When you steal someone’s content, at least know what you are taking!

So for the past 10 years or so I have been building a brand around specialty technical training. I would like to think that I am pretty well known locally. It may be in part because of my training, but also because my son is a pretty good player and relatively well known in the local community as well. This has to be one of the all time best. Snagging a picture from my website, and posting it as their own. Here is the deal, of the 2 pictures on the front page, 1 is my son and the other, was posted with permission from his father.

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Double Jaw Advancement Surgery

I had Double Jaw Advancement Surgery in March 2017 to Correct Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  Check out the Page on my site that includes progress pictures over 3 months as well as a link to a Video Playlist on Youtube that included periodic unscripted and unedited updates of what was going on with my recovery at different intervals.  Here is a link to the playlist.

Here is the pictoral history for the first 6 months.

 

 

Do we(the experts) even realize what we are doing?

I have been around the game of soccer in the US, first as a player, then as a coach and administrator for over 40 years.  I have probably learned more and have seen the game advance more by a factor of 2 or 3 times in the last 10-12 years than in the 20 preceding years.

As part of a large club with about 40 teams that compete regionally, I have the opportunity to train, coach and watch a lot of soccer across both boys and girls from about 4 years old to 18.  I have noticed over the last 2 years that for the most part, very few teams or players for that matter, are good in the air at all.  When I look at all of the teams that I train or coach, the only players that are dangerous in the air are the players on my 2000 Boys team.  When I point out the poor air play to other coaches, I rarely get an opposing view.

This is what I think we did to ruin this part of soccer, from about 2008-2010 or so, all of the experts said that sports specialization was critical and that players needed to pick a sport.  The prevailing thought was that Soccer in the US is behind the rest of the World because the athletes are playing too many sports. The players that are about 2001 and older were 9 to 10 years old at the time but still played football, baseball, basketball etc and developed their hand eye coordination.  That ability to catch and throw also required them to understand how to track the ball, we routinely scored goals on headers from crosses and corner kicks when those same 2000/2001 players were U11, U12 etc.  To me, it seems like a large majority of players born about 2002/3 or later probably didn’t play a lot of other sports, if they did, it was likely organized, they probably didn’t play pick up football, wiffle ball, playground hoops or even throw rocks (snowballs) at each other.  I find it crazy how many kids cannot throw or catch a F’ing ball these days.

And US Soccer just took heading out of the game for 11 and under.  As a safety concern, it is a good thing, but as someone who’s focus is on player development, it could contribute to my argument.

In the last year or two, early sports specialization is suddenly bad and multi sport athletes are back in favor.  As an educator in the sport, I have a lot of go-to articles that I keep handy when I am trying to support an argument with players, parents and fellow coaches.  I recently sent a response to an article written by a highly credentialed and respected authority on youth soccer, who is a good twitter follow (I wont call him out and will protect the unknowing).  His article was about the importance of multi sports participation.  My comments included a link to an article that he wrote in 2009 supporting specialization which essentially said that US Soccer is behind because too many kids are playing too many sports.  The original article said that our young athletes are not specialized enough and are behind developmentally as a result.  So my question was really…which is it?  He did not respond by the way because I asked if this is supporting the argument that eggs are good for you, no they are bad for you, wait no, they are good for you. Perhaps if I took a less sarcastic tone, I may have elicited a response…perhaps not.

The point of all of this is that everything is seemingly coming full circle. We have coaches, trainers and administrators who are working hard to stay current and follow best practice guidelines in an effort to advance the game.  Collectively, it would seem that we are doing a pretty good job overall.  But back to my original question and title of this article. “Do we really know what we are talking about?”  It would seem that we have a generation of very good athletes who have selected soccer as their primary sport who are actually, not very good athletes when you consider that while they may be able to juggle a soccer ball 100s of times, they couldn’t juggle 3 tennis balls.  The lack of reps of throwing, catching, avoiding and tracking a ball, rock or frisbee has corresponded to players who struggle judging the flight of the ball to effectively get the ball under control or win the ball in the air.

This is not intended to be a debate about specialization vs Multi-Sport.  It is really an observation that the prevailing thoughts of the day may be causing unintended consequences in the future.  Will the current multi-sport benefits of injury prevention, cross-sport training and the creation of more rounded athlete result in better soccer players 5 years from now or will be blame multi-sports on the then current state of US Soccer? I suppose that time will only tell.  Who knows what will be said about eating eggs.

