Education and Tidbits

Injury Management (Part 1 of 2)

Posted in: Fitness, Injury, Speed Training, Sports Training, Strength Training

Sports injuries, or injuries that occur in athletic activities, can result from acute trauma or from overuse of a particular body part. The key is to be proactive to reduce the chances of injuries. We know that not all injuries can be prevented even with proper training and techniques but we want to reduce the chances for our athletes.

Common injuries include:

  • Sprains – tears to the ligaments that join the ends of bones together. The ankles, knees, and wrists are commonly affected by sprains.
  • Strains – pulls or tears of muscles or tendons (the tissues that attach the muscles to the bones)
  • “Shin splints” – pain along the outside front of the lower leg, commonly seen in runners
  • Achilles tendonitis or rupture of the Achilles tendon – These injuries involve the large band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel
  • Fractures of the bones – This requires a licensed Athletic Trainer and Doctor
  • Dislocation of joints – This requires a licensed Athletic Trainer and Doctor

 Most common injuries occur from:

  • Lack of Flexibility/Mobility – tight muscles will overload joints and cause other muscles to work harder and more {How often do your athletes stretch, foam roll, and do mobility exercises?]
  • Imbalanced Muscles – weak muscles ratio to tight muscles [Are your girls stronger on their right side or maybe their quads are good but their hamstrings are weak?]
  • Poor Warm-up Techniques and Muscle Activations – getting this right covers a multitude of sins [A proper warm-up includes: Mobility and full range of motion exercises/drills, Muscle Activation exercises/drills, Myofascial Release]
  • Lack of Conditioning – a deconditioned athlete is a recipe for disaster [When athletes get tired, form and technique go out the window.]
  • Over Training/Over Using (joints/muscles) – the most common mistake we as coaches apply to our athletes…we often think more is better [An overtrained athlete often looks like an under-conditioned athlete. Be careful not to pour on more if they are already maxed out. Rest is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.]
  • Lack of Knowledge Training Genders – Females athletes need to focus on ACL preventative exercises and drills [Females struggle with weak posteriors that lead to instability in the knee. Spending extra time strengthening the hamstrings is extremely important.]

Injuries can be devastating or simply a minor set back. Either way the player and team are both affected. It is everyone’s job to help mitigate our athlete’s risk of injury. This means practices and training must have built in time to work on specific things to help our athletes have a better chance of staying healthy. Only focusing on skills and conditioning often misses the boat on injury mitigation. It may take you 10-15 minutes of practice, but better that then losing a player for the season!

Stretching, strengthening, foam rolling, and mobility exercises are all important when it comes to reducing an athlete’s risk of injury. Next month we will break down the main joints of the body to identified common muscle/joint imbalances and suggest exercises to correct those imbalances.

Read More

Speed Training vs. Conditioning

Posted in: Speed Training

What is the goal of your training? Does what you’re having your athletes do actually accomplish that goal?

You can get in shape trying to get fast, but you don’t get fast trying to get in shape.

The science of it deals with the anaerobic energy systems versus the aerobic energy system. Speed requires a high functioning anaerobic system while endurance relies on the aerobic system. The anaerobic system functions when oxygen is not in enough supply to provide your muscles with the energy they need. In speed training the goal is to increase the anaerobic threshold allowing the muscles to stay anaerobic longer. The higher the threshold the longer you can go fast. The aerobic system is used when you’re working at a level that your body can keep up with sufficient oxygen delivery. This includes longer, slower efforts. Think about the difference between running 2 miles (aerobic) and running a 30 yard sprint (anaerobic).

We must train both systems, but in that training we have to ensure we are training specifically for each. We have observed over the years that many coaches confuse speed training with conditioning. They run their athletes up and down and all around and they expect them to get faster. Conditioning trains the aerobic system and can inadvertently make athletes slower in the absences of separate speed training.

Soccer players are a great case study. We all know that soccer players have to be in great shape. Unfortunately being in great shape doesn’t mean you are fast. Soccer players are often instructed to “jog back” in speed training. A result of this is a training mentality to pace oneself when you know you aren’t going to get time to rest.

Regardless of sport, athletes who go into survival mode just to make it to the end of a speed workout are not usually going game-speed, which compromises the integrity of speed training. Are your athletes really giving maximum effort when you are doing speed training? Are they holding something back hoping to make it to the end? Do you give them adequate rest to allow them to give you optimal effort?

