Complete Sports Conditioning- Last Day for Discount

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2017 by mboyle1959

OK, today is the last day.

Earlier this week, my new course, Complete Sports Conditioning came out!
I know you’ve been bombarded by emails so, sorry for one more post.
However, there is little quality information available on the internet about real-world conditioning for athletes but, there are a lot of gimmicks, misinformation and training methods being called ‘conditioning’ . I found it surprising how much conflicting information was out there and also how there wasn’t a go-to resource on conditioning.
So, I was “coerced” into making a product that addressed a lot of the shortcomings.
I have repeatedly experimented with my own athletes (in every sport), and took that information and tried to create and describe the most effective system that would get the best results.
You can check out the details here:

The Complete Sports Conditioning program will show you…

  • How you actually assess conditioning
  • What I think the best conditioning tests actually are
  • How to improve conditioning & fitness levels…without losing speed
  • What it really means to have great conditioning
  • How to make your athletes better through conditioning while your competition simply makes them tired
  • What sort of training methods elicit the conditioning results you are looking for
  • How to optimize your conditioning programming for each specific sport
  • Why much of what has been taught recently about conditioning is complicated and wrong…and how you can simplify things and get even better results.
If you work with athletes and want to improve their conditioning, Check this out (and save $100 during the special release). This special offer ends tonight, Friday April 7th: 

Complete Sports Conditioning

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2017 by mboyle1959
So, here’s what happened…
Pat Beith from Athletes Acceleration originally asked me who the go-to coach was when it came to sports conditioning…it was a good question and I didn’t have a great answer. 
Pat came back and said he had approached other top coaches and asked them the same question. They answered with my name (which surprised me a little bit). Then he asked me if I would create a total conditioning program for athletes, since there isn’t a great resource out there and he thought it was needed in our industry.
I thought about it and actually became excited about putting a program together. 
I have spoken many times on conditioning and have tried lots of  ‘conditioning’ options with our athletes in a variety of sports. Also, I realized just how important this information is to get out there to other coaches.
So that’s how this program came about. It became a much bigger project than I expected. I spent days just putting the lecture slides together. 
I am thrilled how Complete Sports Conditioning came out and I am sure you will be happy too.
My goal was to clear up the confusion and provide coaches with the perfect conditioning program that will fit their needs. I believe I accomplished this goal.
Please check out my Complete Sports Conditioning program (and save $100 with this special release price offer). All the details are here:

Nice Article about Amanda Kimball and UConn Women’s Basketball

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2017 by mboyle1959

I loved this article but, not it’s title? I hope coaches read it and then realize that the “running” is basketball practice more than anything else.



A Great Piece on Playing Up from John O’Sullivan ( Changing the Game Project)

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2, 2017 by mboyle1959

This might be the best piece I have ever read on allowing/ not allowing your child to play up.


Should My Child Play Up? The Do’s and Don’ts of Moving Kids to Older Age Groups

by John O’Sullivan

Manchester United’s Carrington Training Center is not only one of the finest youth soccer academies in the world. On every field, the future of the club is evident, as aspiring young players dodge, weave, pass and move the United way. At the same time, everywhere you turn you stare at history. Images of Ryan Giggs, George Best, Bobby Charlton, and David Beckham adorn the walls, and words of wisdom from United legends of the past are plastered on most flat surfaces. One such quote has always stood out to me and I snapped a picture of it on my last visit:

“If they’re good enough, they’re old enough. If you don’t put them in, you can’t know what you’ve got” proclaimed Sir Matt Busby many years ago. “The Busby Babes” as his 1955-56 team was affectionately known, won the English title that season with an 11-point cushion, and an average age of 22. He is credited with creating a tradition at Manchester United of developing and promoting youth into the first team, one famously continued by Sir Alex Ferguson and his famous Class of 1992 that included long time first team stalwarts Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, and brothers Phil and Gary Neville. Since 1937, Manchester United has had a youth academy product in every single matchday squad.

It takes a special kind of 16-19 year old to have the skill, game understanding, and mental strength to play in front of 80,000 fans in the English Premier league. Christian Pulisic, the rising 18-year-old star of the US Men’s National team and Borussia Dortmund, is another example of a youth player who has jumped straight to the top. But what about youth players, especially very young ones? Should the most talented ones play up an age or two? Should girls train and play with boys? When does this additional challenge help a player’s development, and when does it hinder? These are all questions that are well worth exploring so that parents, coaches and clubs can make the right decisions for the young athletes in their care. But let’s start with this:

Any decision regarding a child playing up an age should be based on what is best for the child.

