Archive for May, 2017

When To Quit Your Job

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18, 2017 by mboyle1959

This is great advice from lifestyle entrepreneur Ryan Lee that can really apply to trainers. So many people dream of quitting and going out on there own. If you are thinking about it, read this:

When To Quit Your Job

If you are looking for conversation every day on strength and conditioning and personal training, check out . I’m on every day answering questions.


Bred to Be a Superstar?

Posted in Uncategorized on May 17, 2017 by mboyle1959

This is a tough topic to cover and, I’m sure both Todd Marinovich and his father may not appreciate my using them as the “what not to do” example but the articles below serve as stark reminders of what could happen when disrupting the normal child development process.

The following is from a 1988 Sports Illustrated article on then high school phenom Todd Marinovich:

“Marinovich wasAmerica’s first test-tube athlete. He has never eaten a Big Mac or an Oreo or a Ding Dong. When he went to birthday parties as a kid, he would take his own cake and ice cream to avoid sugar and refined white flour. He would eat homemade catsup, prepared with honey. He did consume beef but not the kind injected with hormones. He ate only unprocessed dairy products. He teethed on frozen kidney. When Todd was one month old, Marv was already working on his son’s physical conditioning. He stretched his hamstrings. Pushups were next. Marv invented a game in which Todd would try to lift a medicine ball onto a kitchen counter. Marv also put him on a balance beam. Both activites grew easier when Todd learned to walk. There was a football in Todd’s crib from day one. “Not a real NFL ball,” says Marv. “That would be sick; it was a stuffed ball.”

This is the sad epilogue to the story:  Todd Marinovich went on to play quarterback for both USC and the Oakland Raiders so if you are not familiar with the story, there appears to be a happy ending. However, read on to another SI story over 40 forty years later.

” Former USC and Los Angeles Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich is facing new drug charges after he allegedly was seen trying to enter a stranger’s home naked.

Prosecutors filed misdemeanor charges Tuesday accusing the 47-year-old Irvine resident of trespassing, public nudity and possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. He could face up to three years in jail if convicted.

Authorities say a naked Marinovich tried to open the sliding glass door of an Irvine home in August. He allegedly left a bag containing meth, marijuana, drug gear, his wallet and driver’s license on a nearby hiking trail.

The former USC and Raiders quarterback has struggled with drug problems that drove him from the NFL and resulted in several arrests. “

Child development is a process and, one that can not and should not be rushed or tampered with. It’s OK to let kids be kids. Remember, the prize may not be worth the price.

Youth Performance Training

Posted in Uncategorized on May 13, 2017 by mboyle1959

I get a lot of great questions from the readers of  New Functional Training for Sports. I got a bunch about youth performance training and thought I’d combine a few into one blog post.

Q-  I would really like your professional opinion on “youth”performance training. Two years ago, my son (age 8) attended a football camp where professional trainers gave a presentation about year around position specific training and sports performance training. They said something that stuck with me, explaining that  “research shows that a kid learns how to run fast by age 9.” Essentially saying that you need to train to obtain the optimal performance of the athlete by age 9.

A- This is a bit of a complicated answer.  One, I have trouble with “professional trainers” addressing 8 year old?

Also, I’d like to see the “research”.  I know in some Long Term Athletic Development plans they discuss “windows of opportunity” and one is early. However kids can learn to be fast without professional coaching. Yes, they need to move and move fast but, that could be flying down the base path in kickball, not an organized speed session. Relay races will do just fine at 8. If you really believe in the Long Term Athletic Development idea, there is also a later window. However, I’m not sure I even buy that. We’ve seen tremendous speed increases in collegiate athletes although, I will tell you that you can’t make a slow kid fast at that stage. In the bigger picture, slow twitch kids may be slow twitch kids and might never excel at team sports.

Q- Many of todays trainers (as mentioned above) use some parts of this as their selling points:

 “Human muscles innervation is completed around 6-7 years of age (Grasso 2005). This implies that the brain has formed its neural connections to the muscular system and that optimization of these connections can begin. This makes it more possible to perform coordinated activities. By 10-12 years of age, reflexive motor patterns are conditioned and relatively permanent (Grasso 2005). These finding suggest that introducing proper motor skills between the age of muscle innervation and the age of permanent motor pattern formation may be advantageous (Drabik 1996)”

A- Drabik’s book is great but, again we need to interpret what “proper motor skills” are. I keep coming back to the idea that 5-10 year olds need to play. However, play that involves running fast, jumping, swinging etc. can be seen as good play. Video games might fall in the bad play category. The statement above should not be a justification for as I like to say “being in the childhood stealing business”.

Q-A couple weeks ago I was at a track meet. It was hard not to take notice of a kid that you can tell put in some serious work in the off-season. . This kid (age 8) was not running like this last year.

