Archive for “Cues” Tag

Cueing Athletes

 

Athletes Respond To Cueing

 

By Wil Fleming

 

Cueing is a big buzz word among fitness and performance coaches right now. Cues are an extremely efficient way to demonstrate some essential piece of technique to assist in the completion of an exercise.
 

A cue could be a set of words that concisely convey the result you would like to see: “brace the core” comes to mind for nearly everything. A cue could also be something more visual, like the imitation of “getting tall”, so often used at Force fitness and Performance when doing ½ kneeling movements. A third type of cue could be from palpation of a body part or region, to set the athlete in the correct position.
 

Stumbling upon, or discovering a new cue for an exercise can be a really cool thing. It can lead to technical breakthroughs, and lead to a cool blog post or a youtube video where you show your new toy off.
 

Cues then are a great tool, but what is the real value of one cue?
 

A particular cue may only work with 1 client and to that client, and to that training session, one particular cue may be extremely valuable. Use of this cue is able help them achieve the right position or make the right corrections to form so that the particular exercise can unleash its full potential. For this type of instance I keep a record sheet in every client’s binder to record things that work.
 

For the athletes on which this cue does not work, this cue has little value to them. In fact it is nearly worthless, but to you it remains a valuable part of your arsenal.
 

The real value of cues lies in the accumulation of many cues. No singular cue is the hammer and no singular problem is the nail, sometimes a cue is a screwdriver and the problem is a screw, and sometimes the problem is a 5mm hex bolt and the (oh nevermind you get the analogy). Problems take many forms and need many different tools. Having a toolbox is the important thing, not having the coolest hammer.
 

Being ready with the right cue at the right time is important, but the more important part is being WILLING to try all your tools until the problem is corrected. I see younger coaches getting frustrated when their “go to” choice of words doesn’t have the effect they anticipate with athletes. Although what they are coaching is correct and effective with many athletes, that cue does not work right now.

Patience and determination is key, a willingness to discover an athlete’s preferred learning style is necessary to create successful athletes.

 

By all means film your successes and share with others, they help other coaches equip their toolbox, but remember that you must be ready and willing to be diverse in your coaching ability.
 

 

Selecting the Right Starting Position for Olympic Lifts (Part 2)

 

Olympic Lifts and Foundatations

Young Athlete hang position olympic lifts

 

By Wil Fleming

 

Coaches everywhere, and a great percentage of coaches at that, choose to use some type of Olympic lifts in their training of athletes. Typically this Olympic lift is a power clean, starting from the floor. While this is appropriate for plenty of athletes, there are multiple variations in the starting position, that it can be hard to determine which is the right place to start.

 

In Part 1 I discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the floor start position and the block start position. In Part 2 you will learn about 2 of the more popular hang start positions.

 

So lets take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of some of the Olympic lifts variations in start position.

 

Hang Start Position (High Thigh)

 

The hang position with the bar on the high thigh is a very popular way to start for both athletes and in training for competition weightlifters. This position is actually the one that is taught in many certification courses as a great way to train beginners on the lifts.

 

The start position is usually ½ way or more up to the top of the thigh but below the hip crease. The start position is nearly at the finish of the 2nd pull and will lead to a very quick and explosive lift.

 

Pros: This start position is excellent for training athletes to become more proficient at the Olympic lifts. The start position is relatively easy to attain because the counter movement is short which makes it hard to miss. Due to the high nature of the start position the speed of the lift is very quick making coaching cues simple, (“explode”, “Drive” etc,). As a technique tool it reinforces the 2nd pull and even assists in making the athlete more efficient at the 3rd pull, more so than any other start position for the Olympic lifts.

 

Cons: This is a great place to start. In my experience though many athletes have a difficult time generating much power from this start position early on. Technical difficulties for novice athletes from this position are usually things like, jerking their head back from the start, or over scooping the knees forward to initiate the movement. The correct start position is fairly quad dominant and doesn’t rely as much on the athlete’s ability to extend the hips as other hang start positions. As with other hang start positions multiple reps are difficult on the grip (not that big of a con, but still needs to be mentioned).

 

Hang Start Position (Above Knee)

 

This is a common position to see athletes do cleans and snatches. In fact, this is the primary position from which I teach my athletes how to clean or snatch. The start position is directly above the knee cap (or 3-4 inches above in the snatch).

 

Pros: This start position is easy to attain for most athletes, it mimics the pattern that they will go through when you ask them to jump as high as possible. The easy to attain start position and similarity to other athletic movement means that athletes will have early success with the lift. In terms of training this usually means that the athlete will be able to lift more weight, correctly, and sooner than with other positions. One big positive with this lift is that athletes are made to assume a more hip dominant position to start, training the posterior chain more effectively than hang start positions higher on the thigh.

 

Cons: Because the position is lower on the thigh, athletes that are extremely quad dominant in their movements have difficulty getting to the start position. Often times they will try to squat, or knee bend their way to the start. Athletes that lack lumbar and core stability will try to achieve the start position through a back bend. The longer counter movement actually makes grip even more of an issue than some shorter hang start positions.