You don’t coach a sport, you coach a person, and thus every decision is an individual one. It always bothers me when I see organizations with blanket policies disallowing playing up. It equally bothers me when organizations have no policies at all and athletes are scattered across multiple ages for no rhyme or reason. Every youth sports organization should have well-thought out policies in place that allow for athletes to compete not simply against players their chronological age, but their developmental age.This merits some further explanation.

Chronological age is self-explanatory. Most sports separate athletes based on their birth year, or some other arbitrary calendar cutoff such as school year. As we know from the “relative age effect,” this gives a large advantage to those children born closest to that cutoff, especially at very young ages where a January birthday 8-year-old is 11% older than a December-born child. The earlier we make talent selections, the more important this calendar difference becomes. In fact, in a recent conversation with a youth coach from Barcelona’s famed La Masia Academy, I was told that 92% of their Academy kids are born between January and June, with only 8% coming from the latter half of the year!

Developmental age is the age at which children function emotionally, physically, cognitively and socially. We also know that children grow at different ages. Have you ever coached a 12-year-old boys game in any sport? Did you notice that some look like 10-year-olds and others look like young men? A 12-year-old boy can have a 5 year developmental age swing, as the picture on the left from my friend Nick Levett shows. Those are two 12-year-old boys born a few weeks apart. One certainly has some physical advantages over the other, wouldn’t you say?

Before we discuss playing up specifically, there is one more piece of background needed: Long Term Athletic Development. LTAD models have been developed in most every sporting nation (in the US we call them our ADM, the Athlete Development Model) and outline the various ages and stages of development Our ADM gives us a research-based approach to the physical, social and psychological development of athletes at various stages of their lives. The Canadian LTAD model is best known and is the basis for many others (click here to see it). You can see the US lacrosse ADM here.

Notice how there are age ranges for each stage? That allows for the differences in developmental age for each child. US Lacrosse’s Foundations stage ends around age 12, while the Emerging Competition begins at 11. Basically, that overlap allows for children who start puberty earlier than others (for example, girls usually hit their growth spurt sooner). The importance of these models is they provide a great guide for children playing up vs. those who are held back.

In education, Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development is the typical model to use regarding where a child’s developmental sweet spot is. In layman’s terms, some children are reading at a 5th grade level in 1st grade and others may be reading right on grade level. The educator is to place the children in these zones where they find the most chance at development – the Zone of Proximal Development. They are challenged, but not overwhelmed. They are also not bored to death. This is really what most organizations dance around but do not understand. Each child should be placed in his own ZPD.

We are often asked about children playing up in age. We have met many parents suffering from FOMO – the fear of missing out – who were worried that if their child did not play up an age, they would be overlooked for high school sports, and have no chance to play in college. They’ve seen other kids who did play up and think that their child should as well. They’ve rarely considered exactly what would make it beneficial for their child, or why it might hinder his or her development. They basically said, “others are doing it, so my kid should too.”

What are some reasons that a child should play up in age? Here are a few factors a coach, a parent, and a sports club should look for in considering whether it is beneficial for a child, and some things to look out for to see if he should remain playing up:

  • A child is developmentally (physically) ahead of his or her peers, and tends to rely on physicality rather than technique or thought to have success. This player should be challenged by teammates and opponents who are physical equals. Caution: This child may be socially and cognitively behind, and thus exposed to situations that he/she should not be maturity wise. Some kids struggle with tactical development and understanding the movement and interaction of players. Some are not physically ready to perform certain tasks even though they are big.
  • A child is technically and tactically so far ahead of his or her peer group that there is no challenge. This child should be given the opportunity to play against players with the same technical ability and guile so that he/she is challenged to perform at a higher speed of thought and action. Caution: If the physical differences are such that a technically gifted child stops playing the game the right way (i.e. is afraid to dribble or shoot, stops playing confidently) the situation should be re-evaluated. Many players struggle with the physical disadvantage and can develop bad habits.
  • When a child starts playing up, they should be eased into the situation. The speed of play at an older age can significantly ramp up the training and playing load on an athlete. Even if they practice and play the same amount of minutes, overuse injuries can happen if you are not careful.

