4 Movements to Add to Your Warmup

There’s a drill that takes just six seconds to perform, but yields significant speed, power and agility benefits. This high-speed exercise is called “rapid response” because you’ll move faster than ever before in your training. 

Want to improve quickness on the field? Rapid response. Want to make sharper cuts on the court? Rapid response. Here’s why: Quickness isn’t just about how big and strong your muscles are, but how efficiently your brain can communicate with your body. Rapid response drills challenge both your muscular system and nervous system to function in tandem and with precision, allowing you to move faster and under control.

An example of “rapid response” is quickly moving your feet back and forth over a line. It lasts all of about six seconds, but improves footwork, coordination, and quickness. You’ll also become more skilled at disassociating one foot from the other while maintaining proper posture. On the field, disassociation will help you make sharper cuts and juke past your opponents. Off the field, you’ll move better, and with more coordination, in any activity.

Since “rapid response” drills prepare your brain and body for activity, they’re best performed towards the end of your dynamic warm-up (a.k.a. Movement Prep), either before a training session, practice, or game. And because they’re so fast, you don’t need to worry about them wearing you out.

Try the sample routine below as part of your Movement Prep. Perform each drill for 6 seconds, putting forth maximal effort. Rest for about 30 seconds, and then repeat before moving onto the next exercise.

Rapid Response Workout

Movements                   Sets       Reps            

Rapid Fire                         2            6 sec            https://youtu.be/1_ggtF6ZFDk  

Linear Rapid Fire               2            6 sec            https://youtu.be/cfO2nttnljU

Pogos                                 2            6 sec           https://youtu.be/2Yknh0peyGI

Lateral Pogos                     2            6 sec            https://youtu.be/Ty2B3hBrEOE

5 Ways to Instantly Become a Worse Athlete

Follow these 5 easy steps, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a slower, weaker, burned-out athlete.

1. Don’t Sleep

Arguably the easiest step to becoming a worse athlete, don’t get enough sleep! Most already do this without even trying. But while sleep is important for human beings in general, it is essential for athletes. While you sleep, your body metabolizes glucose, which helps your muscles recover from a hard training session. So if you’re getting less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night, your muscles won’t recover as quickly. Awesome, right? But that’s not all—lack of sleep can also lead to moodiness and anxiety, which can affect your performance on game day. Bottom line: don’t sleep enough, and you will DEFINITELY be able to tell a difference in your athletic performance – the wrong kind of difference.

2. Don’t Rest

Rest refers not to sleep, but to taking a purposeful break from training. And it’s one of the quickest ways to deteriorate your athletic ability. Taking rest days—complete days when you’re not even doing active recovery or cross-training—gives your body a chance to repair small tears in muscle caused by resistance training, and build new muscle tissue from protein ingested after training. Your muscles need a pause from the constant breakdown that occurs when you strength-train in order to rebuild themselves stronger. By skipping your rest days and going all-out in the gym 24/7, you’ll be on your way to developing symptoms of overtraining: extreme muscle soreness, extreme fatigue, depression, and susceptibility to illness and injury. Awesome, right? So build in rest days or you’ll be the coolest athlete wearing a knee brace or missing practice from a sinus infection.

3. Don’t Eat

Yeah, just stop eating. Your body needs the nutrients and energy in food to do basically everything: repair organs, fight off diseases, and build muscle. If you really want to see a decline in your athletic performance, simply stop eating enough calories to maintain your high activity level! Not eating enough is a simple, easy way to sabotage your athletic career—closely followed by eating the wrong stuff. Meeting your calorie requirements solely with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos will definitely leave you not feeling like sprinting for your full 90-min soccer game. 2,500 calories worth of Vanilla milkshake never makes my long runs any easier. Oh, don’t eat after training either. Physical activity depletes muscles of glycogen, made from carbohydrates, so if you want to make your muscles sore and mad, don’t eat anything within 30 minutes to 2 hours after training. 

