Home Posts tagged "Certified Speed and Agility Coach"

Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 4/9/20

I hope you're safe and sound in spite of the crazy times in the world today - and I hope some recommended reading and listening helps pass the time!

Upstream - For me, anything from Chip and Dan Heath is must-read material, and this solo project from Dan proved to be no exception. He looks closely at proactive concepts to reduce the need for reactive measures, and there are definitely applicable lessons for the strength and conditioning and rehabilitation communities.

Certified Speed and Agility Coach course - Lee Taft's outstanding certification is on sale through this Sunday at midnight. It's absolutely outstanding - and serves as mandatory viewing for all Cressey Sports Performance staff members.

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Symmetry Doesn't Matter - and May Cause More Problems than it Solves - The concept of asymmetry has always been very intriguing to me in light of my work in a one-sided sports like baseball. Dean Somerset shares a quick, but informative overview here.

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CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Speed Training with Lee Taft

We’re excited to welcome speed training expert Lee Taft to this week’s podcast for an awesome discussion of baseball movement competencies and how to coach them. Lee is highly qualified to work across all sports, but I've found his work to be particularly impactful in the baseball world. CSP-MA Director of Performance John O'Neil takes the lead as a guest host as well.

This is a timely podcast, as Lee's popular Certified Speed and Agility Specialist course is on sale for $150 off this week. I'm a huge fan of Lee and this resource - so much, in fact, that it was filmed at Cressey Sports Performance - Massachusetts. It's now required viewing for all our staff members. You can check it out and take advantage of the great discount HERE.

Show Outline

  • How Lee developed into the coach he is today
  • How Lee approaches youth athletic development
  • What the 7 movement patterns of speed are and how these principles translate into sport specific results
  • What is a lateral run step is, how Lee teaches it, and how it’s different from a traditional crossover step
  • How can base stealers optimize their setup to maximize acceleration
  • Why an initial step back with the lead leg is not a bad move first move for a base runner and why observing an athlete’s center of mass is more meaningful when addressing acceleration
  • What the upper body’s role is in creating efficient running patterns and how the arms specifically work for baserunners when stealing
  • How can infielders can improve their setup and defensive start position
  • Why the traditional defensive mindset of get your glove on the ground and be as low as you can is the wrong strategy for optimizing a player’s athleticism
  • How initial hand position and the movement of the arms work to propel the body out of the start position to fielding the ball
  • How outfielders can refine their defensive setup
  • How the incorporation of a split step into a defensive player’s approach can create a quicker initial move to the ball and help to expand a fielder’s range
  • What minute but key movement competencies Lee incorporates into athletes’ training, including the dissociation of their upper and lower half and learning to run an opposite direction your eyes are looking
  • How Lee incorporates curvilinear speed work into his athletes’ training
  • How deceleration isn’t emphasized enough when discussing qualities of position players
  • What the common compensations Lee sees in baseball players’ running mechanics are
  • What mistakes coaches are commonly making when teaching and training speed in the game of baseball
  • What principles Lee prioritizes when incorporating conditioning into athletes’ training
  • How Lee would implement conditioning into a baseball program’s training calendar and how he would apply his conditioning principles to specific scenarios like managing a pitchers’ workload between starts
  • What the priority training qualities are when working to train power in hitters
  • What med ball fake throws are and why are these specifically useful when training hitters
  • You can follow Lee on Twitter at @LeeTaft and Instagram at @LeeTaft.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

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4 Training Principles to Make the Most of Your Speed Work

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance - Florida coach Derek Kambour. It's timely, as Lee Taft's Certified Speed and Agility Coach course is on sale for $150, and it's mandatory viewing for each of the coaches on the CSP staff. Lee's had a profound effect on our movement training progressions, as you'll see below. Enjoy! - EC

With the current global pandemic, you’re seeing more and more people training outside. I don’t think I’ve seen this many people going for walks, going out for long distance runs, and even sprinting since I was in elementary or middle school (before the internet became popular). Many of the athletes that we’ve been training at Cressey Sports Performance have had to adjust their training due to not having access to our facility. The majority of them will not have access to equipment and will have to address other elements of their training to maintain a training effect. One of those areas is their sprint work. Since many athletes will be shifting their focus away from heavy strength training and more towards sprints and movement based work, I thought this would be a good time to go over some key principles for athletes and coaches to think about when it comes to getting the most out of their sprint work.

