Archive for “Medicine” Tag

Designing the Right Speed and Agility Training Program

Developing The Right Speed and Agility Training Programs For Young Athletes

 

wil fleming 2

 

Designing a speed and agility training program can be difficult with young athletesWithout a plan in mind of how to train a speed session, what can start as a speed session can crumble into a conditioning workout, with no lasting effects on an athlete’s ability to move quickly.

 

Speed and Agility Training Program

 

When I am coaching athletes in a youth speed and agility training program I find it necessary to first, break it down into the component parts that I would like to train, and second assess the size of the group that I will be working with.

 

Lets start with what we need to train.

 

Linear and Lateral Technique
The first thing we should address with any group of any size is the technical components that will make the athletes better and safer. For linear technique we must analyze the most common ways that linear speed are expressed:

 

Is it from a 3 point stance, 2 point stance, split stance, from a slower pace?

 

This will guide our use of acceleration training and allow us to coach the athletes on the proper start positions.

 

Lateral technique will focus on the lateral gait cycle and change of direction body positions. This type of training should be done with any group regardless of age and size of the group.

 

Speed and Agility Training Program 1

 

Linear and Lateral Power
The next phase of training will involve using different implements or tools to create more power for your athletes. Typically we will use sleds, weighted vests, medicine balls, or resistance bands to improve power in both the linear sprinting/acceleration and in lateral deceleration or acceleration

 

Speed and Agility Training Program 2

 

Linear and Lateral Reaction
When training reaction we are trying to improve the athletes ability to perceive the action and make the appropriate reaction. Drills in this category include change of direction with visual or verbal cues and acceleration drills on visual cues

 

Next lets move onto the size of the group, as this will determine the types of drills and equipment that we can use.

 

Less than 3 athletes
With less than 3 athletes training the coaching can be very intensive and the athletes can receive direction on technique with any and all drills. Very rarely in this situation will you be limited with the amount of equipment needed to complete a drill. Rest times will have to be accounted for through the training plan to make sure that the athletes get quality repetitions.

 

Speed and Agility Training Program 4

 

Small group- Less than 10-15 athletes
Training in groups smaller than 10 may limit your ability to train the group with equipment that you have on hand. If equipment is to be used it will be necessary to partner up the athletes or go in a rotation. Your ability to instruct will not be limited, but should be planned out in the training program for the day.

 

Large group- More than 15 athletes
With a group of more than 15 athletes restrictions on equipment become a primary concern, typically with groups this size or larger choices of equipment should be easily transportable (cones, small bands) and be plentiful. Instruction time should be mapped out before hand and should be deliberate. Large groups should be divided into smaller groups, this will allow for instruction between repetitions. Rest intervals in large groups are less necessary to plan because a normal rotation of drills and groups will allow for even, or positive rest periods.

 

Speed and Agility Training Program 3

With groups of any size it is important to approach a youth speed and agility training program with the same type of deliberate plan that is often reserved for strength training. Doing so will insure that your session will not turn into glorified conditioning work, but will instead develop real, true speed, wow coaches and grow your fitness business.

 

If you want to learn create your own training programs be sure to check out the Youth Speed Certification from the IYCA here;

Youth speed and agility training certification

 

Top 4 Alternatives for Olympic Lifts When Training Young Athletes

Training Young Athletes Using Olympic Lift Alternatives

 

Youth Fitness Expert Wil fFeming on Training Young Athletes

 

As a coach and professional I know that I love the Olympic lifts when training young athletes. For good or bad I think that there is no EQUAL to getting athletes more explosive than the Olympic lifts.

 

Being married to a lift or movement places too many limitations on the program you are able to design and in particular limits the improvements that each individual athlete can make.

 

For the athletes that are exclusively training with me and are physically capable the Olympic lifts are the king of my gym. There is no BETTER way to get explosive.

 

As my training business has grown, however, more and more athletes find out and are recruited to train with me, the necessity is not to place my training on them, but to discover the best training methods for them.

 

This means that the athlete that are concurrently training in their high school and doing Olympic lifts 2-3 times a week need alternative methods to train explosively with me. My beliefs are not something that can supersede the needs, time or ability of the athlete.

 

training young athletes

 

This being the case when we are training young athletes, the Olympic lifts have been replaced with alternatives that replicate the explosive nature of these lifts.

 

Using Medicine Balls To Train Young Athletes

 

training young athletes with medicine balls

 

The broad category of medicine ball throws can be used for nearly every athlete to produce explosive strength. These throws provide a low impact to the athlete but a maximal force production.

 

Throws in the rotational plane can be used to develop a vital linkage of the upper body to the lower body through the core musculature. Correctly performed throws originate in the lower body and leave through the hands, a kink in the core armor will be very apparent if a delay occurs from initiation to delivery.

