Archive for “training” Tag

The Difference Monitoring Can Make: Part 3

Top Two Ways Monitoring Can Make a Positive Impact

In part 1 and part 2 of this blog, I discussed three things: why we monitor, considerations for monitoring and how we monitor at the high school level.

In this blog, I am going to outline the top 2 ways in which monitoring can be applied to make a positive impact in your program.

#1: Relationships

FootballRelationships are paramount at any level, but especially at the high school level. High school age athletes are very impressionable, and it is a great time to have a major impact on their lives.

Different monitoring methods present the opportunity to ask questions and develop deeper relationships with your athletes.

Here are some example question scenarios:

  • I see you slept 4 hours? Is there something going on I can help with?
  • Your academic stress was rated high yesterday? Is school pretty tough right now?
  • I see you rated practice hard yesterday. Are you feeling sore?

Simple questions like this give great insight into where your athletes are physically, mentally and emotionally.

Pro Tip: Using these techniques have always allowed me to get to know my athletes on a deeper level, and help meet them where they are from a training standpoint.

These interactions with your athletes should be a daily ritual for you as a coach.

#2: Training Adjustments (Off the Script)

Monitoring allows the coach to make educated decisions on what the training day should look like.

There is a time and a place to push through adversity, but it is not every time you train. There must be an ebb and flow to your training.

We use an APRE/RPE method to account for readiness that I detailed in the blog Monitoring Part 2 – Monitoring Tools that Every Coach Needs.

Volume, intensity and exercise manipulation can also be used to help reduce stress in a session.

Pro Tip: Here is an example on how we adjust training volume that would be used to account for the fatigue of the athlete.

Original Workout

Power Clean 6×3
Front Squat 5×5
DB Bench Press 5×10

Adjustment (Off the Script) Workout

Clean Pull 4×3
Front Squat 3×5
DB Bench Press 3×10

Pro Tip: Here is an example on how we adjust training intensity that would be used to account for the fatigue of the athlete.

Lift Volume Original % Adjusted %
Power Clean 6×3 60, 65, 75, 80, 85, 90 60, 65, 75, 75, 80, 80
Front Squat 5×5 60, 65, 70, 75, 80 50, 55, 60, 65, 70


Monitoring is only valuable if you apply the information that is collected to benefit your athletes in a useful manner.

The takeaway for monitoring is to make the data you collect work for you in order to make a positive impact on your athletes on a personal as well as physiological level.

I have outlined two ways in which monitoring is extremely beneficial in a fast-paced high school environment. Frequent personal interactions with your athletes will yield large results in the long run, and monitoring presents regular opportunities to make these interactions happen.

Training adjustments that were outlined can be applied to any facet of training including the weight room, speed development or your conditioning program to meet your athletes where they are on any given training day.

About the Author: Fred Eaves

Fred EavesFred Eaves
– BIOFORCE Conditioning Coach Certified
– 2015 NSCA H.S. Strength Coach of the Year
– 2013 Samson Equipment & AFM H.S. Strength Coach of The Year

Easy Games with Resistance Bands

No matter what age, athletes love games. If you really want your young athletes to enjoy your sessions, then you need to implement some sort of game play into each program.

Games come in different forms, from old-school games like tug-of-war to games that your own athletes co-create, they all play a role in the “fun factor” and “success factor” of your sessions.

We all want successful sessions that our athletes continue to WANT to come back to…right?

3 Benefits of Game Play

Note: Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of the page, as Guest and Resistance Band Expert, Dave Schmitz provided us with an awesome example of games to play with bands.


Game Play Benefit #1:

FUN! Life is way too serious for most athleteseven some of the youngest take their sports to the extreme. A reminder that sports and training should have a “fun factor” is very important for youth.

Implementing 5 minutes of fun into your sessions will increase those “feel good” chemicals and lead to more productive, happy athletes.

Game Play Benefit #2:

COMPETITION! No matter the game, adding a bit of competition simulates what athletes may face in their sport of choice…or in life.

When training becomes competitive, athletes are able to reach a different level of performance, similar to real life game-day situations.

Pro Tip: Create games that encourage performance and reward effort.

Game Play Benefit #3:

IT ISN’T WORK! Let’s face it, training is hard work and occasionally met with resistance. Have you ever met a kid who would rather do sets of squats than play a game? Well, there is always one…but the majority don’t look at games as “work”.

Pro Tip: Games eliminate the “thinking component” of training. They allow athletes to think less and act more. When performance becomes instinctive…the real goals are achieved.

Play Games!

Check out these Resistance Band Games from Dave Schmitz:


Want additional games to help develop better athletes?

