Archive for “Mel Siff” Tag

Multi-Planar Warm-ups with Young Athletes: PNF in Your Movement

 

PNF Warm-ups With Young Athletes

Young athletes PNF movement

 

By Wil Fleming

 

Ask coaches what their program should include and invariably the answer sounds like this “Strength, speed, agility, power and oh yeah warm-up“. The warm-up is always tossed in there, but not with much enthusiasm.

 

All too often our warm-ups occur in singular planes of motion, typically sagittal or frontal, and for certain joints this will not do. The hip and shoulder, in particular require motion that does not only go through these single planes, and in truth requires more than just the addition of motion through the transverse plane.

 

A great solution to this is to use PNF patterns of movement to truly warm-up the athlete. In using PNF patterns we are able to use patterns that efficiently recruit the most relevant muscle.

 

PNF or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, is commonly thought of as only a type of stretching pattern done by athletic trainers but is actually an entire system of movement.

 

In the great book Supertraining, Mel Siff described PNF movement patterns in this way “The importance of these patterns cannot be overestimated, since they can enhance the effectiveness of any training session.”

 

While the unloaded movement of a “warm-up” cannot satisfy all the necessary pieces to be considered PNF the important foundations of PNF which must be considered are as follows.

 

-The motion must use spiral and diagonal movement patterns

 

-The motion must cross the sagittal midline of the body.

 

-The motion must recruit all movement patterns including, flexion/extension, abduction/adduction, and internal/external rotation.

 

To use the techniques of PNF in our warm-up we use a lunge matrix and corresponding “reaches”.

 

Lateral Hip Rotator Lunge w/ Contralateral Reach

 

Have the athlete stand perpendicular to a start line, flex at the hip and knee with the lead leg. First internally rotate at the hip, move towards external rotation with the lead hip as they step outward as far as possible. Once the lead foot reaches the ground they will raise their opposite arm overhead and come across the midline of the body to reach the instep of their lead leg, the young athletes should follow this movement with their eyes until completion.

 

 

 

Reverse Lunge w/ X Reach

 

Have the athlete make a reverse lunge movement (that part is simple). While in this split stance they should reach with one hand to their opposite front pocket, move this arm across the midline of the body to an overhead position and rotate the torso. Again the athlete should follow the movement of their arms with their eyes. Do the same movement with the opposite arm and then reverse lunge with the other leg.

 

 

These modifications on traditional lunges will add multi direction skill and a more complete neuromuscular warm-up to your young athletes programs.

 

 

Another Great Interview on Athletic Development

 

[wpfblike]

 

Athletic Development For Youth

Training for speed and agility is essential for those serious about excelling in competitive sports. 2x All-American football player Dan Fichter knows what it takes.

 

BG: What’s your background in youth sports and athletics? Have you trained a lot of young athletes?

 

DF: My Athletic development background is very simple. It was fueled by my love for sports. All sports! When I was done playing football in the Arena Football League, I decided to make it a goal to learn from the best around. I have tried so many different programs in the fitness industry, I have seen it all. I went to the best to search for the answers! Dr. Mel Siff has helped my understanding of how the human body operates and how to think outside the box. From there, my experiences have included many conversations with Dr. Peter Weyand who is the leading authority on human movement and how it related to running energetics. Coach Ken Jalkowski who knows the process of marrying the science and coaching helped me translate some of Peter’s very complex theories on what limits how fast humans can run. John Davies has also been an instrumental part of my growth as a coach and an expert in the field of strength and conditioning. In this business you have to be learning all the time. Listen to new ideas, and then as the Late Dr. Mel Siff taught me "prove all things"

 

I have coached a lot of different levels of kids in many different sports. Wrestling, football, Track, Martial arts, plus I have been a physical focused on human growth and development, motor skill development, as well as some interesting research in the lab focusing on the biomechanics of short sprints. So, I guess you can say I have a pretty decent background dealing with the kids and how they move. At this point in my career as a performance coach, the majority of athletes that I consult with on a personal basis are older. (Pro athletes, College level, and elite high school athletes) However, I feel it is paramount for kids to have the proper training and instruction as they pursue their sports interests.

 

I run many Speed and Agility camps for kids ages 11- 18. As a matter of fact, I will be joining forces with a business called AthleticFX whose main goal is to work with younger athletes on developing the proper movement tool box so they can develop and transition to higher level skill training as they get older. As I have stated on many occasions, when I train older athletes, I can tell they lack certain fundamental movement and coordination skills. They should have received this type of training a long time ago. I do tons of remedial work that I don’t think I would have to do if kids progressed the right way in training when they were younger.

 

BG: There are a lot of coaches, parents and even trainers who treat young athletes as if they were "little adults". What I mean by that is they will take the training routine of a superstar athlete and use it as a guide when working with youngsters. Why, if at all, should we warn against that kind of training?

 

DF: This is a huge mistake, and can only hurt a child, and maybe damage their chances to grow and experience tons of things that kids should normally experience. Children don’t play today. We are dealing with a huge population of unfit kids. The result of this is a population of obese kids with back problems that will continue to spiral out of control. We have to get kids moving! (That is the PE teacher in me speaking) Get your kids into a sound youth program with people who know what they are talking about. Don’t follow what you read in a magazine. One size doesn’t fit all!

 

BG: The age old debate is "How old should an athlete be before they begin lifting weights." What’s your view on that controversial topic?