 

Regardless of whether athletes can do Olympic lifts or not, medicine ball throws are a vital part of athletic programs, nothing develops the all important power in the transverse plane quite like rotational medicine ball throws.

 

KB Swings To Train Young Athletes

 

training young athletes

 

Much has been written on the kettlebell and benefits of using it to develop explosive strength. The addition of elastic resistance can take this movement to an entirely different level.

 

The swing itself is an excellent tool to develop an explosive hip hinge pattern. Most athletes lack in the ability to feel the explosive hinge and the swing is the best movement that I have found to break knee dominant athletes of using the knee bend to initiate explosive motion in the lower body.

 

The end range of hip extension is one of the best ways for athletes to truly feel the maximum contraction of the glutes. The voluntary muscle contraction that most athletes have difficulty attaining through other movements is a must for athletes to achieve a total hip extension.

 

The addition of elastic resistance allows accomplishes 2 main objectives:

 

1) It spares you of having to buy an unlimited number of kettlebells. Our biggest kettlebell is 32 kg. Many of our high school athletes can toy around with this weight with little to no difficulty for 10-15 swings. By adding even a small band to the kettlebell, 10-15 swings becomes a much greater challenge.

 

2) The majority of resistance occurs at the top end, where athletic movements occur. The maximal contraction should occur at the top end of the swing movement. With just the dead weight resistance supplied by the kettlebell athletes are sometimes apt to use the top extension as a point of relaxation. The addition of band resistance increases the load as it travels away from the floor. This top “high resistance” position is also the position in which most athletic movements occur.

 

In general swings simulate overall athletic movement. A correct swing should have the athlete relax momentarily at the top of the swing after reaching full hip extension but before returning to contraction at the top. This contract, relax, contract pattern allows for greater recruitment on the next upward swing.

 

Prowler Sprints To Train Young Athletes

 

training young athletes with prowler sprints

 

The goals of Olympic lifting are varied. They can go from becoming a better competitor, across the spectrum to improving speed (I first noticed that I had become a much more powerful athlete due to Olympic lifting when my 40 yard dash time dropped .5 seconds in just 6 months) For the latter a great substitution is to do resisted sprinting with the prowler.

 

The idea of special strength training was popularized by USSR coaches, and in particular those coaches in track and field. My first exposures to it were as a hammer thrower, to us special strength training was literally training the specific event in which I competed with a heavier implement (can’t get much more special than that!). Prowler sprints are the perfect special strength tool for athletes looking to improve acceleration.

 

The sets are typically 8 seconds or less, and the athlete gets adequate rest. This timing both mimics the boughts typically seen in athletic competition, the length of time for typical Olympic lifts, and helps increase the alactic power an athlete is able to produce.

 

An increase in stride length will be seen for athletes training with resisted sprinting techniques. This increased stride length will be due to an increase in the athletes’ ability to produce more power.

 

Submaximal Front Squats or Deadlifts to Train Young Athletes

training young athletes with deadlifts

This is something that I have been toying with recently that has really improved the maximum power output that we are seeing from our athletes.

 

Loads of 40-50% 1RM on the bar and band resistance of less than 100lbs should be used. Athletes should be instructed to lift the weight with maximal force on the concentric portion of the movement.

 

Recently Bret Contreras wrote an excellent article on similar movements In it he describes recent research showing that maximal force produced during 40% of 1RM in the Hex Bar Deadlift is surprisingly similar to that produced in the Olympic lifts. (4800 Watts Hex Bar vs. ~4900 Watts in O lifts). While research has shown that maximal power production measured in watts can be achieved in the split jerk at nearly 6000 watts, this is very close when it comes to the big 2 Olympic lifts (snatch/clean).

 

Adding bands to the puzzle has not yet been studied but anecdotally my athletes have seen a large improvement in the ability to produce power top end hip extension. The greatest load is encountered at this point in which the athlete has the greatest mechanical advantage.

 

The bands pull the athlete down at a faster rate in the eccentric phase of the lift. To resist this greater speed the posterior chain must contract with a greater force. This is similar to the eccentric portion of plyometric action. Higher rate of contraction in the muscle spindles will lead to a greater force of contraction on the concentric portion of the lift.

 

Check these moves out next time your training young athletes and let me know what you think.

 

Learn how to become a Certfied High School Strength and Conditioning Coach by Clicking Here.

HSSC

Combination Training for Power

 

[wpfblike]

 

by Wil Fleming

 

Both bands and medicine balls are great tools to develop power for athletes. When you combine them, though, you can get some really practical drills for athletes to use for total body power. Check out the video below to see a great drill I use to link the upper body and lower body in power creation.

 

(more…)

Medicine Balls: Increase Speed and Agility for Athletes

Are Medicine Balls A Good Tool for Training
Speed and Agility For Athletes

Check out the video below to learn what medicine balls drills we use to help develop speed and agility for athletes in our training programs.

(more…)