Webinar Series #5 Brett Bartholomew – Building Buy-In


Webinar Series #5 Brett Bartholomew – Building Buy-In


Following a great webinar by Nick Grantham last week, we’re keeping up momentum with another great opportunity to learn from another leader in the field of S&C – Brett Bartholomew (formerly of EXOS, now at Unbreakable out in LA)

Building Buy-In will offer you an opportunity to learn strategies to build better relationships with your athletes and how “Building Buy-In” became a big part of Brett’s coaching philosophy to complement his programme design methods.

Brett will be discussing how you can go about communicating more effectively with athletes by giving consideration to learning and communication styles in order to get everyone on the same page.

This promises to be an outstanding opportunity to develop your skill set through the webinar series, you can watch it for the next 7 days below:

If you’ve enjoyed the webinar series so far, why not check out our upcoming live events:

Upcoming UK based event: Child To Champion: LTAD conference in the UK (Apr 9-10th)

Upcoming US based event: High Performance Athletic Development Clinic feat. Boo Schexnayder (May 28-29th) @ Athletic Lab, Cary, NC.



Webinar Series #4 Nick Grantham- ‘Computer Says No!’

Nick Grantham Webinar – ‘Computer Says No!’


On Thursday evening Nick Grantham delivered a webinar for us looking at the impact technology has had on coaching and shared his experiences (good and bad) working with a range of sports using all kinds of technology. I’ll share specific examples from his work with Olympic Gymnasts, International Netball and Basketball teams, professional football (EPL) and professional golf.

The question that Nick posed at the start of the webinar was, Have we forgotten how to coach?

Some coaches may be in danger of forgetting how to coach, influenced by numbers they forget that there’s an athlete behind the data.

Check out the webinar below and let us know what us know what you think.




#ChildToChampion: Ian Jeffreys’ Effective Movement In Sport Overview

Ian Jeffreys


#ChildToChampion – Ian Jeffreys – Effective Movement In Sport: What is it & How To Coach It.

Effective movement is a critical element of elite sports performance, allowing an athlete to maximize their technical and tactical capabilities. In S&C this capability is normally encapsulated in the terms speed and agility, but do these terms actually convey what an athlete needs to develop.

As our academic understanding of the fields have developed there is a danger that we miss the big picture and our practices become removed from the tasks an athlete has to perform in a sport. Adding further complexity is the complex nature of agility, with effective performance being steeped in multiple disciplines, with none able to fully explain agility performance.

This presentation will look at the challenges facing the development of effective agility, and how this needs to be viewed as a journey towards effective movement; a journey with a clear destination and facilitated by the delivery of effective practice at all stages.

For those of you that have had the pleasure of seeing Ian present, you will know this is going to be an unmissable presentation, crucially he is also delivering a practical component to give you plenty of movement training ideas to take home and use in your own coaching immediately! 

If you’d like to be there for Ian’s presentation along with the other top speakers you can book  using the ticketing system below and if you want more info you can see the full conference schedule here

mike young athletic lab

Child To Champion: Dr. Mike Young’s Presentation Overviews

With the Child To Champion LTAD Conference fast approaching Dr. Mike Young has confirmed the details for his three presentations across the weekend. Having spent a lot of time with Mike last year during his workshop, talking about training and listening to his presentations and practicals I am really excited about this next set of presentations he is delivering. You can check out the overviews below:



Velocity Based Training Theory & Practical (Friday)

Recent developments in technology have permitted easier use of velocity based training methods. This has allowed us to add new metrics such as peak and average velocity and power outputs to our training and testing measurements. In this hands-on lecture, Dr. Young will present on the 4 primary benefits of using velocity based training and give practical applications to incorporate velocity based metrics in to your training and testing. He will discuss best practices for data management, training and testing logistics, and how to incorporate velocity based training in to training on a daily basis to monitor physical readiness and auto-regulate training.


Best Practices for Developing Speed Across  the Developmental Continuum (Saturday)

Speed is a critical component to practically every sport and you can never be too fast. In this lecture, Dr. Young will present on how to best develop speed across the developmental continuum from youth all the way up through elite and professional. The lecture will delve in to the neuromechanics of speed and how different physical capacities should have varying roles of importance over the course of an athlete’s long term speed development training. Dr. Young will pull from his experience of working with both developmental and elite athletes in individual (athletics, bobsleigh) and team (soccer, rugby, American football) settings.


