Top 3 Power Exercises – Jordan Tingman

This is the first installment of a short “Top Exercises” series from strength coach Jordan Tingman, where she will break down some of her favorite exercises from different categories.  This is more than just her personal favorites, as she’ll be providing explanations and rationale for the selections and how to best utilize each.  Power exercises are important in any strength and conditioning program, however the Olympic lifts may not always be the correct or most effective exercises for an athlete. Though the Olympic lifts are near and dear to my heart, over the last year I have started to broaden.. More »

Brain Development Through Exercise – Brett Klika

As youth strength and conditioning coaches, we know that teaching kids movement skills at a young age increases the likelihood they will be active and athletic for life. What we sometimes take for granted, however, is the dramatic impact these physical skills have on the overall development of a child’s brain. A growing body of evidence is now highlighting how movement during the early developmental years of high neuroplasticity plays a key role in the development of areas of the brain responsible for memory, informational processing, impulse control, and behavior. In the current world of youth inactivity, this means that.. More »

Autonomy: Building Relationships & Buy-In – Jared Markiewicz

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series on developing relationships and buy-in as a coach. All of this comes from Self Determination Theory, and Jared Markiewicz has used these exact processes to work with his staff and clients. Part 1 addresses the concept of Relatedness. Part 2 addresses the concept of Competence, and this edition addresses the concept of Autonomy. We highly encourage you read all three parts of this series and consider implementing these concepts into your coaching or business activities. Intro Autonomy is the ability to have or make decisions that lead to a direction.  Basically, you.. More »

A Deeper Look Into the Squat, Part 1 – Joe Powell

The squat is often considered the most important exercise an athlete can perform in the weight room. It’s frequently performed by world-class athletes, the most novice of lifters, and everyone in between. Strength and conditioning professionals have long relied on the squat, and its variations, as a cornerstone of their programs, but its acceptance has not always been well received outside of S&C circles. It’s not uncommon for strength and conditioning coaches to receive push-back from people trying to vilify exercises in their program, with the squat being the target of the attacks. Whether it be sport coaches, athletic trainers,.. More »

Metabolic Conditioning for Athletes, Part 3 – Phil Hueston

This is the last of a 3-part series on metabolic conditioning for athletes. In Part 1, we discussed what metabolic conditioning is, what energy really is and what it means for the human body and, more specifically, your athletes. I broke down the three principle energy systems in the body and how Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP,) the “secret sauce” of energy for movement and other bodily functions, is used in the body. In Part 2, we discussed the 3 forms of metabolic conditioning and the reasons to use each of these with your athletes. (We’ll very briefly review these again.) In.. More »

Brett Bartholomew – “Valued” Webinar

Brett Bartholomew has quickly become the leading expert in helping coaches become better performers, leaders, and professionals.  He has made a huge impact on the sports performance industry, but his principles and methods are also being applied in corporations, government agencies, and small businesses. Brett’s “Valued” course, is a little different than some of his other training programs.  In Valued, Brett has created a self-paced online course for coaches who want to land a job they’ve always wanted, make more money to provide their families with stability, and stand out within their organizations for all the right reasons.  A lot.. More »

What We Can Learn About Athlete Development From Elite Athletes – Jim Kielbaso

As our NFL Combine Training program gets started, it is always exciting for me to get to know and help a group of talented, motivated athletes. It’s also a time that makes me examine athlete development in a different way. Most coaches discuss athlete development in terms of working with young athletes in an effort to help them prepare for the future. With these guys, I get to look at the process backward and evaluate what they may have missed at some point in their development. So, it’s amazing to see these guys in the morning, watch 8-year-olds in the.. More »

Foot & Ankle Strengthening for Athletes – Jordan Tingman

You may have heard that many injuries and long-term structural issues can arise from issues in the feet.  The feet and ankles are often neglected in training, but we should really be focusing a lot of our attention on the quality of movement coming from the feet. Structurally, the feet and ankle areas are comprised of many bones and ligaments, and if not able to move properly/efficiently, these structures may not function the way they should under stress, which can easily lead to injuries and compensations. The foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments.  There.. More »

Beginners Guide to the Hip Hinge – Brett Klika

The hip hinge.  While this is one of the more foundational movement patterns for young athletes to learn for both the field and weight room, it’s often one of the hardest to introduce. The fact is, young athletes naturally hip hinge during horizontal jumps and other movements with a horizontal component. It’s when we break down the movement and make it a conscious pursuit that kids struggle. Struggling with this myself for many years, I developed a step-by-step series to help athletes as young as 6 years old develop the basic foundations of a really good hip hinge.  Step 1:.. More »

Developing Athleticism in Your Warm-Up – Erica Suter

I have hope for kids. Sure, we can complain that playgrounds are vacant, physical education teachers are being laid off, and recesses are becoming shorter, and kids are doomed, but I beg to differ. There is a glimmer of light in the youth athletic development world. Since kids spend most of their time with their primary sports teams, team coaches have the opportunity to incorporate skills into practices that build athleticism. But why is this important? Kids are not getting enough movement variety at team practices to develop the totality of their bodies, from coordination, to flexibility, balance, strength, and.. More »

