Young Athletes and Seashells

When I write educational content for various fitness educational organizations, one of my primary goals is to encourage thought amongst the coaches and trainers who are exposed to it.  The following is an excerpt that was distributed to Athletic Revolution franchise partners.

I am sharing this with you too in an effort to give you even more insight as to why we do what we do. The method behind the madness if you will.

Enjoy.

When we are educating prospective parent members about the value of long-term athletic development we often use very poignant and effective analogies.  This is paramount in guiding parents to a better understanding and, at times, a paradigm shift as to the optimal way to train their child(ren).

Once more, it is imperative that our parents as well as our athletes comprehend the inherent risk of early specialization in sport… and the 6-week “bigger, stronger, faster” quick fix.

A common analogy that has proved advantageous to these efforts is that of our educational system.

We can quickly draw a parallel between the progressive and cumulative effect of our school systems while explaining that learning physical skill sets is no different.  We speak to building a solid foundation before specializing in any one subject.  We offer the example of not excluding other subject matter because a child has an affinity or increased aptitude in one particular subject.

“If Trevor was brilliant in the subject of math in 1st grade we certainly would not skip to 7th grade algebra”.

As coaches we need to take heed as to how we observe our athletes from a standpoint of skill acquisition and movement economy.  More importantly we must pay close attention to each athletes well being from a humanistic perspective.

I often offer this analogy to think about how you may become a better coach and mentor to the young athletes in your program.

One shell at a time.

When walking the beaches of the south shore in Massachusetts I have often collected seashells.  Far to easy to pick up the shell that catches my eye because of its outstanding shape, size or varied colors.  The thousands of shells I have walked passed without a second thought.

Half buried.

Pale in color compared to the shells.

Jagged and unpleasing to look at.

How many shells were by passed that were in fact the most unique and wonderful shells on the beach?

What have I missed as an observer and collector of shells?

How does this relate?

What have we missed as coaches?

What kids have we looked past to see the athlete who is the “better” athlete?

What child needed to be picked up so we could see the true value of them?

As coaches and trainers we are all on a greater mission to change the way young athletes are coached and trained.  This is why we will continue to set ourselves apart from others in our industry.  THIS is why will we change lives…one athlete at a time.

Thanks so much for reading and taking such an active interest in the long term well being of your young athlete!

Not a member yet? Click here to register for a 2-week trial so you and your young athlete can experience what we do, you can see how our schedule fits yours and we can communicate who our programs will benefit your young athlete!

 

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Are kids less fit…than we were?

Do our kids have ample opportunity to get the activity they need everyday?  Forget the sports performance factors…a recent study shows our children do not get enough activity to be as healthy as they should be.

Interestingly enough one of the possible causes for this is sited as obesity. I say interestingly enough because we need to ask ourselves the question “what came first…inactivity or obesity?”.

You can read about the research by clicking the link below. Enjoy and please comment!

http://www.telegram.com/article/20131120/NEWS/311209959/1052

If you are concerned about your children and the amount of quality activity they are getting during the week take advantage of our 2-week trial and give them the opportunity to avoid being a statistic!

See you soon!

Coach Dave

 

 

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Champion Athletes Rise Up

This past Friday we had our 15th Testing and Promotion Event. Pride is an under rated term when referring to what we witnessed.  The following young athletes have ascended to the new levels of achievement:

Level 1 Phase 1

Tyler Gould
Madison Gould
Owen Lynch
Abigail Manning

Level 1 Phase 3

John Ennis
William Hoban

Level 2 Phase 1

Sam Goodman
Caroline Manning

Level 2 Phase 2

Coleman Earner
Jayne Howe

 

Ascension_Poster

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Keeping Kids Healthy

Here is a great article written by coach Kevin O’Neill.

Keeping Kids Healthy

As a parent of 2 rowdy boys and a Sports Performance coach who works with kids as young as 6 years old, it is great to see kids being active. Its doesn’t matter if its organized games, creative play, or running around the back yard. Active kids usually equal happy and healthy kids. That’s a great thing.

With activity can come everyday bumps and bruises. We recently had a checkup for my 3-year-old son, who is always bumping into things and constantly has bruises on his legs. One of the things our Pediatrician mentioned is that she loves seeing bumps, scrapes, and bruises on kids legs because it means they are active. While that does sound a bit cryptic, she has a great point.

While the activity for kids is a great thing, there is a growing problem amongst today’s youth and too much specialized activity. Kids who specialize in 1 sport are at a higher risk to sustain overuse injuries than kids who are multi sport athletes. Our friends at The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention recently shared a great USA Today article on the subject of youth sports and overuse injuries.

Here are a few important highlights from the article:

–       Overuse injuries to tendons, bones and joints can result from playing the same sport and performing the same movements too often, too hard or at    too young an age with inadequate recovery time.

–       Young athletes who played a single sport for more hours a week than years they were old — such as a 10-year-old who played 11 or more hours of soccer — were 70% more likely to experience serious overuse injuries.

–       Letting the body rest, adding preventive and strengthening exercises, and following proper technique are among injury prevention strategies.

