Archive for “Momentum” Tag

Concussion Prevention: A Pro-Active Approach

 

Concussion Prevention For Young Athletes

 

concussion for high school young athletes

 

By Jim Kielbaso

 

The concussion problem in sports has reached epidemic proportions. The NFL is spending millions on awareness and just instituted new practice rules to reduce the number of blows the players are exposed to during practices. Several high school athletic associations are also implementing new rules to deal with the issue. So far, everything has focused on how to deal with the athlete after the concussion, but there is now a movement to help educate athletes, parents and coaches about sports concussions and what can be done to prevent or avoid them. We’ll never be able to eliminate concussions from sports, but there are certainly things we can do to help reduce the forces our brain encounters.

 


There are really four basic components of concussion prevention:

 

    1. Protective equipment – In most sports, this means properly fit, quality helmets and mouth pieces. Unfortunately, no equipment or training currently known to us will eliminate concussions. “The best helmet on the market can still lead to injuries of the head including concussions,” said Scott Peck, a certified athletic trainer in Washington state. “To decrease concussions, athletes need to practice good technique in tackling and blocking by keeping their heads away from contact.”

 

    1. Technique – Some sports include more contact than others. Good coaches always teach athletes not to initiate contact with the head, but we still see a lot of young athletes using poor form when tackling or hitting.

 

    1. Awareness – It seems crazy, but there are still a lot of parents and coaches who simply do not understand how dangerous a concussion can be or that there is inherent risk involved in participating in most sports. This site was set up to help heighten awareness at the same time we discuss prevention options and proper treatment

 

  1. Training – This component is just now picking up momentum, but some coaches have known about this concept for years. This is also the least publicized aspect of concussion prevention for several reasons.

 

First, most people don’t know how to safely and effectively train the head and neck musculature. Second, it would be next to impossible to produce scientific evidence to show that training will help prevent concussions because you would have to use real human beings and expose them to potentially life-threatening blows. This would never pass any collegiate ethics committee, so the research probably cannot be done.

 

Still, the automotive industry has known for years that a stronger and stiffer neck significantly reduces the G-forces encountered by crash test dummies in crash research. It seems obvious that a stronger neck would be extremely helpful during a blow to the head, but most doctors aren’t yet ready to admit that. That could be because:

 

a. Doctors won’t make any money from the prevention side of this issue.
b. Doctors probably have no idea how to train.
c. Doctors typically refer to the scientific literature, but we already established that this evidence will probably never be published in any scientific journal.

 

We have to understand that no amount of training or equipment will eliminate all injuries, but that is not the point. Ten years ago, ACL prevention programs were virtually non-existent. Today, female athletes all over the country understand that proper training will limit their risk of sustaining an injury. Yet, ACL injury rates haven’t slowed down. It doesn’t mean that the training has not helped. And, going through a training program does not mean you will never hurt yourself. Training is meant to reduce risk or severity of an injury.

 

The same goes for properly training the neck & head to reduce the risk of concussions and serious neck injuries. The training does not eliminate the injuries, but it can help to lessen the risk or severity of neck and head injuries.

 

The leading researcher on neck training, Ph.D. candidate Ralph Cornwell, put it best when he said “If we know that it might help, and it’s not going to hurt, why wouldn’t you want to do this kind of training? People do ACL prevention programs all the time. This is like an ACL prevention program for your brain and neck. You can replace your ACL, but as far as I know, you only have one brain. It just makes sense to protect it.”

 

Research done by the NFL is now revealing that the repetitive sub-concussive blows – the hits that don’t knock you out, but just ring your bell a little – are the main culprit behind the long-term brain damage seen in many former athletes. Many of these athletes are now suing major sports organizations because they are mentally and physically disabled due to these blows. It seems that every brain has a certain number of hits it can take before long-term damage sets in. The more G-forces the brain encounter, the worse it gets.

 

Training can reduce the G-forces encountered on these sub-concussive blows, raising the bar on the number of hits it will take before the long-term damage sets in. This is some of the best news ever presented on this topic, because it gives us hope that we may be able to combat this problem.

