Strength and Conditioning Internships 2015/2016

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Strength and Conditioning Internships

Role Description

Purpose: To support the strength and Conditioning coach and other members of the sports department with the delivery of the Elite Performance Pathway, a school based Long Term Athlete Development programme at St. Peter’s R.C. High School and Sixth Form Centre in Gloucester.

This is voluntary unpaid position

Responsible to: James Baker – Strength and Conditioning / Stuart Crabb – Head of PE

Duration: Until the end of the 2015-2016 academic year, with an option to continue next year following performance review.

Session times vary across the week between the hours of 9:30am – 3.30pm

“Working within the Elite Performance Pathway has given me an invaluable opportunity to develop my coaching skills involving young people. Honing in on strength, speed, agility, change of direction are only a small example of elements incorporated into the development program. Coaching within this small team, under the supervision of a UKSCA accredited coach, is a excellent career opportunity for an S&C internship.” Tulshi Varsani – Strength & Rehab Coach: TLV Cardiff

General Responsibilities:

  • Improve athletic performance through the programming and delivery of athletic development sessions.
  • Test, monitor and review of pupils competing in a variety of sports across the school year.
  • Assist in the design and delivery of year round training programmes for individual athletes
  • Undertake a variety of projects including research and reading to maintain consistent progression throughout the internship.
  • Assist in the delivery of S&C sessions during school hours and after school sessions for athletes across different sports with a view to eventually leading your own sessions.
  • Liaise with relevant medical practitioners to develop injury rehabilitation programmes.
  • Promote the safeguarding and welfare of children with whom you come into contact.
  • Maintain regular consistent and professional attendance, punctuality, personal appearance, and adherence to relevant Health & Safety procedures.
  • Pursue personal development of skills and knowledge necessary for the effective performance of the role.
  • Develop and maintain a good working relationship with the staff and pupils.
  • Carry out any other duties which may reasonably be requested of you by the Head of PE.

The ideal candidate will possess:

  • Coaching experience preferably within S&C and/or with youth athletes
  • Graduate qualifications in Sports Science and/or Strength and Conditioning (or working towards these) and REPS Level 3 Personal Training Qualifications.
  • Good knowledge of S&C principles including strength training, speed, agility and Olympic lifting.
  • Comfortable in a team sport environment, coaching and managing large groups
  • Excellent ability to communicate with young people and other members of staff.
  • Strong work ethic, punctual, reliable and committed to personal development
  • Willingness to learn and develop as an S&C coach
  • Desire to complete the UKSCA accreditation
  • Computer literacy including Ofice, especially Excel & Word.

In addition, this strength & conditioning internship will provide you with:

  • Practical experience operating within S&C in a multisport environment.
  • Knowledge & experience within S&C to assist in obtaining employment.
  • Career CPD including in-house workshops and networking opportunities.
  • Mentoring for UKSCA accreditation
  • Experience and knowledge of how to implement S&C in a comprehensive school
  • Opportunity for research projects


To apply: Please contact James Baker via email for an intial discussion about the post. Following this an application form and interview will be required –


Pacey Performance Podcast – Football Special Edition

Pacey Performance Podcast – Football Special Edition

Featuring Nick Grantham, Ross Burbeary and Nathan Winder

I had the pleasure yesterday of having a great chat on the phone with Rob Pacey, host of the Pacey Performance Podcast. He’s pulled together some phenomenal interviews with a number of world class coaches! It’s well worth listening to in order to gain an insight into the minds of some of leading coaches in our industry.

Check out all the podcasts either on iTunes or on Rob’s website –

If you are interested in developing your career and your coaching network whilst learning more from Nick Grantham join him at our CPD workshops for S&C coaches, PTs and Sports Coaches on February 21st and 22nd in Gloucester.

The full details and booking information are available on the following links.

Physical Prep for Performance – 21/2/2015 (Full Day):

Sessions include: The art & science of coaching, Programme Design 101 / Goldilocks Principle, Core Concepts – Reducing Energy Leaks & Metabolic Mayhem: Modern Methods of Energy System Development.

