The Impact of S&C In Schools – An Athlete Case Study

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The Impact of S&C In Schools – An Athlete Case Study


There is no doubt in my mind that all schools should be working towards implementing a long term athlete development pathway. In schools, we have the more time than anyone to be able to positively impact up on young athletes.

We are at a point in time where the physical capabilities of young people are much lower than they used to be in a large number of cases.

Whilst many are actively playing in sport and developing sport specific skills, most are not being exposed to high quality movement training that enables them to develop a high level of athleticism to support their technical tactical development.

The Elite Performance Pathway

We have just completed the second academic year where we have delivered an in-curriculum Strength & Conditioning programme at Key Stage 4 (14-16 years old – Year 10 & Year 11).

Athletes on the programme receive 5 hours support across a two week timetable and are exposed to high quality training. We have developed a curriculum / pathway that covers movement preparation, strength training, jump/plyometric training, linear acceleration and top end speed, change of direction speed, agility and energy system development. In addition, they have completed psychological preparation workshops.

What the time in the school timetable provides is an incredible level of consistency, they have to turn up like they do to English & Maths. So what we’ve got is consistency beyond which I’ve ever been able to achieve with young athletes before.

When working as an external coach in schools previously, attendance at after school sessions was always variable due to other commitments in the evening, issues with travel getting to & from the sessions and clashes with sport specific training/fixtures.

The Impact

So people can understand the positive impact this type of programme can have I have included a real athlete profile of one of our 15 year old Rugby Players from this academic year.

Pre-training (Sept 2014)

Weight 64.1kg
10m Sprint – 1.96sec
Squat 10RM – 30kg
Bench 10RM – 30kg

Squat Jump* 35.8cm
Countermovement Jump* 47cm
Depth Jump (12″)* 39.4cm

*March 2015 measured with a Jump Mat

Post-training (July 2015)

Weight 64.5kg
10m Sprint – 1.81sec (-0.14sec)
Squat 10RM – 90kg (+60kg)
Bench 10RM – 65kg (+35kg)

Squat Jump 47cm (+11cm)
Counter Movement Jump 51.3cm (+4.3cm)
Depth Jump (12″) 46.7cm (+7.3cm)

There is still a long way to go with this athlete but what we have managed to put in place over the last 10 months is a foundation of strength to build up on over the next couple of years he is with us on the programme.

Another exciting development is that we are moving towards having a similar amount of time in the timetable at Key Stage 3 from September. We have been worked with an 11-14 year olds already but with much less time and consistency due to it being an extra-curricular session but we are really excited to see what the next academic year brings.

You can check out a more detailed insight to our school based LTAD system here with the full article featured in the UKSCA’s Professional Strength and Conditioning Journal.

Interested in joining other coaches to discuss LTAD? Check out the upcoming conference Child To Champion where a wide range of practitioners are coming together to present from different stages of the developmental continuum.

2 Lower Body Strength Exercises for Young Athletes

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2 Lower Body Strength Exercises for Young Athletes

We’ve been working hard with lots of junior athletes on the Elite Performance Pathway this year and I’ve been reflecting on things I’ve done this year that have been particularly effective with the age group when it comes to improving strength.

Enhancing the force producing capabilities of our young athletes is a big priority in the Athletic Foundation (Year 7 & 8) phase of our LTAD system. Below are two exercises that are becoming common place in this phase as the athletes learn to train to get stronger:

The Bottom Up Split Squat

Bottom Up Split Squat

In my experience lots of young athletes struggle to get in to and maintain the correct start position when learning the Split Squat, even under just their own body weight due to various issues including poor stability. I’ve found that starting them in the bottom position of the split squat and making them work up from there a more effective way of teaching them this particular exercise.

Starting in the bottom position allows you to establish a solid, stable base before they lift themselves up to initiate the movement. It’s much easier for them to adjust their foot position whilst in the kneeling lunge position, as they won’t lose their balance.

I’ve also been getting them to execute it with their arms overhead, which fixes the common problem of the torso falling forward. As they get stronger you can provide some additional resistance from a medicine ball in the overhead position or at chest height.

