Archive for “13 Years” Tag

Teaching The Perfect Push Up To A Younger Athlete

 

Younger Athlete Push Ups Exercise

 

Push up for younger athlete from the IYCA

 

By Dave Gleason

 

Teaching the push up to a younger athlete can be arduous and complicated depending on physical maturity, body awareness, current skill and or experience. Let’s face it, in most scenarios the younger athlete has had no instruction, incomplete instruction or instruction with incorrect information. Once more, the opportunity to perform a push up is usually at the end of a practice, as a form of punishment or as an element of a timed standardized testing protocol. We know none of these story lines are optimal for any young athlete to achieve true success.

 

Creating a foundation where a younger athlete can progress to a push up worthy of actually performing as part of any training program is where we need to start.

In this video Dave Gleason, 2010 IYCA Trainer of the Year and owner of Athletic Revolution in Pembroke MA, shows you the progressions he uses with a younger athlete 10-13 years old.

 

 

A Rare Training Program for Young Athletes

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‘Rare’ is another way of saying ‘scarcity’.

 

Uncommon.

 

But scarcity also means a ‘shortage of supply’.

 

And while I can absolutely assure you that there are no shortages in the supply of ‘Complete Athlete Development’ systems available, I can also positively promise that its rareness is something you simply must consider.

 

There are some books on Speed & Agility Training that contain fantastic information and practical steps for you to follow.

 

You can find DVD’s and video products that show you how to incorporate optimal Strength Training into the conditioning programs for your athletes.

 

And if you search hard (and long) enough, you’ll likely come across some resources that help you understand how to build maximal Coordination and Movement Skill into your youth participants, also.

 

But all of that (and then some) in one complete system?

 

As rare and uncommon as it gets.

 

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The X’s and O’s of Training Young Athletes

 

Training Young Athletes

What a young organism needs to experience in the way of physical stimulus can largely be deduced by chronological age.  Certainly biological age (relative body maturation), emotional age (psychological maturation) and even personality (temperament) can all be factored into the equation, but I have found in my 13 year career that chronological age determents can be successfully applied in 90% of the cases – the remaining 10% can be accounted for through proper coaching and identification.

 

Having said all that, the following is a brief rundown of the physical needs of ‘kids’ based on chronological age:

 

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Kids Coaching: My Memories – Part One

 

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Kids Coaching teaches us

Blake came to me as a quiet, shy and terribly uncoordinated
8th grader.

 

13 years old and quite tall for his age, I knew the second I saw
him that I was going to like the kid.

 

He never said much and certainly had a great deal of difficulty
learning how to perform even the most basic of exercises, but
he was steadfast in his work ethic and always brought a good
energy to the training center.

 

I learned a lot over the years from kids coaching and from Blake.

 

Mostly, how to enjoy and appreciate the very small things in life.

 

His last training session with me was on a humid and sweaty
Chicago-style, August afternoon.

 

Walking into my facility, I noticed an unfamiliar bounce to his
stride and a larger than usual, ear-to-ear grin on his face.

 

"What’s goin’ on, my friend" I greeted him.

 

"Why such a perky smile?"

 

"Tomorrow, football tryouts start and I’m geared up!" he replied.

 

I tend to get tunnel vision as the summer months dwindle down.
I have dozens upon dozens of college athletes returning to play
fall sports and even more high school kids phasing up for
football and basketball.

 

"That’s right! What position you trying out for? You expecting
a ton of playing time, I assume?" I asked.

 

"Don’t care to be honest. Just looking forward to strapping on a
helmet and being part of a team"

 

His answer struck something in me that I didn’t quite understand at
the time, but would be overwhelmed with a few short months later.

 

Fast forward.

 

Late September, same year.

 

Blake was attending the same high school that I served as Head
Strength Coach at.

 

Great bunch of kids all around.

 

Dedicated, hard working and a Coaching Staff that truly valued the
kid inside the athlete.

