If you feel compelled to work with kids, you need to watch this! In this powerful message, Dave Jack explains just why our kids need you. You have the power and ability to change lives and speak LIFE into our youth…see what he has to say.
About Dave Jack
Dave has been in the industry for nearly 15 years and has worked with top professional athletes and teams throughout the National Football League, Major League Baseball and more. His vision is to inspire people to live healthy lives and provide them with tools to do so.
In addition to being the Fitness & Wellness Director of TeamWorks Fitness in Acton, MA, Dave is a national advisor and consultant for brands like Reebok, Rodale, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Prevention and NBA All-Star Paul Pierce’s Truth on Health Foundation.
Dave is also a National Level Speaker on Sports Performance, Fitness and Wellness and Co-founder of “Sports and Life,” a wellness curriculum for schools.
Check Out the IYCA Store!
If you are ready to take the leap into youth fitness and be a part of the IYCA team, check out our STORE today!
At the International Youth Conditioning Association we are proud of the fact that we provide education for coaches and trainers just like you.
It is important to us to provide research-based information coupled with practical application.
Our Youth Fitness Specialist Certification does that, and there are many reasons that being a Youth Fitness Specialist can be a benefit to you and the athletes/kids you work with. Here are just a few:
Reason #1: A Youth Fitness Specialist is Confident
Working with young kids can be challenging, from programming to exercise selection and timing, there is a lot to know.
Training kids like “mini adults” is simply unacceptable. This is why it is important for the Youth Fitness Specialist to know all the details on working with kids during crucial developmental phases to provide them with the optimal training.
Confidence is reflected in the quality of the programs and presentations as a coach. The Youth Fitness Specialist knows how to coach each athlete as an individual, even in a group/team setting. They can provide customized experiences and build long lasting relationships with clients based on research and practical application.
The Youth Fitness Specialist can be confident in getting results.
Reason #2: A Youth Fitness Specialist is Marketable – Be the Go-To Coach
Look around your community, do you know any Youth Fitness Specialists? It’s likely that there are very few that specialize with kids. Specializing can differentiate you from other coaches and trainers in the area.
Of course, becoming the go-to trainer takes a lot more than a certification, but becoming a Youth Fitness Specialist will give you the tools and resources to prove just why you ARE the go-to trainer in your area.
Use the credential to expand your programming, coach athletes in the way they need to be coached and build a network of trusting clients.
Reason #3: A Youth Fitness Specialist Can Educate Others
Probably the most important thing you can be when working with kids is a “student”. Simply put, coaches should never stop learning.
One of the greatest benefits of becoming a Youth Fitness Specialist (or in educating yourself on any topic), is that you can educate others. Answering the “whys” of youth fitness and performance is an important component of any coach’s job.
Educate yourself so you can educate others.
Want to Become a Youth Fitness Specialist?
Become a Youth Fitness Specialist today for $100 OFF.
As baseball season is well underway in most areas of the country, youth athletes across the country are dusting off gloves and bats and have geared their arms up for the spring season.
At any age, there is a sense of urgency to make every toss faster and further than the one before it. No matter the position, throwing can cause wear and tear on even the most prepared arm.
Here are THREE recommendations that every athlete should follow to keep them ON the field and OUT of the doctor’s office.
#1: Mechanics over Throwing More
The idea that to throw better you just need to “throw more” is rampant in the youth sports arena. It seems the same goes for all sports. Shoot more baskets, hit more slap shots, or simply jump until you can’t jump higher.
There is some truth to this but the key word here is some.
Pro Tip: There are volume limits of which the shoulder and elbow can tolerate before breakdown sets in and thus the title of this article.
Young athletes come out of the gate sprinting in late winter/early spring and wear their arms out before things really heat up.
Teaching proper mechanics is one great strategy to reduce wear and tear on the arm. No different than a car with poor alignment where one tire wears faster than the others, the same is true for throwing. A great way to do this is to focus on throwing mechanics at the beginning and end of each practice. Perhaps it’s odd to focus on mechanics when the arm is exhausted but this is where education is most important.
The goal here is two fold.
First, having the athlete focus on throwing correctly, even for short distances, will reinforce correct mechanics while tired. Second (and most important), if a baseball player cannot throw correctly because their arm is too tired or it hurts, then it’s time to stop!
Too often athletes will just “sling” the ball or alter mechanics to keep throwing. This is a very bad idea. This is another solid education moment for any athlete because fatigue and pain seems to help absorb words better than when things are going well.
