Child To Champion 2017 – Full Schedule

Child To Champion 2017 – Full Weekend Schedule

We are pleased to finally be able to confirm the full schedule of talks and practicals for next weekend’s conference. We are very excited to be bringing together 12 top presenters currently working in the UK, Europe, the US and the Middle East delivering 16 sessions (including theory and practical) across the weekend.

This is sure to be a great opportunity to learn and share ideas around the topic of LTAD. We are very excited to meet everyone next weekend.

Big thanks to our partners for the event Exxentric, Train With PUSH, Nutrition X and St. Peter’s R.C. High School that have all helped make this event possible.

If you are yet to book on to the conference, but are planning on attending there are a very limited number of tickets are remaining. Book your tickets here.


Child To Champion – Future Leader Focus: Shane Fitzgibbon

Core Training from Elementary to Elite

There will be brief Powerpoint introduction on the subject of Trunk training, which will explain the importance of this topic, and how it pertains to ALL other areas of training. In particular, the subject of correct breathing will be covered, as well as a logical progression of core exercises that the delegates can use as a template in your future sessions.

The hands-on session will include a number of exercises designed to develop core stability, and will also engage the athletes, young and old, through gameplay and partner-interaction. You will learn how a simple ping-pong ball can replace untold reps of push-ups and planks, how wheel-barrow races can both challenge simple anti-rotation stability for the novice child right up to neural challenges for the elite athlete. Crawling patterns will be covered to show how they can develop both core stability, and also compliment  locomotion training (speed & agility). You will laugh, learn, sweat and burn in this hands-on.


Shane is a Strength and Conditioning coach, based in Galway, Ireland. He is also a 7th degree Black Belt (Master) Taekwon-Do instructor and a 6-time World Champion in Taekwon-Do & Kickboxing.

Holder of a B.Sc. from National University of Ireland, Galway, Shane has always had a passion for exercise, and qualified as a gym instructor with ITEC in 2001. In the years that followed, Shane has been busy coaching his martial arts students as well teams and individuals from other sports. Besides obtaining National Certificate in Strength & Conditioning, Shane is Functional Movement Screening (FMS) certified and a member of the prestigious Register of Exercise Professionals Ireland (REPS Ireland). Shane is, also, a member, in good standing, of the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA)

Shane coaches numerous adults, and has a particular vocation for coaching young athletes. He was voted International Youth Coach of the Year 2015, by the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA), making history as the first winner outside of North America.

In 2012, Shane authored the highly acclaimed book, “Training and Optimal Health for Sports”, which is available from Amazon, and the dedicated site In it, he has shared more than twenty years of experience, training and competing at the highest levels of his sport, as well as the secrets of his longevity, not having retired from competition until 38, a double World Champion that year.

Having a passion for working with other S&C coaches and P.E. teachers, Shane has conducted workshops for the NSCA in Colorado Springs, Limerick Institute of Technology S&C Degree Course, and the Physical Education Association of Ireland (PEAI), amongst others.

In 2015/2016, Shane, frustrated with the deterioration of Physical Literacy across all age groups of children, ran a year-long voluntary pilot programme with a local Primary School. The project received much acclaim and was televised. It can be seen here


Book tickets for Child to Champion 2017 and hear more from Shane Fitzgibbon

If you want to be there to learn, share and connect with our speakers like Shane you can book on to Child To Champion 2017 here and take advantage of the PUSH Early Bird Special offer which currently includes FREE access to last years videos (worth £150) courtesy of our sponsors PUSH for a limited time only.


#ChildToChampion – Future Leader Focus: John Radnor

The Influence of Growth and Maturation on Muscle Architecture and Physical Performance.

Overview – Throughout childhood and adolescence, children are able to jump higher and sprint faster, but do we know the specific mechanisms behind these improvements in power output?

The aim of this talk is to discuss how the alterations in muscle architecture that occur during maturation can influence children’s ability to produce explosive force. The presentation will include an overview of the role muscle architecture plays in influencing performance, and will revolve around early findings from my PhD studies, investigating the influence of muscle architecture on sprinting and jumping performance in young athletes.