So how do you speed train? At DX3 we encourage walking back instead of jogging back and we want our athletes to recover from previous bouts before continuing. Athletes love this and tend to give more effort each bout if they know they have time to recover. Coaches HATE this because it is hard to be patient and wait. We want go, go, go. However, by allowing for rest time your athletes will perform better and get more out of the bouts of effort.

There are times when you work on conditioning, work on speed, or do a combo of both. Make sure your training matches your goal. Does running a mile really make your basketball players faster in a 15 meter space? Does running eight 400 meter sprints really prepare your softball player to run the bases?

Know your goal and train for it!

Speed can most definitely be taught and improved with proper mechanics instruction and training. The caveat to speed will always and forever be control. Be sure to take time to teach. Communicate to your athletes to train fast so they can play fast and that you’re giving them time to recover so that they go game-speed for all reps.

Remember, the only answer for speed is more speed.

Read More

Healthy Habits

Posted in: Nutrition

youth speed trainingGoing into the summer, there is one topic that we feel gets lost in translation but may be more important than any other thing you tell them leading into summer.

On summer vacation, your athletes won’t lift every day. They won’t run every day. They won’t jump every day. However, they will eat every day. They will drink every day.

A lot can happen in three months. Encourage your athletes to make wise decisions regarding fueling their body. There are certain principles and philosophies that are safe and effective that you can share.

Since everybody is different, and since you want to be careful to not speak out of your area of expertise, here are our basic principles for healthy living that can be shared without directly talking about nutrition.

  1. Don’t miss breakfast. The common saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” may seem old school, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Breakfast sets up your day, providing energy and getting the metabolism going. Eggs are good. Oats are good. Fruits are good. Pastries not so much. Skipping…even worse. Encourage athletes to be wise about their first meal of the day, not only what it is but when it is.
  1. Your body is two-thirds water, keep it that way. Hydration will always and forever be a point of emphasis. With hotter summer months, we can’t afford to get lazy about drinking sufficient amounts of water. Yes the basis of soda is water but it is most definitely not a substitute for water. The occasional soda is fine, kids will be kids, but water should be the main fluid consumed on a daily basis.
  1. It’s a question of balance. Macronutrient ratios are circumstantial and relative. Carbs, protein and fat intake can vary. Percentages aside, it is important to have a good balance. Some athletes fail to have enough quality protein and fat in their diet. Regardless of what the numbers look like, simply consider as many variable as possible and don’t have an extreme deficit of one or the other.
  1. Frequency is important. Encourage your athletes to snack consistently. Eating to perform looks like constantly fueling your body. How many kids, girls especially, do you know go too long without eating? A tip to maintaining frequency is planning ahead. Being prepared can be as simple as having a piece of fruit or a protein bar with you.

Nutrition is a subject that can lead to much debate, but talking about basic healthy habits with your athletes can set them up for a successful summer and healthy life. If they get their eating and water intake right their athletic performance will benefit greatly. Enjoy your summer but don’t waste it, use it wisely to set up your athletes for a successful season.

Read More

Speed Exposes Flaws

Posted in: Speed Training

DX3L1 (63 of 73)Mechanics produce efficiency, and efficiency produces speed. There is a caveat to this: Speed exposes flaws. Recall one of the most fundamental training formulas:

Speed x Strength = Power

This article addresses the first factor, speed. In our experiences, we have observed that speed without control is inefficient and subsequently not productive. The challenge in training is to maintain proper mechanics at the highest rate of speed possible. In sports terms, the challenge is to do everything at game speed.

NOTE: Speed training begins the moment you first say “go.” When athletes are warming up, watch to see that they have good mechanics. Some athletes get lazy during the warm-up, but we value the development of good habits throughout training. If athletes flop their arms or stay on their heels while jogging, these bad habits may carry over into sprinting.

Two places to start exposing flaws are the hurdles and ladder. With proper correction these flaws can be minimized or eliminated from an athlete’s form, which leads to greater speed on the court or field.

Hurdles: Start here and keep it linear.

From a logistical standpoint, observe your athletes from near the first hurdle. This gives you a good look at their start and their finish from behind. Keep it simple and instruct your athletes to do “1 Step” with a sprint off the end. Their start should be from a set position with an explosive first move, this trains them to be explosive on the court or field as well. Never let them jog into a drill or start slow, this trains their body to start slow. Since we are talking about speed exposing flaws, look for two things as they go through and off the end of the hurdles.

