpatient therapy clinic that had a lot of patients that were young athletes. I saw first hand common injuries that young athletes suffer — many of which could have been prevented by proper conditioning. By the way, I am not saying that the athletes were “out of shape”, I am saying that the athletes were often injured because of poor techniques or habits. For example, football players, basketball players, and volleyball players would come in with knee or ankle injuries that were a result of poor running, jumping or landing technique. Baseball players, tennis players and golfers often came in with elbow and shoulder injuries due to poor swing technique or overuse of the arms and not enough of the trunk.

 

In 1997, I became certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and began working with athletes on performance enhancement. As a result of working with hundreds of athletes in several settings, I realized that there was far more to Strength and Conditioning than getting an athlete into “game shape”.

 

 

BG: There are a lot of coaches, parents and even trainers who treat young athletes as if they were ‘little adults’. What I mean by that is they will take the training routine of a superstar athlete and use it as a guide when working with youngsters. Why, if at all, should we warn against that kind of training?

 

CS: The reason young athletes follow the training programs of their sports heroes are obvious. After all, if Barry Bonds followed this routine and he hit 73 home runs in a season then it should do the same for the young athlete–right? NO!!

 

First of all, the young athlete has a growing body and is prone to overuse injury in the muscles and tendons, stress fractures in the growth plates, and muscle imbalance injuries that a more mature athlete would be less prone to getting.

 

Also, the large majority of world class athletes have developed a broad base of athleticism and strength prior to specializing their training in one sport. Tudor Bompa and yourself have written a great deal on the topic. Specializing in a particular sport too soon is far more likely to lead to 1) burnout from playing and training for the sport 2) early skill development in the sport, but the skill level potential is never fully realized due to a very narrow athletic ability base and 3) increased likelihood of injury.

 

Finally, the conditioning needs of the pro athlete have been very carefully assessed by the team Strength and Conditioning coach. Even if the young athlete has the same needs, the conditioning program would still be different.

 

A young athlete should develop a broad base of athleticism by doing activities that require them to run, jump, catch, throw, swim, climb, etc. By playing several sports and various other physical activities the young athlete develops all the abilities including strength, speed, agility, stability, balance, endurance, coordination and power.

 

 

BG: The age old debate is ‘How old should an athlete be before they begin lifting weights’. What’s your view on that controversial topic?

 

CS: Let me preface my answer by saying that I am referring to weight training as lifting with barbells, dumbbells and weight machines. Body weight exercises can be classified as weight training, but I am not including them in my definition of weight training.

 

While it is safe for a young athlete to begin a strength training program with weights at an early age, I do not think that it is necessarily optimal for their development. I know many kids who would be considered strong in the weight room, but can’t handle their own body weight in certain activities.

 

For example, one 17 year old I know can bench press 300 pounds, but can’t hold his body straight while doing a push up. His hips sway toward the ground indicating he has chest, shoulder, and arm strength that far exceeds what his hip and abdominal muscles can stabilize. He also can’t do a single proper pull up, so his pushing movement overpowers his pulling strength. Unfortunately this is fairly common. It is not weight training that is going to get him hurt, it is improper weight training that is going to get him hurt.

 

Also, he will be far more likely to get hurt on the field of play, not actually in the weight room. I think that weight training can begin for most females around the age of 12 to 14 and age 14 to 15 for males — even then it should be balanced, supervised training. Up to that point, good technique can be taught at any age doing other activities than weight training. I do not think that an athlete has to do much weight training to get good strength development. For example, push ups, pull ups, stability ball exercises and medicine ball exercises can all be performed with minimal equipment. They require use of the same techniques as in the weight room, and develop entire groups of muscles or movements at a time, rather than isolated strength training. The strength can actually be used on the court or field when the child plays the sport. These activities can be started at a very early age.

 

You may hear some people say that squats and dead lifts are bad for your back and knees — that is not true. It is squats and deadlifts performed improperly that causes injury. My son started squatting before he could even stand. Everything that he picks up is a deadlift (from the floor). I have never seen a child age 3 or under perform an improper squat or dead lift. That does not mean that I think that kids should be lifting heavy weights that way, but I do think that the movements should be trained using the equipment stated above. Train a child for the long-term — not just for the season.

 

 

BG: Using your ideals, could you define ‘functional conditioning’ for us?

 

(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…)