Archive for “youth” Tag

Keys to Unlocking the High School Athlete’s Potential

How to Unlock the High School Athlete’s Potential

(Note: we apologize for the background noise on this video, but please enjoy the content).

There are many responsibilities of the High School Strength & Conditioning Coach. However, when the end-goal is to have a positive impact on your athletes, teaching the “keys” to unlocking their potential is close to #1!

In this video blog, Jim Kielbaso gives you the keys to being a great athlete, and you may be surprised to know that they have nothing to do with talent!

Sure, talent matters. However, when it comes down to it, if a kid has all the talent in the world but lacks these “keys”, then they won’t live up to their potential. Watch the video above now!

Want to Help Your Athletes with the Mental Side of Their Game?




Drinking Water From a Fire Hose

By Alex Slezak M.Ed, YFS, YSAS, HSSCS

Remember the hot summer days, before we knew what BPAs were, when you would turn the garden hose water on in the backyard and let it slowly trickle out to get a drink? Every once in a while, my friends would crank the water on full blast while I was drinking it and get a good laugh! I hope the title Drinking Water From a Fire Hose gives you an even better visual and maybe makes you crack a smile just thinking of it. But what I have to say next is actually pretty serious. A good tennis coaching friend and I were talking about the world of today, and he used the analogy that there is so much information coming at us that it really is “like drinking water from a fire hose.”

Think about how many emails, newsletters, YouTube channels, Facebook Pages, and websites there are that are constantly bombarding us with information. There is so much information that it makes your head spin. What makes it even worse is that not all of the information is good. In fact, there is a lot of it that is just downright terrible. The people with true wisdom are the ones who can discern diamonds from the rhinestones in terms of the value of information. If you want to get ahead of the curve, stop trolling the Internet trying to learn everything there is and focus on learning from the best in small chucks you can process. In other words you have to turn down the source of the water so you can consume what comes out the end of the fire hose. The IYCA is a great place to start because they have done all the work for you. They went and asked the best in the business to share their diamonds of knowledge with you.

water hose

Finally, use this analogy of drinking water from a fire hose with your athletes. It will make perfect sense to them and maybe even make them think twice about picking up their phone every once in a while. Think about how much they get bombarded with in a day. You do not need to bombard them with more rhinestones. Instead start focused on providing them with diamonds. Kids know the difference, and they will dial right into you and achieve results much faster. Once they are able to discern between diamonds and rhinestones, they will never accept anything less of others or themselves.

Alex operates a tennis & fitness training business in Pittsburgh, PA. You can learn more by visiting his website at www.AlexSlezak.com.

Sport Specialization for Young Athletes: Part 1

by Dr. Toby Brooks

In the United States, the model of Sport Specialization for Young Athletes has grown from an obscure practice employed by relatively few parents and coaches seeking to give their children and/or athletes every possible advantage over the competition to a now widely accepted and seemingly necessary step toward a promising amateur and potentially professional career in competitive sport.

Sport Specialization for Young Athletes


Plyo Boxes, Agility Discs and Push Ups with Young Athletes

Young Athletes Programs Using Plyo Boxes, Agility Discs and Push Ups

By Dave Gleason

In this video IYCA Board of Experts Member Dave Gleason discusses how to utilize agility discs and plyo boxes to teach push ups to young athletes. In this short 4 minute clip coach Dave talks about everything from the set up to how to make is as much fun as humanly possible.

Youth Sports Revolution From Over Zealous Parents and Coaches


Athletic Revolution at Full Throttle Athletics: A Revolution From Over Zealous Parents and Coaches In Youth Sports


youth sports coaching

By Robert D. Blackford


There are certain times in your life that give you pause to stop and say: WOW…..ALL I CAN SAY IS WOW!


You aren’t sure if you should be mad, embarrassed or ashamed…this is one of those times.


Read this article on youth sports from ESPN:




In short, it’s the misdirected rant, spit, grit and drill sergeant-esq pep talk of a football coach…directed at (WAIT FOR IT, WAIT FOR IT) 8 year olds in Frisco, TX. Ugh.


As a 10 year resident of Frisco this article surprised me but wasn’t entirely shocking. Our family has participated in organized team youth sports, playing coaching and supporting from ages 4 on for our two children.


Are we passionate?




Do we offer cheers, advice and criticism at practice and games?




Is it as important to participate, learn, grow, and both lose and win? All equally. But there is a level where it’s beyond too far. The article above is evidence.


A world apart from the ridiculous behavior referenced in the ESPN article is the weekly program our age 10 and 6 children participate in: Athletic Revolution Frisco (AR). Agility, health, strength, fitness, coordination, and flexibility are the byproducts of what the kids think is nothing more than…well FUN.


We joined what appeared to be this professional yet simple, no frills gym at Full Throttle Athletics in Frisco/ Little Elm in 2010-2011. We learned about flexibility, nutrition, strength and endurance. Then we eagerly signed up the kids when the gym launched Athletic Revolution, their youth sports program.


After personally observing the interaction with the AR coaches, I can say it’s a revolution from the rant above. Positive reinforcement, actual hands-on coaching and mentoring are the fundamentals taught to AR Champions.


Results: faster, stronger and smarter to form the foundation of some lifelong habits. Their progressive nature and sound methodology coupled with everyday sporting fun makes for a great combination. Now the kids look at it like a trip to the park!


Want a youth sports revolution from the norm, checkout AR at Full Throttle. You won’t be disappointed.


– Robert D. Blackford



Your Thoughts On ‘Elite’ Youth Sports


This past week the following article about ‘Elite’ youth sports was featured on ESPN.com:





This is a topic I’ve had strong feelings about for 15 years, but I’m more interested in your thoughts.



The 3 Laws of Speed Development


Speed Development

Today I’m going to explain why having your athletes do ‘fly 40s’ during the first week of practice is a mistake (no matter which sport you coach or compete in) and what you should be doing instead.


To do a workout like this so early in the season shows a frightening lack of coaching knowledge and effort . But, fundamentally, it ignores the First Law of Speed Development.


The First Law of Speed Development: Speed is a Skill


The dividing line between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ (if you believe in such concepts) coaches starts with understanding that running fast requires developing technical skill in your athletes, regardless of sport.



Movement Patterns & Young Athletes

by Dr. Kwame M. Brown


First, we need to understand how the human body works during movements. In a nutshell, the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) controls the muscles so that they can move efficiently to use energy wisely and to avoid injury. The central nervous system, in turn receives information about what’s happening from the muscles. Because of this process, movement patterns become important.



Bullying, Exclusion, Social-Emotional Intelligence – Our Issue, Too

by Dr. Kwame M Brown


This will be the first of two parts, exploring the connections between social awareness and bullying / exclusion. The purpose of this first part is to call out the issue in the larger scope of the lives of children / teens. The second part will explore some ways those of us who work with children can attempt to change the landscape as it currently exists. Since these articles are appearing in a blog, they will obviously not be a full dissertation, exploring every detail. The purpose here is to start a valuable discussion.


A significant feature of the play environment we provide our children these days is exclusion (from coaches and teams) and bullying (from both peers and coaches). Children who don’t make a team are already made to feel “less than”. Many coaches and teachers tend to value the more talented children, even to the point of excusing certain behaviors. On the flip side, many coaches and teachers engage in bullying behaviors. Yes, these issues have been around for a while, but have greater consequences now with the electronic age. Social media and modern communication devices confer the ability for bullying and exclusion to follow a child around, literally. The obsession we have with elitism, and promoting the elite performers of sports almost exclusively, also may contribute to the behavioral trait of subjugation and ridicule of others.