John is an associate lecturer in strength and conditioning on the BSc Sports Conditioning, Rehabili​tation and Massage (SCRAM) degree at Cardiff Metropolitan University. He is an accredited coach through the UK Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA), and currently works with Welsh Rowing as S&C for their high performance and academy squads. He has also delivered a number of workshops to various National Governing Bodies on youth strength and conditioning related topics. John is also undertaking a PhD in Paediatric Exercise Science, investigating the effects of muscle architecture on performance.

Book tickets for Child to Champion 2017 and hear more from John Radnor

If you want to be there to learn, share and connect with our speakers like John you can book on to Child To Champion 2017 here and take advantage of the PUSH Early Bird Special offer which currently includes FREE access to last years videos (worth £150) courtesy of our sponsors PUSH for a limited time only.

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.


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.

Child To Champion 2016 Online Videos

Back in April we ran the incredibly successful Child To Champion 2016 LTAD Conference which brought together some real leaders in the field of S&C to discuss all things related to the topic of Long Term Athlete Development. Speakers across the weekend presented their work from various stages of the developmental continuum right from primary & secondary schools through to professional academies and elite international sport.

Now you can catch up on a fantastic set of lectures from the conference from Mike Young (Athletic Lab/Proformance), Simon Brundish (UK Strength Lab), Tom Rusga (EIS), Kevin Paxton (Leicester City FC), Shayne Murphy (Manchester City FC), James Baker (St. Peter’s High School/Proformance) and Neill Potts (Scottish Rugby Union).

The video series is now available to purchase online here:

Below you can check out the trailer and what a few attendees had to say about the conference:

“Huge thanks to the Proformance team for collaborating leaders within long term athlete development. Child To Champion 2016 was exceptional CPD” – Tulshi Varsani

“Child To Champion 2016 conference did not disappoint! One of the best CPD events yet!” – Mark Read, Academy Conditioning Coach. Malmo FF, Sweden.

“Amazing weekend at the Child To Champion 2o16 Conference, lots of exciting stuff to put into play. Time to start the revolution” Ben Weaver.

Child To Champion 2016: LTAD Conference from Proformance Network on Vimeo.

We are busy working on pulling together the conference for 2017 be sure to keep an eye out for details of the conference in the coming months.

Historic Performance Podcast #62 – James Baker

This past week Proformance S&C’s James Baker was interviewed on the Historic Performance Podcast with James Darley about his work in Youth Athletic Development at St. Peter’s R.C. High School in Gloucester, England.

At the school he has created and integrated a long term athlete development system – the Elite Performance Pathway (EPP) – into the state school Physical Education curriculum.

The EPP is a unique program that has re-defined what can be offered by state secondary schools. Athletes are provided with high quality strength and conditioning, hands-on nutrition lessons, applied psychological preparation workshops, lifestyle and injury management.

In this episode, James talks about the EPP philosophy, performance testing for development stage athletes ranging from 14 to 16 years of age, and annual strength & conditioning planning.

Overview of Podcast Episode

Here is a brief outline of what they covered in the show –

  • James’s Background + S&C Journey
  • Creating the EPP program at St. Peter’s R.C. High School
  • The EPP Philosophy
  • Annual planning and structure for development athletes (14-16 years)
  • Performance testing & evolution of the process
  • Data collection to validate programs
  • Future of PE in England
  • Recommendations of PE Teachers + S&C coaches wanting to work with high school athletes
  • How to contact?

You can listen to the full episode of the podcast here and if you have an interest in learning more about training young athletes you may also want to check out the online video series from the 2016 Child To Champion LTAD Conference.



#ChildToChampion LTAD Conference 2016 Highlights

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#ChildToChampion LTAD Conference 2016 Highlights


Just under a month ago we were joined from coaches from across the UK and Europe for the Child To Champion LTAD Conference at St. Peter’s R.C. High School in Gloucester.

