The crack of a baseball blasted over the fence; the whack of a golf ball blasted off the tee; the sound of lacrosse pads smashing against each other. These are all signs spring is in the air, and with it, spring training for many of our children.
Are you ready? Are you physically ready for the season? Not just ready to run sprints on the first day of practice, but strong enough to complete day-in and day-out for the next 3 months.
We’re encouraging our student-athletes to follow their training guidelines, eat healthy meals and drink plenty of fluids, and most importantly, listen to their bodies. Minor aches and pains from training and activating those dormant muscles are normal, but prolonged pain that causes difficulties with your training regimen is not and may be a sign of injury.
More than 2.6 million children are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries.
Sadly, many of these injuries can be prevented through proper training, which MUST include muscle prep activities such as foam rolling and stretching.
Athletes must listen to their body as spring training gets underway and see your healthcare professional when those minor aches persist. There are so many treatment options as basic as the use of ice packs and cold compresses to myofascial release which will improve your injury recovery.
These are a couple steps to stay healthy during spring training and through the season:
- Get a physical. Ask your primary care physician to give you a physical exam. He or she can then clear you for participation in your sport.
- Seek support. Your school has athletic trainers, use them. They can guide your training efforts and help you safely prepare your body for your sport.
- Protect yourself. Use the correct protective gear for your sport – helmets, knee and elbow pads, goggles, ankle braces, etc. Make sure your protective gear fits, is worn correctly and is in good condition.
- Practice your form. This can prevent many sports-related injuries resulting from improper swings, kicks, throws and other sports mechanics.
- Make sure you hydrate. Prevent dehydration by drinking lots of fluids, preferably water. Sports drinks are OK, too.
- Get enough rest. Your muscles need some time off to heal and ultimately help you get stronger. Plus, resting prevents your muscles from becoming overused which can lead to injury.
- Take care of your head. All concussions are serious. They can lead to a host of problems including, but not limited to, nausea and vomiting, headache, mood swings, altered sleep patterns and more.
Spring training brings with it renewed championship hopes and dreams. Do your part to make sure you perform your best this season without having to experience an avoidable injury.
If you are looking to take your game to the next level and stay strong all season long…… K2 is the place to be!
Please call me if you have any questions and / or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you.
908-803-8019 (Call or Text)
By: Coach Lee Taft
Exercise #1 Medicine Ball Side Throw Progression:
A. Standing side throw– The athlete will face sideways to the wall in an athletic stance with the ball at chest height and elbows out. (stand roughly 10-12 feet away depending on the bounce of the ball)
- Using the backside leg to drive the hips forward and taking a small step toward the wall with the lead leg…
- Explosively drive the ball, keeping the back elbow up so the shoulder doesn’t get injured, into the wall.
- The focus of the exercise isn’t so much on throwing, it is on understanding being in the best stance to drive the off the back leg like a lateral shuffle.
- If the athlete is too narrow in stance or standing too tall the power production will be limited.
- This exercise needs to be done on both sides
B. Forward shuffle side throw– The athlete will back away from the wall roughly 6-8 feet further. The exercise will be performed the same as the standing side throw but the emphasis changes to lateral speed:
- The athlete will shuffle one to two times staying in a good stance and then driving off the back foot and transferring the speed into the throw.
- The athlete must use the back foot to push down and away to generate more speed on the throw.
- If the athlete does not have a good athletic stance (foundation) they will not generate enough force to gain benefits.
C. Backward shuffle side throw– Same exercise but now the athlete will shuffle away from the wall. Start the athlete only 6-8 feet from the wall.
- The athlete will shuffle aggressively one to two times away from the wall and plant aggressively to throw the ball.
- This is the most important exercise of all to reinforce the athletic stance and the importance of plant leg angles.
- If the plant leg of the back leg is too narrow when attempting to stop the throw will be weak.
- The athlete wants to still get forward movement when throwing. I like to do 2-4 sets of 3-5 reps on each side. The exercise has to be intense. The wt of the ball, experience of the athlete, and skill level determines the sets and reps.