  1. Watch for arm position. Are they wild? Arms should be down at their side, with elbows bent near 90 degrees and “thumbs through the belt loops” as the arms pump.
  2. Watch body posture. Are they upright? Athletes should maintain the fall-tall position not bending at the waist. They should be tall with a forward lean.

Ladder: Move here for more lateral movements as well as a greater demand in cognitive skills. From a logistical standpoint, observe from next to the middle of the ladder. Keep it only as simple as necessary, mixing up straight-ahead and lateral drills.

  1. Watch for arm position and usage. Are the arms used? Are they wild? Arms should still be down to the sides with elbows bent near 90 degrees, but they tend to vibrate in place instead of actually swinging like on a run. If the arms are under control the feet will be better controlled and faster.
  2. Watch the feet. Is the drill executed correctly? Are boxes skipped or repeated? Make sure the pattern is being completed properly and that steps outside the ladder stay close to the ladder.

The best way to correct these errors is to have your athletes “Slow Down to Speed Up.” All training should be done as fast as you can with the qualifier “under control.” If there was ever such a thing as too fast, it is when an athlete is wrecking an apparatus. Athletes should start slower and speed up as they master the mechanics and movement pattern. Teaching athletes the proper technique and attentively correcting flaws in a controlled environment will lead to faster, more agile play and greater success.

Read More

Power is in the Hips

Posted in: Speed Training, Strength Training

DX3L1 (49 of 73)Do you want your athletes to run faster or jump higher? Then get their hips right. Do you want them to hit farther or kick harder? Then get their hips right! It’s all in the hips. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to dunk or spike, go yard or upper 90, if an athlete wants to get up, they’ve got to get down (load the hips).

Developing the hips in the athletic context is about developing power. If power is the rate of doing work, or for athletes strength times speed, then we are trying to go as fast as we can, as hard as we can. An athlete has to be able to transfer power from the hips. If an athlete can’t transfer power, then they will struggle to deliver their skill.

The glutes are the key part of the hips. The gluteus maximus is the most powerful hip extensor. Too many athletes fail to utilize their posterior. This could be a strength deficiency issue or a technique issue and these deficiencies lead to sub-maximal play and possible injury.

Ensuring athletes understand that their hips need to go back as well as down will help with technique issues. Proper lifting technique is crucial for athletes to understand how to more effectively use their hips on the field or court. Be sure to teach good technique and be cognizant of it while training.

Remember the 4 T’s: Take Time to Teach

If it’s a strength deficiency issue, one way to develop the hips inside the weight room is through power lifts like squat and dead lift. Some coaches avoid putting a barbell on a girl’s back altogether. However, like most lifts, just teach properly then use moderately. Deep squats with light weight while focusing on exploding up under control can improve vertical.

The dead lift is simply lifting dead weight, whether a barbell, kettlebell or dumbbells the technique is the same. Coaches tend to like this because it is about as safe as power lifting gets. For those who avoid it due to lumbar worries, we promote teaching the lift properly first and then using your discretion as to how you wish to proceed. Just follow the principle “use it, don’t abuse it.”

There are several ways to develop the hips outside of the weight room. Body weight exercises, mini-band work and change of direction (COD) drills can all be used to strengthen the hips and increase explosiveness. But with all exercises be sure to teach proper technique. When changing directions athletes should squat as they stop which teaches them to sink their hips and transition their body weight efficiently. However, COD drills are more intense than most linear speed drills and the reps should be counted accordingly.

Sometimes, your athletes just need a coaching cue. Tell them something to the effect of, “you need to bend to extend” or “you need to load to explode.” Keep them conscience of their technique until it becomes second nature. Then watch as their added strength and proper technique take their play to the next level. Just imagine if your athletes ran faster and jumped higher.

“Skill is important but the speed and strength it is delivered with determines the level of play!”

Read More

Winter Training Tips

Posted in: Winter Training

Winter is here and it provides its own set of unique challenges. Cold weather, holiday meals, and vacation time disrupt our schedules, workouts, and typical calorie intake. We all have to take steps to make the disruption as minimal as possible.

Tip 1: Don’t take a vacation on your diet!

There are plenty of occasions to use as excuses to over-consume. However, you need to maintain healthy eating habits because food is fuel, and if you put bad in you’ll get bad out. Eating properly will allow your body to regulate itself. The inevitable “cheat meals” should involve consuming a moderate portion of your favorite indulgence, not over-eating. Most importantly, the right diet gives you the fuel to optimize any training.

Tip 2: Water isn’t just for the summer!