 

And I’ll be honest…

 

I ADORED Friday nights.

 

I got to patrol the sidelines.

 

Home games especially.

 

There is just something magical about high school football in the cool
autumn air.

 

So there I was.

 

Patrolling as usual.

 

Laid back as I am in my daily life, I get ultra-serious and intense when
it comes to competition.

 

My own or my athletes.

 

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Coaching Young Athletes and my Memories

 

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Coaching Young Athletes

 

It truly is sad that my full-time coaching young athletes days are behind me.

 

I love to Coach.

 

I love it from every aspect and angle.

 

The relationships you build with your athletes.

 

The friendships you develop with their families.

 

The sense of pride you get from watching your athletes succeed.

 

The feelings of intense dedication you get from working "over-time"
trying to figure out how to communicate better with some of the
kids in your care.

 

I’ve been blessed to an extraordinary level and will always wear the
brand of "Coach" with great pride and distinction.

 

But the IYCA has taken my career a different direction.

 

No less exciting.

 

No less fulfilling.

 

And certainly no less challenging.

 

But I admit to longing for the days of waking up at the crack of dawn
and meeting my sleepy-eyed, yet eager athletes at the gym for a
spirited morning session.

 

I miss everything about being a full-time Coach.

 

And that’s why I’m going to indulge you (or perhaps it’s you indulging
me!) over the next few days with stories and recounts of some of the
most memorable days I spent when my name wasn’t "Brian Grasso"
"CEO" or "Founder".

 

I was known simply by one word…

 

 

"Coach"

 

 

It’s going to be a bittersweet stroll down memory lane for me, to be sure,
but one that;

I guarantee will entertain and be laced with lessons that you
can use in your own coaching young athletes practice.

 

In the meantime, indulge me with a quick story about your coaching life.

 

A funny tale.

 

Serious lesson you learned.

 

Anything you choose to share.

 

I will be reading with great enthusiasm and a touch of envy.

 

Tell me a quick story about your coaching days below –

 

13-years of in the trenches are over, but the culmination of the
lessons I learned and information I’ve gathered is alive and well.

 

Click here to understand more about what I’ve learned from my
"in the trenches" training and coaching experience

 

Coordination and Movement Skill Development For Young Athletes: The Key to Long Term Athletic Success

 

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Young Athletes Long Term Athletic Success

The key ingredient to working with pre-adolescent and early adolescent young athletes is providing global stimulation from a movement perspective. Younger athletes must experience and eventually perfect a variety of motor skills in order to ensure both future athletic success and injury prevention. Developing basic coordination through movement stimulus is a must, with the eventual goal of developing sport-specific coordination in the teenage years. Coordination itself, however, is a global system made up of several synergistic elements and not necessarily a singularly defined ability.

 

Balance, rhythm, spatial orientation and the ability to react to both auditory and visual stimulus have all been identified as elements of coordination. In fact, the development of good coordination is a multi-tiered sequence that progresses from skills performed with good spatial awareness but without speed to skills performed at increased speeds and in a constantly changing environment. As Joseph Drabik points out, Young Athletes coordination is best developed between the ages of 7 – 14, with the most crucial period being between 10 – 13 years of age.

 

As with anything else, an important issue with respect to coordination development is to provide stimulus that is specific (and therefore appropriate) for the individual. Prescribing drills that are either too easy or too difficult for the young athletes will have a less than optimal result.

 

An interesting note, as I have suggested in past articles, is that there appears to be a cap with respect to coordination development and ability. Younger athletes who learn to master the elements associated with good coordination (balance, rhythm, spatial awareness, reaction etc), are far better off then athletes who are not exposed to this kind of exercise stimulation until advanced ages. The ability to optimally develop coordination ends at around the age of 16. This validates the claim that global, early exposure is the key from an athletic development standpoint. Again, global coordination will serve as the basis to develop specific coordination in the teenage years.