4. Don’t Warm-Up

Make sure you go into practice, the gym, or the competition completely cold, and you’ll be well on your way to injury and decreased performance. 

5. Don’t Train on a Periodized Program

Periodization programming peaks athletes for their sport at just the right time. DO NOT do this if you hate being amazing. Don’t train on a periodized, customized, sport-specific training program. A periodized program means that your workouts change depending on the day, week, and season of your athletic year—off-season training looks a lot different from pre-season training, because your body needs different types of conditioning for these phases. To train to perform during a given season, you must be using a periodized training program. If you go into the gym and do the same workout, same rep count, same weight, over and over again, your body will stop responding to the stimuli of training and you will plateau!

And there you have it! 5 easy ways to instantly become a worse athlete. Practice each one faithfully, and I promise you will never be the best athlete on your team—and that’s a guarantee!

Basic Nutrition for Sports Performance

Young athletes have very unique demands – school, sports, and training.

There is a way to improve each of those 3 things – FUEL the body with proper nutrition!

===> DOWNLOAD [Daily Meal Guideline] Cheat Sheet

Here’s some more specific nutrition tips for Young Athletes…

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates should be the staple of a athletes diet. The key is to focus on quality. There is a huge difference between white bread and whole grain, high fiber bread; a sugar coated cereal and oatmeal; French fries vs. sweet potatoes. Focus on the quality of the carbohydrates. 

For example, definitely eat breakfast, but try a whole grain based cereal with some fresh fruit for the nutrients and fiber. Something like oatmeal instead of Fruit Loops or Cocoa Pebbles.

Sandwiches should be made with whole grain bread, rather than white. Snacks can be whole grain crackers with peanut butter, fruit or veggie sticks with peanut butter, etc. The list can go on.

The focus of carbohydrates should always be on foods that provide a few grams of fiber per serving (exception is milk and yogurt, which are very healthy and carbohydrate based, but provide little, if any fiber). 

Fruit and vegetables are also critical for a high performance athlete. Kids often shy away from them and parents don’t always push them. However, research has suggested it can take as many as one dozen times to determine if a child likes a particular food. The key for a parent is to introduce kids to as many of these nutrient dense, colorful foods as possible! 

Protein 

Of course protein plays a very important role! One important message is to make sure you always focus on food first – not protein supplements. High quality protein sources include:

  • Fish and other seafood
  • Low or non fat milk or yogurt
  • Chicken and turkey breast
  • Lean red meat
  • Mixed nuts
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Natural peanut butter

Should young athletes take a protein supplement?

The better question is:

  • Do they need a protein supplement? No.
  • Will it make them into the next college or pro athlete? Of course not!
  • Can it be beneficial and a healthier option than many of the alternative high sugar, high fat foods marketed directly towards children? Absolutely!

But food first as whole foods provide more nutrients than any supplement does or ever will be able to provide.

Fat

Fat is another crucial nutrient for athletes. The key, once again, is to focus on quality. Fat also provides a lot of calories, which can be important for very active, young athletes who need more calories than most to develop healthy, strong bodies.

Here are a few fats to choose:

  • Fish
  • Whole eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Raw mixed nuts
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Avocados and more

There you have it. Nutrition basics.

Feed your body. It’s a machine. To be the best player, you need to train and eat like the best athlete in the world.

===> DOWNLOAD [Daily Meal Guideline] Cheat Sheet

10 Most Common Problems with Sprint Form and How to Correct It

Common Problems and Corrections of Sprint Form:

Problem: Upward Emphasis or Not Swinging Arms Back Far Enough.

  • Correction: Have the athlete pretend he/she is holding a hammer in each hand and pounding nails into a wall directly behind him/her.
  • Main Point: The faster the arm is swung backward, the faster the leg will pull forward.

Problem: Shoulders Shrugged/Upper Back Tension.

