Athletic Development Training For Youth Athletes….Why & How Often?

I would say roughly over the last 20 years or so, athletic development training for youth athletes has become a topic that people in the youth athlete world would consider “mainstreamed”. It is not some mysterious type of training that only a few “in-the-know” people have their athletes partake in. Whether it be speed, agility, strength, or conditioning, many athletes across the country are doing it whether it be on their own, through a private coach, or with their team.

Because I train athletes in this way for a living, I come across many parents and coaches who generally feel and know that it is a good thing for their athletes to train in this way; BUT, I must say that the answers they give me on why these athletes are doing this training and how often they should do it…well…let’s just say that there is no common ground among these answers, and IMO, there is a lot of misunderstanding. The most common misunderstanding’s I hear are…

  • my son/daughter needs to get faster for their upcoming tryout next week
  • my son/daughter hasn’t done anything the last 3 months and needs to get in great shape for their upcoming season that starts in a few weeks
  • our team is slow. We have no team speed, we have 2 games left in our season. What can we do to get faster for those games?
  • for some reason, the players that we get here are weak. I don’t know why that is. It must be the water. We need to get stronger and we need to do so in a hurry

I definitely can relate to  those above points. When you coach as long as I have, those situations can definitely exist..The only problem I have with those points is what the messenger is asking for as a solution. Most of the time, parents and coaches are looking for a quick fix answer. I could tell you with 100% certainty that in this industry, there is no such thing as a quick fix. There can definitely be quick improvements being made, but to get to a desired level that is lofty, it takes a long term approach to do that.

Let’s spend a bit of time talking about the WHY’S of youth athletic development training….

  • to teach athletes proper movement patterns and how the body works
  • to teach athletes a solid foundation of the skills of athleticism that they will have for the rest of their sports career and lives
  • to get athletes to understand concepts such as movement efficiency, body control, and movement coordination

These things don’t have a finish line. Initially, improvements can me made in these areas by the athlete, but mastery of them only comes with a plan to work on them consistently over a long period of time.

Which leads me to my next point I get asked….How often should my son/daughter do this type of training? I’ll be honest with you…that is a difficult question to give you a concrete answer to. But, what I can say for sure is it shouldn’t be either extreme…ie: one week here and there OR 52 weeks a year. IMSO the sweet spot for this is somewhere right in the middle of those extremes…ie: 2 to 4 six week programs of this type of training where the athlete trains 1 to 2 days a week for roughly 40 to 45 minutes per workout. With this approach, the athletes are truly investing enough time and energy to make great improvements in all components of athletic development, but also not doing too much which could potentially lead to burnout or just overall staleness.

Parents and coaches….when it comes to athletic development training…think LONG TERM development. Yes, improvements will be made in the short term, but the PLAN “A” is to set our athletes up for success now, and also for the further out future!

If you want more guidance on the proper plan for your athlete, visit my website page… http://getathletic.net/eliteathleticdevelopment/ to get your athlete registered for my Elite Athletic Development Program. Also, if you are looking for a product that explains my athletic development program in great detail, please visit the following page….http://getathletic.net/youthathletetraining/  and get access to a system that has been proven time and time again to be a terrific asset for the athletic development of all youth athletes who have taken part in it.

 

Ron

What is Baseline Fitness?

Baseline Fitness is a term I came up with years back that describes the concept of a person incorporating a weekly fitness plan that accomplishes 3 things…

  • is effective and allows someone to reach their fitness goals
  • fits into their weekly routine without interruption
  • allows for weekly, monthly, yearly consistency

When you get right down to it, I believe the biggest error people make when thinking about having a fitness lifestyle is not appreciating developing a baseline fitness plan. As I have stated in many blog posts before, when people get excited about fitness they have a tendency to do it too hard and too often. This may not necessarily lead to burnout, but life usually gets in the way that makes it too difficult to sustain this pace. After a few short weeks of this, it is all too common for fitness to disappear from the regimen until the desire to get back at it happens…then this cycle of going too hard, too often repeats itself and fitness comes to a halt again. I call this the “fitness roller coaster”, and unfortunately, this roller coaster is very crowded.

Baseline Fitness isn’t anything specific. It simply takes into consideration the obstacles that get in the way of people getting highly fit and tries to eliminate them. What specifically are these obstacles?