The weekend was a fantastic learning experience providing an opportunity to learn, share and connect with leaders from the field of strength & conditioning working at all levels of the athletic development continuum.

The video below provides a superb snapshot in to the weekend and the mixture of theoretical and practical sessions that took place.

A huge thanks must go to everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend the event, the phenomenal speakers and our sponsors Exxentric, Nutrition-X and Perform Better who all played their part in making it a huge success.

You’ll be pleased to know we are already in the planning process for Child To Champion 2017 but in the mean time, if you missed this years event, you can now catch up through the online video series available through our On Demand Service. Check out the highlights reel below.

Child To Champion 2016: LTAD Conference from Proformance Network on Vimeo.

Weights vs Skills Debate

Weights vs Skills Debate

In case you missed it the other evening on BT Sport’s Rugby Tonight Austin Healey set about putting the S&C industry back 20 years when he decided to proclaim a number of the old ‘myths’ about weight training and young athletes were true facts. Stating on national TV they shouldn’t be lifting weights before they are 17 and that it would damage them and stunt their growth! You can check the clip out on Twitter here. Since then the debate has raged on about whether young players should focus on weights or skills as a priority.

Now whilst the educated viewer will know research has shown that resistance training is both safe and beneficial for young athletes, the danger now is that less aware parents and their kids who would directly benefit from resistance training, may now be put off the idea of engaging in a structured S&C programme as a perceived Rugby expert and role model has made these statements (Healey being a former England International and British Lion).

It was interesting to see the reaction on social media with a strong S&C community on Twitter. There was a backlash with many coaches pointing him in the direction of the many documents of recent research, and many high profile coaches stepping forward to try and rectify his views, but he seems fairly set on his beliefs and is unwilling to be educated on the area. We have even extended and invitation to him for the Child To Champion conference early next month, but we’re yet to receive his RSVP…

After my initial outrage settled down, I started to consider his point of view and whilst completely misguided and ignorant in terms of the ‘facts’ he presenting regarding the safety of weight training, don’t shoot me, but I think in there somewhere there may actually be some good messages or reminders in there that we can take away.

Having worked with a lot of young rugby players over the last 8 years, I think I do understand where he is coming from. With older athletes in the 16-18 range, that haven’t come up through a structured LTAD system, I’ve had to do a lot of work to undo pre-conceived ideas about training that are heavily biased towards upper body pushing exercises and bicep curls, which Austin mentioned, in the pursuit of increased muscle mass. Many of them completely ignore glaringly obvious deficits in their technical-tactical skill set or other physical capacities (e.g. speed, agility, cardiovascular endurance).

However, rather than remove weights from their development our job as technical and/or S&C coaches is to educate them in how to train effectively, guide and motivate them towards further developing strengths and addressing their weaknesses wherever they lie.

Here are some key things I think we need to consider:

1) We must pursue balance and address the needs of the individual athlete

It is important to keep balance in our programmes and ensure the technical, tactical and mental aspects are developed as well as the physical elements. For me it isn’t an either/or situation for physical preparation and Rugby specific skill training, it is both. To get the balance right we must consider the individual needs of the athlete. I can think of some phenomenally skilful players at our school that lack the physical presence to dominate the contact situation. Likewise, I can think of some monster strong kids who can’t catch a cold and just run straight into contact. We aren’t going to train them the same way.

As athletic development coaches I think we can take some responsibility for helping to developing higher level manipulation skills by incorporating challenging tasks with smaller objects (e.g. tennis balls, golf balls) to warm ups or expose them to a completely different sport skills with some skills that could transfer to Rugby, in some of my sessions recently with I’ve done 5 minutes in a warm up dribbling and passing a basketball with both hands, which has been a big challenge for some players. The athletes were switched on, concentrating and engaged from the off and we had a great S&C session after.

2) Weight training is only ONE of many tools

Weight training is only one of many tools that should be in the S&C coaches tool box, and we must understand why we are using it with a specific athlete. For me it’s about producing more robust players, that can produce high levels of force relative to their body weight.