#2: Strengthen the Support System Throughout the Season
Once the season starts, the strength and conditioning that was done in preparation seems to go by the wayside. This makes sense, as there are so many hours in the day and hitting your cutoff man takes precedent over crunches.
Throwing requires a complex series of movements and too often we focus on only a few parts of the chain. Postural and scapular muscles are very important to position the shoulder correctly. When these muscles are strong, the rotator cuff doesn’t have to work as much to maintain good positioning while throwing.
Strengthening the postural muscles in the middle of the spine, obliques, and lower trap muscles helps. The combination of these muscles rotates the trunk and creates ideal arm angle during throwing. As long as these muscles are all working together, the rotator cuff doesn’t take as much of a beating.
Pro Tip: Simple exercises will do the trick such as superman’s, prone shoulder flexion with light dumbbells, and supine single leg adduction drops from side to side to engage the core.
What does swinging have to do with it?
Thousands of swings over the course of the season reek havoc on the hip, pelvic, and lower back. This is because all the force transfers from the legs, up through the back, into the arms, and then contact is made with the ball, sending a jolt of energy back through the system.
This is important to throwing because many hitters and athletes will start to develop tight psoas, chest, and lat muscles from swinging and sprinting. When all these muscles become over-tightened, they tend to pull the lower back into extension and then shoulder into a downward rotated position.
What does this mean? Thousands and thousands of throws will become challenging, reducing the efficiency and quality of every throw.
Pro Tip: Be sure to keep the hips, chest, and lower back muscles nice and loose to maintain ideal body mechanics with throwing.
#3: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Every long distance runner knows they have to pace themselves because training only for 20 miles won’t finish the race. Baseball is no different. Having and executing a long-term game plan to ensure that a young athlete’s body is working from start to finish is paramount to long-term athletic success.
Too much of youth sports focuses on a game, a tournament, or a showcase. If attitudes and habits only address the now, the future for baseball—or any sport for that matter—is nothing more than a crap shoot.
At work, we put money into a 401k for retirement, we exercise to keep the heart strong and pumping, and we take vacations to keep stress from eating our body’s apart.
Do all the little things right and the big things will take care of themselves.
Dr. Keith Cronin, DPT
Want to help make sure your athletes are prepared to perform for the long-run?
Learn how to leverage the Long Term Athletic Development Model to ensure your athletes are prepared to perform. Sign up today to get instant access to our free 7-minute video and PDF checklist.
Keith J. Cronin is a physical therapist and owner of Sports and Healthcare Solutions, LLC. Keith currently supports US Operations for Dynamic Tape®, the “Original” Biomechanical Tape®, providing guidance for education, research, and distribution. He graduated with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from Belmont University in 2008 and later earned his Orthopedic Certification Specialist (OCS).
Prior to graduate school, Keith was a collegiate baseball player and top-level high school cross country runner. He also had the opportunity to work as a personal trainer (CSCS) prior to his career in physical therapy, providing a very balanced approached to educating fitness and rehabilitation. Keith has focused his career on the evaluation, treatment, injury prevention, and sports conditioning strategies for athletes, with particular attention to youth sports. He currently lives in the St. Louis, MO area with his wife and two daughters, Ella and Shelby.
Additional noteworthy items about Keith:
Keith is currently a reviewer for the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy (IJSPT) on a variety of topics including throwing athletes, concussions, and ACL rehabilitation.
Keith has produced several online CEU courses for PTWebcuation.com on the topics of running injuries, ACL rehabilitation, Patellofemoral Syndrome, and injuries to the Foot and Ankle.
In 2012, Keith participated in a concussion education program in Newcastle, OK that resulted in the documentary “The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer” which had several runs on PBS worldwide.
Keith has also been published in a variety of media, publishing almost 100 articles through venues including MomsTEAM.com, Advanced Magazine, the 9s Magazine, the American Coaching Academy, and Suite101.
Keith was also featured on Fox2News several times on topics of concussions and ACL injuries.
In 2008, Keith was a winner of the Olin Business Cup at Washington University for his product innovation “Medibite” a jaw rehabilitation system designed to improve the outcomes for individuals suffering TMJ dysfunction.
In Part 1 of this blog I discussed why we monitor and considerations for monitoring your athletes. Part 2 is going to deal with how we monitor at the high school level.
Monitoring can be an expensive venture, but there are also less expensive ways that can be implemented by virtually anyone at any level.
This blog will detail two practical and inexpensive ways in which, monitoring can be implemented to help you make decisions, allowing you to meet your athletes where they are at on any given day.