So how do we keep our young athletes healthy? At Athletic Revolution, we focus on achieving this through a number of methods:

1)   Educate parents and coaches about the risk of overuse injuries. Explain that young kids don’t need to specialize and play a sport year round. Having a multi sport athlete will actually help decrease overuse injuries and also help prevent “burnout” that is so often seen in kids by the time they enter their high school years.

2)   Educate the kids on what they are doing. We are always talking to the kids about why we are doing something and how it will benefit them. This can be as basic as telling a 6 year the importance of a good athletic stance, as intermediate as telling a 11 year old the benefits of foam rolling and muscle activation, and as advanced as telling a high school athlete how the Olympic lifts will improve explosiveness and rate of force development.

3)   We rarely specialize. We work hard to improve our kids multi directional movement patterns and multi positional strength. The goal is have our kids strong and moving well regardless of the sport they play or position they are put in.  We rarely perform sports specific drills or exercises. A well-rounded and bulletproof athlete is our goal.

4)    We get kids stronger. Improved strength is a goal with all our kids regardless of age. Our 6 year olds improve their strength through bodyweight exercises. As our kids get older and mature, we progress with med balls, dumbbells, and barbells as they progress appropriately through our programs. Most all sports now are at the very least contact sports. Basketball, soccer, and baseball are all sports where contact will and probably should occur. Football, wrestling, lacrosse, and hockey are more collision sports with greater impacts occurring. Improved strength will not only help kids perform their sports better, they will help them stay healthy through this contact and collision. As an old coach once told me, “Its better to be the hammer than the nail”.

5)   We have fun. We make sure our kids have fun during their training at AR. Too often kids have fun taken away from them by coaches, teachers, peer leaders, etc. They are kids. Kids should have fun.

 

If you are a parent, have kids who play youth sports, or coach youth sports, the full referenced article can be found here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/06/injuries-athletes-kids-sports/2612429/ . It’s a good and informative read and I strongly suggest it.

 

Kevin O’Neill MS, USAW, CSCS, YSF-1

coach@athleticrevolutionsouthshore.com

Sports Performance Coach

Athletic Revolution South Shore

 

 

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Testing and Promotion Results June 6th 2013

**Champion Promotion**

 

Congratulations to the following athletes for successfully achieving higher rank on Friday June 6th 2013.

Discovery-Level 1

Phase 1- White

Aiden Sullivan

Anastasia Argus

Cameron Steele

Colin Killgoar

Sean O’Neil

Phase 2 – Orange

Connor Steele

Benjamin Lynch

Jacob Cogburn

John Ennis

Liam Robinson

Matthew Buzalsky

Owen Mayer

Ryan Steele

William Hoban

Phase 3 – Black

Dimitrios Tombros

Exploration – Level 2

Phase 1 – White

Daniel Ellis

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What I Learned in Toronto

This past weekend I was honored to be part of at team of my peers and friends at the inaugural Youth Fitness Summit in Toronto.  I shared the stage with some of the brightest minds, and more importantly some the greatest human beings I have ever met.  Tom Hurly, David Kittner, Dave Jack, Dave Schmitz and Kwame Brown were my compatriots over the weekend.

Dr. John Ratey, Author of SPARK, was our keynote speaker and he gave us the foundation to build our case for re-instituting fun and fitness in to physical education in addition to getting our kids moving as much as possible.  I gave 3 presentations to physical educators, administrators and fitness professionals.

My topics covered “Fitness Ed vs. Phys Ed”, “Engage, Inspire and Impact” and “Creating a Culture of Fitness”. I have so much gratitude to Mark McTavish for organizing such a wonder 2 day event.

Even though I was a presenter this weekend. I learned. I learned a tremendous amount about being a better coach and even more about myself.

Here are the highlights:

1.) The “thinking brain is the moving brain”.  In John Ratey’s keynote address I learned that exercise literally changes the chemistry of the brain. Now I had remembered reading about this in his book SPARK, but Dr. Ratey shared how when we exercise we produce our own brain fertilizer. Yes exercise promotes brain growth and in particular the same part of the brain that is essential for memory and memory integration…LEARNING!

So why do we continually strip our kids of opportunity to be active in school? Great question, and one that needs a solution.

2.)  I came to the realization there are many people in every community that have a desire to make a difference.  The passionate teachers and administrators that spent their own money and took their own personal time on a weekend to attend the Youth Fitness Summit are heroes.  By the end of the weekend all in attendance responded that they now had the tools they needed AND they would implement change beginning the next day!

3)  There is a difference between play and exercise. That said, you can accomplish so many elements of fitness with play. Strength, cardio, mobility, flexibility, etc are all intertwined in play.

4)  Schools that are about to purchase expensive treadmills and selectorized equipment need to re-assess the effectiveness of high risk, single user pieces that do not develop skill, are boring or could potential lead to repetitive motion injuries.

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Athletic Revolution Champions Show Their Stuff!

Congratulations to our athletes for successfully achieving higher rank on Friday December 7th, 2012.