Advanced Techniques for Developing Elite Strength & Power (Sunday)

This presentation will focus on advanced means and methods to help your athletes reach their full potential. The lecture will cater to athletes on the more advanced and mature side of the LTAD continuum who are looking for the final pieces of the training puzzle to reach the next step in performance. Dr. Young will provide examples and techniques he has used with his elite athletes to maximize strength and power.

If you haven’t booked your ticket to the conference yet, don’t miss out on the early bird ticket price of just £185 per person, as those tickets are quickly running out. You can check out the full line up of speakers and grab a ticket here. or book using the ticketing system below

For a taster of the level of expertise you can expect from Dr. Mike Young at the conference you can also check out this trailer from his weekend workshop with us last year…

Future Leader Confirmed: Kevin Paxton – Leicester City FC

kevinpaxtonLCFCWhen we set out on a mission to build the LTAD conference we also totally committed to offering up and coming coaches in the field of Athletic Development the chance to showcase their work.

We are very pleased to be able to confirm Kevin Paxton from Leicester City FC as our first successful Future Leader applicant.

Mike & I have both checked out the slide deck and I spoke to Kevin last week about his presentation ‘Age-Related Performance Benchmarking’ and it promises to be an excellent presentation showcasing the great work being done at Leicester City FC in their Academy set up. 

Kevin will be providing a detailed insight to what the top young footballers in the country are capable of from a physical stand point across the age groups and how they use the testing data to better inform their programmes and assess the success of the department as a whole.

We are currently working through all the other applications and whilst we initially only had one space lined up we’ve decided to expand it due to the quality of the applicants. The final deadline for applications is this Friday, 19th February.

If you are interested in attending to see Kevin’s presentation along with the other great presenters we still have a limited number of Early Bird Tickets available for the conference which you can book here.


Child To Champion Full Weekend Line Up

Child To Champion Full Weekend Line Up Announced…

We are really pleased to be able to announce a more complete weekend schedule for the upcoming LTAD conference. When we set out on our mission to build the Proformance S&C network of education events, our main aim was to help coaches improve their practise and further their careers in the field of athletic development.

To achieve this we have set out to provide opportunities for you to:

1) Learn from leaders in the field of strength and conditioning in both a theoretical and hands-on, practical settings. Ensuring you can effectively apply what you learn to your own practise.

2) Build a network, connecting you with other great coaches that you can share ideas and best practises with.

3) Enhance your profile within the industry through our Future Leaders Programme. Through this programme we provide up and coming coaches the chance to present alongside our keynote speakers at our events.

With the following line up we have assembled and the organisations already represented at the event including a number of Premier League Football Clubs, we are confident Child To Champion is a conference that you don’t want to miss.

To make it more accessible we have also just released a limited number of single day tickets for the Saturday and Sunday which you can buy here or at the bottom of the page. Check out the full line up below:

Friday 8th April Pre-Conference 6-8pm

Velocity Based Training Workshop with Dr. Mike Young

Mike has adopted Velocity Based Training technology at his facility in the US (www.athleticlab.com) so he can share with you his experiences on how to get the most out the technology we now have at our disposal.The session will provide a unique opportunity to work with Mike in both a theory and hands-on practical setting where you will get to use VBT technology which will allow you to gain a deeper appreciation of how to effectively apply and use it with your athletes and teams.

Access to the pre-conference workshop is FREE to full weekend conference attendees

Saturday 9th April 2016 – 9am – 5.30pm


Dr. Rhodri Lloyd – Plyometric Training and the Young Athlete

Rhodri is currently a senior lecturer in strength and conditioning and the Programme Director for the BSc Sports Conditioning, Rehabilitation and Massage (SCRAM) degree at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Rhodri is a qualified physical education teacher, accredited strength and conditioning coach with both the UKSCA and NSCA and has consulted on the long-term athletic development pathways of professional sports organisations including the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Lawn Tennis Association.


