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4 Great S&C Education Resources

4 Great S&C Education Resources

This year I’ve invested quite a lot of time and money in my personal development as a coach. To help other coaches I thought I’d share some great resources I’ve either found that are free or that I’ve paid for.

Lee Taft’s Ground Breaking 2 DVD

Ground Breaking 2

If you’ve not heard of Lee Taft, then I highly recommend you check out his work. He’s a world leader when it comes to the delivery of multi-directional speed. Lee is brilliant at making the complex seem simple, and breaks down all the multi-directional movements you need to know and how to coach them effectively.

EXOS / Nick Winkelman’s – The 0.10 sec Difference

EXOS10th

I’m not usually a fan of online courses, but I made an exception when I purchased this one from EXOS and I’m glad I did.

After watching Nick Winkelman present at the UKSCA Conference last year, I was impressed with what he presented about the EXOS systems and wanted to learn a bit more about how they work. The 0.10 sec Difference focuses on linear speed development, specifically in the context of the NFL combine, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have application to athletes elsewhere. I have applied and adapted parts of it to work with different groups of athletes to great effect.

The course is broken down in to Acceleration and Absolute Speed providing technical models, error models, drills and coaching cues for both aspects. The beauty of it is that once the course is completed you can still return to the website to re-watch the videos when you need to refresh your memory on anything.

HPTFS

High Performance Training For Sports – David Joyce & Daniel Lewindon

If you haven’t done it already buy this book right now! Chapter after chapter is absolute gold with some of the leading names from around the globe, contributing their expert views across a range of areas. Chapter authors include Rhodri Lloyd covering LTAD, Dan Baker gives a long term approach to developing Strength and Power, Jeremy Sheppard covers Jumping and Landing, Stuart Yule with In Season Training, Sue Falsone covering flexibility and mobility, the list goes on and on.

pacey

The Pacey Performance Podcast – Rob Pacey

Any of you who follow me on Twitter, will know I’m a big fan of Rob’s podcast. I regularly chat to Rob and not only is he top bloke, but he’s got some top notch guests on the podcast from around the world including Mike Young, Nick Grantham, Dave O’Sullivan, Ron McKeefery, Tom McLaughlin, Jeremy Sheppard, Mladen Jovanovic. Rob’s nailed the art of interviewing and does a great job asking the questions we all want to ask these guys. Whether you are a student of the game, or a seasoned strength coach you will definitely get something out of these podcasts.

 

 

 

2015 “Meeting of the Minds” Conference

2015 conf-1

2015 “Meeting of the Minds” Conference

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

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

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

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

NICK WINKELMAN
Director of Education for EXOS

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

IAN PYPER
World-class strength and conditioning coach to Olympic athletes

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

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

JAMES CLEAN

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

DAVID JOYCE

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

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

STUART YULE
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Glasgow Warriors.

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

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

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

>>BOOK NOW<<

Movement Is Your Weapon

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Movement is your Weapon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pepKr4xvlU

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

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

Building the arsenal

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

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

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

INITIATION MOVEMENTS – i.e. starting or changing direction 

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

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

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

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

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

“Position, Pattern, Power”

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

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

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

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

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

Find the Challenge Point

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

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

Optimising Learning through Language

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

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

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

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

andrusathleticposition

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

 

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

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

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

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

>>BOOK NOW<<

 

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!