“I predict the sun will rise in the east. When it does I will then declare that I can control the movement of the sun.”The big secret is that there is no secret. I have been saying this for years. There is always a guy ready to take credit for someone’s combination of hard work and great genetics. I hate the money grubbers who always claim to have found the holy grail of training. All they have really found is a list of high net worth parents who are willing to pay for a dream. I have trained the world’s best athletes for almost thirty years and I know there is no secret.Work hardEat breakfastTake care of your bodyThose are the secrets. If you think you need to spend ten thousand dollars for training secrets than you are a fool. It’s like Bernie Madoff. He had a secret investment plan that made everyone money. How did that work out? The world is full of guys who overpromise and under-deliver. The sports training world is no exception. I love how guys can meet a great athlete and suddenly be the reason for his success. I have trained some of the world’s all time greats in every sport known to man and at no time did I ever mislead the media to think I made them.As I said above, the secret is hard consistent work. Nothing more nothing less. The secret is being able to do what others won’t. Not because your dad wants you too or your Mom wants you too but, because you want to. The secret is sacrifice. Sacrificing a night out with friends to lift, shoot baskets or shoot pucks. The secret is getting up hours before you have to so you can eat breakfast. The secret is never missing a workout. The secret is getting out early at practice to work on weaknesses.There are so many secrets and none cost money.
Archive for the Youth Training Category
I got a great question the other day from a student about what to study in college if he wants to be a strength and conditioning coach ? Is it better to be an ATC or simply get a phys ed degree? What is the best education for an aspiring young strength and conditioning coach.
My answer was to get a basic PE degree but, combine it with quality field experiences and lots of self education. Although I was technically in an athletic training program as an undergrad every paper and every project I did related to making me a better coach. I tried to make every class relevant. When I had to do my biomechanics paper I studied the clean. I watched hours of video of the Olympic lifts and read every article I could find. I remember having to convince my professor that lifting a weight off the floor was a complex skill. They wanted us to study things like a baseball swing or a football pass. I made it clear I had no interest. In nutrition I researched steroids. In Exercise Physiology I learned about energy systems for team sports. I didn’t waste any time studying things that didn’t interest me unless I had to to get a grade. Every time I had a choice to make I chose something related to strength and conditioning. If I was smarter, I would have studied self-improvement in psychology class.
The key to education is to make it work for you. You have choices to make. Make the right ones. I lifted weights with the track throwers in my spare time. I competed in powerlifting. Everything I did was moving along the right path. Just remember, what to major in is only step one. There will be many more choices along the way. Ask yourself every time if that choice moves you closer to your goal.
Also, pay attention in anatomy and physics. Everything you do as a strength and conditioning coach will eventually come back to anatomy and physics.
I wanted to just put up a quick post about Joel Jamieson’s BioForce Heartrate Variability monitor. I have been using it for about two months and have found the info to be really valuable. The process takes about 3 minutes in the morning and allows you to gauge what your training can or should look like that day.
For those that are unfamiliar Heart Rate Variability measures the time between heart beats. A high heart rate variability score indicates a healthy parasympathetic nervous system and a good state of recovery. I have to admit, I was confused at the start but the ability to simply plug-in and run the app surprised me.
I can put this simply. Even if you are confused or intimidated, try it. It is so simple and sensible that I am positive you will be saying “I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner”.
Joel is offering a free trial so, what have you got to lose?
Kids just need to play. I know this sounds simple but as adults, we want to organize play. We want structure, and coaching. All the things we crave as adults. Kids don’t need or want much of this. To paraphrase Cindi Lauper, kids just want to have fun.
This is why I love the TPI Cyclone Circuit idea. I call it the ADD Olympics. My son loves it. We often go to the gym in the winter and pass a tennis ball with a cut down hockey stick, then we play off-the-wall, then we kick a soccer ball, then we make an obstacle course with jumps, sled pushes etc. He thinks it’s fun.