  • being a part of a poor fitness regimen
  • going too hard and too often with their fitness workouts initially

With Baseline Fitness, fitness workouts need to be fun and effective. They also need to be done only a few times a week which will highly increase the chances of people staying consistent in doing them over a long period of time. Let’s look at 2 days a week as an example…the first thing that comes to many people’s minds with this is how infrequent it is and how ridiculous one must have to be to believe it would lead to being highly fit. BUT, let’s look at it in a different way…2 days a week for a year is 104 workouts. If one performs 104 workouts a year, they easily would be in the top 2% of how often our population works out. Let’s add a 3rd day each week…it still is less than half the amount of days in a week that are available for us to workout, but it adds up to 156 workouts per year. Moral of the story…2 to 3 days a week of quality fitness done on a consistent basis can do wonders for people and change lives for the better!

Starting Monday July 11, 2016, I will be offering our 21 Day Baseline Fitness Program to people who want to learn and experience the right way to have quality fitness in your life over the long haul. Fitness shouldn’t be a hot and cold happening in your life because this all too common approach leads one to failure and frustration. My 21 Day Baseline Fitness Program will finally allow you to experience what having an effective fitness plan that could last a lifetime feels like. I am offering it to you at the ridiculously low price of only $37. The deadline to register for this program is Wednesday, July 6.

Simply put, if you are frustrated with your fitness life up to this point, and have tried many different things, but can’t seem to find the answer….this program IS your answer!! Contact me at (408)915-1002 and/or email me at ron@getathletic.net to sign up for what will prove to be the best fitness experience of your life…BY FAR!!

 

Ron

www.getathletic.net

Play Fast but Don’t Rush

If you were to ask all of the thousands of football players I have coached over the years about what “coaching point” I use with them most when I am coaching them through the skill development of their position, it would definitely be…”play fast but don’t rush”. This phrase was one that I never really planned on using with my athletes when I first started coaching, but in the process of working with them, it was one that made a great deal of sense when I would see them go through drills. Many times they would execute a drill a bit too slow or they would try and rush through a skill much too quickly where their technique would break down. Finding that beautiful balance of executing a skill at game like speed, but not crossing the line and rushing through it, is a concept that can help any football player…especially the middle to high school player who is working on developing his game to higher levels.

When working with quarterbacks, footwork in pass drop mechanics …as well as the cycle of the throwing motion (stride, arm circle, follow through) are the common areas where the timing of playing fast without rushing needs to be drilled, critiqued, and perfected. With wide receivers, getting them to run crisp routes to their completion without cutting them short (ie: rushing through it), and then getting them to concentrate on the catch without trying to rush the process of catching and running is always a challenge for most.

Each position has its fundamental skills and the challenges that come with them to execute fast without rushing. The time that coaches and players invest in executing skills game-like fast without rushing is time spent wisely!

In my Elite Football Development Program that is designed for middle to high school aged players looking to take their game to the next level, the concept of playing fast without rushing is a concept I spend a great deal of time on with my athletes so they can truly master their position fundamentals and become more successful on game days. To learn more about this program, please visit my Elite Football Development page…

What Is “Sports Speed”?

As I have mentioned on many occasions, the biggest question that I get from parents is if I can get their son or daughter faster. The answer is a definite “YES”, but I always want to make sure these parents understand that what their probable definition of getting faster is could be quite a bit different than what mine is. The huge majority of people think of getting faster as running a faster 40 yard dash or any short distance that measures one straight ahead speed. While this is true, it is far from complete.

The only sport that I know where straight ahead linear speed is of utmost importance is track and field, but the majority of my clients come to me to improve their speed in sports such as baseball, softball,  football, basketball, and soccer. These sports do have a linear speed component to them, but we all know that these sports are much more defined as being multi-directional in nature. Accelerating in short distances, stopping and re-accelerating, changing directions, cutting, shuffling, backpedaling are the movements that take place in all of these sports much more often than any longer linear speed activity. These are the activities that I define as “sports speed”. All sport athletes who are motivated to “get faster” need to think in terms of working on this type of speed much more often than just doing sprints in a straight line.

What are the factors involved in developing this type of sports speed?

– body movement efficiency and coordination (everything from the stance of an athlete to the coordination of movement skills)

– deceleration and change of direction mechanics (being able to stop the body after moving at high speeds and applying force in a different direction)

– movement strength and explosiveness (proper technique of movement skills done at high velocities powerfully)

– high intensity conditioning (being able to do many repetitions of these movements in game like settings without performance declining)

These are the factors that need to be focused upon in any athletes speed training regimen. Straight ahead speed is still important as that will always be a part of the “getting faster” equation, but it is only one component of many speed skills that are required to be an athlete that is working to be “sports speed” fast!

The Fitness Nutrition 6

I have been getting a lot of questions regarding nutrition lately
and that is a good thing because it is such an important part
of fitness and the hardest one to get right. The thing that frustrates
me about nutrition is what I refer to as information overload. There
is simply too much information out there and it becomes confusing
to know which is the right information. Should I eat carbs and if so,
when and how much? Is the Paleo diet the best thing to follow? How
much protein is the right amount for me? Should I take supplements?
How many hours should I eat before a workout? What about how many
hours after? All of these questions are good valid questions, but
depending on who you ask, they have many different answers and it
becomes confusing and frustrating to try and figure out.

I think nutrition is very similar to a great fitness workout. Keep it simple
and master the basics. My greatest achievements in life have come
about when my mindset took this approach and I truly think that nutrition
should be no different.

With that being said, lets take a quick look at out 6 Basic Rules of Nutrition
again and ponder a few questions on each one:

1. CONSUME THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF WATER: Bodyweight multiplied by
.5 = daily fluid ounces intake of water.
Example: 160 pound person multiplied by .5 = 80 fluid ounces daily.
How are you personally doing with this water intake rule? Are you at least
making a conscious effort to drink more water daily?

2. CONSUME MORE VEGETABLES: Are you taking the time to buy more
veggies at the store when you shop? Do you plan to eat them daily?

3. CONSUME THE RIGHT TYPE OF CARBOHYDRATE: Complex carbs (whole fruits,
beans, whole grain bread, brown rice, legumes) is what we want. We do not
want the simple sugar carbs (ie: candy).

4. CONSUME ONLY NATURAL FOODS: Let’s face it, this one is extremely tough
to follow. Actually in this day and age, it is almost impossible to follow. Here is a list
of natural foods to choose from:

Protein
–  Nuts (raw, dry roasted, or in natural butter form)
–  Cottage cheese
–  Whole Eggs
–  Chicken breast
–  Lean cuts of meat
–  Fish (Salmon, Tuna, Cod)

Carbohydrates
–  Vegetables
–  Mixed beans
–  Whole fruits

Fats
–  Extra virgin olive oil
–  Virgin coconut oil
–  Fish oil
–  Raw mixed nuts
–  Butter

And here is another list of foods we should try and avoid as much as possible:

Proteins
–  Most lunch meat (processed)
–  Non-natural nuts (contain cottonseed oils etc.)
–  Fast food

Carbohydrates
–  Regular bread
– “added” sugars
–  Most cereals
–  Soda (even diet)
–  Fake juices and drinks (Crystal Lite, energy drinks etc.)
–  Fruit juice
–  Bagels
–  Most energy and fruit bars
–  Candy

Fats
–  Margarine
–  Vegetable oil (soybean oil)
–  Corn oil
–  Heated/fried oil

5. EAT MORE OFTEN STARTING WITH BREAKFAST: I think the idea of
eating more often appeals to most or all of us, but the obvious key here is
eating good sources of food and not bad calories. Are you thinking about
your meals and what is going in our mouth from meal to meal?

6. FOLLOW THE 90/10 RULE: Let’s say we eat 5 meals a day. That is 35
meals a week. 32 (90%) of those meals should be clean eating and 3 (10%)
of them allow for a little cheating. The general public is somewhere less than
50/50 on this rule. Where are you currently at and what is your determination
level to get close to the 90/10 ratio?

These are the 6 basics I believe in strongly and make the overly complex area
of nutrition fairly simple and easy to understand. I want you all to go over each
rule and analyze where you are at with each. What is your level of motivation
to eat clean? Do you have weight loss goals that will make nutrition even more
important for you to truly lose weight? The best anyone can do with great workouts
and average to poor nutrition is to stabilize their weight. They may not gain any,
but they will have a hard time losing any. Both your workouts and nutrition have
to be dialed in to shed the pounds.

Sport Game Competition vs. Athletic Preparation for the Youth Athlete

This past summer alone, I have had numerous conversations on where and how “training” fits in to the youth athlete schedule. This is an almost impossible question to answer simply because each athlete has a different schedule and different goals. However, one statement I will make with 100% confidence and certainty is that if an athlete wants to improve and maximize his/her sports career, they NEED to train on a regular basis.
IMO there is almost a “tug of war” going on with how a youth athlete and his/her family go about their unique sports competition experience. In general, the “tug of war” winner seems to easily be the participation of sports competitions. As an example, I look at a motivated high school baseball player and the number of games that he plays in when you add up his high school season, his club team season, and other elite team situations he is a part of on a year around basis and the number of games is overwhelming. Keeping with my tug of war analogy, on the other side of the rope is the physical training preparation (strength, power, speed, agility, mobility, etc…). In most cases by these athletes, physical training is just skimmed over or left out completely. I use the baseball player analogy here, but it is the same for many athletes in a variety of sports. Game competition dominates over athletic preparation.
Let me preface this by saying I was a high school team sport coach much longer than I have been a trainer. Having athletes in competitive situations is very important and necessary and always will be. My gripe that I have even when I was in the midst of my coaching career and definitely now as a trainer is the ratio of playing competitively to performing physical preparation training is out of whack. I have said it many times before and will say it again, the most common thing I see with the motivated youth athlete population are athletes that are well versed in the fundamentals of their sport but aren’t physically athletic enough to play beyond high school. Sadly, I think this will continue to be the story for most as long as the emphasis of playing games all year around at the expense of athletic training continues.
What are collegiate football players doing during their off season? How about women’s collegiate volleyball players? How about professional baseball players from their November thru February off season months? I guarantee you the majority of their time is spent physically training for their upcoming season. Game competitions are put on the back burner for awhile and training becomes the major priority. I strongly believe that youth athletes need to have this same approach!

Fitness Success: What Are the True Measures?

We usually think of fitness success as something we can quantify…how much weight did I lose?, how much more weight can I lift?, how many more repetitions can I perform in a specific exercise?. Those are definitely good, accurate ways to measure improved fitness levels, but I think there is another set of measures that one can use to measure truer, more sustainable fitness success…….

1. How many days did I workout this month that were part of my original plan?

If you are a 3 day a week workout person, did you get all 12 workouts done in a particular month? Being consistent over a period of time is a great indicator of putting yourself into position to be successful with fitness.

2. How consistent was I with my workouts over the last year?

Again, consistency is key to true long term fitness success. The key is to not bite off more than you could chew. 2 to 3 workouts a week over many weeks is a great  formula to use.

3. Is it obvious to me that my workout execution is improving by the workout?

Whether it be squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, planking, crawling, running, etc…, there needs to be an obvious feeling that mastery of these movement patterns is taking place and improvements are being made each workout.

4. Are the areas of nutrition and recovery being taken serious?

I have said many times before that nutrition is the hardest area of fitness to conquer. One may never be able to dial that area in perfectly, but has there been attempts to improve it and have they been implemented consistently? With recovery, has it been “active recovery”….stretching, foam rolling, walking, jogging? How about your sleep quality? Are you getting enough of it where you feel refreshed when you awake?

I am a strong believer that the measures of true fitness success are those longer term variables that you want to attempt to be consistent at. Life gets in the way often that makes the pursuit of fitness success difficult, but with a solid, well thought out fitness  plan, it is definitely possible and something we all should strive for

Playing Quarterback and Adversity

Such a big part of life is how to deal with adversity once it comes about. Throughout one’s life span, a person will likely have quite a few adversarial situations that he/she will have to confront. Playing quarterback is definitely a microcosm of life. When one chooses to become a quarterback, adversity is right around the corner and will happen early and often.

What do these adversity situations look like for the QB? It usually takes the form of a bad decision being made on a throw or a temper flaring up after a sack. It could be a fumbled snap or an audible call not made when it should have. One thing is for sure, they will happen!

What is the best way for a QB to deal with adversity? Here are 3 things that are critical to deal with these hard to deal with situations..

  1. Take Responsibility– It is important to take on an adversarial situation head on and deal with it. Take whatever consequences that come about like a man and learn from your mistakes and strive to be better from the entire experience.
  2. Don’t Point Fingers At Others– It is too easy to blame others for bad circumstances, even if it very well might be their fault. That isn’t what great leaders do and a successful QB shouldn’t either. Admit your share of the responsibility and encourage everyone that we all will overcome and success is near.
  3. Stay Positive– Don’t let a temporarily tough situation destroy your confidence that you have worked so hard to achieve. Keep a positive mind set and go back to your hard working approach with your skills and fundamentals to get back on track and be competitive.

Playing quarterback has physical challenges, but the mental challenges are the toughest. When it comes to adversity, the successful QB needs to take a mature approach and deal with it correctly and appropriately.

Athletic Development Training – Are your ABSOLUTES Improving?

Summer is a common time of the year for many athletes to make athletic development training a priority. As I drive by many school facilities, I see kids in a variety of sports using agility ladders, medicine balls, running sleds, etc.. to go about their journey of becoming more athletic. Make no mistake about it, there are many physical components to improve when it comes to becoming a better athlete, and most of these areas do indeed get covered during these workouts that I witness, but the one area that seems to get neglected quite often is a well thought out plan to improve an athlete’s “ABSOLUTES”.

What are these “absolutes” that I am referring to? I am talking about an athlete’s maximal output in the areas of speed, acceleration, quickness, power, and explosiveness. These are extremely difficult to improve and take well thought out planning to make progress a reality. In general, most existing programs emphasize endurance so much so, that these absolutes never have a chance to get programmed into the regimen. The byproduct of such an approach is athletes who become fairly well conditioned, but athleticism improvement is non-existent.

The ideal athletic development training program needs to have a plan for improving absolutes. They should be the emphasis of the overall training program and not just thrown in to a small degree. When an athlete is exposed to this type of training, improvements in game performance are common and occur on a regular basis.

My 6 Priorities of Successful Fitness

Fitness is hard. To get and stay in shape is challenging. What makes it even tougher and nearly impossible on a regular basis is the perception that many people have on what fitness should look like. Grueling workout sessions consisting of long bouts of cardio and weight training exercises done on a daily basis are thought of as the answer. Although there are many ways to go about performing a quality workout regimen, the above example is not one of them.

Is their a specific way to design a workout plan that will allow you to reach all your fitness goals? No…but, there are 6 key priorities that one should ponder when it comes to finding the right solution for you!

Priority #1: FEED YOUR MOTIVATION – Do you like to hike, lift weights, run, play recreational sports, take part in fitness classes? Whatever you enjoy doing is what should take priority in your fitness plan.

Priority #2: FEEL REFRESHED AT THE FINISH LINE – Don’t fall into the false thought that states fitness will not bring on any meaningful benefits unless you work yourself into the ground each and every session. Quite the contrary! Your fitness sessions when completed should leave you feeling refreshed and good about yourself and excited about continuing them on a long term basis.

Priority #3: HAVE A LOGICAL LONG TERM WEEKLY BASELINE – Simply put, what does your fitness week look like? If you are thinking of going hard 6 to 7 days a week, there is a great chance you will burn out in a short period of time. Your motivation for fitness will disappear. You need to adjust your thought process and be more logical. How about 3 to 4 days of moderate to high intensity exercise along with other days of low intensity work and a complete rest day or 2 as well. This approach can have you going strong over the long haul.

Priority #4: MORE STRENGTH, LESS CARDIO – There is a thought amongst many fitness professionals that says “strength is the foundation of fitness”. I agree. Getting the entire body strong and functional sets the tone for any fitness endeavor one may have. Unfortunately, many fitness programs out there emphasize great amounts of cardiovascular training that literally try to fatigue you into terrific shape. Talking about why this is a poor strategy needs it’s own blog post, but what I will tell you is a fitness program that contains a healthy amount of strength exercise done in high intensity fashion is a formula for success!

Priority #5: USE ALL INTENSITIES (HIGH, LOW, and NONE) – Always going hard in your workouts is a road to disaster. It will lead to injury, staleness, and lack of motivation. Mixing days of high and low intensity workout sessions as well as complete days off is conducive to long term fitness and health!

Priority #6: MASTER MOBILITY AND MOVEMENT PATTERNS – This is true for all modes of fitness, especially when it comes to strength training. Strive to get your body to move well and go through full ranges of motion. Many exercise programs overlook this as they are designed to work you into the ground and burn off unwanted weight without any thought of quality movement. Ingraining solid movement patterns into your total workouts process sets the tone for quality fitness for a lifetime!

Fitness will never be easy. It shouldn’t be, but if these 6 priorities are taken into strong consideration when designing a workout program, fitness becomes effective and can be so for long periods of time without having to feel like you have to be superhuman to follow through with it.

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