At the end of each quarter, I do a personal assessment and ask myself, “how did I become a better coach in the last 90 days and how can I become a better coach in the next 90 days?”
We demand that our athletes constantly get better, so we must demand the same of ourselves.
This year I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to travel the country and learn hands on with some of the best coaches in the industry. So to end this past quarter, I decided to review my notes and compile my top 25 tips to develop better athletes.
Here they are:
(in no particular order)
1. Speed can be taught. Every athlete has a genetic ceiling to how fast they can run (some have a higher ceiling than others), but a genetically inferior athlete can surpass a more gifted athlete by maximizing his efficiency.
2. The #1 goal with any strength and speed program is injury prevention because the best athlete in the world is no good to any team if he can’t stay on the field.
3. Force into the ground is the key to running fast, jumping high, cutting quickly, and throwing and hitting hard.
4. Fixing running form without increasing strength is like putting a Lamborghini exterior on a Pinto engine.
5. Speed is a highly complex motor skill that requires total body coordination.
6. Train slow, get slow. Running cross-country in the offseason is the worst thing a team sport athlete can do.
7. Before you learn to create force, you need to learn how to absorb it.
8. Seek to manage fatigue, not induce it.
9. If you are not strength training in-season, by the end of their high school career, your athletes are losing a full year of athletic development.
10. You run on your feet, but with your arms.
11. The most crucial parts of any team sport is played within a 10yd x 10yd box, so acceleration and change of direction are much more important than top end speed.
12. Do less bench press, more pull-ups.
13. Single leg strength and stability is crucial to athletic development as movements such as sprinting, leaping, and changing direction are single leg movements.
14. Regardless if their sport or position requires jumping, once they demonstrate the ability to land safely, all athletes should incorporate jumping in their training.
15. As a coach, the #1 secret to ruthlessly protect your time is to delegate non-essentrial tasks.
16. Coaching is all about relationships. I break it down like this:
Coaching = 25% information + 25% communication + 25% inspiration + 25% perspiration.
You can have all the information in the world, but if you can’t communicate this information, inspire your kids to execute it, and show that you are willing to perspirate for them, then the information will remain just that and never become results.
17. Coach the kids not the drills.
18. Any coach can unlock the weight room and tell their players to “lift weights,” but “strength training” is a whole different mindset. “Lifting weights” is like going out to the football field each day to “play,” while “strength training” is going out their to “practice and execute.”
19. The core is designed for stability and that sit-ups and crunches are a recipe for poor posture and a hurt back.
20. Strength training is not just about lifting heavy weights. It’s about mastering movement mechanics first, then progressively overloading the movements.
21. College and professional coaches are probably the worst sources for youth and high school coaches to get drills from because they work with superior athletes.
Athletes don’t make it to that level without a certain level of coordination, so at the highest levels, the job description is mostly “don’t screw the guy up”. Our job as high school and youth coaches is to completely develop or restructure a coordination. I am not assigning value to either job, but they are definitely much different tasks.
22. The “best drill” for speed is the drill that is done correctly to develop the skill that you want to address.
22. The power output of the power clean is 3x that of the squat and bench press, so in terms of developing fast powerful athletes, olympic lifts are the best
23. Although it does not affect power output, it is important to teach the catch portion of olympic lifts because it teaches athletes to coordinate and absorb force, two qualities which prevent injuries.
24. Two things that an athete can control going into every training session or practice are attitude and effort.
25. The worst mistake a parent looking to help their kid earn a scholarship can make is investing in a marketing campaign before investing in the product (the athlete)