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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Youth Athletes

Posted by on in Youth Strength & Conditioning

Iron deficiency is a condition resulting from too little iron in the body.  I’m not talking anemia, hemoglobin, red meat or oxygen transport; I’m talking about barbells, dumbbells, and free weights.  I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with parents who are concerned that young 13-year-old Tommy who plays hockey, one of the most physically intimidating, bone crunching sports in the world is concerned that weight training may cause adverse effects.  Never mind that young Tommy is built like a coat hanger, can’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag and that the organized chaotic demands of hockey stress a young body far more than a well organized, structured strength and conditioning program.  This leads to a condition I refer to as Iron Deficiency.  Iron deficiency is a dangerous condition where the musculoskeletal system is not prepared to meet the demands of the stress imposed on it.  It affects a large majority of the youth population who spend the summer’s playing Nintendo, running long distances, and engaging in non-external resistance training such as boxing, MMA and Insanity.

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I am convinced that if you want something bad enough, you have to roll up your sleeves, buckle up your chin strap and be prepared to scratch, claw and grind for every inch of greatness you can attain before it’s too late.  All athletic careers have expiration dates!  You have to be ALL IN! There is no “I think I’ll go play Nintendo today” or “I’ll just have Mom and Dad say I’m not feeling well”, or “I don’t feel like rehab today on my injury” at the elite level.  You’re either all in OR your all gone!  Recently “rare air” has been attained at DSC as three of our elite athletes have attained Championships at the International and National Levels respectively:  Lisa Chesson (USA Women’s National Hockey Team World Champion), Connor Murphy (USA World Junior Hockey Gold Medalist), and Keith Gavin (USA 84KG Freestyle Wrestling Champion).  To say that we are proud would be an understatement.  They embody what it means to be “ALL IN”.  Yes, they all have great genetics, BUT more importantly, they are “Everydayers”!  Their work ethic and drive matches their attitude and desire to get better, get stronger, listen to their bodies, rest, recover, regenerate, and attain “consistent greatness”.   Weather it’s focusing on lifting heavy weight, breathing patters, diet, rehabbing an injury or getting more sleep, they spend just as much time “working in” as they do “working out.”   Bottom line: they are prepared! 

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Posted by on in Coaching Development

I wish I knew fifteen years ago what I know today.  Not just pertaining to my craft as a Strength Coach, but the valuable life lessons I learned along the way during my career as an athlete!  The importance of realizing inner potential, the necessity of utilizing all resources to their utmost capacity and that “intangibles” are just as important as physical attributes in the journey to success. In fact, the more I look into the process, the more I envision one big assembly line producing specialty vehicles.  The assembly workers (Coaches) ensure that all parts are strategically placed in order for the car (Athlete) to run effectively and efficiently with minimal pit stops.  Each car is different so each worker (Coach) has an important job in the final construction.  Care, concern, and attention to detail are just a few qualities of a good line worker (Coach).  Nobody wants a car that constantly breaks down, is missing an engine or won’t start. 

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Posted by on in Programming

Another summer of programming is officially in the books at DSC. This year we had four full capacity Athletic Development programs with 50+ athletes. It’s always rewarding as a Coach to see both tangible and intangible results that our athletes’ have attained. It’s also a time to reflect on program design, results and areas of improvement for next year. Below are 5 new concepts/ideas that we implemented into this summers Athletic Development program.

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I miss the good old days! A time where hard work, commitment, discipline and positive attitude were expected, not rewarded, failure was not final and earning meant sacrifice. These lessons have stood the test of time. Growing up in Canada, I never played AAA hockey, I got cut from most of the teams I tried out for. I knew at an early age that hard work; desire, dedication and discipline were the keys to success. My father never responded by formulating a new league, moving across town, getting involved in “politics” or buying me something to ease my self pitied state. By doing so, he taught me a very valuable lesson that would pay off later in life: In the real world not EVERYONE GET’S a TROPHY.

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This is just a quick note from me that may not make sense to you until many years down the road. The word “Coach” is synonymous with responsibility. It is a privilege to Coach: to help shape lives, breed character, and expose an “inner potential” that may otherwise lie dormant in the shadows of self-doubt. Beyond the grind, sweat, iron, chalk, and calluses, I hope you found time to embrace the journey. For it is the quality of the effort that true success is found. I hope that you enjoyed the experience and not only became stronger, but learned to seek improvement each and every day of your life: to live with a “One Day Better” mentality. To embrace the grind!

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Coaching runs in our families’ bloodline. My father was a hockey coach, and currently both of my brothers are Coaches in various disciplines. The word “Coach” energizes me. It’s my alarm clock in the morning! My passion. To Coach is an honor. It is the ability to mold, shape, discipline, inspire, motivate and cultivate an inner potential that many may not even know exists. I have had the unique opportunity of having strength and conditioning mentors that have molded my career by affording me the opportunity to “stand on their shoulders.” For that I am forever grateful. However, long before the days of these mentors my older brother Misha shaped my childhood in ways he may never fully comprehend. I was a better brother, a better son and a better person because of my older brother.

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It’s amazing how much math I’ve forgotten over the years. Basic algebra, pre-calculus, calculus, geometry and advanced statistics has left my mind faster than when it entered. It seems the quantitative information that I don’t weave into practical application on a daily basis gets weeded out and forgotten. The beautiful part of being a Strength and Conditioning Coach is that our math is easy! Easy and practical: two qualities that lie at the foundation of our practice. Below is the basic arithmetic (addition, subtraction, and multiplication) of strength and conditioning.

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Posted by on in Youth Strength & Conditioning

I officially played my last game of competitive hockey in March of 2003. I miss the game everyday, but I won’t go out and play recreational hockey to fill the void. It’s not that fact that I work early mornings and late nights and have a business to operate, or the fact that my skill set has vanished faster than my receding hairline. I don’t play because too many players on the ice have an identity crisis! I don’t want “couch potato” Tom, who never played the game in his life, but watches NHL hockey every night on TSN and loves the “rough stuff”, to try to re-live the glory days he never had on me. I just don’t want to be put into a situation where egos and attitudes are involved. No one in recreational hockey is getting paid and no one is making a living on the ice. Bottom line: no one is playing at an elite level! What does this possibly have to do with Strength and Conditioning?

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If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years training youth athletes’ it’s to NEVER take anything for granted. Just when you think something is too obvious to be addressed, it reaches out and smacks you right between the eyes. I know that over the years I’ve learned from these encounters and now take every step necessary to avoid the “obvious” mistake of not addressing the obvious (I know the word obvious was used several times over the last few sentences, it’s obvious). Below are three Tips from the Trenches and experiences that I have learned from along the way. Hopefully this can allow you to learn from my mistakes. 

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