Ian Jeffreys

Dr. Ian Jeffreys –  Effective movement in sport – What it is and how to build it (theory & practical sessions)

Effective movement is a critical element of elite sports performance, allowing an athlete to maximize their technical and tactical capabilities. This presentation & practical will look at the challenges facing the development of effective agility, and how this needs to be viewed as a journey towards effective movement; a journey with a clear destination and facilitated by the delivery of effective practice at all stages.


Shayne Murphy – Peak Height Velocity & Injury

Shayne will be presenting some of his research within the Manchester City Academy which investigated the relationship between injuries and peak height velocity in their young players. The results found helped us understand this cohort better and consequently had a positive influence on the training processes with this age group.



Dr. Mike Young – Best Practises For Developing Speed Across the Developmental Continuum

We’re super excited to have Mike back with us, after the outstanding workshop he ran for us in May 2015. Mike will be discussing the best practises for developing speed at the different stages through the developmental continuum.


Dr. Neill Potts – Head of Athletic Performance for Scottish Rugby 

Neill will be providing a detailed insight into the system he has implemented with the SRU from the Academy to Elite/International Level. It promises to be an incredible talk looking at the various stages with in the programme and challenges he has faced putting the system in place to produce a number of International Rugby players for Scotland.

Sunday 10th April 2016 9am – 5pm


Simon Brundish – Move Like A Superhero

Simon has developed progressive programme of movement skills, fundamental to the development of body control and movement efficiency, the times tables of movement. Giving children the tools to use in sports specific actions such as running, jumping, catching, kicking and throwing, Developed from elite sports to provide a structured long term athletic development pathway for 5 year olds through to their pubescent years of physical development for use in both Primary schools and youth sports teams.

James Baker – Building An Athletic Foundation

James will be providing an insight to the Elite Performance Pathway system implemented at St. Peter’s R.C. High School as part of their secondary physical education programme. James will be discussing how he has applied the latest research and created a progressive system to provide a strong foundation of strength, power, speed & agility for secondary school age athletes to set them up for their progression into high level training environments.

Kevin Paxton – Age-Related Performance Benchmarking
(Leicester City FC) 

Kevin has joined us through our Future Leaders Programme, and has pulled together a super presentation looking at age-specific performance benchmarking that they utilise at the Leicester City FC who play in the English Premier League. Having seen the slide deck for this already we know it’s going to be a knockout lecture!

TOmRUsgaEISTom Rusga – The Complex Developing Athlete

Tom will be providing an insight to Dynamic Systems theory and how he has applied practically to his work with GB Hockey at the English Institute of Sport.


Mike Young – Advanced Techniques for Developing Elite Speed & Power

During this session Mike will be providing you with a detailed insight to the advanced techniques he utilises to develop elite levels of speed and power, building on from the presentations earlier in the day to provide you with a tool box of training methods to provide you with the necessary ideas to develop athletes across the entire continuum.

There are also another couple of speakers that are yet to be added to the programme who will be joining through the Future Leaders Programme. Keep an eye out for further up dates to the line up.

FREE Pre-Conference Workshop: Velocity Based Training with Dr. Mike Young


Well just in case two days of learning from leaders in the field of strength and conditioning at our Child To Champion LTAD Conference wasn’t enough we’ve just confirmed an AWESOME pre-conference workshop on Velocity Based Training with Dr. Mike Young on Friday 8th April between 6pm-8pm.

Mike has adopted Velocity Based Training technology at his facility in the US (www.athleticlab.com) so he can share with you his experiences on how to get the most out the technology we now have at our disposal.

The session will provide a unique opportunity to work with Mike in both a theory and hands-on practical setting where you will get to use VBT technology which will allow you to gain a deeper appreciation of how to effectively apply and use it with your athletes and teams.

Access to the pre-conference workshop is FREE to conference attendees, to take advantage of this exclusive offer you can check out the full line up and sign up here!

3 BIG reasons why our early LTAD programmes, didn’t make it to the long term!

3 BIG reasons why our early long term athlete development programmes, didn’t make it to the long term!


Long Term Athlete Development is a phrase we hear a lot now.

It’s certainly a phrase I’ve used a lot for the past 8 years, but when I really reflect on the early days of running what we were calling LTAD/Youth S&C programmes, they didn’t make it to the point where they could really be called long term, for a number of reasons.