Having your athletes take quick daily surveys can help create awareness regarding their habits. These surveys can be simple and ask as few or as many questions as you would like. Keeping it simple is best. Here is an example of some of the questions to ask:
How many hours did you sleep?
Did you eat breakfast?
How many bottles of water did you drink?
How tough was practice yesterday on a 1-5 scale with 5 being the hardest?
How tough was your workout yesterday on a 1-5 scale with 5 being the hardest?
How do you feel overall 1-5 scale with 5 being the hardest?
You could make a survey through excel pretty quickly and log your information there to keep track of long term trends with your athletes. There are a couple of ways in which this can be beneficial for you.
Make educated adjustments to your plan dependent upon feedback from the athlete
Identify, where you feel they are at from a readiness standpoint that day.
Look at long-term trends both individually and globally to make better decisions in programming for your athletes.
Individually, you may find that your athletes do not get enough sleep on Monday nights due to practice and academic obligations. Globally, you may find that the football team’s toughest day is on Tuesday every week. Knowing that your athletes average 6 hours of sleep on Monday nights and also have their toughest day on Tuesday allows you to adjust and make the best decision for your athletes that day.
It is very important that you use the data that you collect!
Pro Tip: Collecting data for the sake of collecting data is counter-productive. The adjustments you make off of the data collections is what is of real significance.
You can also up the ante and implement technology to take surveys. There are programs that exist where athletes can enter survey information into their phones, and it collects and organizes the data. This is a real time saver for busy trainers.
Here is an example of a survey:
#2 Autoregulation (APRE-RPE Scales)
A second cost-effective way to monitor your athletes is by using an APRE/RPE scale in their strength training programming. APRE is defined by Dr. Bryan Mann as Autoregulatory Progressive Resistance Exercise. APRE is a method that takes the daily readiness of the athlete into account through adjustment protocols that dictate working sets.
There are two warm up sets, and then the third set is a set to failure at a prescribed rep max (RM). The results of the third set dictate the weight used on the fourth and final set.
As a coach, this can be used to help the athlete train to the highest level possible for that specific training session according to the physical state of the athlete.
We do not use strict percentages in our program but rather we use them as a guide.
Use this auto-regulation method to dictate our training loads for the day.
I always use the example of the athlete who slept 3 hours the night before a hard training session that is under tremendous personal and academic stress when describing the need for this type of training. This athlete may have a prescription to hit 2 reps at 95% that day, but due to his physiological state that 95% is really more like 105% that day. This is why autoregulation can play such a key factor in the development of your athletes.
Dr. Mann from the University of Missouri has done a tremendous amount of work in this area, and has written an E-book specifically on APRE methods. 1
Here is what typical APRE protocol according would look like:
SET 4 ADJUSTMENTS- REFER to this chart after set 3
An RPE scale in conjunction with APRE methods is another effective manner in which to implement RPE. RPE stand for rate of perceived exertion. Athletes use this rating scale to rank the difficulty of a set in training.
Pro Example: Sample RPE rating scale
An example would be an athlete does 155lbs. for 10 reps. When he finishes this set on set three, he rates whether or not he had one rep, two reps, or multiple reps left in the tank. Then picks an appropriate weight to finish his fourth set, using the adjustment chart below.
Here is an example of what this looks like:
SET 4 ADJUSTMENTS- REFER To This Chart after set 3
Look at long term trends when recording their numbers to make sure there is consistent progress. Do not worry about disp as this is common due to the variable nature of the high school athlete.
Two simple and cost-effective measures in which to monitor and adjust for your athletes have been outlined. Use these tools to tremendously impact your athletes in way that is both feasible and practical.
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.
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 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.
There are two pieces to the evaluation part of your program:
Evaluate the athletes
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)
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.
Author: Julie Hatfield
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. 😉
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!
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:
Active legs (straight as an arrow)
Glutes (squeeze a quarter between the cheeks)
Trunk (brace like someone is going to punch your gut)
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, 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.
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.
Create rigidity through the body (body is one long piece of solid oak)
Torque the ground through the hands (rotate the hands away from one another)
Pull the body to the floor (rip the ground apart to give the chest space)
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,
About the Author: Jared Markiewicz
Jared 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.
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
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?
If 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:
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?
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.
