Mike Young – Off-Season & In-Season Training for Football

Check out this great presentation by Dr. Mike Young on In-season vs Off-season Football Training that he delivered whilst in Dublin last year.

We are very fortunately to have Mike joining us to deliver an exclusive workshop in the UK which will be a combination of lecture and hands-on workshop over 2 days. Mike will be sharing his thoughts on how to integrate all of the sports sciences (motor learning, physiology, biomechanics, muscle mechanics, training theory) to develop speed and power.  The workshop will be appropriate for athletes and coaches in both individual and team sports.

If you like what you’ve seen and want to be a part of this unmissable event you can book your place right here.


Mike Young – An Integrated Approach to Speed & Power Development

mike young athletic lab

Mike Young – An Integrated Approach to Speed & Power Development

Be part of a unique & exclusive event that sees world renowned fitness coach Mike Young deliver his first UK workshop over two days with Proformance Strength & Conditioning at Hartpury College.

Mike will be walking you through his integrated approach to developing speed and power with his athletes.

Workshop 1: An Integrated Science Based Approach to Speed Development 

  1. Fundamental concepts of speed (90 min lecture)
  2. Motor learning based drills, cues and strategies for a powerful acceleration
  3. Motor learning based drills, cues and strategies for maximizing top end speed
  4. Fundamental concepts for enhancing deceleration, change of direction and agility (60 min lecture)
  5. Drills & skills for deceleration and stopping efficiently
  6. Learning to change direction at speed
  7. Considerations for developing sport appropriate speed, reaction and change of direction training
Workshop 2: Building a Bigger Engine for Speed and Power
  1. Fundamental considerations for strength & conditioning for athletes (60 minute lecture)
  2. Squat, press, pull teaching progressions
  3. Olympic lifting teaching progressions
  4. Understanding the role of strength and power development for speed (45 minute lecture)
  5. Special and specific strength methods to enhance accelerative power
  6. Plyometric methods to enhance low end power for acceleration
  7. Specific exercises and methods to enhance eccentric power for top speed
  8. Plyometric methods to enhance leg stiffness for top speed
  9. Modifying olympic lift movements for speed development
  10. Specific plyometric exercises to enhance accelerative and lateral power
  11. Using complexes to enhance neuromuscular stimulus
  12. Designing the session (could be lecture or workshop style)

This really is an unmissable event for any S&C coaches working in Europe.

A rare opportunity to learn from a world leader when it comes to power and speed development. 

If that’s not enough… check out the VIP package which includes access to the VIP dinner on the evening of Saturday 30th May with Mike Young and the other VIP coaches which will offer your an incredible learning and networking opportunity (venue TBC).

We look forward to seeing you in May!


If you’ve not seen any of Mike’s phenomenal slideshares check out the links below:

A sneak peak for this weekend…

Physical Preparation for Performance

We are all set! All the finishing touches have been applied and we can’t wait to get into the first of our workshop series running in 2015…

Here is a sneak peak for what the weekend ahead holds for those coaches enrolled with us for a weekend learning with Nick Grantham! Check it out!


2015 “Meeting of the Minds” Conference

2015 conf-1

2015 “Meeting of the Minds” Conference

In case you’ve not seen this yet I wanted to share it with you, I’ve just booked up to this online conference being run by Brendan Chaplin and his team of coaches.

I am sure you are as excited as me when you see the list of the people you could be learning from in what is quite possibly the year’s best conference line up….

Here are the twelve master coaches, set to hit your computer screens in March 2015!

The guest of honour: one of the world’s foremost experts in Strength and Conditioning

Director of Education for EXOS

One of the world-leading experts in GPS and performance monitoring

World-class strength and conditioning coach to Olympic athletes

Women’s Head Coach at USA Gymnastics World (previous National Director of Education for the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Colorado Springs)

Senior strength and conditioning coach with the English Institute of Sport and coach with the England Hockey Programme at Bishop Abbey


Writer, athlete and coach (played in All-America baseball team)


Head of Athletic Performance at the Greater Western Sydney Giants in the Australian Football League

Former college strength and conditioning coach (former director of the Total Performance Training Centres in Michigan)

Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Glasgow Warriors.

Nationally recognised leader in the area of sports development (awarded “Under Armor Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year” by the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Society)

I’m sure you will agree this is a phenomenal line up and even better for a busy coach is the fact you don’t have to find time or have the expense of travelling across the country to see them.

Included in the package are recordings of all the conference presentations which means you’ll be refer back to them at a later date!


Movement Is Your Weapon


Movement is your Weapon


When you step on to the field of play your sport specific skills and your movement skills are your weapons to defend and attack against the opposition. Do you want to go to war with one weapon or an array of different weapons with different functions that are fit for different purposes? Carlin Isles (USA Rugby 7’s) is a man with an abundance of movement skills at his disposal (and ridiculous pace to boot!) that he can call up on and utilise to suit different scenarios such as the one in the video above.

A lot of young people I have worked with have spent many years practising and honing their sport specific skills but few have been exposed to really high quality movement training. When they arrive with us they often do not have a broad selection of movement skills to utilise. Many favour one or two specific movements often to a favoured side of the body making them more predictable.

