Think for Yourself…The Power of Self-Reflection

As a youth coach and adult fitness instructor I am constantly helping members with new movement patterns, weight loss or general fitness goals, agility, speed, strength and much more. Throughout these experiences I have been able to recognize a strong correlation between developing athletic skills and creating new habits regardless of age. Through a simple four step process we will not only teach the members but empower them to maintain and transfer these new skills or healthy habits into the real world.

In a past article I discussed the importance of a four step process.(Skill it, Drill it, Thrill it and Kill it) This procedure is a simple way of breaking down the steps to conquer a behavior change or master a given skill.

 

Skill It (Learn Something New)

The ability to discover and learn new skills or behaviors. Discover what needs to be done, how to execute as well as develop a game plan to set yourself up for success.

Drill It (Practice Practice Practice!)

The process of trial and error or exploration in which we try to get a better understanding of a new skill or behavior through personal experience and coaching. This step of the process takes time as you discover what works best for you, practice the skill or behavior and ask questions as help is readily available.  

Thrill It (Recognize Change/Self-Correct/Challenge Yourself)

By this point you have made some progress with your skill or behavior and are beginning to feel more confident. At this time we will start to discuss the importance of self-reflection and personal choices as a teacher, parent or coach will not always be there to help. This step is crucial as we prepare our members to become strong, confident and independent individuals who can maintain their skills or behavior in the real world where it matters.

Kill It (Transfer to Sports/Life)

The final step is a reflection of all your hard work, time and effort that has been applied to the given skill or behavior. This is where your skill is transferred to the field, court or ice and your behavior is maintained in the real world without the assistance of others.

Now that we have a brief preview of the 4 step process i would like to discuss the importance of self-reflection and personal decision making in relation to a few targeted groups 10-13 yr Athletics, H.S  Athletics and Adult fitness/behavior.

 

Athletics- 10-13 yrs old

First i would like to start with the youngest age group 10-yr old athletics. When it comes to the four step process it will apply and assist with athletic development and behavior although the way we present or coach can be all the difference. At athletic revolution the 10-13 yr old age group is divided into two groups Exploration(Fitness) and Exploration II (Advanced). For these groups the phase of skill it and drill it may not vary much between the 2 groups, starting simple with 1 or 2 important cues and slowly grow and develop with speed or additional cues when ready. However the advanced level class tends to be filled with higher skilled athletes allowing us to possible challenge them with more complex exercises or sport specific skills, while exploration will explore more general movement patterns. As the progression continues regardless of skill or behavior the third step of thrilling it and self reflection may be difficult to ask of your 10-13 yr old athletes. However it all depends on how you look at it. If they are capable of answering a question about the skill, correct an improper demonstration of skill or as a coach seeing the skill transfer from outcomes based coaching to game play can all be signs of thrilling it at the exploration level.

All the following applies for our advanced level class but most of these athletes are at a higher level and can be challenged a little further.To help these skills and behaviors transfer to the real world and give these athletes a true advantage it is important to hold them accountable. During the thrill it phase ask how it felt (good or bad), did you notice anything change or how can we make it better. At first it may take time but eventually all hands will be up to share as these athletes take pride in their athletic intelligence and skill. Even though asking questions develops a great foundation for skills or behaviors to transfer we need to take it just a bit further. Next allow the athletes to go through exercises/skills with no guidance. After ask if anyone self-reflected, changed speed or made a change during the exercise/skill.More often than not a majority of class may not have done the following because no one had told them to do so.

Anchor the goods here! Explain how a coach can’t be on the field, a teacher cant help during a test and mom or dad may not always be there to tell you what to do. Time to start thinking for yourself as personal choices and self-reflection is something that is going to become a bigger part of your life as you become older. After anchoring the good these athletes will begin to take their skills to a new level as they begin to understand there is always an opportunity to improve. In relations their confidence in their skills and behaviors show as they are eager to share their success.  At this point they have learned, practiced and developed the skill or behavior to the point at which it will have a positive impact on the young man or women moving forward.

