Youth Speed Coach
As a track athlete, I competed from elementary school thru my mid 30s. In college I was All-Conference three years as a sprinter at my D3/NAIA school, Tri-State University (now Trine). Not too long after college, when I began coaching, I realized pretty quickly that coaching track was a different animal. That realization and the fact that one of my youth athletes was an especially talented kid, drove me to begin pursuing a higher level of coaching. I began attending camps, clinics, seminars, coaching classes, developing a library of books, periodicals, tapes, etc..., along with continuing to compete. (stopped competing in my mid 30s) FYI - the special kid was Tanya Hughes, who I later also had the pleasure of helping coach at the high school level, where she was a 3 time High School All-American. In high school, Tanya made the Junior National team 3 years, and got to compete with and against the best 19 and under athletes in the world. The National team had coaches, but the personal coaches, like myself would write up the workouts, and attend the competitions if we could get there. The experiences I got being around multiple Junior Nationals, and Junior Worlds competitions have proved to be valuable, and sort of spring boarded me toward desiring an even deeper understanding of coaching. My primary focus has been on the sprints. Check out this blog and the ones attached to it to familiarize yourself with my views and approach. FYI - Tanya went on to set an NCAA High Jump record, won NCAAs multiple times, won the Olympic Trials, and was a finalist in the high jump in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
My specialty is helping athletes toward their potential in speed and explosiveness. This includes leaping ability! As an athlete, my first love was actually basketball. I played up through high school, and after college I played competitively into my mid 30s. I've coached at the youth and high school levels. When I train basketball players, a major emphasis is to first assess them for susceptibility to knee injury. Non-contact ACL tears is a concern for athletes in sports that feature jumping, pivoting, and cutting, and this is especially prevalent in female athletes in these sports. (See Blog) I believe it is a mistake to strictly focus on performance training prior to considering whether or not the athlete's movement habits, and state of joint stability and range of motion may be leading them to injury. There is an overlap though, because having the athlete explosively move from a sufficiently bent position and properly decelerate is an important part of knee care training. When I am satisfied that the athlete is on the right track in regards to knee care, then the focus shifts to helping the athlete realize speed and explosiveness potential on the basketball court. My Improving Speed and Changes of Direction video describes much of my approach.
Below reflects how I go about things, and I also refer you to some links that may give you helpful information. I am not saying to parents, coaches, athletes, etc..., that I'm recommending that you do what is described below. By performing any of the exercises, workouts, and drills described below or anywhere on this website, you are performing them at your own risk. I will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of trying to emulate what I have described or made available for you to consider.
For those in Maryland and the Washington DC Metropolitan area, I can travel to meet you for training sessions. Cost will be dependent on how far I'd have to travel, how many people I'd have to train, and how many sessions purchased. Group of three training can be as inexpensive as $50.00 per athlete per session. Partner training may be as inexpensive as $65.00 per athlete per session, and sessions with individuals as inexpensive as $75.00 per session. I prefer payments via PayPal to email@example.com.
Prior to the workouts the guardians, or athletes, if they are of age, must sign this informed consent waiver that acknowledges the risks of training, and absolves me of all liability in the event of injury. The signed waiver may be scanned and emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may print it and fax it to me at 301-893-2707. Athletes that have a warm up and stretching routine that they believe is adequate for a speed training workout, then that is fine, but I may add drills and/or exercises as I see necessary.
Sprinting full speed carries with it the risk of injury, especially if the athlete is not in shape, and once again, before the training activities I need to see in writing that I am released from any liability for any injuries to the participants. The Informed Consent Waiver must be signed by a guardian and may be presented to me when we meet.
You may contact me with any questions. (email@example.com)
My Speed Training Philosophy
First priorities are base building activities. I do not want to be brought "out of shape" athletes, and be asked to make them faster in a few sessions. I'm from the school of, "in order to be fast you've got to run fast" (in training at least 95% intensity at times), and to practice running fast repeatedly, requires some reasonable level of fitness to avoid injury. This blog does a good job of describing my general physical preparation for sprinters, and it alludes to what I consider to be age appropriate strength training.
Strength and core exercises are important base building elements. I like to use body weight stuff, and this includes using hills. I think it is important to assess the athlete’s performance when doing “knee bend” and “squatting” movements, looking for instability at the knees. This is especially prevalent in females. See my Knee Care page.
There are individual aspects to consider when prescribing strength and stretching exercises. Although I am not an expert on assessing posture and range of motion, I do know they are important factors to consider to develop a long term safe and effective strengthening and stretching approach for each athlete. It is important to assess and look for what muscles are chronically short and tight, and which are chronically long and loose. "One size fits all" strength and stretching protocols inevitably leave some athletes more susceptible to injury than others. Paul Chek and Elliot Hulse have very good info/materials on these topics. In other words, I believe there should be individual considerations when prescribing strength and stretching exercises for athletes. Because our young athletes often have pliable and forgiving bodies, we often have gotten away with the one size fits all strength and stretching approach.
There still are a lot of coaches and athletes that subscribe to the emphasis on static stretching prior to workouts and competition (holding a stretching position usually between 10-30 seconds). I suggest doing research on what types of stretching are best before workouts and competitions. An example of dynamic stretching is in this video. The key thing about dynamic stretching is to take the stretching position to the point where you feel some resistance, then wave (roll) out of the position before doing it again, trying to stretch a little more (see video).
An important part of a sprinter's warm up/stretching routine is after doing the initial; jogging, warm up activities, and stretching, is doing warm-up runs with or without some additional drills and exercises. My Speed Enhancing Warm-up Procedure blog details this. Static stretching is often done after the cool-down jogging at the end of the workout.
I consider myself to be a lifelong learner. Speed development is my primary topic of interest, and I tend to direct my writings toward "Youth Speed Development"
Coaches, feel free to contact me for questions, and to also comment on what I've written.(firstname.lastname@example.org) I revise my blogs from time to time, and I write on new topics occasionally.
FYI - The athlete pictured below does better on one side of his body than the other and there is a strategy in place to address that.