Just because the weather isn’t triple digits you should still be consuming a large amount of water. Dehydration can creep up on you in the winter when it’s so cold you can’t sweat if you tried.

Tip 3: The principle of accumulation: anything is bigger than zero!

Be encouraged by the fact that not every workout has to be epic. Aim to break a sweat then go from there. If you’re not feeling it, then focus on less intensive sessions on what we call Cuff and Stuff. This consists of core work and joint work like strengthening the secondary yet important stabilizer muscles in the knees and shoulders. Light band and abdominal work does more benefit than you may realize. Worst case scenario, just jump on a piece of cardio equipment, start going light and see what happens.

Tip 4: Acclimate…Adapt…Prepare

Do not avoid the weather, just prepare for it. As temperatures drop, spend time in the cold, breathe the air and let your body acclimate. If you avoid the cold your body will not be prepared to do the work you ask it to do. The more active you are in any climate the more normal it will seem to your body. If you’ve committed to getting exercise, then be smart doing it.

Tip 5: Take more time to warm up and warm down in the winter.

As temperatures drop, so does your core, muscle and oxygen temperature. Cold muscles are at greater risk of injury due to their tension and lack of blood flow. Dynamic stretches before and static stretches after is always a good rule of thumb. You should be breaking a sweat and your heart rate should be up before engaging in your actual activity.

Tip 6: Cold weather training burns more calories.

If you are maintaining relatively the same activity level in the winter as other months, you are burning more calories in the colder months. You burn more fuel just keeping your body warm (calories are a unit of heat). Popular belief says that we lose more weight in the summer. This is only true because we are more active in the summer, we tend to eat less when it is hot and we lose more water in the heat. Watch what you eat and maintain your activity level and the winter months can be just as beneficial to weight management.

 Tip 7: Don’t take a vacation on your sleep!

Rest and recovery will forever and always be a crucial. When you get quality sleep, it facilitates your day, your work, your play and most everything in between.

Enjoy the winter and keep working hard!

Read More

Connecting Training to Sports

Posted in: Speed Training, Sports Training, Strength Training

Perception is reality, youth athletes often lack the passion for training. And often females struggle more with the training aspect of playing a sport than males.

Two of the biggest challenges we see in athletes during training:

  1. The Question: “Why are we doing this, we would never do this in a game?”
  2. Lack of effort in a training exercise due to lack of understanding of its role in a game.

Both of these are obviously of the same nature yet sometimes as coaches we lose sight of the importance of understanding why we do things and how athlete’s psychologically choose to apply their efforts accordingly. In other words, if an athlete doesn’t see how a particular training element applies to their sport they are more likely to not try hard. youth strength training

Remember when you were in school, or in a professional development class, and you thought to yourself that whatever you were learning was a waste of time and stupid because it would never be used in your life or job? Well, athletes are no different when it comes to training. They feel they just need to practice and play more to be better at their sport.

Athletes should be taught with vertical, horizontal and synergistic alignment for both clarity and motivation. Just as we hope the middle school and JV coaches are aligned with specific varsity skills coaching (for a smooth transition, reduced learning curve time and increased IQ) the same thing applies in Athletic Development.

It is our job as coaches to teach our athletes the importance of training so they become passionate about it as part of their athletic career. Most athletes love to play their sport(s), great athletes love to train because they understand the benefit and they have made it an important part of their program.

Some aspects of training are obvious yet others are seemingly just unnecessary work… and sometimes they are if the program curriculum has not been appropriately planned according to need. We call all aspects of training and practicing “stress” bouts. If each of these bouts of stress are not calculated and playing a role in reaching a goal, they are a waste of stress and should be re-thought.

In 2016 we are now seeing a tremendous shift in the paradigm of training and how important the role of year-round athletic development is for youth athletes. It is crucial we properly educate athletes to understand the benefits of training to remain healthy, reduce the risk of injury and adequately progress athletically to simply keep up.

Here are a few simple techniques we have found extremely beneficial when teaching the correlation of training to sport application:

  1. Language: Use language that correlates certain movements directly to a movement in their sport, even using the same coaching cues you would use in practice.
  2. Time: Use time periods of rest-work ratios that are directly proportionate to those in a game.
  3. Dexterity: Associate dexterity in training to that of an offense/defense position to better understand the deficiency of being dominant on one side or losing the directional first step.
  4. Repetition: Explain that practice makes permanent, training multiple reps instills the neurological movement pattern to ensure the 1, 2, 3, or more times they may have to execute a movement in play they will be perfect at it.
  5. Speed: Again, practice makes permanent and the only way to go fast is to train fast so if your kids are jogging or only giving 50% effort during training drills, that is how they are training to execute.