 

Athletics 14+yrs  High School

With the 14+ age group the process begins to progress as the athletes are more mentally and physically developed as well as have a stronger understanding of the impact training has on their sports performance. While the 4 step process applies, a huge dividing factor can be experience. What i mean is i may not treat a new high school athlete the same as a member who started at a younger age and developed a strong foundation through Athletic Revolution. If the athlete is new i may treat the situation similar to an exploration II athlete with the possibility of speeding things up as the athlete makes gains and develops a better understanding. As this athlete continues within 1-3 months they will adapt to our ways and will be held to the same standard as the other experienced athletes.

Athletes who have experience can still use the 4 step process as a tool for success. With this age group we provide a 3 day rotating schedule for a 4-6 week time frame to ensure training density, gain experience, improve movement patterns and maximize results. The first step of skill it doesn’t change much as the focus is still gaining a better understanding of the skill or exercise through minimal cuing. As the athletes continue to build a new movement pattern and gain confidence start incorporating additional cues to  build a strong foundation from the start.The biggest difference with this age group is the speed at which they learn as they are expected to get through the skill it phase within 1-2 weeks. The only exception is the skill it phase is ongoing  as it can be important to take a step back before taking two steps forward at any given point in the process. Next we come to drill it. Once again things haven’t changed much as we dedicate 4+ weeks towards practicing the giving skill or exercise. The biggest difference here is we begin to incorporate self-reflection, self-exploration and increase personal responsibility. Over these 4 weeks athletes will be progressed individually based on movement pattern, execution with workload as well as personal understanding of skill or exercise. Although this step takes time it may also prove to be the most influential step when it comes to developing long term results. After 4+ weeks of grooving movement patterns, gaining confidence and making proper progression the athletes have reached the thrill it phase.

This phase of the process tends to be fun as the final 2 weeks of the program are giving the athletes the opportunity to truly challenge themselves with supervised personal bests, increased speed and coordination and use of advanced progressions. Although this step can be fun make sure to keep things safe and effective as it’s always okay to regress before progressing as a personal best is awesome but the real goal is to transfer personal gains from the gym to their sport or real world situation. With the help of self reflection and  some assistance with personal choice(athletic intelligence)  the athletes begin to push themselves to new heights as they transfer their new found strength, speed, mobility, stability or skill to their sport or activity. Finally we have come to the kill it phase. At this point the high school athletes can break down, self correct, and execute the skill or exercise when needed inside or outside athletic revolution. Although we have set them up for success it is important to stay fresh with skills and exercises as well as make it clear that although we may be in the kill it phase does not mean we are perfect. Never become complacent as there’s always an opportunity for personal improvement.  

 

Fitness/Behavior- Adults

After relating this 4 step process to youth athletics it’s time to change gears and focus on adult fitness and behavior. When beginning any fitness or behavior change it is important to start simple and build as we do not want to make the situation stressful or overwhelming as this can be detrimental to any personal change. After identifying their personal change it’s time to take action as the skill it phase allows the adults to figure out their busy schedule, identify an ideal nutrition plan and build confidence as we prepare them to start and maintain a long term change.

Now the real work begins as the drill it phase is going to be the most influential step of them all. Here the adults are going to experience ups and downs as they go through a stage of exploration. It’s time to try new things, self-reflect and figure out what works best for you…don’t be afraid of failure as it’s part of the process and allows you to grow. The drill it phase is an important time to explore but it is also important to listen and learn from your coaches, peers and yourself as you still can use your resources for help in order to build strong new habits.  After going through exploration and gaining experience the adults will start to have a better understanding of what works and what does not as well as what they are capable of maintaining long term. Here is where they begin to create strong habits as their hard work is starting to reflect their goals whether it be fitness or behavior related.