  • Correction: Have the athlete consciously relax the traps and shoulders to allow more natural movement. Practice in place looking into a mirror.
  • Main Point: Upper body needs to stay relaxed. Tension can inhibit the free motion required for optimal speed.

Problem: Side-to-Side Arm Movement.

  • Correction: Have the athlete practice in front of a mirror to help him/her understand that this movement is causing excessive trunk rotation. The path in which the arms travel begins with the fingertips even with the chin. The hand should reach the midline of the body, but does not cross. The hand will then travel backwards until it is completely behind the hip.
  • Main Point: There should be limited lateral movement, as the focus should be on forward and backward movement emphasizing the backward motion.

Problem: Cross-Over Knee Drive (crossing the knees inward over the midline of the body)

  • Correction: Explain to the athlete that the legs travel in one plane of movement, it’s like riding a bike. Working in front of a mirror may be helpful.
  • Main Point: Knees need to travel in a straight path.

Problem: Lack of Knee Drive (During Acceleration 10-20 yards)

  • Correction: Likely needs to strengthen hip flexors and core. Hip flexors raise the thigh and core stabilizes the pelvis.
  • Main Point: Need to forceful knee drive getting hip 70-80 degrees in relation to the body.

Problem: Toes Point Inward or Outward

  • Correction: Likely needs to improve ankle flexibility, hip flexor strength. Muscles imbalances in hip internal and external rotation may all need attention.
  • Main Point: Toes need to point forward and should be in line with the knee and hip.

Problem: Over-striding (plant foot too far in from of the body)

  • Correction: Explain that the athlete needs to keep a tighter knee bend as the knee drives during each swing phase.
  • Main Point: During acceleration (first 10-20) yards the foot should strike the ground slightly behind the body. After the first 10-20 yards, the foot will strike slightly in front of the body.

Problem: Under-striding (short, choppy steps)

  • Correction: Cue the athlete to increase the distance between their thighs on each stride. Likely needs to improve hip flexor flexibility.
  • Main Point: Stride length comes from by pushing off the ground harder and fully extending hip, knee, and ankle and driving the forward knee to high knee position.

Problem: Landing on Heels (many larger athletes have a hard time with this)

  • Correction: Make the athletes aware of the issue. Coach athlete on proper foot strike through high knees drills, wall drills, etc.
  • Main Point: The heel will almost make contact with the ground, but athletes should be coached to stay on the ball of the foot because no weight should be taken by the heel.

Problem: Ankle Plantar Flexed (pointed down, leads to over-striding)

  • Correction: Coach the athlete to pull the toes to the knees. Coach the athlete to barely keep the heel from hitting the ground. Practice with high knees, butt kicks, wall drills.
  • Main Point: When foot strikes the ground, the ankle needs to be dorsiflexed (pointed up) in order to deliver a high force into the ground.

 

 

3 Moves to Maximize Your “Off Day” [Cheat Sheet]

Here’s 3 mobility moves to make the most of your training so that you’re faster, stronger, and fitter when you go to your next training session.

Think rest days are for resting? Then you’re doing them wrong.

Now, I’m not saying you need to do an hour-long workout on your days off. I’m just saying you need to move.

If you’re serious about changing your body, feeling better, and making serious gains in the weight room and on the field/court, then “mobility” moves are a must.

After all, you’re only as strong as how well you allow yourself to recover.

Here’s how to do it: 

===> DOWNLOAD [Mobility] Cheat Sheet

Perform the following 3 moves in a row. Do a movement for 2-4 minutes (or 1-2 minute per side for single-sided movements) before moving on to the next one.

  1. Overhead Squat
  2. Worlds Greatest
  3. Pretzel

If a move feels extra challenging, spend more time on it. It can take 2 to 5 minutes to fully release a restricted muscle.