 

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Exercise Programs For Kids: Tip of the Week

 

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Exercise Programs For Kids From The IYCA

I had a great conversation today with brilliant and passionate
IYCA Member, Billy Corbett.

 

He mentioned that while tooling around on the IYCA website,
something caught his eye that he knew he had seen before, but
never really paid close attention to –

 

The photograph of me running around and playing with a group
of small children.

 

"It occurred to me that I should be doing more stuff like that, Brian"
Billy told me over the phone.

 

"Is that kind of coaching a good idea when working with kids?"

 

Excellent question and an easy answer….

 

Yes!
HECK yes!

 

There is certainly a fine line between goofing around with your
young clients and enjoying physical activity with them.

 

In my 13 years of coaching Exercise Programs For Kids experience, I can tell you that one of
the fastest and most practical ways of creating relationships with
youngsters that will bridge a level of trust and keep them coming
back for more (i.e. member retention) is to section off a period of
class time during which you participate in a game with them.

 

In fact, my standard training session for kids between the ages of
6 – 9 looks something like this –

 

1) Introductions (5 minutes)
2) Technique Instruction (5 minutes)
3) Technique Play (10 minutes)
4) Technique Instruction 2 (5 minutes)
5) Technique Play 2 (10 minutes)
6) Free Play (10 minutes)

 

And #6 is where I jump in and play WITH them during the Exercise Programs For Kids!

 

They love it, I love it and the parents LOVE it!

 

Be sure to get down and dirty with your young clients and play
with them during certain period of your training session.

 

To learn more about my Exercise Programs For Kids training system and why this ‘play time’
is absolutely critical to the proper growth and development of your
young clients, click on the link below to access the IYCA’s Level 1
Youth Fitness Specialist certification –

 

http://www.iyca.org/fitspecialist1.html

 

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Brian

 

Youth Sports Conditioning

 

Youth Sports Conditioning Coaching Mistakes

Proper and developmentally-sound adjunct training in the form of speed, agility, strength, power and mobility work is the silver bullet in terms of building champions in any sport.

 

Done correctly, the collective gains of such training will serve to soundly support your mission as a sports coach to produce elite level competitors.

 

Done incorrectly, as is unfortunately often the case and your young athletes are destined for a life of injuries, missed opportunities and burnout.

 

That being said let me be blunt with my opening words of wisdom to you –

 

Leave what you currently know at the door and decide to open your heart to a new, fresh and much more effective method of training young athletes.

 

My job here is not to prove you wrong or cause you strive, but instead make your diligent and tireless work as a sports coach decidedly easier.

 

After 13 years of working as an Athletic Development Specialist throughout the world, I am now considered one of the foremost experts on this topic.

 

That is not meant to sound egocentric or in any way cocky.

 

Merely a statement to reflect that you can trust what it is I have to say.

 

I have personally worked with more than 10,000 young athletes worldwide and simply stated; I know what works and what doesn’t for youth sports conditioning

 

My advice will be sometimes poignant, often counter-conventional, but always direct.

 

With my first blog entry, I have decided to provide you with a series of metaphors that describe what proper youth athletic development should look like.

 

This will set the stage and provide a solid foundation on which to explain my proven methods for developing optimal speed, agility, strength, power and mobility.

 

As with anything, the degree to which you can successfully build upwards is solely determined by the strength, depth and solidification of your foundation…

 

Which leads me to my first metaphor…

 

Don’t Rush Grade 2

 

The school year has been created based on an understanding that the curriculum needing to be presented to students will take ‘x’ amount of time to teach properly.

 

If you were to take all the lessons and education contained in a standard Grade 2 school year and condense it down to 6-weeks worth of schooling, you would find that students did not understand, comprehend or retain virtually any of the material.

 

They would be overwhelmed and simply unable to ascend to higher levels of education successfully without this base building block of knowledge.