IYCA– Executive Director YFS, YNS, YSAS Fitness Business Owner
To run a youth fitness business that functions at a very high level you need the following Business Operating System components in place:
An Overall Business Growth Plan – Most fitness businesses approach growth very arbitrarily. They randomly try to do things and don’t really have a plan. It’s very much like the difference between designing a program based on a client’s assessment and goals versus just giving them random workouts.
It might work out ok – but the odds of it doing as well as the planned approach aren’t very good.
This plan should include:
Knowing who you want to serve
How you intend to reach those people and get them to become clients
A Marketing Calendar to put this into action
Specific Business Targets – You need to have targets for the number of leads that you need each month, the closing percentage for those leads actually becoming clients, specific revenue targets and specific profit targets at minimum. There are any number of other target metrics that you can (and should) track, but those are the basics.
Trackable Lead Generation System – For you to grow a successful and sustainable business you need to have several lead generation strategies that you can consistently execute and track for effectiveness. You need to be able to know that:
You’re getting enough quality leads per month.
Where those leads are coming from.
The cost of getting those leads, both from a money perspective and a time perspective
This way you can focus on what’s working and improve or replace what is not.
Trackable Lead Conversion System – You must know how effective you are at turning prospects into clients. You should know which prospects are higher quality (convert better and stay longer) and which aren’t.
Client Value Maximization System – You can call this what you want, but you must have a systematic way to:
Maximize their value to your business
Provide them the most complete solution for their goals possible
Most fitness professionals do not have this System in place and leave up to half of their potential revenue on the table.
Business Operations Systems – The systems for what go on ‘behind the scenes’ in your business, from how you answer the phone or respond to emails to how you clean your facility. A business might get away without these when it’s a one person operation, but they’re critical if you have a staff or want to.
Finance Systems – You must have systems to address:
Taxes & Payroll (if you have staff)
Financial systems routinely either get overlooked by fitness business owners or are handled in a way that eventually costs the business a lot of revenue. Remember, it’s not what you make, it’s what you keep.
Hiring & Staff Training Systems – Almost every business owner aspires to have staff, whether it’s adding more trainers or coaches or it’s hiring someone to handle some of the administrative tasks that go into running the business.
If your going to have staff, then you need to have systems in place to hire the right people and develop them to do the job that you need done at the highest level possible.
Hopefully this gives you some more clear insight into the components of the Business Operating System you need to have in place to run your business at the highest possible level.
Obviously, there is far more to it than what I can address in an email, but these components should be present in your Youth Fitness Business. If not, you should immediately start working to build each of these systems.
They’re that important.
If you’d like to discuss how we can help you with your Business Operating System and in providing you all of those components, click on the link below and let me know. That’s exactly what Athletic Revolution was built to do:
Help great coaches build great businesses.
You can learn more about Athletic Revolution here:
I’m sure you are passionate about helping your clients or athletes achieve their goals but are you doing EXACTLY what you want to be doing?
Well, if your answer isn’t an enthusiastic YES, then I have something special for you.
IYCA Expert Dave Gleason did a presentation where he shares the exact plan he used to dump an unfulfilling career as an In Home Trainer to open his dream facility and build an ultra-successful business serving the hottest market in the industry: Youth Fitness & Sports Performance.
In this Free Video you will discover the secrets to never having to work with another single client you don’t love again while building the business or career of your dreams!
I wish most fitness pros would enjoy what they do half as much as Dave enjoys what he does… and in this video he’s going to share exactly how he turned his passion into a thriving youth fitness business.
Remember why you got into this industry and start loving your career again. Here is a blueprint to how Dave made that happen for him and how you can do it too.
Turn your fitness passion into profits starting with this video ->
P.S. – Check out Dave Gleason’s youth fitness business presentation where he shares his story on how he went from an In Home Trainer who didn’t really enjoy what he was doing to building one of the top youth fitness businesstraining facilities in the U.S. while loving every minute of it.
It gets tough to access the credibility of coaches in this internet age. Many people that call themselves ‘coaches’ who haven’t actually coached anyone and there are many giving fitness advice that really shouldn’t.
So who do you trust?
That’s where the IYCA is here to help.
We constantly research and make sure to listen to coaches that are in-the-trenches getting great results. We know there is a lot of noise out there on the internet, so when we actually find quality information from a top-notch coach, we like to pass that info on.
I wanted to share a video with you from one of the best youth fitness coaches I know – IYCA Expert Dave Jack.
If you’ve never seen Dave present – it’s one of the most inspiring things you’ll ever see. The best part is, he not only talks the talk, he walks the walk.