Check out 3 fun, exciting games from Youth Performance Expert Dave Gleason that will increase your athletes’ speed and agility.

Learn More

About the Author: Julie Hatfield

Julie Hatfield (1)Julie is the Executive Director of the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA). She grew up as an athlete and played collegiate softball at Juniata College. She currently owns and operates her own youth fitness business pouring into young athletes. Her areas of expertise are youth sport performance, youth fitness business and softball training/instruction. Julie grew up on a dairy farm and can challenge the best of the best in a cow-milking contest. 😉

Resistance Bands and Olympic Lifting

By Dave Schmitz


Wil Fleming recently wrote a very powerful article on “Why Olympic Lifts” that I found very thought provoking.

I agree with Wil that when you begin to discuss Olympic lifting with coaches, red flags immediately goes up about concerns for proper teaching, concerns for safety, and the stigma that Olympic lifting is only for the highly skilled or older athletes. For those coaches I understand their opinion and will not argue those points. Instead I will pose the question, is there a way to achieve some of the benefits of Olympic lifting without struggling with the teaching challenges or putting athletes at risk for injury.

As I read Wil’s article I continued to see a strong correlation between the benefits of resistance band training and Olympic lift training. Therefore as a follow up to Wil’s outstanding article, I wanted to touch on all 5 of Wil’s key points and relate them back to how resistance bands could assist young athletes and coaches with “improving” Olympic Lifting skill sets.

Please note that I am not suggesting you replicate Olympic lifting with bands but rather that you can get some of the neuromuscular benefits of Olympic Lifting by training with resistance bands. I also feel that performing certain movement with resistance bands will carry over to helping young athletes become better Olympic Lifting candidates.


Stop the Insanity!


Young Athletes Sports-Specific Training Insanity


By Mike Mejia

You see the ads all the time. Typically rife with promises of “radical increases” in strength, speed and power, they grab the attention of athletes, parents and coaches alike. Capitalizing on the desire of young athletes to gain any possible advantage over their peers, sports-specific training programs have been popping up all over the place in recent years. Whether it’s a soccer player seeking a more powerful kick, or a basketball player that wants to increase his, or her vertical leap, parents are shelling out big money for training that’s aimed at increasing their child’s physical prowess in a given sport. The question is, though, how specific does a training program really need to be for bodies that are still developing and as such, often have a variety of needs that far outweigh the enhancement of particular sports skills?

The unfortunate reality is that often times these programs do little more than contribute to the rapidly increasing rate of overuse injuries currently seen in youth sports! By replicating the same movement patterns and taxing the same muscle groups that are already being overused during practice and competition, this emphasis on “sports-specific” training is the exact opposite of what young athletes actually need. Rather than seek to enhance overall athleticism and reduce injury risk, many of these programs load kids up with bands, sleds and various other types of resistance, long before their bodies are physically prepared to do so. The thought process being that by overloading specified movement patterns, the athlete will be better able to meet the specific demands of his, or her sport.

Is this really necessary…

Young athletes sport specific training


Seemingly sound thinking; particularly when applied to young athletes age 16-17 and older, who’ve likely been training longer and as a result, possess a more sound physical foundation to work off of. Even then, however, such athletes should be thoroughly assessed to identify any weak links (i.e. strength and flexibility imbalances) that may serve as potential precursors to injury. For younger kids though, this trend towards sport specificity is an unmitigated mistake- especially when the intent is future sports stardom! As experts in the field of athletic development and sports conditioning continually point out, the vast majority of world class athletes didn’t specialize too early and instead, were exposed to a wide variety of sports that helped them develop more in the way of global athleticism.

In direct contrast to this, nowadays we commonly see kids who despite dominating in a particular sport, lack the ability to run properly, skip, throw a ball, change direction, land from a jump, or execute a host of other basic physical skills that require efficient, coordinated movement.

That’s why I’m imploring parents and coaches alike to stop buying into the hype and subjecting young athletes to this type of approach.


Get your kids working on improving things like mobility, flexibility and systemic strength and resist the temptation to have them mimic specific sports skills through training. If they play tennis, instead of having them try to replicate their swing against rubber resistance tubing, have them work on general core strengthening. If basketball’s their game, forget all of the intensive plyometric drills until they’ve first demonstrated the ankle mobility and knee stability necessary to safely engage in this type of training.

Granted, this may not be the popular approach and is in fact, often the last thing that scholarship obsessed athletes (and their parents) want to hear. I guess it just doesn’t pack the same marketing punch as potential division one success, or lucrative pro contracts. However, with up to half of the 2 million sports injuries suffered each year by middle and high school aged young athletes being attributed to overuse, it’s a message that desperately needs to be heard. It also happens to be where this industry is eventually headed and exactly the tact we need to take if we’re ever really going to get this young athletes injury epidemic under control.