 

You Can’t Study Just Mathematics

 

Even if an 8-year-old child excelled and loved everything about math, you wouldn’t restrict them from learning the material offered in other subjects.

 

Removing basic curriculum such as Language, Science and Music would severely handicap that student from a developmental learning perspective.

 

General knowledge is a critically important element for children to be exposed to and learn at a young age. It sets the foundation for thinking process, problem solving and even study habits.

 

More over, to eventually specialize and excel in one particular area of study, a broad and far reaching understanding of all academic subjects is necessary.

 

When solving an involved mathematical equation for instance, the truly successful will pull from all their past experiences and resources in order to determine the appropriate answer.

 

‘Pigeonholing’ or relying on one specific area of expertise in youth sports conditioning is a practice that seldom proves successful

 

School is Progressive for a Reason

 

A student couldn’t understand advanced literature unless they were taught to read.

 

They couldn’t solve difficult mathematic problems with a basic foundation of knowing how to add, subtract, multiply and divide.

 

A Master’s Degree in Science couldn’t be obtained without first being exposed to the basic elements of biology, physics and chemistry taught in high school.

 

Elementary through High School is a progressive building block of knowledge gaining that allows an individual to eventually specify and excel in a single area of study.

 

Miss any of the steps leading up to that climax however, and your success rate will plummet.

 

In my next blog post, I will outline what all of this means to you from a sporting perspective.

 

In support of your youth sports conditioning mission,

 

The Young Athletes Injury Prevention Lie

 

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Young Athletes Programming Do Reduce Injuries

You can’t build a house on quicksand.

 

You just can’t.

 

When the base isn’t sturdy, the structure is bound to
topple.

 

And that’s the only real lesson you need to understand
when it comes to injury prevention for young athletes.

 

It’s all in building a foundation.

 

From the ground up.

 

As Trainers and Coaches, our entire obligation when
working with younger athletes (6 – 13 years old) is to
fill them with as much athletic knowledge as possible.

 

Nothing ‘sport specific’.

 

Nothing ‘position specific’.

 

Just a full and complete warehouse of information.

 

Force production and absorption.

 

Speed and agility skill.

 

Lift mechanics and positioning.

 

Teaching young athletes how to perform these critical
elements of sporting success in the undeniable key
to the becoming champions.

 

But it’s also the most important factor in preventing
injuries as well.

 

And that is one of the main issues we have wrong in
this industry.

 

True injury prevention does not come in the form of
6-week programs geared towards lessoning the risk of
certain incidents.

 

Real injury prevention occurs naturally as a secondary
result of proper developmental training.

 

It is not an isolating issue that needs to be addressed
separately.

 

Case in point, I was reviewing an ‘ACL Prevention’
program offered by a local hospital last week and saw
the curriculum they teach their young athletes during
this 6-week course:

 

a. Deceleration Techniques

b. Jumping and Landing Mechanics

c. Proper Strength Training Technique

 

Is there anything in there that shouldn’t automatically
be included in a well designed athletic development
training system?

 

What denotes this specifically as an ‘ACL Prevention’
program?

 

A good friend and colleague mine, Alwyn Cosgrove, is
found of saying, "If it isn’t injury prevention that
doesn’t that make it automatically injury promotion?"

 

Alwyn’s comment is meant to make you think.

 

All quality training programs should be based on
preventing injuries.

 

If they aren’t, than they’re promoting them – which
doesn’t seem to make any sense.

 

In the case of young athletes (6 – 13), the most
critical factor in preventing injuries is in understanding
the science and practical application of coordination
development.

 

 

Balance

 

Spatial Awareness

 

Kinesthetic Differentiation

 

Rhythm

 

Movement Adequacy

 

 

How each of these commodities apply to a training
session.

 

How to create fun and engaging drills for each of them.

 

Why they are critical for both future performance and
injury prevention.

 

And it seems to me that when it comes to working with
younger athletes, very few Coaches and Trainers truly
seem to get it.

