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Keeping Young Athletes Training – Brett Klika

Few things will help a young athlete develop physical skills at a higher level than consistent training. As youth strength and conditioning coaches, much of what we know from the legendary Bompa’s, Balyi’s, Drabik’s, and Verkhoshanskys of the world has been based on their observations working with kids daily, in a completely immersive institutionalized setting, for a long period of time. We are faced with a very different model of consistency here in the United States. If you are working as a youth strength and conditioning coach in the private sector, young athletes’ participation in your program is treated more.. More »

Single Leg Squat Variations – Jordan Tingman

Unilateral exercises, or single-leg squat variations, are beneficial for a variety of reasons including that they require stability, they have the potential to eliminate imbalances, and they can help create awareness of weaknesses. The single-leg squat has been utilized commonly in knee rehabilitation settings such as with individuals experiencing patellar tendinitis or going through a return-to-play protocol with knee surgeries. Considering the stress that sport has upon the knees themselves, implementing exercises that stress the knee joint is imperative when preparing the body for these demands. The single-leg squat is a great way to strengthen not only the larger muscles.. More »

10 Ways to Improve Athleticism in Young Athletes – Jeremy Frisch

Like King Arthur searched for the legendary Holy Grail, many coaches, parents, and sports performance experts are on a quest to find the perfect way to improve athleticism and develop young athletes into world champions.  So far, no perfect formula has been created.  There are simply too many variables involved for anyone to create a magical pathway that can be replicated over and over again to churn our world class athletes like a factory. Instead, science and experience have taught us a lot about athletic development so that we can apply fundamental principles and methods throughout an athlete’s life, sort.. More »

Effective Communication: Starting the Conversation – Jill Kochanek

Effective communication is based on the needs of each player and team. When coaches give players voice, we can more fully understand what our athletes need to feel optimally supported. This post offers coaches useful activities for addressing what effective communication means for their team and athletes. Though just a starting point, this session is an example of how coaches can start a conversation with players to glean valuable information about their needs and co-create team standards for effective communication. As many of us finish up the winter season, I want to bring up a topic, which comes up a.. More »

Top 3 Hip Hinge Exercises – Jordan Tingman

The ability to properly perform hip hinge exercises is a very important movement concept for any athlete, and every program needs to include a hinge exercise at some point.  This is a hip dominant exercise and utilizes a combination of the glutes, hamstrings, quads, lower back, and core muscles.  Not only will hip hinge exercises improve strength and power, but an inability to adequately perform this movement can lead to many other issues as Jason Goumas pointed out in his article about Overuse Injuries. In this video, I break down three hip hinge exercises that I commonly utilize in my.. More »

How to Create a Niche? – Eric Cressey & Jim Kielbaso

A lot of strength & conditioning professionals wonder how others have created strong businesses and niches in the industry.  In a nutshell, creating a niche is focusing your efforts on a specific group or sub-set of a larger population.  For example, you might focus your efforts on female soccer players, athletes 8-11 years old, adults over 65, high school hockey players, offensive linemen in football, or athletes recovering from an injury.  It doesn’t mean you won’t ever work with other people, but focusing on one group of people allows you to establish a foothold in one segment of a larger.. More »

The Basis of All Training Programs – Joe Powell

When the human body receives a stimulus, it adapts to it in preparation to receive that stimulus again. The next time, you make that stimulus slightly stronger to continue the adaptation process. That’s progressive overload! While it’s way more complicated that that, this process should be top-of-mind when choosing ANY exercise and implementing ANY strength program.  Of course, there are thousands of ways to implement progressive overload – periodized programs, linear progression, multiple-set schemes, HIT training, etc. – but the principle of progressive overload should be taught to every athlete so they understand how small improvements made over time will.. More »

Overcoming the Awkwardness of the Pre-puberty Growth Spurt – Brett Klika

Imagine spending years learning how to drive a race car, then, nearly overnight, someone changes the dimensions, transmission, and engine power in that car. In order to get back into racing condition, it’s going to take some time learning how to use the new equipment.  This is very similar to the scenario many young athletes find themselves in as they experience rapid growth at the onset of puberty. As most young athletes begin the transition into puberty sometime between the 6th-8th grade, they will undoubtedly experience limitations in mobility, stability, and coordination that result from the rapid growth of their.. More »

Business Plans for Sports Performance – Jim Kielbaso

Opening a business without a solid plan is a recipe for disaster.  It’s important that you have a thorough knowledge of your business and have thought about as many different options and scenarios as possible so that you’re prepared for the ups and downs of starting a business.  Before you start a business, take the time to think through everything involved in running a sports performance business, and use your business plan as a roadmap for success. There are two kinds of business plans for sports performance businesses – a Traditional Plan and a Lean Startup Plan.  The Small Business.. More »

4 Reasons Why a Muscle Feels Tight – Dr. Greg Schaible

Stretching can often be a polarizing topic among rehab and performance specialists. On one end of the spectrum, you have people who seemingly hand out stretches for every injury and think it’s the solution to everyone’s problem. On the other hand, you have people who believe that you should never stretch and that there are no benefits to stretching whatsoever. Before we start talking about what is right and wrong, we first need to appreciate what “tightness” really is, so we can discuss the potential reasons why one may choose a particular intervention over another. Hint: It’s not as simple.. More »