The Kettlebell Deadlift

kettlebell-deadlift-from-the-floor-dieselsc-com

At the minute this is probably my favourite exercise to introduce to young athletes to lower body strength training after they’ve done some body weight squatting. It strengthens the posterior chain and is great to teach them how to get into and hold an extended spine position, which is particularly useful for those athletes that ‘fold’ over when performing any kind of body weight squat.

They can also start to get stronger in this lift even with a limited ROM in their squat, and means we can start to safely enhance their lower body force producing capabilities at the same time as addressing problem areas in their flexibility and mobility.

For those struggling to learn the movement, or struggling to get into the correct start position. I’ve been raising the Kettlebell on a 15 or 20kg bumper plate to make sure they are starting with the spine in a neutral position. Alternatively, starting from standing at the top of the lift (opposite to the Bottom up Split Squat) and working down to where they are able to maintain the neutral trunk position, gradually increasing depth over reps/sets/sessions as improve ROM becomes available.

Progressions

Both exercises set us up nicely to introduce more advanced variations of the exercises in subsequent blocks/phases of training as the movement pattern is already in place with the athlete. Example exercise progressions for each exercise are:

Bottom Up Split Squat -> MB Split Squat -> DB Split Squat -> Barbell Split Squat

Kettlbell Deadlift -> Kettlebell Swing -> Trap Bar Deadlift -> Traditional Deadlift

If you are interested in learning more about best practises to develop strength, power, speed and agility for athletes across the developmental continuum, join us for #ChildToChampion in Gloucester in April.

 

Elite Performance Pathway Open Evening 15/04/2015

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forathletesEPP

 

Elite Performance Pathway Open Evening

Venue: Sports Pavilion, St. Peter’s High R.C. High School, Stroud Road, Gloucester, GL4 0DD.
Date: 15/04/2015
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm

We are running an open evening for the Elite Performance Pathway for current athletes and their parents to attend to review the progress of the programme and to outline the recent developments within the programme.

The evening is also for prospective parents and their sons/daughters that are interested in joining the Elite Performance Pathway to find out what is available to athletes who join the programme.

There will be a presentation on the structure of the programme and a chance to observe a live session with our Key Stage 4 athletes. The athletes and coaches will also be available after to chat to.

Schedule for the evening:

6.30-7.00pm Presentation for Existing Parents
7.00-7.15pm Tea & Coffee
7.15pm-8.00pm Observation of a Key Stage for EPP session
8.00-8.30pm Presentation for Prospective Parents

This is an open event, so you are welcome to bring friends and family members from around the city to come and see what is on offer from the programme.

If you are planning to attend the event please register with us below.

Open Evening

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Strength and Conditioning Internships 2015/2016

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ELITE PERFORMANCE PATHWAY INTERNSHIPS
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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

DUE TO THE AGE GROUPS YOU WILL WORK WITH, YOU MUST HAVE/OBTAIN A DBS CERTIFICATE IN ORDER TO BE APPOINTED IN THE POST.

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 – james@proformance.pro

 

#SandCinSchools Project

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#SandCinSchools Project

The opportunity…

5 years ago I started working with schools in Gloucestershire to build Gifted and Talented S&C programmes, bringing what I’d learnt through the UKSCA to everyday school children. In total, working with Ed Archer at the Athlete Academy, we established 7 such programmes in the area (some which are still running now) but the experience at times was frustrating as schools/parents weren’t able to sustain the level of funding to keep the programmes running. It made me realise there was a phenomenal opportunity to develop athletes that lay in the hands of the PE teachers, given the time they get with the kids and that they have a captive audience that is not dependent on funding to keep going.

However, then & even now the focus of most PE teachers is predominantly the development of sport specific skills.  Yes they do some fitness work but not with the kind of systematic approach required to produce high level athletes time and time again. In many cases (but not all) it’s delivered as Health & Fitness Unit of Work (6-8 weeks) that covers using a fitness suite and some circuit training.