Remember, the more creative you become in teaching your athletes why and how training is important, the better, healthier athletes you will have.

Read More

First Step Quickness

Posted in: Speed Training

first step quicknessA legendary strength and conditioning coach asked an aging professional basketball player how he would know when it was time to retire. His immediate response was, “when I lose my first step.”  Speed starts with the start. Like drinking plenty of water, first step quickness is essential.

Training for first step quickness must not be neglected. In most sports if your first step is too slow you may not have enough time to recover. A misstep too often translates into a missed opportunity.

A couple things to consider:

  • Do you let your athletes walk or jog into it drills, hurdles, ladders, etc.? Or do you require them to get set before they start?
  • Are your athletes always on the whistle or do they sometimes start themselves?
  • Do your athletes have adequate time to get set before they take off?
  • Do you focus on and insist their first step is fast?

The way athletes train determines how they play. If they practice with a slow first step, they will play with one as well.

We often don’t start our athletes with a whistle. We like to put the onus on them to start when they are ready. Not only do we teach them how to set up and load their body from a static position, we lay out training principles that nurture a culture of patience. Most kids want to rush the technique and they end up neglecting details. Encourage your athletes to take the time to do it right.

A fun way to work on first step quickness from a dynamic position is hopping and landing on two feet then transitioning directly into a sprint. This can be done off a box, over equipment like a speed hurdle, or just in space. Take it up a notch by going into sprints from a vibration which brings in the element of reaction where the transition happens on the coach’s command. Whether forward, backward or lateral, put your athletes in a position to be athletic where they must get out fast.

In the weight room, consider the benefits of Olympic lifts like hang cleans, power cleans, and split jerks. Remember, focus on the speed of the rep, not the speed of the set. Quality always trumps quantity with Olympic lifts. Millions and millions of reps aren’t necessary. Explosive strength training correlates directly to the use of fast twitch muscle fibers for a quick start on the court or field of play.

We have alluded time and again to the general consensus that the most significant change from one level of play to the next is the speed of the game. This leads to a simple conclusion: the speed of the training changes too. You have to train fast to get fast. So if you want to train fast, start fast.

Read More

Pre-Pubescent Athletic Development and YES…Strength Training!

Posted in: Strength Training

The paradigm of the past said pre-pubescent children should not perform strength training due to the load, risk of injury, spinal compression and fears such as stunted growth or damaged joints. Even further back it was thought that strength training was not good for certain athletes as it would actually hinder their ability to be athletic and perform certain ranges of movement.

pre-pubescent athletic developmentAll of this can be true or false depending on how, what, when and why you are training. The difference today is the amount of research, development and practical knowledge we have gained in truly understanding biomechanics and the role they play in all stages of a child’s life. What we know now is that when Athletic Development training is done safely and age-appropriately, it can be extremely beneficial to children long term.

The Mayo Clinic, an authority in health research, has stated that kids should start age-appropriate strength and Athletic Development training as early as 7 or 8 years of age. (, Tween and Teen Health, January 2015, Strength Training) Beginning Pre-Pubescent Athletic Development training at these early ages will have a longer positive effect on a child than just playing sports. Why? Because not only is the child developing appropriately physically, but they are instilling habits and a positive association to training early on which will continue in their life, long after sports have ended.

If we think about the physical development of a toddler, we as parents are continuously stimulating their motor skills and physical activity to advance their neurological movements, hand-eye coordination, balance and physical strength. The mobile in their crib, their bouncing walker, climbing and jumping off obstacles, and banging on things, are all Central Nervous System (CNS) and physical developmental exercises.

Food for Thought: Jumping off a chair 18” high and landing with bent knees yields an impact of 1.3Gs to the body. Jumping off the same chair landing with locked knees yields an impact of 4.2Gs. (, June 2011, Understanding Shock Load, part 2) Change that chair height to a swing, fence, roof, etc. and the results of improper technique become more apparent and dangerous.

The need for proper technique and training applies to running, stopping, changing directions, lifting weights and many other athletic movements that involve gravity, force, momentum and impact. With pre-pubescent athletic development, if a child is taught proper mechanical movements and has increased strength, they develop efficiency and with efficiency comes speed, agility and reduced traumatic impact.