Here’s what these mobility moves will do:

  • Address common problematic areas such as poor thoracic (upper-back) mobility, bad ankle mobility, tight hip flexors, and a weak core and glutes 
  • Promote additional blood flow to sore or stiff areas 
  • Prepare your body for its next training day without causing fatigue 
  • Make you feel like a million bucks

Do this circuit two times a week for one month and I guarantee you’ll see a difference in your training. 

===> DOWNLOAD [Mobility] Cheat Sheet

Foam Roller Flow Routine (FREE Cheat Sheet)

Grab your foam roller and flow between 10 self-massage moves that hit your whole body. 

This routine will improve tissue quality and break up scar tissue, adhesions, and knots.

It’s ideal for tight muscles and achy joints and best performed pre/post-workout and anytime of day.

===> DOWNLOAD [Foam Roller] Cheat Sheet

Here’s how to do it: 

  • Perform each move for a minute with no rest between moves for 10 total minutes. Switch sides at the halfway 30-second mark for all single-sided exercises:
  1. Quadriceps L/R
  2. Hamstrings L/R
  3. Adductors L/R
  4. TFL/IT Band L/R
  5. Glutes L/R
  6. Calves L/R
  7. Shins L/R
  8. Shins (Lateral) L/R
  9. Lats L/R
  10. Thoracic (Upper/Mid-Back)
  • Pay attention to which areas of your body are most sore and tight and be sure to spend extra time on these areas at all other times pre/post-workout. Prioritizing your self-massage in this manner will provide you the biggest bang for you buck.
  • For knee pain, focus on #1, 4, 5 
  • For shoulder pain, focus on #9, 10
  • For back pain, focus on #2, 3, 5, and 10. #10 is also great for improving posture.
  • If you run/jump a lot and/or suffer from shin splits, focus on #6, 7 and 8.

I simply cannot stress enough the importance of daily self-massage. It will make you feel better, move better, and perform better.

If you’re serious about changing your body, feeling better, and making serious gains in the weight room and on the field/court, then “self-massage” days are a must.

After all, you’re only as strong as how well you allow yourself to recover.

===> DOWNLOAD [Foam Roller] Cheat Sheet

“More is Better”…You’re Doing More Harm than Good.

The world of youth sports is as competitive as ever.

The notion that “more is better” is being forced down the throats of young athletes in an effort to be at the top of their game.

The problem? It’s not producing the results that were intended.

Coaches, parents, and trainers are pushing over-scheduled children into more specialized programs. Improvement is marginal and children are burning out and suffering from over-use injuries.

The result is an increase in non-trauma related injuries due in part to a lack of fundamental skill and athletic development.

According to the NCAA an average of only 0.16% of all High School Athletes move on to play in the professional ranks. With these kinds of odds, one would think the primary focus of activity for our young athletes would be overall development and fun. In most cases, it’s not.

Seriously, think about an average day or week of your young athlete…6 to 7 hours of school followed by 1 and sometimes 2 separate sporting practices, homework and then off to bed. All to be repeated the next day. Add in lack of sleep, poor nutritional habits and no social outlet and this paints a very scary picture.

Yes, times and society has changed. Yes, there is a lack of free play and more emphasis on academics. Yes, there is a shift from recreational sports to high pressure club and travel teams.  But, all in all, there is one constant…Kids are still developing and constantly changing human beings. They need be dealt with accordingly.

So parents…what’s the solution?

1.)  Slow and safe before fast and fancy. Beware of any program, team or skills clinic that is not based in a well-rounded variety of fundamental skill development.  The younger the athlete, the more basic the activities and should have the most emphasis on encouragement and fun.

2.)  Age appropriate. Look for programs that treat your young athletes right.

  • 6-9 year olds should be exposed to outcome based coaching. Outcome based coaching utilizes very little cueing or technique modifications if any.
  • 10-13 year olds should be introduced to outcome based coaching as well with about 25% more actual coaching of skill sets with simple instructions. 
  • 14 year olds and up should be coached with more emphasis on skill development with injury prevention and long-term success and the primary goals.