Here is the link to the video -> http://youth-fitness- specialist.com
I know it’s a bold statement, but this one presentation will make you a better youth fitness coach.
Dave’s passion is contagious and this video will help you continue your mission on changing your client’s lives.
So, forget all of the internet ‘guru’ hype out there of pseudo coaches trying to sell you the next SECRET and checkout this powerful (and free) video and discover what a real elite coach does to become an even better coach.
That sure is a mouthful for a title. Maybe the meaning is quite self evident or maybe it is a little more veiled. Either way I think that these elements are essential to making your AR successful and helping you to develop great athletes.
What do I mean by “non-programming” elements?
Sets, reps, exercises, and their order are all the things that you put on paper when you are putting together their training program., those are the traditional “programming elements”. There are things that don’t end up on paper that can make your program successful though.
Those things that don’t end up on the whiteboard or workout card are just as important to the quality of your program as what’s written down. They create the environment in which your athletes train.
This is first. It really should always be first. Great coaching can change the way athletes think, can improve technique, and can inspire. Each day in your AR you should seek to instruct, teach, and inspire each athlete. In fact in my training sessions I aim to do these 3 separate things with each individual I encounter. Your interactions with your champions will be deeper and more meaningful if you approach each athlete with these 3 things in mind.
The way that we communicate with our champions is very important. Maximum uptake of information is dependent upon how we choose to transmit ideas to our athletes. I like to communicate training technique in a “do this, don’t do that, do this” way (first popularized by the AMAZING John Wooden). In essence I tell each athlete how we should do a movement or piece of a movement, then give them 1 way to not do that movement, and then repeat using different cues how to do this movement. For instance in the hang clean if I am verbally communicating technique I might say “Get full extension in your hips. We don’t want to leave your hips behind the bar. It might feel like you are going onto your tippy toes” I communicated the same point to the athlete in 2 different ways and let them know what the improper way to do things might look like.
We hear about fun all the time, but what does it look like? In my AR it is often impromptu competition between athletes or between athletes and coaches. A quick game of wall ball, with rules made up on the spot, as we wait to warm-up. A race with a sled, or relay will do the trick as well. Impromptu feels better than planned, and we try to do something like this everyday. Fun makes communication easier and coaching easier and is the underlying note to creating a great environment for your youth fitness program.
I cannot remember who said it to me but I was once told “A horrible program implemented well, will always out perform a great program implemented poorly. ” The non-programming elements are what makes this true, those things which create the environment. If poor programs in a great environment can do well, imagine what a great youth fitness program (your AR program) can do in a great environment (your AR).
My young athletes are known for explosive power, from middle school volleyball players to football players preparing for the combine all of them out class the competition when it comes to quick bursts of power. Recently I put together a presentation outlining my favorite exercises to do just that. I have shared a brief outline of the topics covered in that seminar in the list below.
1. Hang Clean and Snatch-
You will notice that I did not say the Power Clean or Power Snatch. Power cleans are the staple of most training programs, but the key is by doing this movement from the hang position i.e. with the bar just above your knees. This position is much closer to ones athletes actually use in athetics and athletes have a much greater potential for technically sound lifts.
The snatch must be included because it is such a powerful movement as well and can lend diversity to the program.
2. CHAOS agility drills
Much of the need for power in football comes in the reaction to a movement of the ball or of the defensive player, because of this football players must also have the mental awareness to make explosive movements as a reaction. Credit Coach Robert Dos Remedios for this one, but my favorite training tool for this are CHAOS agility drills (it stands for Conscious to unconscious Have unpredictability Active to Reactive Open drills Slow to Fast). The idea behind it is to have athletes mirror one another in specific patterns first and then to open ended drills with many different movement patterns, more closely replicating the actions of actual game play.
3. Kettlebell Swings
This is a foundation movement for any athlete looking to develop more power. The action in the kettlebell swing is founded on the idea of a hip hinge, this is important because most athletes need to gain better control of the ability to hinge at the hips. Most athletes are very much Quad dominant and are losing out on the potential of their backside. The Kettlebell Swing does a great job of teaching these motions effectively.
4. MB Throws
Using medicine balls in throwing motions (chest pass, Side throws, Throws for distance) is a great way to develop power in the upperbody for young athletes while incorporating the important parts of hang cleans, hang snatches, and Kettlebell swings (hip hinging). Delivering a Medicine ball with force is a great way to engage the core in explosive activities as well, generating force with the lower body must require active core control to deliver the ball with the arms, This transfer of power is important to all sports.