For the record,  I have no answer for why kids just don’t play outside anymore where they have fun, get tons of reps and develop all kinds of skills in the process.  Not just physical skills but organizational, leadership, conflict resolution and how to take a hit to name a few.  Another topic for another day.

Thanks for Reading.

 

 

Repost from the Speed Guy – the importance of a strong core in speed.

Bracing for Speed

5 July 2012 – by admin

We often speak or write about how the core should react when force is being created in order to can gain stability and strength. After many years of trying numerous techniques, in my opinion the core braces by contracting as if preparing to be punched in the stomach. I believe this because I have tried and tested many exercises, as well assessed what the core does naturally. It braces tightly.

Years ago I learned a technique which required the abdominals to be drawn in. I tried it. It took me many years to gain complete unconscious control of it. However, it didn’t work for me. Every time I performed a natural reactive movement my core simply braced tightly, without drawing in.

Some of the tests I have used when analyzing my core are:

  1. Medicine Ball Fake Throws in all directions (check out Medicine ball Training for Speed Video at www.SportsSpeedEtc.com)
  2. Performing multiple landings on one and two feet.
  3. Punching my speed and punching bag.
  4. Performing push ups.
  5. Shuffling and changing directions.

With all of the above exercises, I would keep one hand on my core region. Every time my core reacted by bracing tightly and not sucking inward.

These findings, which happened to be many years ago, led me to indirect speed training exercises that helped my athletes to brace strongly and quickly. This bracing increased stability force in order to change direction quicker.

The medicine ball fake throws I use in all planes are fantastic at getting the athletes to unknowingly brace quicker and more forcefully. My girls basketball team have benefitted from these technique, especially with lateral movement.

The important object to note is when the core braces and creates great stability, the legs and feet do a better job of producing and receiving force from the ground (action reaction). My athletes’ feet, ankles, knees and hips are much more solid; therefore allow them to move quicker.

Try if for yourself. Bracing the core naturally can be improved by adding externally forces, such as in my Medicine Ball Training for Speed. They are safe, effective, and fun for athletes.

Repost from the Speed Guy – Lee Taft

I subscribe to a service that provides Speed and Agilty Workouts for Instructors.  Lee Taft is a great resource.

 

Quickness vs. Quick Reactions…posted on Sports Speed, Etc.

One of the roles of a coach is to develop the skills that are going to position his or her athletes the best. For example, sports like baseball, softball and football have athletes playing certain position that do not require tremendous quickness, however do require tremendous quick reactions.  What is the difference? Quickness is the ability to move in one direction and change directions with “Quickness” (body control, agility, balance…).  Quick reactions are the ability to instantaneously make a change in the current position and accelerate toward the play. This could be the reactions of the arms moving to catch a line drive or hit a curve ball. It could be a quick foot reaction of an offensive lineman to an inside move from a defensive end rushing the quarterback.

Athletic ability can be outlined globally or it can be specific.  Training a hockey goalie to be fast at skating and changing directions will help develop athleticism. However, teaching the goalie to have reactive hands and legs to defend the goal is specifically important to being a goalie.

A coach needs to know when to devote greater time to one or the other. It makes sense for professional athlete to spend most of their time on the specific skills needed to play the sport or position. If global foundational skills are not challenged, then there is a loss of athleticism and this can in turn hinder the specific nature of their sport.  If we are dealing with youth athletes, then the higher percentage needs to be global foundational quickness to develop overall athleticism. We would then move on to specific quickness when needed.

Love to hear you thoughts,

Yours in Speed, Lee

P.S. – Sports Speed Etc. has devoted two decades to teaching the proper way to improve quickness. Go to www.SportsSpeedEtc.com to grab information on training for quickness. Keep learning, keep growing and keep being great!

Sports Drinks and Kids – Good or Bad?

The Soft Drink industry, and in particular, Sports Drinks Market is a Booming Industry, Multi-Billion Dollars in Fact.  With so many choices among so many categories, how do you know what is right for your child?  Here is a hint …H2O, that is right water, when in doubt, water is still the most important beverage any person can consume.  The next time you find your self rushing between activities at a convenience store, think about all the bright colors and consider for a second, a clear bottle with clear liquid as water is often the best choice.

Now back to the Sports Drinks.  There are several categories of Sports Drinks including but not limited to, Sports Drinks, Energy Drinks, Recovery Drinks, etc.  The most popular among kids and parents are Energy Drinks and Sports Drinks.

