What Young Athletes Need

     Coaching.  One word,  often overlooked.  I had the privilege to coach track and field for two years and one year of football at Gloucester Catholic High School, my alma mater.  For some reason I have been thinking about training young(er) athletes at Endeavor and coaching high school athletes.  With track and football I had the opportunity to coach both varsity and JV football and athletes from 9-12 grade in track. Specific to this post I am talking about the JV/freshman football-track athletes.  If I could coach the sport again there is one thing I would change.  Make it simple as possible.  I think coaches do one thing (amongst others) that can be related to training athletes.  Getting bored with basic programs is one thing that can happen.  Simple is the new effective in my book.  I cannot tell you how effective a basic approach to training athletes, working on proper movement patterns works.  I do not think I did a good enough job of working with the younger athletes because I was caught up with the older ones, but I lost track of what makes a team competitive and good.  Starting with the freshman and working up!  Not the other way around.  The same goes for training athletes, you engrain every simple proper movement exercise and you notice in time, there is tremendous increases in the athlete’s abilities.  Coaching young athletes is all about the little things.  For example, if there is one basic fundamental technique wide receivers and defensive backs need, it is stance.  I could not tell you how often something this goes overlooked.  This is something that should be engrained in these type of athletes every single day for a short amount of time.  Dan John says it perfectly, “if it is important, do it every day.”  The same goes for movement patterns of young athletes.  Executing proper push-ups, rowing, hip-hinging, and simple core stability is something we can do everyday with our athletes. 

     A big pet-peeve of mine of coaches is doing things similar to what strength coaches can do, and this is trying to do more than what is needed.  What is the next new play we are going to install, is it going to be shotgun, 3 or 4 WR set?  Just adding plays and formations for the hell of it.  When it gets down to it, the best teams in the area do a few things so thoroughly to a point that it will make you sick.  The wing-T offense is one that comes to mind.  This type of offense is notorious in South Jersey.  It is really designed for the average football player/team.  Yet, this offense is usually associated with some of the best South Jersey teams.  Why? Because the coaches know it like the back of their hand and they do those few things damn near perfect. The same is true with training young athletes.  If you can get athletes to do push-ups, low-pulley rows, hip-hinge patterns, and core stability correctly, you better believe that in time that person is going to have a great foundation to build upon.  I am not saying that you cannot have multiple formations or other exercises for that matter.  The main theme is that, young athletes in sport and in the training facility need basic movements done correct in order to progress effectively.  Having that foundation is proven for success.

    From an injury prevention and coaching standpoint, there is nothing better then seeing proper tackling technique from young athletes.  Here is some awesomeness for you.

    Video title should be : “How to break a neck.” Not so good.

Cheers and Happy Fourth of July Weekend,

Matt



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