I never coach. I simply let him “play” and as he plays, he develops multiple motor skills. As coaches we see that a kid needs mobility, strength etc and we start coaching and teaching. However, this is like watching a kid do his times tables and saying “he needs more Algebra”, “he can’t do Algebra” . Any intelligent teacher would say “he/she is not ready for that yet”. I think we sometimes miss that part in the fitness and strength and conditioning worlds.
Kids just need to move and develop a wide range of basic skills. They don’t need “coaching”. They need a wide range of experiences that touch a wide range of areas. Experience is king, competency comes much later. You can’t refine a skill you don’t have and attempting to do so just turns kids off to activity.
How much is too much? Your kids will let you know. When my son say “lets kick the soccer ball now” we do.
High school season is over and my daughter is signed up for town soccer. Are you looking at spring and summer teams? Read this:
For summer think 1-2 weeks of camp and 1-2 tournaments, that’s it. And that is only if you have a kid like mine who is begging to play every week. This is more of a compromise than I want to make but, I can live with it.
PS-Thanks to Jim Setters of the German National Federation for forwarding this.
I confess, I’m part of owner of StrengthCoach.com but that still won’t stop me from telling you to sign up. We have now added Strength and Conditioning Webinars to all the other content and, the fact is there is probably too much content to read and watch. ( that’s a really good problem)
For less than $15 a month you can get your questions answered by some of the industries best on our forums as well as read two articles, watch one video, and get continuing ed updates. Take a minute and check it out if you are not already a member. You won’t be sorry. In fact, you can do a trial for only $1 for 3 days. You have nothing to lose. If you try it and don’t like it ask me for the dollar next time you see me. I’ll be happy to give it back
I just read an article in which Kim McCullough ( a former MBSC intern by the way) talked about the difficulty of balancing the concept of early specialization with the concept of 10,000 hours needed for expert status. If we really need to accumulate 10,000 hours to become an expert in any discipline then it would appear we need to start very young? However on the flip side, all the expert experience seems to point away from early specialization in one sport? Who’s right?
Kim quoted a Scandinavian study that showed that elite performers cranked up the hours between ages 15 and 18? How and why is this significant? I think potentially in three ways:
1- Non specialized hours count early. All movement counts toward the 10,000 hours from ages 5-15. If mastery of a particular sport is the goal it is not about hours of that particular sport but hours of a broad range of sports that lay the foundation for elite performance later. Kids need to kick, hit, jump, and throw in as many venues as possible to develop the wide range of athletic skills that will eventually result in elite performance in one area.
Specialization early is probably more detrimental not beneficial. In other words, soccer hours count towards hockey as a young child learns to connect the brain to the feet and develops sprint abilities and energy systems. In the same way, gymnastics, martial arts and baseball are all part of the early composition of the 10,000 hours. What does not count is TV and NHL Play Station. I even think watching high quality games counts at this point as kids develop passion and game concepts.
2- Games count but they count less than you think. You might want to view a game based on minutes of play or better yet minutes of ball or puck contact. A typical youth hockey game might count for 15 minutes ( actual play time) or one minute ( actual puck contact). Don’t get caught up in the “more games” thing.
3- Deep practice or deliberate practice becomes more likely and more tolerable after a certain age. After age 12 kids seem to be able to accept that fact that practice might not always be fun. In the same books that tout 10,000 hours we also find the concept of deep practice or deliberate practice. Both concepts focus on repetition of skills slightly out of reach and begin to focus on quality reps done with feedback. I dont think that deep practice is normal for young kids although it is a basic tenent of elite weight class sports like gymnastics and figure skating. After 12 years of age things like strength training, conditioning, puck shooting and stickhandling begin to count for the young hockey player.
The key to developing an elite performer in any sport is to balance the concepts and to realize that a broad base is actually the foundation of a 10,000 hour pyramid that leads to elite performance.
As you read this today this blog will pass one million views. Currently we are just over 999,000. I want to thank everyone who has read or subscribed over the past few years. When Anthony Renna encouraged me to blog I never envisioned one million views or the impact these views would have on the field.