Energy Drinks often contain vitamins and other supplements offering a boost in performance, there are several on the market that actually warn against using with young children.   Sports Drinks offer hydration and electrolyte replacement and offer extended performance, quick recovery and protection against dehydration, further, they now come in lower calorie varieties as well.  Many contain sugar, caffeine and artificial coloring…which are considered by many nutritionists to be Toxic!

As a competitive Athlete and Marathon Runner, I have read and experienced over the years that water is still the best choice and that electrolyte replacement is important when your activity is longer that 1 hour in duration.  I have personally used lots of Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks over the years and still do to when exercise exceeds and hour but my primary staple continues to be water.

As a parent, you have a lot of choices and there is a lot of in your face marketing.  As a coach my recommendation is that moderation is key.  Is a sports drink bad? Not necessarily.  If your child is going from one sporting event to another and it is a hot day with lots of perspiration, a sports drink may not be a bad choice, but with a well-balanced diet, water is a great choice too because a healthy diet will provide the electrolytes and nutrients necessary to fuel your young athlete.  Mixing in a sports drink throughout the day among lots of water is what I would consider moderation.  Sending your child to the sideline with a 32 ounce high sugar sports drink for a 40 minute game with plenty of subs in my opinion is not the best choice.  Besides, if your skip the sports drink during, you wont have to feel as guilty about the post game ice cream.

Here are a few articles that you may find to be helpful should you be interested in learning more about what the expert’s say…

*****I have no affiliation with any of the references but have found the articles to be useful, thanks for visiting my blog.

http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/power_drinks.html#

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/sports-drinks-choice-kids/story?id=13704953

http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20030502/sports-drinks-best-for-active-kids

Youth Sports and Obesity

I wanted to share this article that I came across on Livestrong.com.  I use the app on my phone to track my eating and exercise and find the site to be very useful and informative.  I Certainly will take no credit for this article as I am simply copying and pasting, nonetheless it is an intersting read by Stewart Flaherty.

May 24, 2010 | By Stewart Flaherty Stewart Flaherty is in his early years as a writer. With a sport psychology master’s degree and a successful coaching background, Flaherty has experience in improving performance in a number of areas. He has studied sport psychology, nutrition and coaching to a degree level.

Youth Sports & Obesity
Photo Credit youth soccer image by Steve Brase from Fotolia.com

Obesity is an increasing epidemic in the United States, and throughout the world. In 2010 the Centers for Disease and Prevention said that childhood obesity in the United States had more than tripled in the previous 30 years. A leading cause of youth obesity is inactivity, this gives youth sports an important role to play in the fight against obesity.

Types

Youth sports can be played on a recreational or more competitive basis. In relation to obesity the level of competition is not important. The primary factor is that youth sports encourage regular physical activity on an enjoyable environment. Sports, such as soccer that require a high amount of running and aerobic exercise, may be most effective to help young players lose weight.

Significance

Researchers from Colorado State University reported that lack of physical activity is a contributor to childhood obesity. Participation in youth sports will be a crucial factor for any child to increase physical activity level, and subsequently reduce their risk of obesity. The Washington Post reported on the damage done by a decrease in youth sports. The article stated that cuts to youth sports were directly correlated to an increase in obesity and behavioral problems in young people.

Benefits

The increased physical activity of youth sports participation will have a positive impact on obesity risk. The World Health Organization cited increased physical activity as a key factor in fighting obesity. The reach of youth sports can go beyond purely an activity level. Researchers Caroline Payne and Kate Fogarty from Florida University reported research finding children who participated in youth sports to be more nutrition-conscious.

Risks

Obesity is a disease that increases the risk of young people to a number of dangerous health conditions. The World Health Organization states that obesity is associated with respiratory difficulties and musculoskeletal problems. Obesity can also leave young people at increased risk of heart disease and certain forms of cancer in later life.

Expert Insight

Dr. Barbara Moore researched the impact of increased physical activity and youth sports participation on childhood obesity. Moore found that in overweight children and teens increased physical activity on three to seven days per week leads to a reduction in body fat. The study recommended that school-age youth participate in physical activity for 60 minutes. The physical activity should be moderate to vigorous intensity. It is also important that the physical activity is enjoyable and developmentally appropriate. Participating in a favorite sport is an easy way to ensure this.

References

Article reviewed by Allen Cone Last updated on: May 24, 2010

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/130732-youth-sports-obesity/#ixzz1nQPMgQec

First Blog Post

Welcome to my first blog post.  The goal of my blog will be to provide important content to young athletes around nutrition, injury prevention and fitness.  Of course, I will also provide updates on my personal fitness quest with the goal of educating athletes parents about the importance and benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle.