Too many people undervalue what they are and overvalue what they are not.” –  Malcolm Forbes

I had a female athlete in the other day for her training session.  I told her to do as many deadlifts as she can, up to 12, with 95lbs.  I had someone else ask me a question and when I looked up the bar was already on the ground again.  I asked her how many she was able to do consecutively.  She answer “2”.

I looked at her and said, “Why?”  She said, “I don’t know, it was hard, it felt heavy.”

(Side note:  I always ask them “Why?” You can learn a lot from an athlete by just asking them that question.)

This is a pivotal point in an athlete’s training, because depending on what I do or say, or how I say it, I can either help the athlete or completely lose her.  Each athlete is different and you have to know your athlete to know what you can say or how far you can push or question them.  Now I know this athlete pretty well.  She is definitely a hard worker, but really doesn’t want to work hard; which means she will do whatever you have her do and won’t argue with you, but she really doesn’t want to do it.  For some reason I also feel she doesn’t believe in herself as much as she should.  I often tell her, “I can’t wait for the day that you believe in yourself more than I believe in you.”

So back to the deadlift.  I reminded her that hard doesn’t mean can’t and she just has to get comfortable with the struggle a little more.  In other words, I don’t care if you fail, but you have to try harder than you want to, as long as injury isn’t a concern.  So after her rest period was up I told her, you going to do 4 consecutively.  So she starts her set and just as I suspected, she did 3 like it was no biggie.  While she did her fourth rep, I told her to do 2 more, which she also did without any problem.  She did 6 reps, about 3 minutes after 2 reps were all she was able to do.  The only reason that she couldn’t before was the mental obstacle she placed in front of herself.  By standing over her and watching the set and telling her she had to do 4, which was more than she did before but not that much more that she could overthink the likelihood of her completing it.  Adding the 2 extra was also not an issue as she had just done 4 and realized that she was able to do them.

She did another set of 8 reps I believe and I told her that she, “expanded her world of possibilities with that set.”  She looked at me a little puzzled.  I explained that by going from 2 to 8 reps consecutively she expanded what she considered not only possible, but made it a reality as well.

So next set comes up and I add 10’s to each side and told her to give me 2 reps.  I then told her it was physically impossible that she could do 8 reps at 95lbs and not be able to do 2 reps at 115lbs.  I said that to change the internal dialogue from; what the possibility of completing it was to, it’s impossible not to be able to.  So she hit those 2 reps as well.

Next set came up, so I added 10’s to each side again.  Interesting side note, kids cannot do math when it comes to barbells, for some reason they all get themselves mixed up.  So she thinks it’s 125lbs when in reality it is 135lbs, but I don’t correct her.  I never tell an athlete if it weighs more than they think it does when they are their worst enemy.  So I let her believe it was less.  She pulled 1 and then her form got out of whack and she didn’t get the second, but I didn’t care.  I wanted to see how she would respond when it really did get heavy and tried a couple of times to get that second pull, so I was proud of her effort.  She was happy and proud when she found out it was 135lbs and not 125lbs.

So everything turned out pretty good, but I could have really botched that teaching moment up if I didn’t know my athlete.  If I would have pushed her from the start and said, she was going to do 8 or 10 reps in a row without stopping, her mindset would have shifted from “I think I can get 2 more than I did before” to “I can’t do 8 or 10 in a row” and when you are doing something like a deadlift, you don’t want them doubting their abilities because that’s when someone can get hurt.  I want them focusing on what they are supposed to do, not worry about how they are going to do it.  That would have also put her WAY out of her comfort level and could have led to her pushing back at me and training in general.  Training should not be beating an young athlete into submission, it should be helping them find their own way with guidance and in some cases a push in the right direction.

New technique to get stronger and faster in as little as 5 minutes

“Patience, persistence and perspiration, make an unbeatable combination for success.” – Napolean Hill

Are you looking for instant results??

Well too bad, it isn’t possible.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this post gets opened by twice as many people as any of our other posts, and it goes to show you how impatient we have become.  How impatient you ask?  Well the fact that Amazon will be rolling out same day delivery in some areas speaks volumes.

When it comes to speed, power, and/or strength, these are not things that you can achieve overnight.  These abilities take patience and time to develop.

More than we would like to see, an athlete will come in for a 3 week tryout, assessment and prep phase, only to not “see” a big change in strength or speed.  You think?  Being that we are working on getting the body properly prepared to train, means we are working on mobility, stability, connective tissue strength, etc.  It’s unfortunate, because we finally get them ready to go and then they stop.  Unfortunately, it’s not always the athlete, it’s the overzealous parent.  If you have come in and talked to us about what you or your coach thinks the athlete needs to work on, more than once during the 3 week trial and then didn’t stay on after, you might be who I am talking about. (Go ahead and unsubscribe if you feel offended, we won’t and honestly we are probably not the athlete development specialists you are looking for.)