However, there is also a lot of training that can/should come before we begin traditional weight training with dumbbells and barbells. As well as a lot of different training that needs to be done to complement it (see point 3). With a lot of our young athletes on the Elite Performance Pathway we spend a considerable chunk of time up to 1-2 years developing strength and grooving the fundamental movement patterns against their bodyweight then low/soft load resistance (e.g. bands, powerbags) in a wide range of progressive movements across the squat/lunge/push/pull/hinge/brace categories before getting into any significantly loaded traditional weight training exercises.

3) Develop a broad range of sports generic movement skills

“Sport is movement, if we improve movement, we improve performance” Ian Jeffreys

In addition, to the basic movements, it is important that we teach/coach young athletes a broad range of sport generic movements through effective movement training in addition to resistance training so they can safely and effectively accelerate, decelerate, cut, spin, jump, land, leap, hop and throw at a range of speeds, in all planes of movement.

If we do a great job of developing these movement patterns in progressively challenging and specific situations (e.g. closed -> open -> reactive/CHAOS) as well as enhancing the force producing/reducing and energy system capacities of the athlete we can see significant improvements in a players ability to exploit and use space on the pitch, rather than taking route one into contact all the time.

Movement training in open & reactive scenarios for me is vitally important for several of reasons. First, it provides a highly engaging and challenging environment that young athletes really enjoy. Secondly, it allows us to develop the perceptual-cognitive component of agility by challenging decision making and familiarising the athlete with common movement patterns they may need to read quickly/anticipate in defence and execute swiftly in attack.

Certainly, the feedback we’ve had from our Rugby coaches at the school is that the boys who have been involved in this combined approach of strength development and movement training over the last couple of years have significantly improved their performance on the pitch.

In summary, I think it is vital we keep our eye on the big picture and not become to obsessed/biased towards any one type of training. In my opinion we need to be developing players who can efficiently and effectively produce high levels of force using appropriate means for their stage of development, and then ensuring they are capable of utilising it in a broad range of movement patterns at varying speed. Crucially this shouldn’t be developed at the expense of technical and tactical skills rather a solid working relationship with open communication channels should be established between the Rugby coach and the S&C/Athletic Development coach to ensure a rounded development of the individual player into a highly skilled and physical, elusive runner.

If you are interested in learning more about Long Term Athlete Development you can join a host of practitioners from across the developmental continuum at Child To Champion on April 9th & 10th 2016 in Gloucester.

#ChildToChampion: James Baker – Integrating S&C to Secondary Schools

#ChildToChampion: James Baker – Integrating S&C to Secondary Schools

Back in September I managed to get my first article published in the UKSCA‘s Professional Strength and Conditioning Journal providing an insight to the LTAD system I have developed and implemented with the help of my colleagues at St. Peter’s R.C. High School in Gloucester, the host venue for the Child To Champion LTAD Conference.

Certainly in the UK, strength and conditioning in schools is still a developing area. It is quite well established in the independent sector with many schools adding S&C coaches to their full time staff, and those guys are doing some outstanding work furthering S&C in Schools

In contrast, in the state sector it remains largely under developed which is something I certainly hope will change in the near future as such a large percentage of young people in our country are educated in the state schools – 93% of them in fact!

The article in the UKSCA journal provides an overview of the programme and some case studies of the impact a year round strength and conditioning within the curriculum has had on the pupils enrolled on the Elite Performance Pathway.

The presentation and practical I will be delivering at the conference will be based around the content covered in the article and will hopefully provide a detailed insight into realistic, effective and engaging ways strength and conditioning can be implemented by state schools; with an insight to our programming at the different stages, how we have applied the research, the challenges we have faced and overcome whilst integrating S&C in to the PE curriculum across 5 school years.