While the new habits become a way of life and confidence is up you are ready for the thrill it phase. Here the process changes as things become a little bit more difficult as life starts to test your new way of life and help may not always be available. It’s time to self-reflect and use what you have learned to maintain your new ways for life. Although help is not always available this can be a great opportunity for independent growth as now is the time where you need to stay strong, believe in yourself and self correct mistakes to prepare yourself for any boundaries that may stand in your way especially when nobody is there to help. When an individual has created new habits, built confidence, become capable of self-reflection as well as conquered varies boundaries they have proven themselves ready for the kill it phase. The kill it phase can be both fun and scary. What i mean by this is it can be fun to reap the benefits of all your hard work as the future’s looking bright. On the other side this is where old habits tend to come back and the constant temptations of everyday life can takes its toll. In order to stay successful for the long term feel free to resort back to any of the previous stages to re-evaluate the situation, get help if needed and assess future game plan to maintain results. Stay confident and make the right choices for you!

In conclusion you can use the 4 step process of skill it, drill it, thrill it and kill it with any given skill or behavior. Although learning something new or making a change takes time, taking the right steps at the right time will show you that your time and effort was worth it as setting yourself up for success is key. In addition to this process we have been able to recognize the importance of self-reflection and personal choice as it’s proven to be a key factor in developing a skill or making a change especially in its relation to long term success regardless of age or personal goal.

Take some time out of your busy day and self-reflect about your day, choices you’ve made or future options you may have. Go into detail and make a personal choice that is best for you! See what happens and learn from your experience as you become one step closer to your goal and where you want to be.

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Lesson Learned

Over the course of 10 weeks Athletic Revolution South Shore assisted 48 members in making a lifestyle change by impacting mental health, nutrition and fitness. By the end of the challenge members were raving about how much they had taken away from the 10 week challenge which is great, but what’s even better is the members are continuing their healthy habits and making life altering changes to their mind, health and fitness.

A great deal was learned during the 10 weeks and we want to share some of the most important lessons taken from the challenge to help you in your journey of making a long term lifestyle change and getting the results you desire.

AR Team challenge 2016

“Health and Fitness has no finish line…it’s a way of life”

The first lesson relates to the title AR 10 Week Transformation Challenge. Due to the overabundance of marketing in health and fitness industry this program is often perceived as a short term solution that will get you the results you have dreamed of in no time. Unfortunately making a health and fitness change isn’t that easy, it takes hard work and dedication as real results come from long term healthy habits. The challenge members were quickly informed that this program was designed to assist in creating new healthy habits that would last far beyond the 10 weeks. The standard had been set for the members of the challenge as they knew it was time to not just start a challenge but start a life long journey.

AR Strong 1

“Set Yourself Up For Success”

Once you have identified the change that needs to be made it is important to set yourself up for success. It can be easy to identify a change that you would like to make but putting words to action is much easier said than done. The second lesson is the importance of preparation. Throughout the 10 week challenge we were able to help individuals not only identify their goals but also provide them with health and fitness knowledge or programs to help ensure long term success. Starting a journey for no real reason or without a real game plan only sets you up to fail. Please take the necessary steps to figure out fitness, nutrition, schedule and much more that will only help you get a better idea of how you are going to conquer your health and fitness journey. When it comes to the members of the challenge the 10 weeks were designed to help them prepare for a change by allowing them to create new fitness and nutrition habits that would set them up for success beyond the confines of 10 weeks.

AR Prep-Class

“You Cannot Outwork a Poor Diet”

When it comes to making a health and fitness change the next lesson is the importance of good nutrition. I realize this seems quite broad but what I mean is through my personal experiences (my fitness journey combined with coaching others in theirs) exercise tends to be a habit far easier to obtain than nutrition. We often think that it is okay to have that cookie, pizza etc….as long as we go to the gym to work it off. It doesn’t work that way as you cannot constantly replenish your body with essentially empty calories and toxins that cause lowered performance, weight gain and increased risk for disease. It’s not just about reaching your daily caloric intake. What truly matters is how you get there. Try and follow the 80/20 rule by eating well 80% of the time while the other 20% gives you the opportunity to still live a little. The challenge members were able to experience this first hand as for some the first few weeks showed no change regardless of an increased work ethic and hours in the gym. When members began to focus on quality of nutrition in relation to a doable fitness schedule the scale and measurements began to speak for themselves.