Building the arsenal

U.S. Army soldiers and its M2A2 Bradley fighting vehicles take part in the U.S.-South Korea joint military exercise against possible attacks by North Korea, at a shooting range near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju

As a coach it’s important to develop a knowledge of all the basic movement patterns that an athlete will need in their tool box, and then systematically work through them teaching the athlete the correct way to execute them.

I’m a big fan of Ian Jeffreys’ 3 categories of target movements for developing locomotive agility:

INITIATION MOVEMENTS – i.e. starting or changing direction 

Example movements include the hip turn, drop step, speed cut, power/sharp cut, directional step, acceleration pattern.

TRANSITION MOVEMENTS – i.e. waiting to react, in motion or deceleration

Example movements include the athletic positions (static & dynamic), jockeying, controlled running, side shuffle, back pedal, plant/chop to athletic position (deceleration)

ACTUALISATION MOVEMENTS – i.e. acceleration, max speed or curved running

I want my athletes to be able to perform all of these movements effectively. This would initially be under closed conditions then progressing to patterned closed conditions before challenging them under progressively more random, open and reactive situations that mirror the demands, patterns and stimuli they will have to react to in their sports.

“Position, Pattern, Power”

ebarc-main-pyramid-113012An athlete’s ability to execute each agility movement properly is not only down to their knowledge and understanding of the movement their problems/errors/faults could be caused by a number of different factors in the same way that their linear running mechanics can be effected.

Listening to Nick Winkelman of EXOS at the UKSCA conference he shared various elements of the EXOS system, one of which was – Position, Pattern, Power.

This is a great way of looking at the key factors that will impact on the execution of a movement.

  1. Does the athlete have the flexibility, mobility and stability to get into the optimal position to execute the movement skill effectively?
  2. Does the athlete have the co-ordination to produce the optimal technique for each movement consistently?
  3. Does the athlete have the strength and power qualities to produce and reduce force in a manner than allows them to accelerate, decelerate and re-accelerate effectively?

It could be any combination of these factors holding them back and with a comprehensive athlete profiling system in place you should be able to identify the areas that need to be addressed.

Find the Challenge Point

In my experience as we progress the complexity of speed and agility tasks (closed > patterned > open > reactive) there comes a point for each athlete where their execution of the skill will break down as the task is beyond their current capabilities. We do not want to reinforce bad movement patterns so we need to find the point at which they are being optimally challenged.

At the optimal point you will most likely see a mixture of success and failure, with the execution of the movement appearing inconsistent, sometimes great other times not so. It is tempting when you see the inconsistencies to try and intervene all the time and provide feedback. I’ve definitely been guilty of over coaching and overloading the athletes with too much information in the past and I now limit the detail and frequency of feedback, with a preference toward external cueing of movements and allowing athletes to have a go without me interrupting!

Optimising Learning through Language

What we say as coaches and how we instruct has been shown through research to effect how well  people learn and retain movement skills.

External cues have been shown to be more effective in helping athletes learn motor skills than internal focused cues.

External cues take the direct the athletes attention away from specific body positions, preventing paralysis by over analysis of their own movement and position/co-ordination of limbs.

Here’s an example of the differences for teaching the Athletic Position (credit to Lee Taft for some of these – if you’ve not checked out his DVDs you should!)


External Internal
“Get in the tunnel” or “Imagine you’re in a room with a very low ceiling” “Bend at your ankles, knees and hips”
“I should be able to slide my credit card under your heels” “Weight on forefoot, heels slightly raised off the floor”
“Show me the logo on your t shirt” “Back straight, chest up, spine in neutral”
“Get your feet on the train tracks” “Feet between hip and shoulder width”


When selecting the external cues that you utilize it’s important to consider your audience, for example if you are using analogies then make sure they are relevant. If you want to learn more about external cueing I’d recommend checking out this book – Attention and Motor Skill Learning by Gabriele Wulf it’s not cheap but definitely worth the investment.

To help coaches further develop their knowledge and ability to deliver high quality agility training we are also running a speed, agility and change of direction clinic with Nick Grantham on Sunday Feb 22nd 2015. 

In this practical 0.5-day clinic Nick will explore key topics in speed, agility and change of direction training, including: The difference between agility and change of direction, the sub-qualities of speed, physical preparation strategies for speed, agility and change of direction, programmed and random decision making agility training and CHAOS training.

This is an essential workshop for all students of strength and conditioning or exercise science, as well as any coach or trainer working with to improve their athletes speed, agility and change of direction.



Nick Grantham Q&A Session

imageNick Grantham – Q&A Session

OK so we’re just 2 weeks away from Nick Grantham’s workshops in Gloucestershire, and to say we’re excited is an understatement!

At the end of the Physical Preparation for Performance on the Saturday we are running a Q&A session where you will have to opportunity to ask Nick any questions you have about what has been covered through the day and any other S&C related questions.

Nick’s career spans 17 years and 4 Olympic cycles where he has been trusted to prepare elite athletes from 35 different sports. So you don’t want to miss this opportunity to have your S&C questions answered by one of the country’s leading coaches!

So… what we want to know is what are YOUR questions for Nick?

Send us your questions either via twitter to @proformanceteam using the hashtag #NickGQandA or by posting your questions to the comments box below on this page and we will get Nick to answer them on the day.

If you’ve still not booked your place on the workshops, now is the time to do it as we only have a couple of places left available for both Physical Preparation for Performance and the Speed, Agility & Change of Direction we look forward to seeing you there!