This is the stationary version of the Side Medicine Ball Throw. The forward shuffle throw and backward shuffle throw would still get the athlete back to this position. The backward throw crucial for teaching deceleration angles. If the plant is poorly done the throw will show it. Great feedback drill.
Excerise #2 One arm One leg tubing row
This is a great speed exercise because it focuses on both deceleration (which is what most quick athlete do better than other athletes in athletic speed) and acceleration.
a. The initial position is having the athlete squat/bend on one leg and resist the pulling action of the tubing. The decelerators are kicked on.
b. Then the athlete quickly stands and pulls on the tubing while driving the knee up. This recruits the accelerators.
c. The extra benefits of the this exercise is the balance and stability ttraining.
We normally do 2-4 sets of 5-8 reps per side. Slow down into the squat/bend and explosive up.
Exercise #3 Reactive Shuffles and Crossovers
In this shot the athlete is ready to react and shuffle or crossover in the direction the coach points. This is a real live setting for athletes to develop their skill and for coaches to use great feedback.
a. The athlete will get into a loaded athletic stance and be prepared to shuffle or crossover (already determined by the coach) and react to the coaches point.
b. This type of exercise is great for athletic speed development because the athlete must randomly react. The athlete will use his or her innate abilities. If a mistake is made the coach can easily correct and have the athlete reproduce a better pattern for many reps.
I normally will do 2-3 sets of 3-5 reps. The athlete will react out to the cone and get back as quick as possible for one rep. Because I am after speed I will allow decent rest so the athlete isn’t completely pooped out.
Exercise #4 Resisted power skips
I like resisted power skips for speed because it increases force production and extension of the hips.
a. The athlete must learn to drive hard to move the resistance of the tubing yet maintain good posture for acceleration.
b. The athlete will learn to coordinate the arms and the legs during this exercise. It isn’t easy at first.
c. The biggest benefit is that more muscle fiber gets recruited when attempting to power skip. This is the goal to generate more acceleration speed.
I like to perform 3-6 reps for 20 meters. This is enough distance to get enough quality push offs yet not too far to get overly fatigued and change mechanics.
Exercise #5 Pure acceleration starts
To increase the mechanics and efficiency of accelerating from various starts you must practice them.
a. I will use falling starts, get ups, box starts, parallel stance starts, and many other variations so I can coach the athlete on the proper technique.
b. The goal is to be consistent with leg and arm action as well as acceleration posture.
c. If the athlete has breaks in his or her form they can be addressed quickly.
I like doing 2-3 different stances and 3-4 reps of each. Plenty of time is available to teach the form well.
Exercise #6 Cutting skills
Teaching cutting is a great way to improve the efficiency of the athlete in athletic speed. Most court and field sport requires so much in regards to change of direction it is important to address it.
a. The first thing I want my athlete to understand about cutting is the reactive nature of it. There is not enough time to think about the cut. Just do what comes natural and we can correct mistakes if they present themselves
b. The athlete must learn to make the cut by re-directing the cutting foot outside the width of the body that meets the angle they cut will be made at. I do not want the athlete to purposely drop low with the hips if the cut must be quick and not real sharp.
c. If the cut is sharp and the athlete must come back then the hips may lower slightly but only enough to control the center of mass.
d. The key to cutting is to create separation if an offensive player and to close the gap if a defender. The better body position you have and foot placement the better the results
I like to do 3-6 reps of 2-3 different variations of cutting:
a. Speed cuts
b. Sharp cuts
c. Rehearsed cuts
d. Random cuts
e. Jump stop cuts
f. Spin cuts
Yours in Speed,
Take Charge of Your Metabolism
“Love the one your with” That would be you! You have to live with yourself 24/7/365. Wouldn’t it be nice if you loved everything about yourself?
If you are reading this, you have the ability to control almost everything about your life. What you spend your days doing, who you hang out with, what you eat, what you do for activities. The greatest thing about being you is you hold the key to happiness! So if you complain once today, then you need to take a long look in the mirror.
Ok…Let me focus on 1 thing we all have control over – Our metabolism.
Do you ever wonder how your friend can eat whatever he/she wants and not gain a pound, while you seem to gain weight by simply looking at food? The answer is in your metabolism—the way your body burns up all the calories from food.