Sports Skill Acquisition – 5 Tips for Young Athletes

by Dr. Toby Brooks

Sports Skill Acquisition


As a lover of all things sport since a child, my entire life has been shaped by decisions motivated primarily by how I might continue to play or be involved in competitive athletics.  It might come as little surprise, then, that my most recent (and with any luck final) professional relocation to work at Texas Tech University was at least partially motivated by a desire to provide additional athletic opportunities for my children should they choose to play sports, too.  Compared to my family’s previous home, west Texas provides significantly better opportunities, coaching, and facilities for most team sports, and Lubbock also affords access to other potential athletic exposures simply not possible where we lived before.  Simply put, should my kids decide to play or compete in just about anything short of surfing, Lubbock offers them a better chance to maximize their abilities.  And so far, they have both taken a liking to softball (daughter Brynnan, age 7) and baseball (son Taye, age 4).

That said, in my role as the IYCA’s Director of Education, as a scholar, and as an athletic trainer and a strength and conditioning specialist, I have staked my reputation behind the simple belief that early sport specialization is detrimental to the long-term success of most developing athletes.  Despite the growing trend of professional level coaching, year round travel and elite teams, and high dollar training centers catered specifically for youth, I believe that the science supports multilateral skill acquisition over early specialization any day.  How can I then espouse such beliefs on one hand yet subject my own children to the very same well intentioned yet subtly misguided behaviors on the others?  The short answer is I don’t.


Periodization for the Young Athlete

Young Athlete

by Toby Brooks, PhD, ATC, CSCS, PES, YFS3


Periodization for Young Athletes Training Chart

Originally developed by Romanian exercise scientist Tudor Bompa for a number of Eastern Bloc countries in the early sixties, periodization involves the breakdown of the annual conditioning plan into specific training phases intended to maximize training effectiveness and sport-specific strength and skill acquisition. In practice, a periodized conditioning program might involve a strength phase followed by a power phase, then the power phase followed by an endurance phase. The model has been widely researched and the consistent positive benefits of periodized training programs are largely credited for the rise to prominence on the global athletic stage many Eastern Bloc countries enjoyed following implementation of Bompa’s methods.



Top 5 Offseason Training Tips for Speed and Power Athletes



Offseason Training

If you’re a sprinter or sprints coach who starts getting ready for the indoor season during the fall (or for spring during the winter, etc.), here are my Top 5 Offseason Training Tips. Keep these in the front of your mind and you’ll set yourself up for another season of bringing shame upon the masses.


1. Define Your Expectations


Notice I didn’t say ‘Goals’. I don’t believe in goals. Goals are things that never actually happen. Like the dream you had last night. And tomorrow.


Expectations eliminate wiggle room, excuses and sad stories. Young athletes have lots of these. So I simply don’t allow them in my program. Think about it. Which athlete do you think will win the big race today?


The athlete with a goal: ‘My goal is to win today’.



Training Rotational Power in High School Athletes



By Ryan Ketchum


baseball swing, rotational power


Rotational Power

In almost every single sport that I can think of the more powerful athlete will win almost any battle within a competition. It is also no secret that our athletes are not moving in a linear direction for the majority of the time they are playing their sports. We need to be able to change direction and quickly accelerate in multiple directions under differing situations with multiple stimuli.


You might be asking "Why in the heck is this guy talking about change of direction and acceleration in a rotational power article?"


The point that I am trying to make is that often times we train our athletes for change of direction drills for speed and agility, but we focus on linear power development. You perform the Olympic lifts daily, you throw medicine balls forward, you jump, and the list goes on and on.



What Do I Mean By Training System?

I look forward to reading and learning from the fascinating and insightful blog posts by many of the World’s top youth coaches and am writing this article as a follow-up inspired by two of the very best. Brian Grasso and Lee Taft are people that rightfully deserve the utmost respect for the wisdom and practical learning opportunities they frequently present in their blogs, and two recent posts in particular have led me to put together this article to offer my thoughts on what is a critical but often overlooked aspect of youth development.



Front Loaded Training Programs?

by Dr. Toby J. Brooks, PhD, ATC, CSCS, YCS-2, PES


As I have shared here before, I just started a new job at Texas Tech University.  During my first week on the job, we had a record high temperature on Monday, record snowfall on Wednesday, and fired our long-tenured and fan favorite head football coach.  What a week!  At any rate, I am settling in and getting ready for the upcoming spring semester.