You can download the full article below and you can check out the full conference line up & book tickets here

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 23.06.16

Download the full article here

#ChildToChampion – Future Leaders: Kev Paxton

#ChildToChampion – Future Leaders: Kev Paxton


Last night we took spent some time chatting with Kev Paxton, Head of Academy Sport Science at Leicester City FC, about his upcoming presentation at the Child To Champion LTAD Conference through the Future Leaders Programme.

In the video, Kev gives us an insight to what attendees can expect from his presentation titled: “Age Related Performance Benchmarking” as well as some discussions about how they implement their benchmarking system within the Academy set up.

Are you interested in seeing the full presentation at the conference? You can check out the full schedule (including a FREE Velocity Based Training workshop) and buy tickets here.



Child To Champion LTAD Conference 2019

The Proformance Strength & Conditioning Network is very excited to bring together another world class line up of speakers for the Child To Champion LTAD Conference on the 27th & 28th July 2019 at Hartpury University in Gloucestershire.

We are extremely passionate about the field of Long Term Athlete Development and our aim is to bring people together that are working at the coal face of LTAD / Youth Strength & Conditioning. With another international line up of presenters working across a number of sports and different fields, attendees will be provided with a fantastic opportunity to learn from their experiences at different stages of the development continuum.

The conference will be an unmissable event in the S&C calendar with presenters from the USA, UK/Europe and the Middle East offering an unrivalled opportunity to learn, share and connect with some of the best LTAD practitioners from around the world, who will no doubt be providing attendees with great information that can be applied immediately in their own settings.

Confirmed speakers for Child To Champion 2019:

  • Dr. Joe Eisenmann
    NSCA LTAD / Carnegie Sport / Volt Athletics
  • Paudie Roche
    Lead Academy S&C Coach Arsenal FC
  • Neil Parsley
    Underground Training Station
  • Dr. Mike Young
    Performance Director Athletic Lab / NC Courage FC
  • Ruth Waghorn
    Physical Performance Coach The FA
  • Kevin Mannion
    Academy Performance Manager Gloucester Rugby
  • James Baker
    S&C Coach Aspire Academy

More speakers to be announced shortly…full details of the talk topics are being published here as they come in: Talk Titles & Overviews

Highlights From Child To Champion 2016

Theory and Practical Sessions

The conference will have a provide a mixture of theory and hands-on practical sessions across a wide range of topics this year. For the full details on the talk topics please click here

What’s included?

A range of ticket options are available in the form of single day tickets and the full weekend package.

Both options provide access to the talks and practicals and a professionally catered buffet lunch and refreshments (tea, coffee) through out the day.

During the Saturday evening there will be an open networking event (venue TBC).

Early bird pricing is available for a limited number of tickets or until 14th May 2019 

Please note our cancellation policy on purchased tickets is as follows.

More than 30 days before the event = 10% fee to cover admin & transaction fees, 15-30 days before the event = 25% fee, 7-14 days before the event = 50% fee, within 7 days of the event = 100% fee – no refunds will be given

An Integrated Approach to LTAD

Are you looking for direction and framework to help you develop young athletes?

Do you want to implement a LTAD framework at your club or school but not sure where to start?

Are you planning to integrate S&C to a PE curriculum but not sure what to deliver or how to incorporate it?

Join the Proformance S&C team, Dr. Mike Young & James Baker, to take a journey through our newly development Long Term Athlete Development Curriculum.

Our LTAD curriculum is a flexible objective based training system for developing young athletes, with clear objectives and outcomes defined for each phase of the programme in the key areas of youth physical development

During this 2 day workshop, we will take you through a series of theory and practical sessions that will help you to understand our system and crucially give you the toolbox how to integrate Youth S&C in your current setting whether that is a Professional Academy, School or Private Facility.

What’s covered?

  • Phase Objectives & Outcomes
  • Growth & Maturation
  • Strength Training Progressions
  • Plyometric Training Progressions
  • Agility Progressions (Games & Technical focus)
  • Linear Speed (Acceleration & Max Velocity)
  • Olympic Lifting Progressions
  • Assessment & Monitoring
  • Programming and Delivery

Who should attend?