How to Get Better at Push Ups – Jim Kielbaso

It’s no surprise that many athletes want to get better at push ups.  It’s a foundational exercise that requires no equipment, and can be done anywhere.  Many coaches also look for ways to help athletes get better at push ups, but simply doing them more often isn’t a great way for many people to improve, especially those who aren’t capable of performing many good push ups. When I work with athletes who struggle with them, but want to get better at push ups, I take a three step approach that has worked for hundreds of athletes.  This approach is outlined.. More »

Politics and Athletic Development? – Jim Kielbaso

This election season has really gotten me to think about things in a way that relates to athletic development and the business of strength & conditioning. Now, before you get upset thinking I’m gonna talk about politics, I’m not!  Instead, I’ve noticed that the way we consume politics is very similar to the way we consume information about strength and conditioning, and it’s probably not the best way for us to make decisions. In my opinion, one of the most important traits we can have is the ability to keep an open mind, research facts, and not get swept up.. More »

Pelvic Tilt Control for Athletes – Jim Kielbaso

Pelvic tilt control is something that frustrates both coaches and athletes, but it is often not addressed very thoroughly.  Coaches may recognize an exaggerated arch in the lower back, but that’s just one part of the equation.  The ability to control anterior and posterior pelvic tilt is critical to sprinting, squatting, hinging, and a variety of athletic movements.  Many athletes struggle with these movements because they simply don’t know how to create or control pelvic tilt. For example, when you see an athlete struggle to maintain a flat back during squatting or hinging, they may not be able to control.. More »

Complete Achilles Tendon Treatment for the Sports Performance Coach – Greg Schaible

When working in an outpatient orthopedic rehab or sports performance facility you will commonly be treating Achilles Tendon injuries. That could be an Achilles Tendon Rupture, Achilles Tendinitis, or Achilles Tendinopathy. All are slightly different in their mechanism of injuries but all have the same milestones and goals to progress through in order to experience a full recovery. Obviously a rupture will take a longer time frame to recover than a tendinitis or tendinopathy scenario (but that’s probably a topic for a completely separate post). ***Be sure to pay special attention to step #3 as this is often missed by.. More »

Top 3 Upper Body Pulling Exercises – Jordan Tingman

Upper body pulling exercises are one of the most neglected movements in poorly designed programs, but they are absolutely vital to creating well-balanced athletes.  It’s also common to see these exercises performed very poorly with very little attention given to correct posture, control, or form.  Because many athletes enjoy pushing exercises so much (like bench press, push-ups, etc.), adequate pulling is necessary to provide balance.  Many coaches adhere to the rule that the volume of pulling should match the volume of pushing, and some like to perform a greater amount of pulling.  While vertical pulls like pull-ups, chin-ups, and pulldowns.. More »

Overuse Injuries in Athletes – Jason Goumas, PT

Overuse Injuries in Athletes – A Real Pain! Youth sport injuries are responsible for not only pain felt by an athlete, but also lost time on the field enjoying the sport, and in certain cases career-ending injuries. It is estimated that annually 12 million individuals between the ages of 5-22 will suffer a sport-related injury and result in 20 million lost days of school(1) and $33 billion in medical expenditure(2). This article will discuss overuse injuries in athletes that primarily affect the knees and ankles of young athletes – specifically the patellar tendon and extensor mechanism of the knee, and.. More »

Top 3 Core Exercises – Jordan Tingman

Continuing our Top 3 series from Jordan Tingman, these are her Top 3 Core Exercise Variations. While core exercises are certainly necessary in a comprehensive program, keeping core exercises exciting means trying different variations.  Athletes are always wanting something new or different, but variety has additional benefits beyond keeping athletes engaged.  Because the core is so complex and supports every movement we make, using a variety of exercises creates a greater challenge for the athlete, which will in turn provide greater transfer and gains.  The first exercises I go over in this video are various Palloff variations. As stated in.. More »

5 “Non-crunching” Core Exercises for Kids – Brett Klika

It’s hard to have a discussion about athletic performance and injury prevention without mentioning the “core”. Despite what many have been lead to believe, the core is not so much a handful of specific muscles as it is a relationship of muscles involving the upper and lower body that work together to properly transfer energy and maintain the integrity of the spine. When coaches are able to help young athletes properly develop this relationship of muscles involving both the anterior and posterior hips, shoulders, and torso, it creates a strong foundation for athleticism. This requires much more than doing crunches… More »

IT Band & Knee Pain – Greg Schaible

One of the most common injuries I see in runners is IT band syndrome or lateral knee pain. Many people try endlessly stretching and foam rolling this area in hopes to get relief. Instead what they get is sometimes temporary relief, but they always feel the need to stretch or foam roll the area because the problem keeps returning. Instead, find the source of the problem to fix it for good! In the first video below we talk about why building medial (inside) strength of the hamstrings, but also the quads in order to limit the over-activity of the lateral.. More »

Training the Hip Flexors for Sprinting Speed – Nick Brattain

The hip flexors are often neglected in training programs, and this article will outline the importance of training them and will give you several exercises to strength the hip flexors. Sprinting is a movement that requires tremendous coordination throughout the body. Not only do the limbs need to move in perfect rhythm with optimal synchronization of the muscles, there also needs to be smooth transmission of the neurological signals sent throughout the body. Unfortunately, a lot of coaches overlook important aspects of sprinting because they tend to focus on the big blocks of speed training such as technique, strength of.. More »