 

Many pros and cons lists end up with a verdict, but with the Olympic lifts I cannot form one. All of the lifts have benefits and drawbacks, and some more so than others. Take the considerations in the last two articles to mind when training with the lifts and test each of them out for yourself and those athletes that are ready.

 

olymic lifts young athletes

 

The IYCA Olympic Lift Instructor Course gives you everything you need to better understand, teach, progress and implement Olympic Lift training with your young athletes. You will gain complete technical instruction and learn necessary skill sets & essential coaching cues.

 

click here

 

 

Missed part 1? Click here

Non-Programming Elements of a Great Youth Fitness Program

 

Creating a Great Youth Fitness Program

Youth Fitness

 

By Wil Fleming

 

Non-Programming elements of a great Youth Fitness program

 

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.

 

Coaching
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.

 

Communication
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.

 

Fun
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).

 

 

 

Coaching a Large Group of Young Athletes in a Small Space

Young Athletes Programming in a Small Space

young athletes
By Dave Gleason
At Athletic Revolution South Shore we have 2500 sq feet in total.

Our usable space is approximately 1600 sq feet with an open

turf area of only 1300 sq ft. We max out our session at 16-18

athletes per session. As the kids get older and can cover more

ground quicker – it is imperative to prepare our programming

with this in mind.

 

Here are a few strategies that have worked extremely well for us as we program for our young athletes 6-18 years old.

Staff – As skilled coaches we can certainly run large groups very

effectively. However, beyond merely executing a great session

we need to remind ourselves of the immense gravity of connecting

with our athletes. Once more it becomes increasingly more difficult

to observe all of your athletes to make recommendations, set

cues, regress or progress the movement. We have a minimum

of 2 staff on the floor at all times.
Cascading – We will have the athletes form 2-4 lines (especially

the Exploration because we try to avoid lines for our Discovery

classes) to perform the activity. When they reach the far end

of the turf they turn to the left and continue back to the start.

This can work very well for ambulating active range of motion

and general preparatory exercise.
Rows – For movements such as accelerations, skip loops and

bear crawls we form two rows, one behind the other. When

the first row reaches half way, the next row begins.
Circle up – Our Exploration classes are now accustomed to

engaging in MFR and active range of motion activities as our

classes begin. With a class of 16 kids they will form one large,

or small circles. Discovery athletes always enjoy circles…they

know it means something fun is coming!
Spread em’ out – Another very effective way to observe your
young athletes is to have them spread out so you can view each and

every one of them during the activity. We use spot markers

(agility discs) for our Discovery classes to add some continuity

to where they are. Be cognizant of the child trying to hide

behind another athlete or in the corner.

Split the room –
Lay out cones down the center of the turf area.

Half the athletes at one end of the turf and half at the other.

You can instruct them to stop at the center line, turn around at

the center line and return to the start, or even pass each in the

middle during some activity (great for spatial awareness and

kinesthetic differentiation).

 

As you create your programs, contemplate how the activities and

movements you have chosen fit into these mechanisms of

organizing your young athletes. It will provide the context for fantastic

classes and remarkable results!

Training Young Athletes and The Ultimate Blueprint

 

Training Young Athletes Resource

I’ll be blunt with a message heading into your weekend:

 

If Complete Athlete Development is not in your library of educational resources, you are sorely missing out.

  • DVD Collection of Coaching Cues, Training Programs & Exercise Selections
  • Manual with Specifics on Speed, Agility, Coaching, Philosophy of Training
  • Audio CD’s on Nutrition and Strength Development
  • Sample Programs for Training Young Athletes 6 – 18
  • Mix & Match Training Templates
  • 100+ Exercise Photographs

(more…)

Proper Technique for Youth Sports Training: How Important Is It?

How Important is Proper Technique For Youth Sports Training?

The IYCA forces you to think about your answer!

 

Watch this video to learn how to get the most out of your youth sports training programs and ensure that your young athletes are able to reach their full potential.

 

 

If you want to learn more about training young athletes and improving your youth sports training programs make sure you check out the IYCA’s Youth Fitness Specialist Certification.

 

https://youth-fitness-specialist.com/

Youth Fitness Training

 

 

Young Athletes: The Key to Agility Is Positioning

 

 

Young Athletes Agility

 

Tony Reynolds young athletesTony Reynolds says…

Personally, I have never thought of flexibility or mobility as a factor that plays a huge role in an athlete being able to assume an athletic stance. I do not see where there is enough flexion/extension in any joint throughout the chain where this is really an issue. If you are getting that low you are never going to be overly quick out of the position.

 

For me, it has always been a matter of reeducation. Young athletes simply have no idea how to align their bodies to create the most effective angles for spontaneous multi directional movement. Often they have been coached wrong or not coached at all and have created their own interpretation of the stance.

 

So then it comes down to teaching. Therefore, one must be careful with their “selection of words” when describing movements and positions to kids and young.

 

For instance, flat back can often also mean a completely vertical torso. MANY kids will automatically make this correlation (and so do many coaches.)

 

I prefer using the terms “neutral” and “tilted.” As Kwame suggested, we work on rounding the spine, we work on arching the spine, and we work on keeping the spine in a “neutral” alignment. Then it is a matter or “tilting” the neutral spine forward as the hips move back.

(more…)