Some people have a fast metabolism which helps keep weight off, and others have a slow metabolism, putting on weight very quickly. The good news is metabolic rate can be altered, and even sped up.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is the rate at which your body’s internal engine operates as it performs its bodily functions. The largest component of your metabolism, approximately 70%, is your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is how many calories you burn just sitting around. In other words, it is the energy used by your body to perform basic functions, such as breathing, keeping the heart beating and maintaining body temperature. As you age, your BMR decreases. Basal metabolic rates differ from person to person due to:
Genetics: A slow metabolism (you burn calories more slowly) or fast metabolism (you burn calories faster) can be inherited.
Amount of lean muscle: Muscle burns calories faster than fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest.
Sex differences: Males generally have a 10 to 15% faster BMR than females because the male body has a larger percentage of lean muscle tissue.
Age: Younger people have faster metabolisms due to increased activity of cells.
Other components of your metabolism include physical activity, which accounts for about 20% of calories burned, and dietary thermogenesis, which is the number of calories required for digesting and processing the food you eat. This accounts for the remaining 10% of energy needs.
How Does This Affect My Weight?
Simply put, your metabolism affects weight management because it determines how many calories you need per day. If you have a high BMR (fast metabolism) it takes a lot of calories for your body to function; eating calorie-laden foods may not pack on the pounds for you. On the other hand, if you have a low BMR (slow metabolism), your body needs fewer calories to function. Unfortunately, for your sluggish metabolism, eating calorie-laden foods will result in weight gain.
How Can I Jump-Start my Body’s Metabolic Engine?
Follow these tips to naturally boost your metabolism:
Eat Breakfast. Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day, especially for you weight loss seekers. Research shows that those who eat breakfast lose more weight than those who skip breakfast. Your metabolism slows down while you sleep and it doesn’t speed back up until you eat again. If you don’t eat until lunchtime, your body won’t burn as many calories as it could during the morning period. Kick start your day with a balanced breakfast such as omega-3 eggs and toast or a protein shake.
Eat smaller meals throughout the day. Eating five or six smaller meals rather than three large meals helps to keep your metabolism revved up! It also helps to fill you up over the course of the day, making a binge session less likely.
Don’t starve yourself. Fasting, cutting calories and skipping meals will all help put weight ON not OFF. Your body needs a certain number of calories to function. If you don’t meet this need, your body will switch into survival mode, slow down the metabolism and promote the storage of energy (calories) in the form of fat to protect itself from starvation. Be sure get the proper number of calories for an optimal metabolism.
Exercise. Both cardiovascular exercise and weight training help to improve metabolic rate and keep weight off. Cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, running, biking, swimming and aerobics, allows your body to burn a lot of calories at one time. Weight training will increase muscle mass, which burns more calories than body fat. Weight training also puts the metabolism into overdrive, so your burn calories for up to two hours after the workout.
Drink Green Tea. Research shows that green tea appears to increase metabolic rate and speed up fat oxidation. Compounds in green tea, catechin polyphenols, appear to speed up the rate at which calories are burned and therefore increase overall energy expenditure leading to weight loss!
Drink water. Not drinking enough water can slow down your metabolism. Be sure to drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day. Add a lemon slice to water for a tangy, fresh taste.
Take Supplements. If you use make-up to look better, supplements can probably do a lot more for your appearance. Even ugly pants look better on a nice pair of legs. The Supplement market is 50 Billion because they do work! Visit www.khaag.getprograde.com
Eat hormonally balanced meals. Eating in hormonal balance includes:
- Energy-dense carbohydrates, such as whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits that contain fiber to help regulate your metabolism by having less impact on insulin levels.
- High quality protein, such as fish, poultry, lean meats, soy, tofu and lowfat dairy products to help build metabolism-boosting muscle mass.
- Essential fats for good health such as olive oil, avocado and nuts.
Ask for Help.
You can contact me, Kevin Haag, with any questions you have. I spend my days researching and practicing this stuff, so I can bombard you with enough emails to make you not want to eat.