Speed, Agility and Change of Direction – 22/2/2015 (0.5 day)

There is also a MEGA bundle deal available that has the above two workshops plus a full day workshop on Youth S&C System / LTAD with Ian Jeffreys on 13/6/15 which is only £145 for all 3 workshops, there are only 5 of these tickets available.

Fundamentals of Speed Development

Enhancing speed is a complex challenge for coaches with many different factors that combine to make someone fast. When I talk to coaches speed development and agility are probably the areas that most feel least confident in.

Check out this awesome tweet by Dr Brad DeWeese that summarises all the contributing factors:

I thought I’d write this article to share some of the concepts I keep in mind when I think about making people faster and the training methods I utilise to optimise strength, power and speed. When it comes to speed development I am definitely someone who is still digging and learning.

Important things I keep in mind….

  1. Acceleration = force/mass

How well we accelerate is in one part down to how much force we can produce (max strength) and how quickly we can produce it (power).

The second factor the athletes mass – how heavy they are and what the composition of that mass  (lean muscle vs body fat) is has as big an impact on how quickly someone will get off the mark.



  1. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction

There are a couple of important things that we must consider with his point.

Direction & Angle of Force Application

When accelerating we want to go FORWARD so we muboltst apply force BACKWARD into the ground, which is why in the early phase of sprinting there is a much greater lean angle than in maximal velocity running. In maximal velocity running vertical force becomes increasingly important as we must overcome our bodyweight and gravitational forces.

In acceleration, the goal must be to produce the maximum horizontal force whilst minimising forces in all other directions (particularly vertical).

The ability to produce force horizontally is the most important factor in successful sprinting.

Amount & Rate of Force Production

In addition to the direction and angle of force application, how much & how quickly you can produce at each ground contact is very important.

If you are weak, when your muscles contract you can only put a relatively LOW force into the ground behind you, you will end up with less propulsion into the direction you want to go (in this case forward) in comparison to if you are stronger and more powerful and you can put a HIGH force into the ground.

Our approach to enhancing speed

As I have mentioned in previous articles the methods we use for developing speed have been heavily influenced by the likes of Lee Taft (, Nick Winkelman of Team EXOS, Mike Young, Mike Boyle and Ian Jeffreys to name just a few. Below is a summary of ten points which are fundamental to our speed training philosophy at this point in time. Is it perfect? I’m sure it’s not, but it has produced some good results with our athletes thus far and we are continually evaluating it and trying to improve it.

  1. Know your athlete – assess relative strength, power (squat jump, vertical jump & depth jump), body composition, ranges of movement at key joints and make sure you actually watch them sprinting. In fact video them sprinting so you can watch it in slow motion, pause it and check their technique in the different phases.
  2. To steal Jeremy Sheppard’s phrase “Pigs don’t fly” – if your athlete is carrying excess body fat, you need to address this quickly. At this point in the words of Nick Winkelman “your best speed coach is your nutritionist”. According to Ralph Mann for elite sprinters anything over 7% is hugely detrimental to sprint performance due to the fact it massively increases the vertical force production demands on the athlete.
  3. For novice and weaker athletes – aim to improve strength relative to their body weight. Using basic strength exercises – squats, deadlifts, split squats, push and pull exercises, trunk strength (for effective force transfer)
  4. For strong athletes – aim to improve the rate of force production (power) using loaded jumps (squat jumps, trap bar jumps, Olympic lifts and derivatives), plyometrics (jumping, leaping, hopping, bounding), medicine ball throws.
  5. Bear in mind that the general strength and power exercises outlined above used to optimise total force production have a vertical emphasis. We must include exercises that emphasise horizontal force production as this has been shown to be the separating factor between good and elite sprinters. Some examples include: harness, sled sprints (we use SKLZ Speedsacs indoors), low walking lunges with the sleds, broad jumps (single and double leg), bounding.
  6. Utilise exercises like pogo jumps, ankling, vibration hops to develop stiffness at the ankle and enhance the athlete’s use of elastic energy and force transmission at ground contact.
  7. Use wall drills to set the positions you want for acceleration and maximal veloctiy, it’s a perfect opportunity to manipulate the athlete into the correct positions and establish your external coaching cues. I then use the same cues when they are actually running. For example, “snap the laces up”, “push the ground away”.
  8. Develop the athletes technique in increasingly dynamic situations and challenge co-ordination with marching/skipping drills.
  9. Assess their technique against technical models for sprinting. If it’s not optimal. Check mobility and flexibility at key joints e.g. do they have a good range of dorsi flexion at the ankle to create the a shin angle that will allow for optimal horizontal force production? Do they have the flexibility in the quadriceps to allow the ankle to pass over the knee in the recovery phase? If flexibility is not an issue it could be a strength/power problem or a co-ordination issue and you’ll need to address it accordingly.
  10. If you want to get faster you MUST run fast. Give your athletes an opportunity to sprint (start short and build distances over time). We use competitive sprints & timed sprints. Our timing system is out most weeks and it’s seriously addictive, the athletes get super competitive with themselves and others. Start positions will vary depending on the weeks emphasis e.g. Linear or Multi-directional and the athlete’s sport.