So why do we lose sight of these activities as our children get to the next early stages of their lives? We become dependent on their day to day activities, recess, PE, sports and outdoor play to fulfill this need. Unfortunately, in this day and age kids are not getting enough activity. We must understand that sports and athletic development are two very different things with different demands, modalities and progressions.

pre-pubescent athletic developmentWe have reversed the process of development. Think about it, we have our kids play sports starting as young as 2 years old and as they reach a level that becomes more competitive or challenging, we then decide maybe training will be a good idea. Now we are faced with the reality that our child’s mechanics, strength and movement is poorly developed with terrible habits that need correction. That’s like sending soldiers to war and when they start getting their tail kicked we bring them back and train them.

It only makes sense that pre-pubescent athletic development occur when kids’ CNS is the most active, receptive and developmentally capable of instilling process. Understanding early child development accentuates the importance of training before, during and after sports to make training a staple in their lives. These early habits will properly prepare, develop and continue to advance their bodies physically, mentally and neurologically to adapt to the conditions they face.

Parents always say, we are too busy with sports to train. Unfortunately, it isn’t until their child is no longer able to compete at a desired level that they then make training a priority.

The reality is pre-pubescent athletic development and strength training should be viewed as the staple of safe, proper and effective long-term development. This includes several key factors such as:

  • Establishing the importance, benefits and fun of training
  • Building confidence and empowerment through healthy physical activity
  • Taking advantage of the most crucial time of CNS and muscular development
  • Mitigating the risk of injury due to weakness or improper movements
  • Teaching proper neurological movement patterns instilling good athletic habits
  • Improving athletic IQ for continued correct repetition
  • Safely preparing the body to perform and develop most effectively
  • Giving your child the greatest chance for athletic success

If we invest the time to properly teach, train and develop our children now, we are maximizing their chances of long-term physical, mental and developmental success. When puberty, competition and challenge comes into play, your child’s mind and body will be prepared.

Read More

Injury Mitigation

Posted in: Injury

injury mitigation for youth athletes - DX3 Athlete

Injury Mitigation for Youth Athletes

The possibility of injury always weighs on our minds as we watch our athletes perform their sport or simply the craziness of youth. As coaches and parents we often forget that we, too, were once fearless and bulletproof! Injuries can’t be prevented, however injury mitigation and management can be substantially improved through three simple practices:

  1. Proper Preparation (Warm up, Flexibility and Activation)
  2. Proper Training (Techniques and Volumes)
  3. Appropriate Recovery (Nutrition, Active De-loading and Sleep)

In the current times of athletic, academic and social demands we must all remain aware and informed of the mental and physical stress that our kids are expected to endure. Our mind and body can’t necessarily determine the difference in the type of stress, so it is important to be appropriately conditioned and recovered, accounting for all bouts of stress regardless of its origin.

Assess + Learn + Plan + Execute = Success

The old analogy of more is better does not always hold true, and usually hurts if not properly balanced. Too much is simply too much, and we can be overloaded beyond capacity without proper recovery. What is too much? That’s the million dollar question. Everyone has a different capacities, but regardless of capacity overload leads to mental fatigue, muscular fatigue, muscle and joint injury and lost confidence. We often see the signs of these in our athletes and want them to just power through, that isn’t usually the best solution.

An injury can be the result of many factors, some preventable, many not. Generally we have found that an injury occurs for 5 main reasons:

  1. Improper training (Overtraining, undertraining or no training)
  2. Lack of strength (Neuromuscular process and functional)
  3. Improper load or impact (which can be greatly improved with technique and strength training)
  4. Mental and/or Physical Fatigue (often due to too much stress and not enough recovery)
  5. On field/court contact (sometimes avoidable, but not always)

All coaches and parents must understand the level of stress our youth are in, it isn’t the same as it was for us. With a proper understanding coaches must incorporate a proper rest/work ratio that allows athletes to progress and develop so they can perform at their best. During rest phases athletes must focus on getting extra sleep, drinking a lot of water, and eating healthy. With adequate rest athletes will perform more and at a higher level during the work phase.

Regardless of what activity or sport our athletes (any child age 7 and up, based on the Mayo Clinic) are participating in, they should learn proper preparation and warm up, correct movement patterns and have strength training as part of their weekly schedule. All three should be non-negotiable as they lead to injury mitigation and maximized performance.

As coaches and parents it is our job to prepare, protect, and enable our athletes to be better prepared for sports and for life. Teaching kids what it looks like to properly balance work and rest will serve them well long after sports. And it will serve you well as they perform at a higher level and last longer on the court or field.

Read More