For those of you still reading, first thanks; second, if your athlete hasn’t even hit puberty yet, then I hate to break it to you, a lot of strength and speed isn’t going to show up right away.  There is a lot more to being an athlete than absolute strength or speed.  Injury prevention, stability, mobility, aerobic capacity, anaerobic power, and removal of dysfunction are all things that can be improved so that when strength and power do come over time, it won’t be a detriment to your athlete.

If you want to see a quick video of what too much power and no control look like then check out this quick YouTube video

Wait for the second car. SMH.

Everyone wants to be the next Steph Curry, Carli Llyod, Buster Posey, Sonny Gray, Khalil Mack, or NaVarro Bowman, but how many of you want to put the time in that they have in the gym?  For every hour you watch them on tv they have probably spent 5-10 hours working smarter and harder, but you don’t see that.


Never Let Your Athlete Do This

” A Coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, and has you see things you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you can be.” – Tom Landry

Never Let Your Athlete Train Without A Coach

First off, let me clarify that statement a bit.  I’m not saying athletes should not practice without a coach.  Some of the best time spent learning is when you are learning to do things on your own.  This is especially true the younger the athlete is; they need to spend time trying to do/learn things on their own.  What I am talking about is training, specifically speed, strength, athletic or power training; although higher level practice should probably be grouped in this, but since we do not teach sport specific technique I’m going to leave that out.

Well of course, as a youth athlete development business we are going to say that.  I’m sure that is what you are telling yourself right now, and you are right.  It does make business sense for us to tell everyone to use Red Zone Training, but that is not what I am saying.  I am saying to not let your athletes train without a coach, doesn’t have to be with us – although we would prefer that. ;). As long as the coach is qualified to train your athlete then that works.

Quick side note:

Qualified to train your athlete is pretty important.  Just because someone holds a certification does not make them qualified to train you or your athlete, no more than having a driver’s license qualifies you to teach someone to drive.  A qualified coach is one who is knowledgeable in training athletes for sports.  They spend their time studying how to train athletes.  They spend their time learning how to communicate with a youth athlete.  Most importantly they spend their time actually training youth athletes, not as a side job or additional revenue stream.  When your livelihood depends on training youth athletes, you make darn sure you know what you are doing.  So anyone who fits that description is definitely someone to check out.  End side note.

Why is it so imperative that your athlete train with a coach?  The same reason you don’t leave your kids to get their education on their own, they won’t learn optimally or at all.  Middle and high school athletes still are not experts on their body, how it moves, what it is doing, or what they are doing for that matter.  In other words they don’t know, what they don’t know.

What They Should Do and What They Actually Do Are Often Miles Apart.

You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve said, “Now bend your right leg.”  Only to follow it up with, “Ok, now straighten that leg out and bend your other right leg.”   Or telling any athlete to spread their feet just a little farther apart only to have them spread their feet like 24″ apart?!?!

So if athletes have a hard time making minor adjustments when a coach is telling them what to do, how well are they going to do that with no one telling them what to do.  Even more important how will they even know what to adjust in the first place?  How many times have you as a parent had to tell your kids to clean their room, only to find out what they think is clean and what everyone else in the world thinks is clean is completely different.

Their Focus Needs More Focus

Let’s face it, middle school and high school students are not known for their extreme focus on things they have to do, because they are still kids.  There are way too many other things to be doing than to do things they have to do.  We are always keeping athletes on task.  Sometimes they focus well, other times it’s like herding cats with feathers, while birds covered in catnip are flying circles around them.

They Are Not Accountable to Anyone

Whenever an athlete works out on their own there is no one to hold them accountable, not only for completing their workouts, but their level of effort or the strictness of their form,  and their progression through the workouts is compromised.  Youth athletes need a coach to hold them accountable for their effort level, their level of focus, and to help push them when needed.  Without this accountability, most athletes who work out on their own often just go through the motions and chit chat with friends the whole time, not much else gets done.

Their workouts are horrible.

We have had several athletes over the years who get to that point where they have the desire to go workout with their friends.  We completely understand where they are coming from and don’t talk down to them about it.  What we try and do is to remind them to keep doing things that they have been doing here and to keep progressing.  Sometimes these athletes end up coming back and sometimes they don’t; but either way, more times than not their workouts routines became bicep curls and bench presses and not much progress was made in anything.
They Get Hurt

When focus is absent, time is spent on redundant or extreme progressions of exercises, inevitably injuries will occur.  Coaches are supposed to be that voice of reason that says, the risk is not worth the reward.  Risking injury is not proper training.
Obviously a lot goes into the decision of letting an athlete workout on their own, with money usually being the major factor.  We do completely understand that it can be expensive to have a qualified coach train your athlete, just as it is expensive to have a qualified pitching coach, or hitting coach; however you do get what you pay for.  There is much more to an athletic training session than moving a weight and it’s often the little things that set up your athlete for success or set them down the path towards injury.  We don’t say this to scare anyone, we just want you to be informed so that you can make whatever decision you feel is best for you, your athlete, and/or your family and also have a plan of action to make sure the issues that we see with athletes training on their own don’t happen to your athlete.