“Counting Calories or Making Calories Count”

The next lesson relates to the well known phrase calories in v.s calories out. This phrase led many individuals to believing the solution to weight loss is as simple as burning more calories than you consume on a daily basis leads to weight loss.The old way of merely reducing calories does not work. In fact, what we learned is that most of the members were not consuming enough calories or getting enough nutrition (micro and macro nutrients). This method can change an individual’s metabolism causing increased body fat, decreased  muscle mass or complete plateau. Our members quickly figured out what was considered a smart strategy  “cutting calories” was no longer the best option but rather another barrier in the road.

AR Healthy Calories

“ Buy Healthy…Eat Healthy”

The following lesson focuses on making the best possible nutritional choice. When going to the grocery store it’s easy to be hungry and buy everything or get those special snacks for the kids. The only problem is you are surrounding yourself with constant temptation. Also the quality of the food matters as the stores often carry malnourished whole foods or unhealthy disguised processed foods. The members of the challenge were provided additional educational classes regarding how to dissect food labels, why whole foods are malnourished and much more in relations to general nutrition. They quickly realized the importance of quality food, planned nutrition and how it can set them up for success in the long term.

 

“Rising Tides Raise All Ships”

While the lessons keep piling up the next important tip related to our challenge is the impact of a positive attitude. When going through any lifestyle change there is bound to be ups and downs. The important part is to stay up more than you are down by maintaining a positive attitude. The perception of a glass half full apposed to half empty mentality can and will make a difference not only on yourself but impact the people around you. The thing is people don’t realize how infectious a positive attitude can be. Within our 10 week challenge having teammates as well as a facility full of camaraderie and “family” truly allowed the positive energy to flow! When in doubt stay proud and positive because you have no idea who is watching or whom you my impact. One positive act of kindness goes much further than anyone might realize. We believe rising tide… raises all ships. Be the rising tide during your health and fitness journey and lift up those around you. The support among the challenge members was unreal as 48 members came together to challenge one another to be the best that they can be.

AR anchor the goods

“Teamwork Makes The Dream Work”

I believe the next lesson can be crucial to making a lifestyle change. The importance of having like minded people working towards a common goal can be one of the most powerful things in the world. Why wouldn’t that apply here? When trying to make a big personal change alone things can be overwhelming, intimidating and stressful. Although, if you have the support of your teammates, friends or family you are no longer alone on a difficult journey. In fact you have a support system that will always be there but also they understand the changes going on in your life. Having the support and accountability from your teammates when going through similar changes only further motivates you to get one step closer to your goals and in return motivate your teammate to do the same. Throughout the challenge members constantly would be talking about how one teammates actions motivated them to make the morning workout, eat a healthy snack, provoke a positive attitude or simply make a smart decision. The ability to go through a change with somebody else truly can be an influential factor to anybodies personal health or fitness related goal.

AR Strong 2

Overall many lessons were learned about fitness, nutrition and mental health during the 10 week team transformation challenge but, most important their new healthy habits have been maintained beyond the restricted time frame of the challenge proving the lessons learned were able to help 48 members begin and maintain a healthy lifestyle change. However this is an opportunity for everyone to grow and learn. Try and adopt just one lesson about fitness, nutrition or mental health to see how it may have an impact on you during your health and fitness adventure.  

If you are looking to commit to your fitness goals and never want to start over again then take action and give us a call 781-312-7808.

You can be a part of our 4 week Summer Shred program with full membership privileges and unlimited classes. Learn how you can get your month for free!

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Champion’s on the Rise

On Friday March 11th, 2016 we had our Testing and Promotion or Champion Promotion event. We are both proud and excited to have had 7 different levels of athletes ranging from 6-14 years old participate in the event. Congratulations to the following champions for ascended to the new levels of achievement:

 

Discovery- Level 1

Phase 1 – White

Max Hanson

Jeff Considine

Cooper Farabaugh

 

Phase 2- Orange

Charlie Hamer

 

Phase 3- Black

Dylan Wagner

Cam Bliss

 

Exploration- Level 2

Phase 1- White

Ryan Wagner

John Kuropatikin

Christina Short

 

Phase 2- Orange

Shannon McKenna

PJ Celestino

 

Phase 3- Black

John Milano

Molly Belmore

 

Transformation- Level 3

Phase 2- Orange

Trevor Gleason

 

 

 

 

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Is Youth Strength Training Safe and Effective?