3.)  Back off. 3-4 games in one day is needless. Practices 6 days per week for 2-3 separate sports teams is a very real scenario and needs to be avoided. A young athlete in this situation engages in more structured practices than professional athletes and they are no doubt headed for injury. Reduce an over-loaded schedule and allow for rest, recovery and…wait for it…time to be a kid.

4.)  Think long term. Over scheduling and over specializing will place a premature cap on achievement and will cause over use injuries. Developing even the most talented young athletes takes time and no short cuts can be taken. Allow and encourage your athletes to play multiple sports to minimize repetitive motion injuries and over compensation.

To hammer this home. Let’s use our education system as an analogy. A child who seems to be skilled in mathematics would not be encouraged to drop other subjects and only concentrate on math. In addition, having great success in math in 1st grade would not result in skipping grades 2-6 to engage in 7th grade algebra.

Skipping steps will only result in a lack of ability and increase the risk of injury.

When in doubt, think of moderation and variety and create as much time for un-coached play time as possible. No matter the age…play and fun is a great way to stay active. As stated above, the odds of “going pro” are limited so make sure you are setting your children up to live an active life, loving exercise.

5 Keys to Training Today’s Female Athlete

Generally speaking, there aren’t and shouldn’t be many differences in training male and female athletes.

Every athlete needs to be strong, powerful, fast, and athletic. They need to be mobile, stable, and certainly conditioned. Most importantly, they need to be healthy so they can produce results on the field or court when it matters most!

But after 8 years and coaching thousands of female athletes, I’ve picked up a few tips that can help you create a culture that allows female athletes to thrive.

1. Build A “Buy In” Culture 

In order to get the most out of your female athletes, you must connect with them and engage them in the process in order to achieve great results.

The coach needs to create buy in from both coaches and athletes from day one. There is a saying “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” This applies when training female athletes.

Yelling and hollering doesn’t usually work well with groups female of athletes. But once they understand you’re there to help them succeed, you will get their full attention and commitment.

Getting athletes to engage from the time they walk in the weight room or on the field and court is important to the overall success of the program. This starts from the moment they walk in the door by asking them about their day, their upcoming practice, their exams, etc.

It’s easy to have these conversations while the athletes are gathering, warming up, and doing activities such as foam rolling, stretching, and mobility/movement prep as a team. This often leads to questions, which is the perfect time to educate the team in the areas of fitness, nutrition, and training.

2. Reduce Injuries with Purposeful Drills and Exercises 

The number one goal of any strength and performance program at the high school level should be to reduce the frequency and severity of injuries. Young female athletes have a high incidence of ACL injuries, with 85% being noncontact.

Some simple but effective exercises to be done daily include:

  • Mini hurdle hopping and landing skills (linear, lateral, rotational) both single and double leg
  • Mini band walks (forward, backward, lateral)
  • Squat patterns (single and double leg)
  • Ham/glute/hinge patterns (single and double leg)
  • Deceleration drills such as lunges and change of direction

Athletes involved in overhead sports such as volleyball, softball, tennis, and swimming should include additional exercises for the shoulder and core to reduce the repetitive stress that can lead to overuse injuries. These can include:

  • External and internal rotation exercises for the shoulder
  • Scapular retraction and stabilization exercises
  • Vertical standing core exercises (lifts, chops, anti-rotational presses)
  • Med ball throws (over, diagonal, and side tosses)

3. Create Team Training Times

Training as a team at scheduled times is especially beneficial for female athletes. This can often be an awkward and challenging age for young athletes, so being alongside teammates can make the experience more comfortable.

I have found that having girls train alongside each other creates a positive group dynamic and ideal training culture.

They will work harder and encourage each other more than if they were on their own.

4. Create well-rounded athletes 

We are living in an era of athlete specialization, which is not going away.

The coach can play a big role in helping develop athleticism by including a wide variety of training and movement skills into the program, and not focusing on only sport-specific skills.