Letter to Parents – From Jim Kielbaso: Handling Sports Injuries

Sports Injuries Dear Parent of a Young Athlete, Your kid got hurt playing sports.  It happens. Now, what should you do about it? While it’s true that sports injuries are common, there are two things I’d like you to consider: How did it happen?   How is it being handled? Some sports injuries are pretty much unavoidable if your kid is playing sports.  Kids will fall, run into each other, or have a fluke accident occur. You take certain risks in sports, and this is one of them.  If an injury occurs that you feel was simply part of the.. More »

How to Perform Face Pulls – Greg Schaible

Face Pulls are on the top of my list for upper back exercises to help develop healthy shoulders, backs and necks. The problem is that a lot of people do them poorly and actually irritate the shoulder or upper back when performed incorrectly. This article and video will help you understand some of the key considerations when performing face pulls, and how to avoid the most common errors. Many people choose to use bands, especially in rehab because so many physical therapy places just have bands. However, you must consider that the tension of the band increases as you.. More »

T-Spine Mobility – Jordan Tingman

Incorporating a small amount of mobility each day will eventually turn into great gains over time. Mobility can be easily thrown into a complete warm-up, within the workout or at the end of a workout. It is much more important to do a little of something, than doing nothing at all. The upper back/thoracic spine is made up of a lot of different musculature. The muscles surrounding the thoracic spine tend to tighten up, and often get neglected when working on mobility. When ignoring working on mobilizing these areas, the upper back can get tight, limiting overhead exercises and movements… More »

PNF Stretching – Joe Powell

PNF Stretching is one of the most effective, yet often overlooked, training techniques that coaches can employ to enhance flexibility. For being recognized as an essential pillar of strength and conditioning, flexibility seems to lack the same attention and interest generated by other physical qualities that are developed through training. For example, look no further than the world of strength and conditioning on social media. You’ll be much more inclined to find strength coaches showcasing impressive feats of strength, power, speed or even balance.  How often do you see coaches talking about amazing flexibility routines? It isn’t the fact that.. More »

Letter to Parents: From Jim Kielbaso – Let Them Struggle

Dear Parents of Young Athletes, One of the most important skills your child can learn from sports and training is how to struggle with something and eventually overcome it.  Unfortunately, it can be pretty difficult for us to watch our kids struggle, and our natural instinct is to help them so they don’t have to experience that pain.  Trust me, I have a hard time with this as a dad, too, so I understand. It’s hard to watch my kids struggle and fail because it breaks my heart. But, kids grow exponentially faster, and become more resilient, when they learn how.. More »

Competence: Building Relationships & Buy-In – Jared Markiewicz

In the first installment of this mini-series surrounding the Self Determination theory, we discussed using relatedness to better motivate your staff, athletes you coach and structuring a system so you can teach your staff how to better motivate athletes.  It’s highly recommended to go over Part 1 first, so take a few minutes to review that if you haven’t already.   The second part of this mini-series focuses on competency and using it in the same way to drive motivation. So let’s dive in! Competence: Coach to Staff Motivating your staff to continually improve can be challenging at times. They may.. More »

Letter to Parents – From Jim Kielbaso: Balancing Skills & Athleticism

Dear Parents of Young Athletes, I get it.  You want your kid to be better at sports.  And, taking a lesson this week (hitting, shooting, dribbling, etc.) from a sports skills coach will produce a quick results so your child will experience success this weekend.  I have three boys who play sports, so I definitely understand where you’re coming from.  We all want our kids to succeed.  It makes logical sense: work on a skill + use it in a game = success & happy kids. It seems easy, and it’s not necessarily wrong.  It’s just not a complete equation.  .. More »

How to Develop Mental Strength in Youth Athletes – Jill Kochanek

A common question that I get from coaches is: How can I make my athletes more mentally tough? For as big of a buzz word as mental toughness is though, the concept is a black box. In this post, I’ll open up that box and bust 4 harmful myths about mental toughness. Dispelling these myths is vital for coaches to actually help young athletes develop mental strength and support their overall mental well-being. Before we get there, however, it’s important to consider our current context. That is, why are coaches concerned about developing mental strength in this generation of youth.. More »

Letter to Parents – From Jim Kielbaso: What Did They Do When They Were Young?

Dear parents of young athletes, I know you want your child to be the best, so I can understand why you like to watch training videos of world-class athletes so you can have him/her do what they’re doing.  You’re probably assuming that whatever the best athletes are doing is what your child should be doing, so they will end up like them. I get it.  And, I know you just want to give your child the best, so they can be their best.      Unfortunately, it seems like you’re missing one key component here – your child isn’t a world-class athlete.. More »

Hip Stretches for Lower Back Pain – Jordan Tingman

It is very common for athletes to experience lower back pain, especially when they begin a new training program or train harder than they have in the past.  As muscles get sore and/or stiff from training, they will “hold onto” certain positions as a way to maintain different positions.  Often, tightness in the internal hip/back muscles throws postural alignment off, which can lead to even more pain.  This pain can be felt in various parts of the spine, but in this article, I will mostly focus on stretching muscle groups in the hips and lower back. When stretching tight areas,.. More »