Is preteen strength training safe? Does strength training stunt youth growth? Won’t they get hurt? Can they handle workload? Will they get results? How does it transfer to game play?

Youth strength training is a highly debated topic that has many myths, questions and concerns. I am here to put these myths to rest and show you that strength training among a youth population aged 6-13 yrs old can be safe and effective.

 

 

Exploration II

 

First and foremost I would like to address the myth on how youth strength training can have negative effects on growth. Studies show that youth strength training can have many beneficial factors such as an increase in bone density, bone health and bone growth with no negative effects associated with growth development. This information is supported by the American College of Sports Medicine, American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and National Strength and Conditioning Association.

If youth strength training does occurs with improper technique, improper workloads, limited experience and no supervision there is a higher risk for injury including the possibility of damage to youth growth plates. It is key that as a coach or parent you have the knowledge and personal experience of how to execute strength based exercises as well as use age appropriate exercises, workload, rep scheme and cues to ensure safety and success.

 

What exactly is age appropriate in terms of exercises, repetitions, workload, cues and more?

 

When it comes to our youngest age group 6-9 yrs old developing strength is much easier than you think. This age group is still developing basic motor skills. Therefore basic body weight exercises like lunges, jumping or most primal movements can qualify as strength training. To further help 6-9 yrs old discover new movements it is essential to make it fun to practice any given skill.

For example lunges are a great strength based exercise for 6-9 yrs old as it incorporates leg strength and core strength. To make it fun we call our overhead lunges, monster walks where we pretend to be a big scary monster that gets tall and small as he/she walks down the turf and monsters don’t let their knees touch the ground. This make it fun as they practice a great fundamental strength based skill. To help further cue specific exercises be creative and make it fun. With monster walks we will ask to see their scary monster face to help them keep eyes up and chest proud as they hold strong posterior when they execute the exercise. Monster walks are just one example, think of other body weight based movements through all planes of motion like Frog Hops, Lateral Gorilla Walks, Bear Crawls, Jump Rope and more as they will assist a 6-9 yr old in getting strong all around and from top to bottom.

 

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As we continue the 10-13 yr old age group is most often pressured to start weight training to get a competitive edge on their opponents. With this age group it is important for us to help them start to build a solid foundation that will have an impact on them as they grow and develop naturally. We will focus on body weight based exercises like squats, lunges, bear crawls, planks and push-ups to ensure they can control their own body weight when in challenging positions. We can start to be more specific with our cues but don’t overwhelm your athletes as you should focus on no more than 2 of the most critical aspects of the exercise. When they begin to develop confidence and build strong movement patterns we will start to incorporate appropriate external loads. An external load is an outside factor that will have an impact on the given skill or exercise. In this scenario our first step is to introduce resistance band based exercises starting with fixed point exercises such as tug of war rows, assisted push ups or resisted presses. In order to progress skills try non-fixed exercises or partner drills like wall pull apart, standing overhead push press, partner runs, partner lunges and much more.

Some of our advanced level 10-13 yr old who’ve built solid foundations and movement patterns have been given the opportunity to move beyond the resistance band and introduced to free weight exercises like dumbbell box squats, dumbbell RDL, KB swings and weighted hip lifts.No need to go too heavy…groove a strong movement pattern with light external loads to help build the foundation now that will allow them to excel in the weight room and beyond. Finally when using external loads like resistance bands and free weights it is extremely important that you lay down the rules of using any given exercise tool as well as use age appropriate resistance, sets and repetitions as safety is priority.

 

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Important things to consider with this 10-13 yr old age group is they are extremely diverse across the board from video gamer’s to club sport athletes we personally have chosen to divide this group into two level classes allowing us to meet our youth where they are physically, mentally and socially. Also their bodies are making big changes causing mobility issues and aches or pains while dealing with added stress. It is essential to meet your athletes where they are on that given day as there is no need to force previously planned strength training for this age group as our main focus is to maintain or increase movement efficiency, make exercise or training fun and teach healthy habits because that is what will have an immediate impact on the field, track, court or ice.       

