Balance first, individualization second

As a high school athletic development coach one of the first questions I always get when talking to a parent is if I individualize the program or do sport specific programs. It is also one of the most irritating questions. Just like the terms “activation” or “posterior chain” the terms “sport specific” or “individualization” have become buzz words the last number of years. I am not sure of the reason why. Maybe because the person I am talking to wants to sound smart on the subject or maybe it’s just because they heard others refer to the style of training they are doing. Regardless, I do not think individualization should be the first thing on an athlete’s mind when it comes to start a new training plan or working with a new coach. 

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Using microdosing to teach the Olympic lifts

Recently I wrote an article on substitutions and alternatives for the Olympic lifts. Those of you who have not read the article may be asking why would you want any substitutes for Olympic Lifting? Why not just do the Olympic lifts? For some coaches the reason is that they take too much time to teach. For those coaches I have another option for you: microdosing. Teaching the Olympic lifts in small doses means that you don’t take time away from other forms of strength training to learn the basic lifts.

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Three effective alternatives to Olympic lifting

Throughout my coaching career I have come to understand that the majority of coaches who work in athletic development can be divided into two categories. On the one side there are those who feel the Olympic lifts are the end-all-be-all to training. They often think that in order to be successful you must do the Olympic lifts. On the other side are those coaches who feel that the Olympic lifts are only necessary for those who compete in Olympic lifting. These coaches don’t necessarily use any type of Olympic lifting or variations of Olympic lifting in their training.

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The balancing act of planning

Quite often on the HMMR Podcast and this blog I write about the various elements of athletic development: strength training, sprinting, jumping, multi-jumps, multi-throws, and more. Sometimes the hardest part is not understanding each element, but in figuring out how to combine everything into a plan. To help readers get an idea of how I do it, I just posted the first eight weeks of our high school thrower sprogram in the HMMR Classroom.

» Learn more: the complete 8-week program, including all sets and reps, is available for HMMR Plus members.
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Mastering bodyweight circuits like a Jedi

Last week I wrote about programming in the time of coronavirus, with a focus on athletes that had access to at least limited equipment. This week on Instagram I have been posting videos of the general strength circuits I have given athletes that have no training equipment. The objective of each circuit is to cover the lower body, upper body, core, as well as all three planes of movement (sagittal, frontal, and transverse). I learned these from my college coach Glenn McAtee and find them just as useful nearly two decades later. Read more

Training in the time of coronavirus

As Jocko Willink says “all excuses are lies.” Therefore, health issues aside, someone not being able to train because of the coronavirus is not only an excuse, but also a lie. When the current pandemic presented itself I knew right away that school and training had a high probability of being postponed or canceled. So the final eight weeks of our season would go down the drain if we were unable to find a way to keep the routine going by some means. So I put together a three-pronged approach to supporting my athletes. Below are examples of a typical workout (option 1), a substitute workout (option 2), and a workout with no tools (option 3). Read more

The ingredients for a solid foundation

No matter the sport, no matter the athlete, everyone needs to begin with a foundation. Read more

Training progressions for core strength

When freshman athletes arrive at Notre Dame high school we use the same approach to introduce them to using and training their core. Ideally athletes arrive having played a lot as kids, putting their bodies through a variety of challenges. Unfortunately that is less and less the case. Most kids just arrive having done Abercrombie abdominal workouts that are not specific to athletics. Therefore we take a step back and try to start at the beginning. Read more

How to make better circuits

If you visit Notre Dame High School you will see we are big fans of circuits. Martin and I put together a video on leg circuits last year, and that is just one category of circuits we use. In this article I am going to give you an idea on how I set up and structure circuits we use in training. Read more

Some ideas on how to approach velocity-based training

Earlier this month Martin wrote about using different training variable like time. Velocity-based training (VBT), i.e. how much time it takes to move a load, is a central part of our training at Notre Dame High School. It’s not just about the load you move, it’s about how you move it. Throughout my years of coaching, a number of different training concepts have come and gone. Some have stayed longer than others. Some I have tried, while others I’ve never believed in enough to implement in the first place. But VBT is one trend that has caught my attention and I believe in. I am not the premier expert in this area, but I hope I can introduce you to the concept of VBT, offer a starting point, and present firsthand four ideas on how I’ve used this concept successfully in both team and individual settings. Read more