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Child To Champion – Speaker Focus: James Baker

 

Child To Champion – Speaker Focus: James Baker

Integrating Multi-Directional Movement Skills to Physical Education

In this combined theory and practical session James will be introducing the curriculum of movement patterns used for developing agility at the Foundation level of the Elite Performance Pathway system.

This session will cover the range of movement patterns he uses for starting and stopping, lateral movements, non-linear movements and various cutting actions as well as a range of games that are used to set the context for more basic closed drills; as well as providing a more engaging, reactive environment that challenges the perceptual-cognitive components of agility.

Eccentric Training and the Younger Athlete

In this talk James will be providing an insight to the practical application, integration and progression of eccentric training across the Foundation, Development and Performance phases of the Elite Performance Pathway programme at St. Peter’s.

James will provide specific details around how eccentric training fits in to the overall training and session planning, along with a variety of methods of eccentric training including the use of the kBox flywheel training system.

Bio

James is a UKSCA accredited strength and conditioning coach and qualified PE teacher. He has created and directs the Elite Performance Pathway (EPP) at St. Peter’s R.C. High School a state secondary school in Gloucester. The EPP is a 7-year athletic development pathway integrated into the school PE curriculum that currently supports over 140 gifted and talented young athletes aged between 11-18 years old competing in a wide range of sports.


Book tickets for Child to Champion 2017 and hear from James Baker

If you want to be there you can book on to Child To Champion 2017 here and take advantage of the early bird pricing which includes FREE access to the pre-conference workshop for the first 20 people that book.

S&C Internship – EPP @ St. Peter’s High School

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Strength and Conditioning Internship – EPP St. Peter’s R.C. High School

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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 2016-2017 academic year

The internship will provide you with:

  • Hands on coaching experience operating within S&C in a multisport environment
  • Knowledge within S&C principles to assist in obtaining a job
  • CPD including in-house workshops and networking opportunities.
  • Mentorship through UKSCA accreditation
  • Experience/knowledge of how to implement S&C in a school setting
  • Opportunity for research for dissertation/thesis.

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 during in season
    • Assist in the design and delivery of year round training programmes for individual athletes
    • Undertake a variety of projects including research 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.
    • 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, pupils and other guests.
    • 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, Strength and Conditioning (or working towards these) and/or REPS Level 3 Personal Training Qualifications.
      • Good knowledge of S&C principles including speed/agility/Olympic lifting
      • Comfortable in a team sport environment, controlling and disciplining large groups.
      • Excellent ability to communicate with, and develop, young people
      • Willingness to learn and develop as an S&C coach
      • Desire to complete UKSCA accreditation
      • Computer literacy, including MS office, especially Excel

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

To apply: Please download the application form: S&C Internship Application Form and send it with a covering letter explaining why you think you are suitable for the post to James Baker on – jbaker@sphs.uk.com

Start date: September 2016 (some CPD sessions in July 2016, if you are available)

Closing date for applications: 30th June 2016

Interviews: 4th July 2016

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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

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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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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:

Speed Training – Elite Performance Pathway

Speed Training

Training to enhance speed has become something of an obsession for me as a coach over the last few years. When I was reviewing my progress as a coach back in 2010 and looking around at the competition I highlighted speed & agility training as a weaker area of my skill set but an opportunity for me to grow and stand out from the crowd of coaches who rarely stray away from a weights room with their clients/athletes.

I’ve gone on to read tons of books and articles, studied videos, been to conferences and on courses in pursuit of understanding what it takes to make my athletes faster.

But most importantly I’ve then committed hours and hours applying this knowledge and I am know implementing it in to a much more comprehensive system.

If you are a strength coach who isn’t confident with speed work I encourage you to take yourself out of your comfort zone and start exposing your athletes and clients to this type of training. The results can be phenomenal.

Speed Training & the Elite Performance Pathway

Speed training is an integral part of what we deliver on our EPP programme with the young athletes. We focus on coaching the correct positions and movement patterns whilst developing the strength and power qualities required to optimise acceleration and maximal velocity sprinting.

Over the last 4 weeks we’ve utilised a training system that has incorporated the following components during each session that lasts approximately 90 minutes, once a week.

  1. Foam rolling
  2. Activation (glutes, hip flexors, core, shoulder stabilisers)
  3. Movement prep (6 full body movements)
  4. Jump Training – Jump, Leap & Hop (Linear major emphasis, Lateral minor emphasis)
  5. Wall drills
  6. Marching – Skipping – Bounding
  7. Free Sprinting
  8. Strength Training – key exercises – Bilateral Lower Body, Upper body Push, Unilateral Lower Body, Upper Body Pull, Core (anti-rotation / bracing)
  9. Flexibility

The stucture of the training system has been heavily influenced by the work of Lee Taft, Mike Boyle, Nick Winkelman and Team EXOS in terms of what it contains. The biggest shift in the delivery though is HOW I am coaching within speed training sessions, moving from internal coaching cues focused on the body position, to external cues focused on outcomes, which is down to what I have seen and heard Lee Taft and Nick Winkelman talk about and deliver. I urge all coaches to check out their work!

The results

What we’ve seen in the first 4 weeks of using the speed training system is quite staggering, all the results are electronically timed using a Microgate Witty Timing System so there are no dodgy stopwatch results in the mix. I don’t need to say anything else as the results speak for themselves…

EPP KS4 Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10m Sprint Times Oct 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Are you an athlete that needs to get faster? Are you a coach that wants to learn how to make athletes faster? Over the next few months we will be announcing an exciting line up of workshops and seminars that will help you take your athletic performance or coaching  to the next level, by giving you the opportunity to learn tried and trusted methods with some of the leading strength and conditioning coaches from around the UK. If you are committed to becoming the best coach or athlete you can be, pre-register your interest in these courses to make sure you get a place – CONTACT US NOW!

Elite Performance Pathway – 12 months on…

1 year ago almost to the day I embarked on an exciting project called the Elite Performance Pathway with 5 young athletes. The project is quite unique in that it is a project based within a comprehensive school (St. Peter’s R.C. High School, Gloucester) and is delivered in curriculum time in order to support our gifted & talented athletes and help them achieve their sporting dreams.

12 months on I am incredibly proud of what they have achieved with hard work and dedication to their training. The primary focus of the programme has been to develop movement competency and high levels of strength and power required at the highest levels of sport.

In terms of strength we’ve seen progress to levels as high as 1.5 x bodyweight (95kg x 5 reps @ 61.5kg) from an athlete that could not perform a bodyweight squat back in Sept ’13. As a result the same athlete increased his vertical jump height by 17.5cm from September to April and his Standing Broad Jump from 212cm to 250cm from September to July.

Likewise the girls have seen similar levels of progress now lifting in excess of their own bodyweight (80kg Squat @ 69kg & 65kg Squat @ 57kg) resulting in 37cm & 18cm increase in the standing broad jump respectively. These are just the headline figures and the other athletes on the programme have also seen significant development in their athletic ability.

Next week I am extremely excited to welcome the 2014-2015 cohort into the Elite Performance Pathway. In 12 months our programme has grown from 5 athletes, to what I am anticipating to be in the region of 65-75 athletes aged from 11-18 across 4 groups. I can not wait to see what the next 12 months holds.

SBJ U15 Rugby

 

 

 


EPP SBJ progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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