  • S&C Coaches
  • Directors of Sport
  • PE Teachers
  • Sports Coaches

Your Tutors

Dr. Mike YoungOwner of Athletic Lab (, Director of Performance North Carolina Courage, Fitness Coach North Carolina FC

Mike has vast experience developing athletes in a variety of settings, at all levels of sport. His experience covers right from the very foundation with his pioneering youth programmes Lab Rats & Scholastic Programmes at Athletic Lab to helping budding High School athletes make the successful transition to US College Sport. In addition to this Mike is highly experiences at the pinnacle of sport working including work with US Track & Field and the MLS. As well as consulting with many clubs and team internationally including the Northampton Saints & England Rugby.

James BakerStrength & Conditioning  Coach for Aspire Academy, Doha, Qatar 

James is a highly experienced S&C coach as well as a qualified Physical Education teacher that has designed and developed LTAD programmes across sports, in a range of settings including Private Sector and Schools. His work developing a LTAD system for St. Peter’s High School in the UK led to him being awarded the UKSCA’s S&C Coach of the Year for Youth Sport in 2017. Since then he has moved on to the Aspire Academy in Doha, Qatar where he is responsible for helping to develop the next generation of Track & Field athletes to represent the State of Qatar.

Child To Champion 2017

The Proformance Strength & Conditioning Network is very excited to bring you another world class line up of presenters for the return of our LTAD Conference, Child To Champion 2017, on the weekend of April 8th & 9th 2017.

Theory and Practical Sessions

The conference will have a mixture of theory and practical sessions from leading practitioners working across the developmental continuum, who will be sharing their experiences from various settings including Professional Sport, Professional Academies, Primary and Secondary Schools and Private Settings.

The conference will be an unmissable event in the S&C calendar bringing together coaches from across the UK and Europe offering a superb opportunity to learn, share and connect with some of the best practitioners around the world.

Highlights From Last Year’s Child To Champion Event

Confirmed speakers for Child To Champion 2017:

  • Alex Natera
    Senior S&C/Performance Lead, Aspire Academy, Qatar
  • Des Ryan
    Head of Sport Medicine & Athletic Development (Academy), Arsenal FC
  • Allan Macdonald
    Strength & Conditioning Coach – British Judo
  • Dr. Mike Young
    Owner/Director of Athletic Lab & Proformance S&C, Speed & Power Coach
  • Paul Caldbeck
    1st team S&C Coach at West Bromwich Albion FC
  • Pete Atkinson
    National Lead S&C Coach for the English Cricket Board
  • James Baker
    S&C Coach/PE Teacher at St. Peter’s R.C. High School, Gloucester
  • Kevin Paxton
    Head of Academy Sports Science at Leicester City FC
  • Dr. James McCarron
    Head of Academy Performance, Sunderland AFC
  • John Radnor
    Cardiff Met Uni / Welsh Rowing S&C Coach
  • Shane Fitzgibbon
    S&C Coach Connacht Fitness and Performance
  • Matt Depledge
    Academy S&C Coach, Southampton FC
  • Allan Macdonald
    Nutrition X

Just In: A Pre-Conference Workshop

We have also now confirmed a Pre-Conference workshop for Friday evening between 6-8.30pm which will follow the theme of eccentric training with presentations by Dr. Mike Young, Alex Natera and James Baker.

All speakers have now been confirmed, you check out the talks for the event here

A range of ticket options are available in the form of single day tickets and full weekend packages including our VIP dinner option to join some of the speakers and other guests for a 3 course meal on the Saturday evening that provide a fantastic opportunity to learn, share and connect with other coaches.

**Early bird pricing is only available for a limited number of tickets**

Please note our cancellation policy on purchased tickets is as follows.

More than 30 days before the event = 10% fee to cover admin & transaction fees, 15-30 days before the event = 25% fee, 7-14 days before the event = 50% fee, within 7 days of the event = 100% fee – no refunds will be given