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 »

An Open Letter to Student-Athletes: Who Are You Without Sports? – Jill Kochanek

My name is Jill, but everyone calls me Jake. No one ever called me Jake, however, until I joined the Amherst College Women’s Soccer Team.  As a timid freshman, I was eager to prove myself and determined to play the sport that I love. With an upperclassman named Jill already on the team, during preseason my coaches asked me if I went by another name. I hesitated; I had always been Jill. Shortly after though, in the chaos of competition, my teammates’ commanding calls blended my initials, “J-K” into “Jake.”   In the beginning, I accepted Jake but did not fully.. More »

Top 3 Squat Variations – Jordan Tingman

In this article & video I go over the ways that I personally coach each of the 3 squatting variations I chose. I understand that some of these may be done by other coaches, and while I respect other coaches opinions, this article outlines how I personally like to coach these exercises.  While most people think about the back squat as their top squatting variation, I’ve taken a slightly different approach in this article.  Please don’t take my list to mean that I don’t love the back squat, but the three exercises I’ve listed are my personal favorites, and all.. More »

Helping Your Kids Cope With the COVID-19 Pandemic – Phil Hueston

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19 has taken over the news. For adults, the news is frightening. For children, it can be terrifying and may leave real scars. Parents can ease kids’ fears and help them cope with this pandemic, if they have the tools. How can we, as parents and caregivers, help children understand this pandemic without living in constant fear of it? How can we support their developmental needs while helping them understand the COVID-19 coronavirus and the news surrounding it? How can we share the hope of a bright future when the present seems so dark.. More »

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 – 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 »