 

ACL and other debilitating injuries that occur in the
teenage years can be prevented by applying the right
kind of exercise stimulus while athletes are still
very young.

 

Maybe worth looking at a resource that is considered
one of the greatest information products ever produced
when it comes to the training and development of young
athletes.

 

Complete Athlete Development has been field tested on
more than 15,000 young athletes worldwide and changed
the lives of countless Coaches, Trainers and Parents.

 

I’ve been coaching for 13 years now.

 

Not one major injury suffered to a single athlete
yet.

 

Could be chance.

 

Maybe I’m just lucky.

 

Or perhaps there’s some stuff about injury prevention
that you need to know better?

 

Have a look at Complete Athlete Development and find out –

 

http://www.developingathletics.com/cad-short-copy.html

 

Over 3.5 million young athletes will get injured playing sports
this year in the United States alone.

 

Tragic but largely preventable.

 

Give CAD a try –

 

http://www.developingathletics.com/cad-short-copy.html

 

 

‘Till next time,

 

Brian

 

The ‘X Factors’ to Training Young Athletes

 

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Training young athletes and kids is so much more than just the
‘x’ and ‘o’ factors.

 

Of course a strong base of knowledge in pediatric exercise
science, motor skill development and program design is critical for
you to truly create effective training and conditioning
agendas for this specific demographic.

 

But here’s something that may surprise you…

 

I find that coaches and trainers who have big personalities and
charismatic styles are often far better with kids than professionals
who really ‘know their science’.

 

That is not to knock education.

 

The IYCA has a very involved and complex 4-tiered educational
process that has been created to be a virtual vault of scientific
information for coaches and trainers to learn.

 

But a great deal of our material also focuses on teaching you
how to effectively communicate with your young clients and
understand their specific learning styles.

 

Here’s a simple metaphor that will help you truly grasp the
importance of this intangible factor –

 

 

It’s not always what you want to say that matters…

 

… It’s what they want to hear.

 

 

That doesn’t mean you need to placate to your athletes or not
say what it is you need to or want to say.

 

But you have to relay your message in a way that it will be
received.

 

This is the number one concern I see in youth sports, youth
fitness and even school.

 

We expect all children and teens to learn the same way and be
open to our messages irrespective of how they are offered.

 

13 years of working with this demographic has taught me that this
is just not the case.

 

Creating effective programs is the science…

 

But implementing them effectively is the art.

 

And the IYCA wants you to understand that your role as a coach
or trainer working with this demographic is not to be a
scientist, but an artist.

 

Understand the science.

 

Use it to create successful and developmentally-sound training young athletes
programs.

 

But BE an artists.

 

Learn how to implement these successful and developmentally-
sound training programs so that they are optimally received by
your audience.

 

Our coaching template found in the ‘Level 1 – Youth Fitness
Specialist’ certification offers a very detailed look at how to
understand your individual athletes motivation and learning
styles.

 

And while there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all
approach’ to coaching, there is one specific ingredient that
you can bank on as a surefire way to make sure all your athletes
are interested in what you have to say…

 

 

ENERGY

 

 

Do you bring energy to each and every training session?

 

Are you thrilled to see your young clients – and can they tell?

 

Do you coach with an enthusiastic nature that is contagious?

 

These are the questions you must ask yourself when you are training young athletes.

 

Coaching, learning and communication variances per athlete are
unique and the ‘Level 1’ material certainly gives you a massive
amount of information in terms of understanding it all.

 

But ‘energy’ is the single factor you can bring to the table
each and every time.

 

It’s what makes the difference between a good coach and a great
one.

 

Challenge yourself to bring the energy each time you’re in front
of your athletes.

 

Better yet – bring it one day and not the next.

 

See for yourself how much differently your athletes respond to
you and how much more involved they become in your training
session.

 

More than the ‘x’ and ‘o’ factors, my friend…

 

Brian