#1 People didn’t understand S&C / LTAD programmes

People were less aware of S&C back in 2008, what the high level/elite guys were doing was not as visible on social media platforms and there were less people engaged in strength and conditioning. When it came to working with younger athletes I much more frequently encountered the traditional ‘myths’ from concerned parents – “Isn’t that dangerous?” and “Will it stunt their growth?. At times we simply did not get the parental buy-in required to convince them to invest in a long-term programme, so our contact with the athlete may only have been 8 to 10 weeks, limiting the progress that could be made.

#2 Competition with sport-specific training schedules

Getting a regular time slot with a talented athlete in their weekday evenings can be nearly impossible, especially when they perceive their sports-specific training to be the be all and end all of their development.

That evening time slot between 4-7pm was chaotic for most of the teenage boys and girls – it could be any of the following that would need to be negotiated around: schools clubs and fixtures, local clubs and fixtures and representative (e.g. district/county/regional) training and fixtures.

As much as I tried and educate parents and athletes of the value or S&C as well as rest and recovery the pressure to be involved in all the training sessions and games was huge from all the different parties.

The result was less consistency on the physical development process, less progress, working around a great number of injuries or having athletes arriving completely fried at sessions limiting what we could do.

3# I got it wrong!

Something I’ve learnt from my time teaching at school, is that sometimes when something goes wrong in a lesson it can quite often be down to you NOT the pupil or athlete.

When I look back at my involvement in these LTAD programmes and the battle to engage athletes and parents for the long haul, I’m certain I got it wrong, not them. Even though at the time I was couldn’t understand why they didn’t want to train.
The bottom line is, whilst my programmes were effective they didn’t do a lot to excite or enthuse the younger athlete or I hadn’t done a good enough job of helping athletes to understand what we were going to do; why we were doing it, how it was relevant to them and how it was going to help them.

Fortunately, I learnt from my mistakes and I’ve now managed to build a much more successful LTAD programme. So what did I change?

Painting the BIG picture

I began taking more time to educate the athletes and engage with the parents to explain the different stages of our LTAD systems and the relevance of the different aspects of the programme, in a way they could understand and relate to has been a big step forward in improving engagement in our programme. We also tailor our focus points to the recipient of the message.

Rather than talking to kids about the long-term health of their spine as they maintain their neutral spine, I save that conversation for the parents to explain why it’s safe for their daughter to be squatting more than her Dad. Also, we always relate back to the big picture of where similar movements/positions occur in their sports and how the exercise will help them perform better.

Another important part of the big picture is understanding what I call Point B. For each key physical variable – strength, power, speed and agility we paint a clear picture of where they need to get to and what they need to do to get there.

Introducing A Games Based Approach

For me there’s an art to making sessions ‘fun’ and ensuring it’s still achieving some of your important outcomes. What I’ve come to appreciate over the years is that whilst I love pure S&C and getting super geeky about the technical intricacies of squatting, cleaning and snatching, kids often do not!

What I have introduced over the last few years is a game based element to my programmes (especially with the youngest groups) around a foundation of strength work. For example, this week alone our athletes have played tag games, speed games, chase games, relay races and even tackled this Ninja Warrior course:

Whilst on face value it may appear that we are just having fun, the games/play elements are selected because they challenge certain movement patterns in an open environment or a different physical or skill related quality that we aren’t getting from our foundation strength work.

The Impact

The impact of implementing these changes, along with a few others, has been huge. What it has enabled us to do is achieve a much higher level of engagement from the athletes in the programme. At the school I am based at now we have in the region of 120 athletes training regularly each week. With this greater consistency have come better results in the key physical performance elements: strength, power, speed and agility. With better results and the data to evidence it we’ve seen even further engagement and interest in the training process from athletes and their parents.

James will be presenting on his approach to ‘Building An Athletic Foundation’ at the Child to Champion: LTAD Conference on the 9th and 10th April in Gloucester. Where leaders from the field of S&C, including Dr. Mike Young, Dr. Rhodri Lloyd, Dr. Ian Jeffreys and Dr. Neill Potts, are also coming together to present tried and tested systems and training methods that have been successfully applied at all stages of the developmental continuum from primary school right through to the elite international level. Find out more here!