 

While we try to build a foundation for all our younger aged athletes as we enter the 14+ age group we tend to see a wider variety of experience and ability levels. This age group is considered physically mature enough to start traditional strength training but it is extremely important to build a solid foundation by starting simple and working your way up as we don’t wanna cause more harm than good.

With the pressure to compete at a high level weight training can be essential for a  high school athletes success but it’s not all about “how much?” or “how many?” but in fact about “how well?. If you can build a solid foundation and work your way up, you will minimize plateau’s, increase strength, increase injury resistance, increase power as well as maximize the amount of skill transferred from the gym to the actual game .

 

High School Strength

 

Overall, youth strength training is safe and effective for all age groups as long as age appropriate application applies. First help the 6-9 yr old discover movement patterns through all planes of motion using strictly body weight and by making it fun. Give the 10-13 yr old the opportunity to explore, ask questions and start to give short explanations as to why and how to execute given exercises. Focus on body weight movement efficiency and start to introduce resistance bands, hang trainers and light free weights. Finally when the athlete reaches the high school group it is important to set goals, give responsibility, explain how to execute skill, how it transfers to games as well as discuss how real results take hard work, dedication, good nutrition and safe effective training. In conclusion strength training at any age level has potential risks when executed poorly but when in an age appropriate setting strength training carries many benefits for all ages.

 

“Train Smarter not necessarily Harder”

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Developing Athletic Skill vs Conditioning

 

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Over the past 2 years of working here at Athletic Revolution South Shore I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of young athletes ages 6-18 yrs old. Through these experiences I have learned a lot about how to connect with our athletes regardless of age or skill level and assist them in mastering skills that will help them outside of our facility.

My focus today is going to be discussing the difference between Developing Athletic Skill and Conditioning. Through my personal experiences as an athlete I remember having days at practice being sent through endless cone drills with no instruction other than “Faster!!!” Unfortunately, still today I see online and hear from parents and athletes how they still get run ragged through the ladder and/or cone drills hoping to have an impact on their speed and agility before the next game. I’m here to say this approach is outdated and has been proven to have limited, to no impact on young athletes skill level. Making this approach more conditioned based than skill based.

The ability to learn and master a skill so that it can be used at game speed takes time and does not happen overnight. At Athletic Revolution we understand that mastering any given skill takes time and must be broken down to its simplest form before we can build on it. Build a foundation and set yourself up for success. Through these ideals we tell our athletes “you need to be a disaster before you become a master” or “Skill it, Drill it, Thrill it, Kill it” Making it understood early on that these skills may take time and all we can do is give our best effort and we will get better each and every day.

Ring of Fire 1

The big difference between athletic skill and conditioning is simply work to rest ratio and coaching. I personally love to use Skill it, Drill it, Thrill it and Kill it with our athletes and here is why! When teaching a new skill the first thing we do as coaches is ask ourselves what is our goal? Pick a Skill –  Force Production, Change of Direction, Acceleration or Deceleration Etc…Break it down to its simplest form and develop progressions to lead them towards the ultimate goal.

For example working on deceleration or change of direction my first step would be see if they have a solid athletic stance, aka are they in a position ready for action. From there I may work on static repeats using cues like “step out of box” teaching them to get low, load one leg and be prepared for the next move “Skill it”. Dont over do it!!! Work on it for 10-15 minutes with breaks to discuss what happened and how we can make it better (Art of Coaching). Don’t be afraid to work on the first stage for a few classes before taking next step, building a foundation is key “Drill it”.

Through this process we have  Skilled it and started to Drill it at its simplest form. As I progress the skill it becomes dynamic and continues to develop to reactive as well as make it fun with a mental challenge thrown in. Make sure as each phase is passed, you take the time to “Skill it” and “Drill it” teaching your athletes, as well as giving them the time to work on each phase with proper work to rest ratio before jumping ahead to the next phase.