Including a wide array of drills and exercises will enhance overall athleticism. Programs should include:

  • Strength
  • Power
  • Change of direction
  • Aerobic conditioning
  • Speed
  • Acceleration/deceleration

5. Develop Both Physical and Mental Strength 

Training is a perfect environment for building confident young women with positive self-esteem. These positive habits will carry over both on and off the athletic field.

Through goal setting and consistent hard work, athletes will see progress both on and off the field.

Helping your female athletes become successful on and off the field is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a high school coach.

When your female athletes are lifting and training as good as or better than the boys, you have created the optimal training facility.

Don’t be Responsible for Another Statistic

More than ever, female athletes are playing sports, striving to win, and earning college scholarships.

They’re sacrificing quality training time with sports performance coaches like us to play another season of AAU basketball, club soccer and showcase softball.

So, we’ve got to do OUR part and educate and empower coaches and parents alike to not only help athletes reach their potential, but also prevent them from LIMITING their potential due to injury. While we cannot prevent all injuries, experience and education have shown us we can certainly have a major hand in preventing many of them due to inadequate strength and body control.

If you’re looking for a complete system for training today’s female athlete, we hope you consider the work we’ve done, the programs we’ve developed and the athletes we have helped–3500 a year and counting. We’re hoping to set-up a time to talk about how we can help you and your female athletes on-site at your school this season!

5 Rules for In-Season Strength Training

Strength training is still a greatly underutilized aspect of preparation in many programs and even more neglected during the actual playing season (especially among spring sports baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer).

Strength is an attribute that can diminish very quickly. In as little as three weeks your players may have a noticeable decrease in strength. That means every week that goes by, your team is getting weaker. Come playoff time your team will be physically at their weakest when you need them at their strongest. 

The goals of any in-season program are the same of any off-season program: Improve strength and power. In addition, making the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the body stronger will lessen the occurrence and/or severity of an injury (such as a pulled hamstring or rolled ankle), and keep your players on the field and court. You will also improve their performance on the field and court. The stronger your player is, the more force they can produce. The more force they can produce, the higher they can jump, the faster they can run, the quicker they can cut. 

1. Train Frequently

Realistically, you should train two days per week with higher intensities but lower volumes. 

You should use a limited number exercises (4-6 exercises) and sets during each workout (1-2 sets per exercise), while minimizing rest between sets.

Never skip an in-season workout. A 15-minute, one-set workout is better in the long run than a missed day of training. 

2. Train with Intensity

Intensity is the key to any training program, not volume, and this applies even more during the season.

Intensity is the most important factor in determining the results for your players. Below a certain level of intensity, strength training will have very minimal benefit. 

It is recommended that each set is taken to the point of muscular failure (at which no additional reps can be completed). An appropriate repetition range (8-15 reps for most high school players).

3. Total-Body Workouts

Your in-season program should address the major muscle groups (legs, hips, core, and upper torso) as well as paying special attention to the most injury-prone areas (ankles, knees, groin, lower back, and shoulders). 

See number one and two above. High intensity, low volume. Limited exercises, 1-2 sets per exercise.

4. Minimize Risk

You should only use the safest exercises available, and do your best to make sure that all workouts are properly supervised.

Players should always perfect exercise technique and form prior to utilizing additional resistance or weight.

Players should perform every movement in a slow, controlled tempo with special emphasis focused on the lower portion of each exercise.

5. No Excuses

Athletes hate in-season lifting. Painful, but necessary.

Don’t give your players “choices” of lifts. 

Don’t let your players sudden injuries fool you. If athletes are too injured to lift, they are too injured to play. You’ll be amazed how fast kids get healthy.