Do you want to become a better coach of speed, agility and change of direction? Join Nick Grantham at this Speed & Agility Clinic Feb 22nd 2015. Limited spaces available.

We also have 8 MEGA Bundles available that give you access to both of Nick’s workshops (Speed Clinic & Physical Preparation for Performance) and Ian Jeffrey’s Future Champions for just £125. Click here to get one of the last tickets!

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Earlier this month we Nick GranthamIan Jeffreyslaunched the incredible MEGA bundle giving you 3 awesome workshops with 2 world class coaches – Nick Grantham & Ian Jeffreys (worth £225 at the full prices seperately).

Needless to say they got snapped up in record time!

Those coaches who took action are now looking forward to enjoying 2.5 days of incredible learning from two of the UK’s leading S&C coaches made up of the following workshops:

Workshop 1: Nick Grantham’s Physical Preparation for Performance: An Athletic Approach (21/2/2015)

Workshop 2: Nick Grantham’s Speed, Agility & Change of Direction Clinic (0.5 Day – 22/2/2015)

Workshop 3: Ian Jeffrey’s Future Champions (13/06/2015)

Within hours of the last MEGA bundle being SOLD OUT I had received a number of emails from coaches who had missed out! I sat and thought about it for an hour and why I set out on this workshop venture and it is because I wanted to provide coaches in this region and surrounding regions the chance to learn from the best coaches from around the world without having the expense of travelling the globe to see them.

I remain 100% committed to doing that! So I’ve decided to extend the MEGA bundle deal…

For those of you out there that missed out and are dedicated to getting better as a coach & are ready to take ACTION now to get your place…

We have 5 MEGA BUNDLE tickets available will give you access to ALL 3 workshops for just £145 a HUGE saving of £80! That’s less than £50 per workshop which I know you will agree is an absolute bargain!

When they are gone, they are gone and this is definitely the last time they will be available at this price. The last bundle deal was sold out in just over 3 days so don’t hang about if you are considering booking! 




Physical Preparation for Performance

Speed, Agility & Change of Direction Clinic

Motivation by Design…


Motivation by Design

What is the difference between a good coach and an outstanding coach?

If we were to question a hundred PTs / S&C coaches on the science of what we should be doing when trying to develop any component of fitness & why we are doing it we would get similar information from all of them.

Yet if you gave each of those coaches the same group of people you would get different results. Why?

A lot of it is down to the art of coaching and HOW each individual coach works. Getting results is about more than just putting a programme together, you’ve got to get your message across and even more importantly it must get through.

The following are some examples of elements that in my experience can have a big impact upon the success you will see from a programme.

    • Constructing the sessions / tasks to enhance motivation
    • Communicating using appropriate instructional cues (external vs internal cueing)
    • Providing feedback on performance (timing and frequency)
    • Building rapport with the athletes/clients to get their buy in
    • Creating a culture of high standards and accountability

In this post I want to focus specifically on session and task design and how it can impact up on motivation.

