Month: April 2011

Great Stretches

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Stretching Routine for Athletes  Everyone

Why do we Stretch
We stretch for 3 reasons: injury prevention, injury treatment and function.  If done properly, stretching increases flexibility and this directly translates into reduced risk of injury. A muscle group with a greater range of motion is less likely to pull or tear when used during activity.  Stretching also improves recovery and may enhance athletic performance due to improved biomechanical efficiency. Additionally, increased flexibility of the neck, shoulders, and upper back can improve respiratory function.

Lets stick with function.  Healthy muscles let enable you to naturally move through greater ranges of motion, which will make your daily activities easier and make you a much better athlete. 

How to Stretch
There are 3 methods of stretching: static, ballistic, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF).  The pictures below are great static stretches which should preferably be done after activity when the body is warm.

 

Hip Flexor Stretch

Hamstring Stretch
  periformis stretch

Deep squat stretch

butterfly stretch

The Speed Training Secret

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The Speed Training Secret

I received this great question from one of the coaches I work with earlier this week, and I thought it was worth sharing with parents and coaches of young athletes because it is very important:

“Hi Kevin. When training young athletes 8 – 12, what are the most important concepts of speed and acceleration to teach or stress?”

The answer, my friends, is none of them…

… Well not really, anyways.

If I were to look solely at speed and acceleration development with pre-adolescent athletes, my suggestion would be strength. Strength is an often forgotten variable in the speed and power equation and quite a critical component to the matrix of developing young athletes.

But the actual answer is deceleration skills.

If you learn to decelerate well, you will be in a position to re-accelerate effectively.

It means that you are likely one of the ‘fastest’ kids on the field (remember – it’s not who runs the fastest… it’s who can change direction quickest and with the most ease).

It means that you are likely injury-free (a combination of strength and quality mechanical understanding are the two greatest factors I have seen in terms of reducing the likelihood of knee and ankle injuries).

Now when teaching proper deceleration skills, it is critical that you move from Closed to Open Habits.

Closed Habits – skills being executed in a static environment.

Open Habits – skills that are adaptable to varying conditions and situations.

Closed Habits remove the external concerns of adjunct movement, opponents, teammates, speed and objects like a ball or puck.

In essence, Closed Habit skills are taught in the beginning stages of learning a given movement or series of movements. You need to teach both linear and lateral deceleration skills starting with repeating the motion from a static environment.

Eventually, you move into more advanced variations of learning and mastering these skills, such as repeating them in harmony with a random cueing from a coach or trainer.

At this level, the skills are known as Open Habits.

It is the progression of learning quality deceleration skills that make young athletes truly ‘fast’, ‘quick’ and ‘agile’.

Not the answer you were looking for, perhaps

 – Kevin