Sample In-Season Strength Training 

  • A Pushups (chest, triceps)
  • A Pullups (back, biceps, forearms)
  • B Dumbbell Shoulder Press (shoulders)
  • B Dumbbell Bent-Over Row (back)
  • C One Legged Dumbbell Squat (hips, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and calves)
  • C Lateral Lunge (glutes, quadriceps, adductors, abductors)
  • D Plank Position T-Rotations (core)
  • D Medball Woodchopper (core)

4 Key Thoughts on Speed, Agility, and Quickness Training

The majority of sporting outcomes are largely dependent on speed, agility, and quickness. 9 times out of 10, the faster athletes win. On the field. On the court. Those athletes come out on top.

The fact remains, these athletic traits are absolute “game changers”!

Today’s post will highlight 4 key thoughts specific speed, agility, and quickness.

1. Footwear absolutely matters.

First and foremost, we need to begin with footwear. What’s on your feet affects your performance, as it directly impacts how well you will be able to transfer the force you put into the ground into forward momentum or change of direction.

If you’re in heavier shoes, good luck trying to “feel” fast.

If you’re in shoes with large heel-to-toe drops, they tend encourage severe heel striking and might contribute to knee injuries.

Most importantly, if you’re in shoes without the right amount of width and lateral support, have fun trying to change directions. This has been the biggest issue with some of the “minimalist” shoes on the market; athletes will actually roll out of the shoes during changes of direction besides the fact that they are performing the exercise perfectly. 

Before you concern yourself about cutting-edge training programs and coaching cues, make sure begin with wearing proper footwear.

2. It’s easier to make a fast guy strong than it is to make a strong guy fast.

I heard the quote above during a recent presentation on speed and strength training.

Plenty of athletes are blessed with natural athletic ability – even in the absence of what one might say “good strength.” These types of athletes thrive even more when you get them stronger.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find athletes who are very strong but do not exhibit that force quickly. They need to spend much more time training speed than they do continuing to build strength.

The “fast guy getting stronger” happens much quicker than the “strong guy getting faster”. There are a lot of different reasons this is the case, but at the end of the day, I think the biggest one is that it’s difficult to teach an athlete to relax.

Guys who are naturally fast seem to “accidentally” know how to relax and turn off unwanted muscular tension. Guys who are naturally strong usually resort to sheer force to try to solve every problem. 

3. Quality of movement falls off with a growth spurt – but proper training can help minimize that drop-off.

It’s not uncommon to see some horribly uncoordinated athletes on the field or court, especially during puberty and their growth spurt. 

The dramatic shift in bone growth versus that of muscles and tendons in athletes ages 12-15 explains why kids who dominated the youth league often don’t make it as high-level high school or collegiate athletes. Being a Youth League all-star doesn’t predict being a National Football League all-pro very well.

Here’s the good news…we can help minimize that drop-off in athleticism by incorporating proper training principals. As always, playing multiple sports that provide a wide range of movements is crucial. Integrating mobility drills and coaching athletes on proper movement quality is essential as well. Finally, strength training must not be overlooked. Strength training will go a long way in improving movement skills. Some of the best times to get into a entry-level strength training program is at ages 11-12, even if its just 1-2 times per week.

4. Good movement training programs need a mix of coaching and competitiveness.

To get faster, I think it’s important to have both coaching and competition components in your training. Obviously, you have to coach athletes into higher quality movements or you’re just reinforcing bad movement patterns. 

But, I also think there is something to be said about shutting up and just letting athletes run fast, be athletic, and compete with each other. Most elite athletes train as part of groups, not individually. Athletes push each other to get better. Timing, mirror drills, chase drills are great ways to incorporate competitiveness into the training program.

Ideally, you need to get a little bit of both coaching and competition in every movement training session. As I look at most of our typical sessions, we are very coaching intensive when introducing a new skill or drill. As athletes improve, we make our final progression of each skill or drill competitive.

Overview

Speed, agility, and quickness training are very broad topics, so I’m really just scratching the surface with these 4 key thoughts. If you’re looking for more resources or ready to get started with a training program today, I recommend that you reach out or visit www.trueap.com. True Athlete Performance is one of the area’s leading programs in the field of speed, strength and conditioning.