 

Major sports organizations like USA Hockey and the NFL are recognizing that something must be done, so rules are changing quickly. Even Dr. Robert Cantu, who is considered one of the leading experts on the subject, has said that he thinks young athletes should wait until they are stronger and more mature before they engaging in intense contact/hitting sports. This means that the leading authority on concussions understands that being stronger will have a positive effect and is part of the concussion prevention equation.

 

With the knowledge that training can help prevent concussion and other injuries and, when done properly, can cause no harm, why would we NOT strengthen the muscles surrounding the head and neck?

 

 

Selecting the Right Starting Position for Olympic Lifts (Part 1)

 

Athletes Options For Olympic Lifts

 

By Wil Fleming

 

Coaches everywhere, and a great percentage of coaches at that, choose to use some type of Olympic lift 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.

 

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

 

Floor Start Position

 

This is the typical start position and the one used in weightlifting competitions. This position is the one that as coaches we see high school athletes using most often in their high school training program.

 

In this position the athlete starts with the bar at rest on the floor, and the bar should be close (~1-2 inches) from the shins. Athletes starting in this position should slowly, and under control lift the from the floor, ultimately passing the knees.

 

Pros: This position is the position from which the most weight has ever been cleaned or snatched, has been lifted. This is due to the momentum gained from the correct pull off the floor. Using the floor start position requires the athlete to increase hip range of motion due to the low starting position.

 

Cons: This position requires great hip mobility, and therefore, if an athlete is lacking in hip mobility they will typically gain this lower start position through an increase in lumbar flexion. Lumbar flexion with loads in front of the spine have been attributed to greater shear forces on the spine and a corresponding higher incidence of back injury. The typical floor start position also requires athletes to move the bar by the knees. This area of movement is one that requires great technique and for many athletes means that their technical problems occur in this area. More lifts are missed due to the first pull moving around the knee than in any other area of the lift. Poor lifts will have an S pull where the bar will move forward to travel pass the knee.

 

Block Start Position

 

The block start position is used often in the technical training of competition weightlifters.

 

The actual start position can be adjusted in height to meet the goals of the training session, but typically the athlete will start from a static stance somewhere above the knee.

 

Pros: Block starts are a great teaching tool. Coaches can specify the exact starting position that the athlete must achieve. This position is usually close to the 2nd pull (the rapid acceleration of the bar), and requires very little thought from the athlete once the bar is in place. Cueing the pull from a block position is fairly easy for the coach, typically aggressiveness and explosiveness are the only thing needed. The block start position is great for starting strength, no momentum is used and the stretch shortening cycle is eliminated. Starting strength is great quality to develop for nearly any athlete.

 

Cons: Situating the athlete in the correct start position can be hard for the uninitiated coach, differing starting heights require differing positions that are sometimes very dissimilar. Blocks can also be expensive to purchase or difficult to assemble, and therefore many weight rooms or facilities do not allow for the possibility of coaching athletes from a block starting position.

 

There are even more possibilities for Olympic lift start positions stay tuned for Part 2 to learn about 2 of my favorite start positions for young athletes.

 

 

olymic lifts young athletes
Learn More the Olympic Lift Instructor Course Today!

 

 

 

4 Levels of Youth Sports Training Business

 

Youth Sports Training Business Success

Youth sports training business success

 

By Ryan Ketchum

 


Training youth athletes can be hard.

It might be one of the most enjoyable experiences in all of coaching, but it can be difficult to gain traction in your community if you have no previous relationships with coaches or sports organizations. The toughest part, much like any other aspect of business, is getting started. Once you have a little momentum behind you all it takes is consistency to grow your youth sports training business at an incredible rate.

 

For some reason it has taken me a few years to figure out just how easy and simple building your youth sports performance business can be if you follow the right steps.

 

Over the past several months I have implemented this system into our business with great success. It is almost scary how easy it is to follow and how quickly it can have an effect on your bottom line.

 

The greatest part of this system is that it doesn’t require you to be great at marketing or selling. I modified this system so that any coach can sell with the experience of their coaching and the results that come because of their great coaching. All you have to do to make this work is be consistent and dependable.