 

DF: Well, in my opinion it is not very controversial when you explain what is happening from a biomechanical stand point. When "experts" talk about maximal weight training it is extremely misleading to think that kids will not benefit from a solid strength program, or for that matter will subject them selves to injury if they lift too heavy. People have to understand that the complexity of movements has to do more with each individual kid rather than a perceived age number per say.

 

(more…)

Kids Fitness Programs: Should They Really Lift Weights?

Developing The Perfect Kids Fitness Program

 

The commonly held belief that strength training for kids is dangerous to the growth plates is simply not accurate provided that appropriate guidelines are followed with respect to, specifically, exercise execution. In fact, improved sport performance, increased muscular endurance and enhanced bone strength are all likely benefits of resistance training for children.

 

Kids Fitness Programs

 

More over, an increased need for correct kids fitness programs due to the rigors of a typical soccer, football or baseball game place far more of a strain on the structures of kids than does a well-executed lift. In fact, Mel Siff in his book Facts & Fallacies of Fitness suggests that “stresses imposed on the body by common sporting activities such as running, jumping and hitting generally are far larger (by as much as 300%) than those imposed by Powerlifting or Olympic Lifting.”

 

The real crux of this issue stems from the argument of which type of resistance training is most safe or suitable. In North America, we tend to buy into the concept that fitness machines are most safe due to their static nature and fixed paths which remove our need to stabilize during a movement – which would be fine if the body actually worked like that, but it doesn’t! This is why I am so outspoken against ‘youth sized’ strength training machines. To the uneducated eye, they certainly appear more safe and prudent than training with free weights, especially in dynamic movements such as Olympic lifts… but are they? Should kids stay away from dynamic strength training exercises like the Olympic lift?
 

Dangers of Lifting in Kids Fitness Programs?

 

If there is not a fully qualified an exceptionally experienced coach involved, than yes – without question. However, can the Olympic lifts actually be beneficial for younger athletes… let’s examine that.

 

While machine-based strength training for children has been shown clinically to be positive, it does not appear that the clinical evidence supports anything other than the fact that isolated strength has increased. More over, due to their static nature, it can certainly be concluded that machine-based strength training does not positively impact coordination or movement skill – something that is extremely crucial for young athletes.

(more…)

Athlete Development Business Success Tips: My Training & Business Mentors

 

[wpfblike]

 

Athlete Development Business Success

Sometimes I enjoy writing about the ‘training’ aspects of Athlete Development, youth fitness and sport development.

 

Other times I like writing about the ‘business’ angles.

 

Today, I feel inspired to talk a little bit about both.

 

Over the years, my philosophies and thoughts about training young athletes have changed
significantly.

 

These changes were the result of learning a new concept or trying a new idea.

 

I read books.

 

Watched DVD’s.

 

Listened to speakers at live conferences.

 

I continue to do so even to this day.

 

And all of this self-directed study is what has lead me to my conclusions and guided my thoughts
regarding the developmental fitness process at the core of the IYCA Principles.

 

Now, many Athlete Development industry experts have had a significant hand in shaping my viewpoints –

 

Mike Boyle
Gray Cook
Jozeph Drabik
Mel Siff
Tony Reynolds
Bill Hartman

 

 

But no one professional has played a larger role in helping me create my training philosophies
than a man I consider to be one of the greatest Coaches alive today…

 

Lee Taft.

 

When I watched Lee’s ‘Groundbreaking’ DVD back in 2004, I was literally mesmerized by what
I saw.

 

I took notes feverishly.

 

Created drills based on his concepts.

 

Implemented his ideas into the training routines of my own young athletes.

 

And quite frankly, the results staggered me.

 

I have never been introduced to concepts that made more sense or were more easy to
Coach.

 

Lee’s speed and agility work is 100% pioneering and my own personal coaching philosophies have
never been the same since.

 

Now from a business perspective, I can say virtually the same stuff about a man whom I consider
to be an absolute genius when it comes to systems creation –

 

Nick Berry.

 

Just like you, I always struggled with the fine points of understanding how to be
the ‘Trainer’ and ‘Business Person’ in my company.

 

Finding enough time to train all your clients AND run the sales, marketing, scheduling and book
keeping.

 

And I admit, believe it or not, there was a time that I almost packed it in as a professional in this
industry.

 

Seriously.

 

Back in early 2003, I was struggling so badly with time management that I didn’t think I would
ever ‘get ahead’.

 

I remember distinctly having a conversation with Sara and explaining to her that I thought the
time was right for me to get out of the athlete development industry and move on to a more secure and predictable
profession.

 

Can you believe that?

 

And truth be told, I had difficulty with this balancing act right up until the beginning of 2008
when Nick became a full partner in the IYCA.

 

From Day 1, he started revamping our corporate structure and changing our working arrangements.

 

He put systems into place that allowed me to focus on one thing at a time and maximize me
efficiency in a given day.

 

Our Membership numbers increased.

 

Our revenue increased.

 

And my own personal workload DECREASED as a result of Nick’s efforts.

 

Lee Taft and Nick Berry.

 

The two guys that have changed everything about the way I train my young athletes and
run my youth athlete business.

 

And the best part?

 

They’ll both be at my International Summit in February sharing their secrets.

 

You likely know me as a ‘key player’ in the fitness industry.

 

Well known.

 

Highly respected.

 

Wildly successful.

 

Lee and Nick had a TON to do with that.

 

If I can admit that a good amount of the success I’ve experienced has come from learning from
these two fantastic professionals, just imagine what hearing what they have to say might to do
your career.

 

Worth a trip to Louisville this February?

 

Click on the link below to register now –

 

http://www.iyca.org/2009summit

 

 

‘TIll next time,

 

Brian