One of our keys to success is allowing our athletes to tear it up with games at the end of our sessions because it is fun but more importantly we can see our athletes in action. “Thrilling it” seeing if they have transferred any of the skills from class to the game. In this scenario one of our favorite and most well known games is Tag and its many variations. This gives the coaches a chance to look at acceleration, deceleration, change of direction and much more. Through game play it makes it fun for the kids as well as gives you the opportunity to evaluate your athletes to see if they are ready to take it to the next phase. Its great if they can do it through cones with coaching but the skill needs to transfer to the game without coaching.

We have “skilled it” or learned a part of a skill, “Drilled it” by putting it to use over time making it better as we go, “thrilled it” by putting the skill to use at full speed through game play, and most important “Killing it” as they add the skill to their bag of trick and transfer it to life outside our facility and bust it out whenever needed, giving them the competitive advantage we are all striving to give our young athletes!

To sum it all up…using equipment like jump ropes, ladders and cones can be great tools for assisting your athletes with conditioning and skill development, but there needs to be a reason behind it and structure as to why you are doing whatever skill or drill you are doing. Make sure that you have figured out an effective work to rest ratio that allows your athletes to recover between sets showing the difference between conditioning and skill. Also make sure you have done your research, make sure you understand how to teach, cue, breakdown or build up skills before trying to teach them to your athletes. Overall, conditioning and athletic skill development are both important parts of any athlete’s training but make sure you identify your true purpose behind your training allowing for the best possible results.

“Train Smart Not Hard”

Coach Josh

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Gratitude’s Impact On Health

Can Being Grateful Have A Positive Impact On Health And Fitness?

With Thanksgiving approaching, we will all soon be taking the time to acknowledge what we are truly grateful for. It’s a nice gesture, of course, but why do we do it? What good is gratitude?

Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness to others

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CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Through a personal experience of mine I had been challenged to journal 10 things I was grateful for everyday for two weeks. Challenge Accepted. At first I was completely blind to what was going to happen over the next 14 days. The first few days I felt as though it was pretty easy as my list would consist of family, food, car, job and I was on the fast track to completing my gratitude challenge. As the days went by I began to notice more energy and couldn’t help but feel happy and have a positive attitude. I quickly realized the impact this daily gratitude list was having on me and decided to take this challenge a bit more seriously.

As my mindset changed I began to challenge myself to dig deeper and take more time as I tried my best to show more variety and value within my gratitude lists. As the second week kicked off I was fully committed. My relationship with my girlfriend, friends and family had seen improvements as well as feeling confident and productive. I was sold that being grateful and showing gratitude could have a positive impact on myself and others.

My curiosity continued to grow as I wanted to learn more about the power behind being grateful. After doing some research I quickly was able to see a correlation between gratitude and physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social health and wellbeing. I also discovered how gratitude can encourage a strong successful career, promote a long and healthy relationship and inspire goal setting to ensure success. As my final week of the challenge came I had no longer considered this the end of my challenge but the beginning of something new as I knew that this was right for me.

My changes were clear as my lists near the end of my challenge consisted of more in depth detailed reasons to feel grateful such as strong communication with my girlfriend of 5 years, physical health as well as a job that I love and gives back on daily basis. All of which show more value and effort than car,food and job. After reflecting i noticed that my choice to challenge myself and to put forth more effort was a benefit in itself as my gratitude list had inspired change right from the start. My gratitude list had a stronger impact on me physically, mentally and emotionally as this simple little tasks truly was an asset as I strive to become the best that I can be..

 After having such a successful personal experience with my 14 day Gratitude Challenge I would love to challenge you to do the same. Keep track of 5-10 things that you are grateful for every day for the next  two weeks. Make sure to track any changes that occur or progress being made and see how being grateful or showing gratitude can have a positive impact on your health and fitness. Best of Luck, Stay Positive and Be The Change!   

 

* For more information about the true benefits behind Gratitude on Health and Fitness email me at coachjosh@athleticrevolutionsouthshore.com

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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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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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