Testing, evaluating and assessing young athletes is and should be a continual process.  Those terms are all synonymous with each other.  One overlooked commonality they have is that they are largely misunderstood.  All to often the concept of grading young athletes is based solely on performance measures that illustrate how far, how far, how fast and how much.  A key problem with this connotation is it lacks a the emphasis  on the very skills required to perform any movement or exercise.

The Athletic Revolution Testing and Promotion System is based on 9 levels of achievement based on skill aptitude, character and fitness level.

 

We are proud to announce the  24 Champions that qualified and successfully achieved a new level.

Discovery – Level 1
Phase 1 – White

Logan Boutwell
Allie Dwyer
John Ennis

Phase 2 – Orange

Colin Cannel
Christopher Currier
Isaac Dornan

Phase 3 – Black

Joey Dwyer
Lily Jones
Jacob Lyons
Jillian Pillard

Exploration – Level 2
Phase 1 – White

Coleman Earner
Jared Farmer
Abbey Farmer
Savannah-Leigh Hellige
Caleb Jones
Brandon Kelsey
Jared Pillard
Caitlin Sullivan
Connor Sullivan

Phase 2 – Orange

Steven Cerventes

Phase 3 – Black

Matt Kreckie
Cameron Maggiore
Bo Rinkus

Transformation – Level 3
Phase 1 – White

Jenna Capuzzo

 

 

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Speed for 10-13 year old athletes

Speed is an absolute game changer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every athlete wants it.

Every parent wants it for their young athlete and that is the number one reason (confidence building is #2) why parents enroll their children in our athletic development programs.

Why do some kids get faster…before their peers?

Why do some kids seem to get slower?

Why do some kids seem like they are not getting faster?

The litany of questions could continue, but I think you get my point.  For the purposes of this short blog post I will not dive into the developmental process of human beings as it relates to athletic performance;  the systematic programming consideration of coaching the skills required to become faster on the field, court or ice;  or the internal and external factors that can positively or negatively effect the process of getting faster…

I will instead paint a picture of a young athlete, allowing you to as a parent, trainer or coach to come to an accurate understanding of the complexities of speed development.

Here is the scenario:

  • 11 years old
  • Awesome kid!
  • Great work effort
  • Male/Female (inconsequential)
  • Multiple team sport participation in one season (3 separate teams)
  • Malnourished (Not adequate calories nor sound food choices)
  • Sleep deprived
  • 6+ hours of school per day (sitting)
  • Academic pressures
  • Reoccurring joint related/soft tissue injuries
  • Social obligations and pressures
  • Recent growth spurt
  • Hormonal changes
  • Physical changes
  • Immature muscles
  • Low training age (Little to know athletic performance training history)
  • 1 Training session per week to work on speed

This, my friend is not the exception…it is the norm.

Let’s for just a moment compare the above mentioned athlete to one of the pro athletes we train at Athletic Revolution.

  • 24 years old
  • Physically mature
  • Hormonally stable
  • 8-10 hours of sleep per night
  • Sound nutrition and adequate caloric intake
  • 1 practice per day (on non game days) for 1.5 hours
  • Medical and athletic training staff to manage injuries and soreness
  • Naps during the day
  • Consistent and systematic athletic performance program including recovery weeks.
  • 1 day per week public appearance or media interview

 

Clearly the demands of the 11 year old child outweigh those of the professional athlete by a large margin.

The question I have is this…

WHY do we as a society continue to choose quantity over quality?

It is time we, as parents, begin making decisions for our kids that take these illustrations into consideration.

I have watered down this post on purpose. If you do not understand the conclusion being drawn here please comment below!

Wondering what to do?

Register for our athletic development programs that are specifically designed to improve all aspects of athleticism including SPEED. You can try us out for 2 weeks FREE by clicking here.

See you soon!

Coach Dave

 

 

 

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Plyoboxes, agility discs and pushups…

In this short video, head coach Dave Gleason gives some tips on how to utilize some common training tools to teach the push up to younger athletes.

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Champions on the RISE

**Champion Promotion**


Congratulations to the following athletes for successfully achieving higher rank on Friday September 14th, 2012.

 

Testing, evaluating and assessing young athletes is and should be a continual process.  Those terms are all synonymous with each other.  One overlooked commonality they have is that they are largely misunderstood.  All to often the concept of grading young athletes is based solely on performance measures that illustrate how far, how far, how fast and how much.  A key problem with this connotation is it lacks a the emphasis  on the very skills required to perform any movement or exercise.

The Athletic Revolution Testing and Promotion System is based on 9 levels of achievement based on skill aptitude, character and fitness level.

 

We are proud to announce the 6 Champions that qualified and successfully achieved a new level this past Saturday:


Discovery-Level 1

Phase 1 – White

Liam Robinson

William Hoban

Exploration-Level 2

Phase 1- White

Jayne Howe

Austin Manning

Phase 2 – Orange

Matthew Kreckie

Phase 3 – Black

Chris Wesinger

If and when you see these young champions…give them a high 5!

 

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