A- If we have a kid putting in “serious work” in the off season for track at 8 we have a “serious” problem. Kids should be playing with friends and riding their bikes, not putting in “serious work” on the track. I always like to say that for every one of these kids that succeed there are a 1000 kids who hate their parents.

Q- My son’s track coach told me that my son does not have fast/quick turnover when running (something that can be achieved with performance training).  The old school in me, just wants to naturally try to use downhill running methods to gradually speed up that turnover at this young age. My goal is not to have a young superstar that fizzles out or plateaus early but rather keep my young kids athletic and hopefully they peak older (in High School) when it really counts. I just want to make sure that I am not hindering my son’s future performance by not addressing certain things now through performance training that could wait until is body gets more developed. I wanted to ask the opinion of experts in the field that were impartial.

What is your opinion on performance training at young ages (kids aged 5-10)?

–       Risks vs Benefit?

–       Is there a certain age threshold that you recommend?

–       What is too young?

A- The risks ( primarily psychological) far outweigh the benefits. My major concern is the perversion of the parent – child relationship. Parents are coaches because they have to be in volunteer situations. When the parent shifts to coach role, resentment builds. Google Todd Marinovich and see how that one turned out.

Athletic development is a process. Every kid is different but, it’s not about physical readiness. as much as it’s about psychological readiness. Some kids are pleasers and want to be around a parent. My daughter ( full college scholarship at 15) was that way. She has always been at the facility and loved the environment. She wanted to be like the older girls she looked up to. My son was different.  Initially ( at 11) he expressed a desire to start training but, quickly got bored with it. It became a source of friction and our relationship was suffering. I was upset that he wasn’t living up to his commitments, wasn’t taking it seriously etc. I had to step back and say ” lets try again next year, our relationship is too important”. That has worked out really as he has done a better job this year at 12.

Personally, I think 11 is a good age to start introducing kids to the weight room. Up to 11 I think kids should be playing sports. Lots of sports. Ideally at least three as well as learning to swim, ride a bike and paddle a canoe. ( Summer Training for Nine Year Olds)

Q- Can my son achieve the same long-term performance results if he started performance training older (age 12yr/13yrs or older) rather than if he started now at age 8?

A- To be truthful, I can’t answer definitively. I believe yes. What I can tell you is that I strongly believe that a child who goes through a normal childhood has a much higher chance of being a well adjusted adult. The Chinese are doing well in certain sports ( mostly those that favor smaller athletes) like gymnastics and diving through early specialization and extensive practice but, I’m not sure it is good child development.

Q- Am I missing out on a future performance window (when he gets older) by not maximizing on his reflexive motor patters by age 10?

A- Again to be truthful, I’m not sure. However, I keep going back to the child development piece which as a parent should override any performance thoughts. Your mission as a parent should be to encourage your child to develop in a well rounded person, not to produce a track or football star. Sport is way to teach great lessons but, not in this case.

Complete Sports Conditioning Questions

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1, 2017 by mboyle1959
I’ve been getting a couple of pretty consistent questions from my Complete Sports Conditioning product so, I figured a blog post might reach more people.
Q- You said in the lecture that heart rate based conditioning may be superior to time based conditioning when performing intervals. On paper that sounds good, but the video demonstrated some of the flaws of a heart rate based system?
A- I guess my question back would be “does the demonstration illustrate the flaws of time based training or the flaws of heart rate based training” ?  What people are seeing in the video demo’s is that one group  ( the heart rate based group) gets more rest. The reality is that they get more rest because based on their current level of fitness they need more rest. I like to go back to the “training is like farming” analogy. You can’t force conditioning. If you do, people can get sick  in the short term ( like vomit sick) or injured ( over time).
Q-  I can agree that heart-rate based will suffice for some, but with soccer or hockey players wouldn’t time-based training be better? Some athletes don’t have the luxury of getting as much rest as they need/ want.
A-  If athletes are not in proper condition forcing them to do time based conditioning ( set rest to work ratio) versus heart rate based can cause more problems than it solves.  As I mentioned above, forcing time based conditioning could be really damaging, causing them to overwork and potentially get injured. 
Q- The demands of sport can at times create a negative work to rest ratio depending on the game flow, so I don’t see how what you demonstrated could be game specific. At times some of the participants in the demonstration  waited 2 minutes before they could do another rep of a 60 yd shuttles.
A- That’s true but, the person with the exceptionally long rest was an Olympic level javelin thrower, not a field / court sport athlete. 
Q- Do you guys mix it up? For example, do you start someone who is out of shape on HR based then switch it up to time-based as their off-season starts to wind down?
A- Yes, we will/ might go to time based in the later part part of pre-season for the reasons mentioned above. However that would be a mistake with beginners, younger athletes etc. At certain times in the late pre-competitive period we will simply used timed rest knowing the athlete will not have the luxury of “unlimited rest”. 

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