Here are a few reasons that some parents have given me over the years that ARE NOT sufficient to allow playing up to happen, especially as children advance to more competitive environments:

  • The kids on that team are part of our carpool (I get it, but hopefully you can form a new carpool. If the carpool is that important, ask permission to go to a practice once in awhile, but don’t play up full time)
  • Her best friend is on the team (I am sure they will get plenty of time to play together)
  • That team is coached by his favorite coach (it is good to be exposed to many coaches)
  • He plays up in other sports (Should an advanced reader should be taking advanced math?)
  • Her older siblings were allowed to play up (every child is evaluated as an individual, and perhaps her siblings were older, bigger, stronger, or in an age group where kids were not as good).
  • He is in the same grade as those kids on the older team (great, they will get to play together in high school, and perhaps you can guest play once in awhile but in the meantime, we can give the spot to a kid who is the correct age and develop him too)
  • Our team has been together for 3 years (often heard when kids transition from recreational to travel programs. Please be patient, and it’s likely that you can make some new friends, and be faced with new challenges instead of being comfortable).
  • Parents are generous financial donors (hit like if you feel like you just bit into a lemon!)

I am sure there are many more excuses to play up, but you can get the gist. When it comes to athletic development, the only sufficient reasons for allowing children to play up an age full-time are based on technical, tactical and developmental criterion, and what puts a child in his or her ZPD, not on the whims or dreams of the child’s parents. Every case should be decided on an individual basis, and yes, there are exceptions to every rule (ie. the team at the younger age disbanded). In the end, though, youth sports organizations must be consistent and make these decisions for the benefit of the athlete.

One final caveat is this. If you have a talented athlete playing up a year, or a female who competes with boys, don’t be afraid to slide them down once in awhile and let them remember what it is like to compete against their chronological peers. We tend to only evaluate ourselves against our current peers (i.e struggling Harvard math majors don’t look at themselves as 1%’s, they see themselves as the dumbest kid in the class), so sometimes talented youngsters can lose confidence when always playing against older kids. An age-appropriate game they can dominate from time to time, or allowing talented girls to play against other girls their age, is not a bad thing at all. Again, it must be monitored on an individual basis with parents and coaches working together!

I will leave you with this story. At one of my former clubs, we had a talented, late maturing U15 boy. Not only did he not play up, but we held him back on the club B team that year so he could continue to play the game the right way. He could be a leader, he could take free-kicks, and he could play his preferred position. We let him guest play from time to time, but he was a full-time B team player. He was not happy, nor were his parents initially, but we worked hard to help everyone understand how this benefited the athlete.

One year later he grew and made the top team. Two years he started on a team that won the US Developmental Academy National Championship. Three years on he was the starting center midfielder at an ACC soccer powerhouse. Everyone has their own path. Do not panic when your child’s journey is not the same as another’s.

I realize that “playing up” is a touchy issue for many parents and youth sports organizations, and I hope that we have touched on a few of the issues here. I am sure we have not hit them all, so please, if you have any ideas to share please do so below. Let’s get a great conversation going so when the next talented young player comes along, we can make the decision that best serves his or her needs.



Another Podcast Link

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30, 2017 by mboyle1959

I like Podcasts. The StrengthCoach Podcast has made Anthony Renna a famous voice.

They are also a great way to get info out, and to not so subtly push my new book.

Here’s a link to one I did a few weeks ago with Pete McCall on his All About Fitness Podcast

If You Have Advances in Functional Training, Do You Need Mike Boyle’s New Functional Training for Sports?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2017 by mboyle1959

Here’s a great review from Laree Draper, the publisher of Advances in Functional Training

comparing and contrasting it with New Functional Training for Sports.


More on the Foam Rolling Controversy

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18, 2017 by mboyle1959

I got involved in a Twitter thread on foam rolling this week and, just couldn’t get my thoughts into 140 characters. So, I wrote this:


Lets start with this. At MBSC we foam roll. Every day. Not for hours, for minutes, but we do it every day.

There might be a few exceptions.

I’m not big on young kids ( U12) rolling. I think their lack of “mileage” means that rolling can be a waste of time. No build-up of micro-trauma, no real need for foam rolling.

If people aren’t sore, they probably don’t need to roll. But, come on, who’s not sore?

to finish reading, click here. More on The Foam Rolling Controversy 

My Latest Read

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2017 by mboyle1959

I absolutely love Most Likely to Succeed . This is the most engaged I’ve been in a book in quite a while.

Here’s a great jacket quote from Daniel Pink that sums up the book…

” Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith want us to stop thinking about success for our children in terms of test scores and start concentrating on real learning, creative problem solving and the joy of discovery… Most Likely to Succeed is a book for everyone interested in seeing our children thrive in the 21st century”.


Dumbbell Snatch Standards?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 6, 2017 by mboyle1959

Got a great question from a reader/ viewer in Canada.