Athletes need to be adept at accelerating and decelerating their own body at maximum speeds. Plyometrics are the first way that athletes can learn to do so. Maximal jumps with a stuck landing will help athletes develop resistance to injury and will simulate many movements in sport.
There is a lot more than just power that goes into becoming athlete. It takes general strength, resistance to injury, proper conditioning and a well prepared mind.
Focusing on power will take athletes a long way towards getting to where they want to be.
Strength And Conditioning Coaches Often Overlook Movement
By Jim Kielbaso
A lot of people in this field call themselves Strength &
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
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.
High School Athletes coaching should focus on the five biomotor abilities. By Latif Thomas
When my mother attended her first ever Parent-Teacher Conference, she expected Mrs. Candlette to tell her how smart I was. Or how polite I was. Or to hear about some other facet of my considerable six year old intellect…
Instead, the first teacher to parent description to fall upon her ears was,
“Wow, Latif sure can run fast!”
What can I say? I owned Duck, Duck, Goose!
So, when I arrived at the University of Connecticut, track and field scholarship in hand, I thought I was well on my way to the Olympic Games.
You can imagine my horror when, a few weeks before the start of my first Indoor Track Season, my coach pulled me into his office. He told me, not so subtly, that I was being red shirted. He then told me, not so subtly, that he thought I was a fluke. That he had no idea, based on what he saw from me that fall, how I possibly ran 10.8 for 100m, 22.1 for 200m or 48.8 for 400m as a 16 year old. (That was pretty good for New England back in the mid ’90s.) He then reminded me that scholarships are year to year and that I was not on pace to have mine renewed!
I slowly shuffled back to my dorm in a state of panic and disbelief.
How did it get to this point? I work my butt off. And I set all types of records when I was a high school athletes.
Sure, I had lost the bulk of my senior year to a torn hamstring. But, how was I supposed to know to do a ‘dynamic warm up’ before a race? I didn’t know what that was. My hamstring was tight that day, so I static stretched it even harder. (more…)
The more and more business coaching that I do for IYCA members, mastermind members, and franchisees the more I realize that our training philosophies and mindset sometimes get in the way of us running a great business. I am prepared to be tarred and feathered, put in the stockades and any other form of medieval punishment that the loyal IYCA readers are going to put me through for delivering the message that I am about to write.
Before you jump to conclusions and go into a tizzy about long term athletic development and building a training foundation I want you to read the entire message. That is my challenge to you…
Before I really get into the idea of selling the customer what they want I have to start by saying that I am on your side.
Youth fitness and athletic development should be implemented with the long term development of the athlete in mind. I am not claiming that you should run your programs any differently than this nor am I urging you to lie, cheat and steal from parents.
Take a deep breath and open up your mind for a bit because I am going to feel you in on a little secret that might change your youth fitness business forever!
The title of this blog might be a little misleading. I am not going to talk about ground contacts, high impact training exercises, or anything related to movements or programming. I want to discuss the impact that we have on the youth that we work with and the effect it has on your business and, more importantly, their lives.
I always tell our staff that we have a profound impact on the perception of this entire field every time that we work with a client or athlete. This is something that I have used to make sure I give the best in every session for the past 6 years, and built a thriving business because of it!
Think about dentists, doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, and any other service profession, if you know someone that has had a single bad experience they automatically have the perception that all others in the field must be the same. Do you ever want to be the cause for someone thinking that youth fitness and sports performance coaches are anything but exceptional people that have a high level of knowledge and skill?
I shudder at the thought of giving someone the perception that all coaches were terrible at their profession, didn’t care about the clients/athletes, and got people hurt.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how to approach summer training.
You’ve got a number of options, so here’s my take on getting the most out of summer youth training for sprinters (or any athlete in any sport, for that matter):
Consider not training at all.
Summer competitions are more popular in some places than others. Where I live, it’s not incredibly popular. And quite frankly, I’m cool with that.
I generally don’t steer kids toward summer training and/or competitions unless the kid is hardcore and keeps asking about it or they’re a scholarship caliber athlete who needs the work in a low pressure environment.
As Elena and I pondered the sources from which happiness flowed we wondered if there was another catalyst to its fulfillment, a life of solidarity. Whether fully engaged in a labor of love or committed to a purpose greater than yourself, can you truly be the best version of yourself, by yourself? Without being challenged, inspired and supported by a like minded peer group, how do we ever know whether we are progressing or regressing? Further, what is a life of pleasure without others to share, enjoy and explore it with.