 

The first level of building an incredible youth sports training performance business is leveraging your network to build relationships with coaches, parents and leaders of youth sports organizations. You should focus on an area that you already have traction in and put all of your energy into it. If you aren’t sure where you might have traction I suggest you focus on middle school or younger athletes and female athletes. Stay away from football unless you are established or have some great connections. Building relationships is easier than most people think, but it requires you to step out of your comfort zone. For a little while you have to take a back seat to being the expert and ask for advice. Call up coaches, parents and organizational leaders and ask their advice on what they see a need for in their sports training. Take them to lunch, grab coffee and don’t step on their toes!

 

Once you have established a relationship and secretly found out what the biggest need in that sports community is (that is why you asked for advice earlier) you can offer a solution. The next step is offering a free clinic to help the coach or organization’s athletes better prepare for their sport. This clinic should be catered to meet the needs that were unveiled by those in your network.

 

To make this clinic extra successful you should have as much done for you material as possible. Write the emails for the coach, set up times that are convenient for the entire team, create the fliers and deliver the copies, etc. The easier you can make it on the coach or those in charge the more likely it is that you will get access to a lot of athletes.

 

When selling this free clinic idea to a coach you must explain how it will help them. How is this going to make their life easier and their athletes better? How can they use this in their practices and training?

 

Once you have established a date and set up the clinic your only job is to show up and be ready to wow the parents, coaches and athletes with your knowledge and coaching ability. Connect with the kids, make it fun and give them what they want. If you can show immediate results and improvement with the kids speed, agility or strength you will have won them over.

 

At the end of this free clinic it is time to move onto the third level. We must speak the language that coaches and parents are used to hearing, we have to do the unspeakable when talking about long term athletic development, we must offer a short term sport specific and skill specific academy!!!!

 

You might be wondering why we would offer a short term program if we have already won these athletes and their parents over?

 

The reason you offer a 6-8 week program to start is because that is what they are conditioned to believe will produce the best results. Create an offering that will help get them prepared for the season or improve a specific skill. The goal for the 6-8 week program is to educate them on the long term athletic development model and continue to build a relationship with the athletes and those in charge.

 

You can offer this program on site at the team’s location or at your own location. Many times it is easier to take the athletes off site to your location. We have got the athletes in our funnel now and we should do our best to move them into our long term training programs.

 

This 6-8 week program should be low cost, with a specific purpose. Our goal here is not to make a lot of money, but rather to gain the confidence of the athletes and the community. It is a great way to “slow cook” your leads and earn their trust. This works particularly well if you are new in the sports performance community.

 

Towards the end of the 6-8 week program you will now attempt to move these athletes on to level 4. This is your long term development program, your core offerings and strength and conditioning program. After 6-8 weeks of education and a phenomenal experience it should be an easy sell to get them into your programs so that they can continue their athletic development with you.

 

The key to transitioning these athletes from the short term to long term program is understanding their needs at the time of the conversion. If they are going in season it would be silly to recommend a three time per week training program, however you could offer a one-time per week program to ensure they maintain their results and continue to make progress so that come playoff time they are in the best condition. If they are going into an off season you will want to make the most appealing offer, which is a complete off season solution for them.

 

To recap here are the 4 levels of youth sports training business success:

Build and develop relationships

 

Set up FREE Clinics

 

Convert into low cost short term programs with specific training focus

 

Convert into long term development program

 

If you follow these simple steps you will have no problem becoming the go-to resource for athletic development and youth sports performance training in your community.

 

 

youth sports training business success

 

Creating a Training System That Works

 

 

by Wil Fleming

 

I remember vividly 3 years ago at this time Ryan and I were working our tails off to get ready for our grand opening that was only a couple weeks away. It was a really exciting time for us.

 

We were assembling all the equipment we ordered.

 

We were trying to figure out how to lay 1500 square feet of turf.

 

We were holding free workouts in our PARKING LOT to gain momentum.

 

We knew what we wanted our business to be, and we had a plan to make that happen:

 

A place that actually promised results to their clients and athletes.

 

A place for athletes to train to become the best they can be in their sport.

 

Three years later, we are doing just that, we have put 50 kids in collegiate athletics, we have helped a dozen high school teams reach their best seasons in years, and we have helped 1000’s of kids become better athletes.

 

(more…)