Having worked as an external coach for years, last year I landed myself in a teacher training position and qualified as a PE teacher earlier this year. Now fully employed as a teacher and S&C coach I understand the challenges faced by schools when trying to incorporate a long term development programme, but also understand how we can get S&C into the school system and the fantastic outcomes you can see for young athletes. (See our results so far in these articles – EPP 12 months on , EPP Speed Training)

The challenges…

PE teachers face a number of challenges in implementing a long term athlete development programme:

  • Time – having the time to plan, design and implement a system that is age appropriate around the workload of planning core PE lessons and teaching exam subjects, as well as all the fixtures in the extra-curricular programme is not easy!
  • Knowledge & skills – many teachers are fantastic teachers / coaches of different sports but lack the in depth knowledge & specific skills to develop high levels of strength, power, speed and agility that are crucial to success at the highest level in a way that is age appropriate.
  • Funding – paying an external coach to deliver a high level programme will be outside of the budget of most comprehensives/grammar schools, which pushes it on the parents & pupils and then your programme is as Long Term as they are prepared to pay for it.
  • Support – You need the support of the school, your head of department, your colleagues for a system to be built and sustained.
  • Facilities – Not every school is blessed with a fully kitted out S&C suite, but that doesn’t matter lifting weights is only one method of training, and there are plenty of things you can do with just some open space, some athletes and your imagination.

Just because these obstacles are there it doesn’t mean, it can’t be achieved!

Our project…

The #SandCinSchools project is aimed at providing teachers and coaches with online training resources they can refer to and apply within their school exposing more children in the UK to the benefits of strength and conditioning and a systematic long term approach to athlete development.

We have assembled a team of qualified S&C coaches from around the UK to generate videos, articles and resources that will be published through the Proformance Strength & Conditioning website that you will be able to access. You will get to see the methods we are already using with young athletes in a school environment on our Elite Performance Pathway programmes.

We will be covering a range of topics including how to integrate S&C into PE lessons when time & facilities are limited and maximising the effect of training through integrated training systems. How to monitor growth and maturation status, as well as looking at specific exercises to enhance flexibility, strength, speed, agility, co-ordination and power.

Our team of coaches are also available to book to deliver INSET & CPD workshops at your school if you want a programme tailored to your needs. In addition, we also have CPD workshops running in 2015 that will provide you with plenty of information to kick start your school in setting up a Long Term Athlete Development programme.

Look out for the #SandCinSchools hashtags, here are some video resources to get you started:

Nov – Dec KS4 EPP Programme

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November – December KS4 EPP Programme

Theme: Multi-Directional Speed & Agility & Strength Development

Foam Roll – Issue areas: Quads/Glutes/Calves/Hamstrings

Activation:

Lateral Mini-Band Walk x 10m
Monster Walk x 10m
Hip Flexor Activation x 10/leg
Shoulder Taps x 10/arm

Movement Prep:

x 10 reps per exercise

Glute Bridge / Cook Hip Lift
Overhead Squat
Full Spiderman + Press UP
Forward Lunge
Side Lunge
1 Leg SLDL
1 Leg Squat

Jumping:

Leap & Stick (In Place) 1 x 5/leg
Leap & Stick (Linear)  1 x 5/leg
Leap & Stick (Lateral)  1 x 5/leg

Hop & Stick (In Place) 1 x 5/leg
Hop & Stick (Linear) 1 x 5/leg
Hop & Stick (Lateral) 1 x 5/leg inside & outside

Multi-directional Speed & Agility:

Week 1: Cutting

Lateral Shuffle x 3
Rehearsed Cut x 3
Random Cut x 3
Spin Cut x 3
Speed Cut x 3

Strength & Power Development:

Clean from Thigh 2 x 6
Squat or Deadlift variation
DB Bench Press or DB Overhead Press
Split Squat or RFE Split Squat
Feet elevated TRX Row or Pull Up

Year 10 = 3 x 10 reps
Year 11 = 3 x 6-8 reps

Plank Combo – Left, Right & Front
Skydiver (Prone AW – Scap Retractions)

Recovery:

Full Chain Glute
Hip Flexor Lunge Sequence
Prayer Stretch
Pec Stretch
3D Calf Stretch

 

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