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The current state of youth development is at a crossroads. What we’ve done for the past decade or so has been sub par. Kids have been encouraged to specialize at an early age (year round), play too many games, and parents dream on behalf of their children with the cumulative result to this equation leading to burnout and an underdevelopment of our youth.   Hockey is a glaring example. Here are some of the issues currently plaguing youth development (exert taken from Misha Donskov/ADM presentation):

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Over the years I have had the privilege of working with a diverse population of athletes. Although the niche of Donskov Strength and Conditioning is hockey, we have had the opportunity of coaching athletes at each stage of the development process. I can tell you that regardless of age, our goals are similar: stay healthy, get strong, get fast, and get powerful. In addition, our recipe is very similar: “Think small. Work hard. Get good!” (Wooden) Our goal is to master the fundamentals. Basic addition is one of the biggest problems with youth training AND youth sports. By constantly adding drills on the ice/field, youth athletes fail to master the fundamentals of their respective sport. The same holds true in the weight room. Addition by subtraction is the key to development! Below are three principals of the Addition by Subtraction philosophy that we utilize at DSC.

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I write this article as a Coach, not as a niche strength and conditioning professional, but as a Coach. The word Coach has tremendous meaning and implication regardless of sport or activity, paid or unpaid. We are life changers! We have the ability to instill values, create work ethic, and provide a positive culture for young men and women. Ask any middle aged person and chances are some of the most important and influential people in their lives have been coaches. This is a responsibility, and with great responsibility comes accountability! Regardless if you are a paid professional or a volunteer, you have the ability to change lives! Just because you volunteer doesn’t mean you have any less responsibility!

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It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people confuse strength and conditioning with personal training. Take a look at the chat on web site forums, so-called fitness experts and armchair trainers and you may think that personal training and strength and conditioning are the same. Conversations such as:

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Program design fascinates me!   So many unique elements make up the system that seeks to elicit results for various client populations. It takes years to master and is continuously under construction. As the saying goes, the best program is the one that you’re not currently on. Coach Boyle wrote an excellent article last year called “Should You Stick to the Recipe?”   This article is perfect for young, intermediate coaches who seek to build their own programs/recipes. The evolutionary stages of cook, sous-chef, and finally head chef are excellent analogies pertaining to learning the science of program design. Another important element is the menu. Once the recipe is mastered, there needs to be a menu set in place for your customers. What happens if a certain customer doesn’t eat red meat (they can’t squat) or is a vegetarian (had shoulder surgery)? Menu planning is an art. Here are the three stages of designing your own strength and conditioning menu. As Coaches, our goal is to design a menu that fits the needs of our customers.

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