A Case Study example

A fellow teacher, has introduced 6 minutes of CV fitness work ahead of skill based Core PE lessons to begin addressing the issue of low cardiovascular fitness levels, as the pupils don’t/won’t do it in their own time. His structure thus far has been 3 minutes continuous & 3 minutes interval and it’s been pretty good in terms of the effect it is having on the CV fitness of the students but for me it has reinforced the importance of the task and session/lesson design in engaging and motivating participants.

I’ve watched a number of the lessons where it’s been done and I was amazed that when challenged to work hard on the 3 minute run at a steady pace the majority simply cannot or will not maintain the intensity, either due to the fact they aren’t fit enough, motivated enough or they do not have the mental toughness to maintain the intensity.

However, on the interval section he sets them a target e.g. sprint past 2-3 cones (each approx. 15-20m apart) and then walk 1 cone for recovery. They run in this fashion for the second three minutes. The difference in the working intensity is incredible. Even the most unfit pupils will absolutely bust a gut on the sprint, take their recovery and blast it again as soon as they hit the cone.

Seeing the continuous block and interval block back to back is where it became so clear that the session/task design were having a huge impact on the participants’ motivation and engagement.

So why the difference in motivation & engagement?

As a teacher or coach it is very important (in my opinion) that we understand underpinning theories of motivation, to ensure we get the best out of the pupils/athletes/clients we are in contact with.
One such theory is the Self-determination theory of motivation which states there are 3 aspects to creating intrinsic motivation – autonomy (choice), relatedness (task relevance) and competence (actual & perceived ability to complete the task).

Take the 3 minute run task – “Run at a steady pace for 3 minutes, no walking” this is around a 200m track. No targets or feedback (no time or distance was recorded), no choice in how to complete it, you simply must run. A lot of the pupils know their fitness levels are poor and as a result the motivation for these people will be low as their perceived competence is low. Those who fail to run continuously for 3 minutes will perceive themselves as even less competent potentially further decreasing motivation to engage the task. In terms of relatedness, do they see the relevance of running for 3 minutes non-stop for what they want to do which is generally play football or rugby? Probably not.

With the interval task it’s a much better task in terms of its design when we analyse it in the context of the self-determination theory. There are clear targets – sprint the distance between 2 cones, walk 1 cone. There is more autonomy in the task, they can choose the speed that they run and walk to suit their level of fitness (they are just told that there must be a distinct change in pace). Perceived competence is higher for all students as they literally have to run only 25-30m, before they get to walk and recover. The students when questioned were also able to see the relevance and specificity to team sports with the constant changes in pace throughout the game.

Application… some ideas on building intrinsic motivation


Autonomy (choice)

Allow people to contribute and make decisions about goals and even exercise selection (to an extent), give them a say in what they do…even if it is you giving them a choice between two things that achieve your desired outcome – e.g. a Front Squat or a Back Squat? I promise you they will be more motivated to do it, especially if it’s something they don’t particularly feel like doing!

Relatedness (relevance)


First off, how well can they relate to you as an individual? How well have you built rapport and trust with them? Just being a good person will go a long way! Take an interest in them as an individual, a human being and not just an athlete or client. Listen to them. When you tell them you will do something, make sure you do it. When you do this repeatedly they will know they can count on you.

Secondly, make sure the athlete/client understands why you are doing what you are doing and where it fits in to the big picture of what you are working towards. They don’t need an explanation that requires a master’s degree to understand though, keep it simple!


Pitch the session at the right level, allow them to be successful but challenge them, provide them with positive feedback. Then begin progressively overloading the training (if it helps explain your progressions), challenge them and build it week on week. Tools such as the Resistance Training Matrix can with leveled progressions can be good as the athlete/client can see their technical progression, but also use a training diary to track progress.

Learn more about the Art & Science of Coaching by joining one of the UK’s leading Performance Enhancement Specialists Nick Grantham ( for his Physical Preparation for Performance Workshop on the 21st February 2015. There are a limited number of spaces available, and a only few Early Bird Tickets remaining. Don’t miss out!

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