Q- Really enjoying the FSC video series as well as the latest edition of Functional Training for Sports‎. Just one quick question regarding strength standards. Your hang clean standard for female athletes is 90% of BW for 5 reps. ( basically 135 x5 for a 150 lb player or 60K x5 for a 70K female)

For a variety of reasons we are using DB snatches. Adjusting for bilateral deficit , would it be unreasonable to set the DB Snatch standard at 60% of BW x 5/5 or is that a bit high for incoming varsity hockey players?

A- 60% is going to be high? Our stronger girls who can clean 135 lbs. x5 use  50-60 lbs in the dumbbell snatch. That’s probably about 30-33% of bodyweight?

If clean is 90% of bodyweight x5 , bar snatch would be about 45-50% of bodyweight for 5 reps. That would make db snatch about 25-30%

The Real Truth About Leg Extensions?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2017 by mboyle1959

To be honest, I hate getting dragged into Facebook threads. I have no idea why I don’t resist the urge to post. I do it to try to help and always seem to end up arguing with some guy ( why is it always a guy) who is just dying to be right.

Let start with some facts. I am not a research guy. I am not an “evidence based” guy. What I am is a coach with 35 years in the field and some National and World Championship rings to my credit. I consider myself evidence-led vs evidence-based. I used to think that experience counts for something.

However, I find myself having to defend myself against every self professed, expert who has figured out how to generate blog hits, views and likes.

My self-inflicted dilemma this week revolves around my reaction to the old “there are no bad exercises” statement.

I of course replied ” there absolutely are bad exercises” and, in typical name internet fashion my Facebook “friends” automatically say “ok, name a few”.

In true internet argument tradition no one refutes the obvious ones ( behind the neck press, dips, behind the neck pulldowns) but, instead of saying “gee Mike you might be right there really are a few bad exercises” they trot out a few internet experts to defend two others that made my list, leg extensions and leg presses.

This post is just going to use the supposed “evidence” presented to defend the leg extension ( this is primarily because I don’t have 30 more minutes to cover leg press).

The best part is that I get called out.

I quote ” any evidence for any of your claims Mike, these guys quote a lot of research”.

In fact, what these guys do is quote a lot of research, ignore it and then offer their own opinion as “backed by the research”.

This is from Nick Tuminello’s interview with Brad Schoenfeld  ( presented in the thread in question as evidence that my opinion is wrong)

Nick – I’ve read articles by several individuals from both the fitness and rehab worlds claiming that using the leg extension machine could be dangerous to your knee joint? What’s your take – Is it dangerous – Any conclusive research showing its dangers?

Brad- This is partially true. There are a couple of issues with the leg extension that can be problematic. For one, loading is applied perpendicular to the long axis of the tibia—a fact that creates shear force at the knee joint (alternatively, loading during multi-joint movements such as the squat is mainly compressive, with forces applied parallel to the long axis of the tibia). Since a joint is better able to withstand tensile forces from compression as opposed to shear, it therefore follows that leg extensions place increased stresses on the knee joint compared with multi-joint lower body exercises.

What’s more, leg extensions tend to heighten stress to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). During performance of the leg extension, the quadriceps reacts to the movement by pulling the tibia forward (a phenomenon called tibial translation). The ACL in turn opposes the quadriceps by trying to prevent translation of the tibia. These two antithetic actions place a considerable amount of stress on the ACL, and can potentially injure the ligament. It should be noted that in closed chain movements (i.e. squat, leg press, etc) the hamstrings are activated as co-contractors and exert a counter-regulatory effect on the pull of the quadriceps. The co-contraction of the hamstrings and quads help to neutralize tibial translation, alleviating stress on the ACL.

That said, the aforementioned factors should not have a detrimental effect on someone with healthy knee joints provided the exercise is performed properly. I’ve seen no evidence of an increased injury risk to those with healthy knees from performing leg extensions. I could even make a case that it might help to maximally strengthen these structures to a greater extent than other exercises, as tissue adaptation is specific to the degree of stress.

The crazy thing about the above answer is that Brad says that leg extensions are clearly dangerous, as the research shows, that they caused increased shear forces at the knee, an increased ACL strain and, are not as safe as closed chain exercises but, if you have a healthy joint and do them properly he sees no “increased risk”.

What Brad does here is directly contradict himself. He presents the research based evidence ( the same research that I read twenty years that caused me and most every other competent physical therapist and athletic trainer to abandon leg extensions) and then simply says “don’t worry about it”.

They ( he and Nick) then present this article as evidence that leg extensions are fine, even though the article itself says they are not?

Brads core training review does the same thing. He presents a huge body of anti-flexion evidence and then concludes that flexion is OK.

I guess all I ask is that people read critically and see when the conclusion doesn’t match the evidence.

PS- thanks for calling me out on this one as I would have never taken the time to create this post otherwise.