Month: May 2011
I received this great question from one of the coaches I work this earlier this week, and I thought it was a very important question, I wanted share it 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
Youth Speed Training
By Patrick Beith
Athletes in any sport, need to be able to accelerate as quickly as possible to get to the ball or opponent first. As a coach you must be able to put your athletes in the best possible position to succeed. I’m sure you can tell stories of athletes that you’ve seen that haven’t mastered body control and haven’t even learned to skip correctly. Now, how are you supposed to teach these athletes proper sprinting mechanics?
Fake it until you make it!
This doesn’t mean just have your athletes run until they get it right, because they won’t get it right. You must teach them proper form even if you have to trick their bodies to get into it.
Partner Marching Drills
1). The first drill that needs to taught is the Partner Marching Drill
Have the two partners face each other. The first person leans in at a 45 degree angle, while their partner is holding them in this position. Have your first athlete bring their right knee up, keeping the ankle behind the knee and the toe up towards the shin. This is triple flexion on the front side, the position your athlete would be in during acceleration. On the support leg (left leg), have your athlete in triple extension. That left leg will be in a straight line with the hips, spine and head. The ankle will be plantar flexed (pointed) and make sure that your athletes left glute is firing. For now, both arms will be at the side.
From this position, the athlete on your command will be driving the right leg down and back with the foot landing behind the hips. Switch legs, hold the position and on your command, have the athlete drive the left leg down.
*After this drill is perfected, you can add the arms in. Drive the opposite elbow down and back. Keep the hands loose, but not open. Arms should remain at approximately 90 degrees from the elbow.
2). The next progression is to perform the same drill with the athlete in motion. The athlete’s partner will be resisting slightly to keep the athlete at the desired 45 degree angle. The athlete is going to be marching for 10 steps, forcefully driving the front-side leg down and back. The forward movement will be short in distance with the focus on the driving motion. You want your athlete to be able to feel their feet behind them during these drills so it seems natural when it comes time accelerate during games.
3).The final progression of the Partner Marching Drill isn’t a march at all. This time you want your athlete to run. The object for your athlete is to make it to the cone (15 yards away) as quickly as possible while maintaining proper form. Their partner will be providing more resistance. A common mistake is for the athlete to bend or break at the hips. Make sure that there is a straight line from the support leg’s ankle all the way to their head.
Here are a couple more drills to use once your athletes have mastered the Partner Marching Drills. Again you will be putting their bodies in the right position without them knowing it.
Pushup ‘Down’ Position
Pushup ‘UP’ Position
Seated (forward or backward)
The pictures were of the starting positions for each exercise for speed training. You will notice when your athletes are getting up and out of these positions that they are driving out at a 45 degree angle to the ground. They are stepping over the opposite knee and driving the foot down and back into the ground to create maximal force and the foot strike will be slightly behind the hips. Your athletes will also come up gradually in a proper acceleration pattern without trying to force themselves to stay low or to pop up to soon.
All of the drills shown are great for the youth athlete. Teaching their bodies to learn, feel and remember the correct pattern of proper mechanics will set them up to make huge improvements with their speed without having any set backs and keeping them a step ahead of the competition.
A.M. is the best time to exercise?
By Kevin Haag, Fitness Consultant
When is the best time to exercise? Whenever you can make time to exercise is the best time. For some people, it’s nearly impossible to find the time to exercise at all, and for others there’s no way they can break a sweat until the evening. But if a.m. exercise may be an option, I’ve got five reasons why working out in the morning is best.
It’s a fact that burning 500 calories at6 a.m.is no different from burning the same amount at6 p.m.So what difference does it make what time you choose to do your workout?
For you night owls out there, working out in the evening may be the best thing for you, but for the majority of people looking to get in shape, the morning looks a lot brighter for making true gains in your fitness and weight loss goals.
Why? Well, for these sensible reasons:
As the day goes on you get busier and busier and your schedule can easily change, leaving you no time for exercise. How many times has that happened to you? Probably more often that not.
Get your workout out of the way by doing it first thing in the morning and you can be flexible to any changes that may pop up during your day. This way, you’ll have no excuses for not exercising, because you’ve already done it before your day got hectic. This means you’re more likely to exercise every day, helping you to be consistent with your workouts for lasting results.
Start your day out right and you’ll reap the benefits all day long. Morning exercise will rev up your metabolism, helping you to burn more calories all throughout the day.
Ever notice that after you work out for awhile you actually feel like you have more energy than when you were taking it easy?
That’s because your metabolism kicks in and feeds your body a consistent stream of energy all day long. You would be burning more calories while reading this if you had only worked out this morning.
Your body craves routine! Waking up at the same time every day to get your workout in helps your body to regulate many different functions for optimal performance all day long. It’s known as your circadian clock, and everyone has one.
This “clock” is really the routine that your body is set to. It takes time and practice to change this internal clock, so don’t expect to be waking up cheery at first if you’re trying to wake up earlier to exercise.
As you get up earlier on a consistent basis, your body will adapt and you’ll find that it’s not as difficult to wake up at5:30 a.m.as you thought it would be. In fact, you’ll probably end up waking up at the same time every morning without an alarm clock.
Research has also shown that your body is better able to prepare for the day ahead when your sleeping routine is consistent.
Have an important meeting with the boss today? A big, scary test at school today? Exercising in the morning gets the blood flowing to your brain, circulating precious nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to your various organs. More oxygen to your brain gives you a mental boost, helping you to stay focused all day long.
Don’t let morning fog stop you from getting that promotion, or getting an A on that test. Get up, get moving and get what you want out of your day
You Will Look Great and Feel AWESOME!
Your body will thank you, and so will your mirror. Exercise is not only healthy for your heart; it’s also great for an ego-boost. With consistent exercise you will shed unwanted pounds that have plagued you for years, giving you a new outlook on life.
And what better way to start your day than knowing you’re doing your body good?
What’s Your Fitness Style?
Some people find it easy to set the alarm clock for4:30 a.m.and jump out of bed for a five-mile run, while others hit the snooze button so many times that the chance of a morning workout becomes obsolete. There are specific aspects of your personality that determine what kind of exerciser you are, so if you’ve found yourself in a fitness rut it’s time to put your unique interests back into the equation.
Kevin Haag is a Fitness Trainer and Consultant with the K2Performance Team, and is the founder of Summit Fitness Adventure Boot Camps. You can reach Kevin at 908-803-8019 or http://www.LiveK2.com