We get this question a lot from parents enrolling their kids in our program. Speed is probably one of the biggest demands we get from parents that want their kids to improve their athletic ability. My initial response is always consistent. We will determine what their kid needs once they go through our assessment. We can make visual observations on the field, which most parents make those observations, and have an idea of what skills are lacking. However, without an assessment we are unable to measure further gaps that may be contributing to the child’s lack of skill.
The first thing parents will need to understand is that the goal is to seek progress. A child is never done developing their ability especially because they are constantly growing throughout adolescence.
So the first objective is progress
Next, parents have to understand that proper running is all habit. Running flaws cannot be fixed with minimal commitment. We strongly encourage year round strength and conditioning because our programs reinforce technique of essential skills and progress towards more advanced skills. It starts with a strong foundation.
So the second objective is strong commitment to skill acquisition.
The next aspect we need to address is the actual evaluation. Now an athlete will not get fast, powerful or explosive if they lack strength. Strength is an absolute necessity to develop power and speed. Without it don’t plan on being faster than your competition. The other factor besides strength that becomes a main issue is mechanics. If an athlete is displaying bad mechanics and there’s nothing to enforce good mechanics then that athlete will limit their speed potential. It’s a very simple scenario to understand.
So the third objective is to address strength deficiencies and improper running mechanics.
Worst case scenario if you can’t commit long-term to athletic skill development and your child displays improper mechanics and noticeable strength deficiencies then you will find it very difficult to meet your expectations.
This is your path to improved speed.
Objective #1 – Seek Progress
Yours in Strength,
As a strength and conditioning coach I deal with a lot of athletes at various age levels and in various sports. Middle school, high school, college, you name it. The best part about it is the various skill levels that we deal with and our ability to get kids motivated and also educated on how to take care of their bodies. My staff and I take great pride in knowing how we are preparing our athletes and the training we put them through that not only improves their performance but also keeps them safe and encouraged to strive to continuously get better.
Despite our efforts to change the culture on how an athlete is prepared and how they are coached we still see misinformation and improper training abroad. What attributes most to this is the fact that parents and coaches aren’t properly educated on fitness and performance. If you’re not dealing with somebody that has a background in exercise science then expect some gaps in their ability to properly educate and adequately prepare your child to achieve their athletic potential. The big question this blog addresses is this:
Why do trainers or coaches neglect to talk about or address recovery with their athletes?
My first thought on this is that many trainers and coaches have no idea about the recovery process. Recovery for an athlete is an absolutely essential component to the process of athletic development. For some reason though I constantly talk to my athletes and discover that their recovery is never addressed by their coach or whoever is responsible for supervising their strength program at school. Our purpose is to provide information and a process to address those needs so coaches can keep athletes safe and performing at a high level.
How do athletes recover so they can improve their athleticism and performance during practice, in the gym and on the field?
Yours in Strength,
Goals are a fairly constant part of most people’s lives. Many young teenagers have goals to go to college, travel the world or make a lot of money at a young age. Some people beyond their college years have goals to pay off their mortgage, get the big job or big promotion or achieve something fulfilling and inspiring in their lives. We all have goals in mind whether they are fitness related or not. Each person walks that path in different ways. I will tell you that no matter what your goals are the one thing that will always dictate your progress or lack thereof will always be your behaviors.
This is extremely self-evident in the fitness industry. What are your goals? Do you write them down or have you written them down? They need to be identifiable, specific and measurable. Whatever those goals are can you identify the things you need to do in order to accomplish those goals? Trust me it helps to write this stuff down so you can begin to map it out. There’s obviously a reason why your goal is your goal. You’re tired of where you are and you need something more in your life. That’s great. I encourage it because it’s that kind of attitude that drives us to be the best version of ourselves. Now let’s dig deeper and determine if you think your goals are proportionate to your behaviors.
Yours in Strength,
Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, is a very common result of exercise. However, the purpose of this blog is to clarify how well muscle soreness is a good indicator of the quality of your workout and especially your program. Now I have heard plenty of times how much most people enjoy the feeling of being sore. Why? Well for most people it’s a sense of accomplishment because you worked out hard and you got sore from it. That’s really the general consensus on DOMS. If you didn’t get sore then you didn’t work out hard enough. Conversely, if you feel crippled the next day and have trouble sitting, walking and pretty much doing anything then you owned your workout. When we dig deeper into this there’s not many people that understand why they’re getting sore or more importantly how to recover from DOMS.
What is DOMS and why do our muscles get sore? One thing we know is DOMS occurs primarily in response to unfamiliar or vigorous physical activity. When you work out extremely hard, which I find most people try to do, you will no doubt experience DOMS every time. When you do something unfamiliar, or activity your body isn’t used to, you will also experience DOMS every time depending on the intensity. Well why is that? According to research DOMS is a result of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue. Research has shown that biochemical changes occur as a result of structural disruption of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in connective tissue. This disruption of the ECM causes an inflammatory response. Experiencing DOMS becomes evident at about 6-8 hours after completion of intense activity and it reaches its peak at about 48 hours after exercise. However, this is just a general rule. Many people experience DOMS in various degrees depending on their exercise intensity, genetics, training status and probably most importantly their concentrated effort to prioritize recovery of the musculature.
This is where I believe most people drop the ball. Is muscle soreness a good indicator of the quality of one’s workout? I would say yes and no. I am confident in saying that muscle soreness is a great indicator that you caused enough cellular damage in the musculature to promote muscle growth (damaging and breaking cells down allows your body to build them back up even better). However, it is not a great indicator of a quality workout. There must be a purpose to every workout you do and some workouts need to take the focus off demolishing the body and redirected at allowing the body to recover. You can run the stairs every day for an hour and believe me you will get beat up every time. This, however, does not show a quality workout because you don’t allow the cell structure to recover and do its due diligence in repairing and rebuilding the cell structure. If you’re a high school athlete or an adult and your focus or your coaches focus is on dishing out intense workout after intense workout you won’t be getting what you expected (stronger, faster, leaner, more durable). You’re body cannot perform under constant physical duress and this sort of strategy does not prioritize recovery.
I’ve heard people say, “My daughter is getting worked really hard over there. She’s coming home so sore she has trouble walking. That means she did something.” Remember the word quality. That statement doesn’t indicate a quality workout was experienced. The goal is always to get better and improve but don’t mistake muscle soreness with always improving because it’s not the case. The best measure of improvement is quality of the program and the results you get by measuring your performance. You will not get better if you are experiencing soreness all the time especially if you’re going into workouts already sore. Recovery is the key component and it doesn’t always just consist of proper nutrition, adequate sleep and effective stretching. It also requires a sensible workout program that builds recovery days into the training scheme.
Yours in Strength,