1. Posture/Position

This is usually the first thing we look at when developing an athlete’s speed capabilities. This is an athlete’s foundation when it comes to speed. Simply put, if an individual can’t demonstrate appropriate posture and maintain good proximal position, then nothing else is really going to matter. There are a bunch of ways that you can go about addressing an individual’s posture. At CSP, we really like to use a variety of wall march drills. These drills are basic, but they’re great for allowing athletes to get a feel for ideal postures and positions. We will use certain variations depending on what the athlete needs to work on. For all these variations, we’re looking to see around a 45-degree angle where the head and neck is in a straight line all the way down to the foot/heel that is on the ground. The four primary variations that we will use include:

a. Glute Wall March ISO Holds – this is first variation that we will use with athletes as an introduction to acceleration posture and projection angles. This gives them a feel for proper position and provides context for further progressions that we may use. We’ll often prescribe 3-5 reps/leg with each rep being a 5 second hold.
b. Glute Wall March ISO Holds w/Mini-Band – This is a great variation to further challenge the postures and angles that we addressed with the first variation. The addition of the mini band will challenge the athlete’s ability to maintain position and gives the athlete immediate feedback on their ability to achieve hip separation.
c. Glute Wall March 1-2’s – Eventually, we want to make this drill a little more dynamic. Again, we’re looking to reinforce posture with the added challenge of maintain position while going through a rapid limb exchange.
d. Wall Load & Explode – I really like using this variation for emphasizing the horizontal projection angles required for linear acceleration.

Usually, it won’t take long for athletes to master these wall drills. Eventually, we want them to progress to more dynamic movements such as marches and skips where maintaining good posture becomes a bit more challenging. If an athlete demonstrates the ability to maintain positional integrity during basic marches and skips, we’ll progress to an arms overhead variation for both. For our purposes, we’ll have most of our athletes perform arms overhead marches and skips for the added benefit of getting shoulder flexion and upward rotation for our throwing athletes.

2. Arm Action

Along with posture, arm action tends to be one of the lowest hanging fruits when it comes to improving acceleration mechanics. I’m not a huge fan of spending a ton of time on arm action drills. Usually, effective verbal cues will do the trick when it comes to improving arm mechanics. With acceleration, we’re looking for much longer arm action where the backside arm is close to or at full extension, and the front side arm is closer to the chin or possibly the eyes, depending on the athlete. This longer separation is required in order to help propel the mass forward, and it goes along with the longer ground contact times you see with acceleration. Again, I usually rely on verbalizing this to athletes through simple cues, but I do like this Arm Action Series that I stole from Lee Taft (you can see it HERE). I’ll use this series with athletes during their warm-up or in between sets of their actual sprint work if I feel as though they need a better “feel” for their arms in a more specific body position.

Arm action is usually a pretty quick fix. If it is a major point of emphasis and something that the individual has clearly been struggling with, then be sure to be a stickler about it when it comes to dynamic warm-up activities such as your marches, skips, etc.

3. Direction of Force Application

With acceleration, we are looking for maximal horizontal force application where the projection angle is roughly 45-degrees, like the angles that are explored during the wall drills that I mentioned earlier. This projection angle is largely going to depend on where the athlete applies force or where their foot strikes into the ground after completing the first step. If we are talking about starting from a staggered 2-point or 3-point stance, when the athlete takes off, we are looking for a piston-like leg action where the back-leg comes through and punches forward and then quickly punches down and back into the ground. What I’ve found is that an athlete’s speed, whether they are running a 10, 20, or 40-yard sprint, is going to be dictated by the first two steps. An athlete that can nail the first two steps of acceleration, is going to set himself up for a pretty successful sprint. This isn’t always easy to do, especially for younger athletes.

Reinforcing good leg action during marches and skips is a good place to start. You will often see athletes get too cyclical with their leg action where their heel comes too close to their butt. These are typically the individuals who will strike the ground out in front of their hips, leading to them "popping up" on initial acceleration. My go-to for athletes who have a hard time striking down and back is incorporating band resistance. I’m a big believer that in order to go fast, you sometimes need to slow things down and give athletes the time to get a feel for good position and what their body is doing. This is what band resistance essentially does. I’ll use this tool on marches, skips, and, one of my favorites, A-runs. I love using A-runs to teach the piston-like leg action and to help athletes with striking the ground under their center of mass.

There are times when athletes will execute proper leg action during these lower level activities, but then they can’t figure out how to transfer it to their sprint work. In this case, I’ll either a) have them perform these activities in between sets of their actual sprint work instead of just having them done in the beginning of their warm-up, or b) have them perform whatever sprint variation they are doing with band resistance and then immediately come back to that sprint variation without band resistance.

When I’m first introducing sprint mechanics to an athlete, I’ll usually play around with what starting position works best for them and where they feel most comfortable. Some athletes may prefer a lower position (3-point start) whereas other athletes (especially taller athletes) may prefer a variation where they initiate the sprint from a slightly higher projection angle (falling start).

4. Elasticity

Elasticity or elastic strength is arguably the most important trait or physical quality when it comes to sprint performance. Elastic strength refers to the ability to produce large amounts of force in a short period of time. There have been numerous studies that show how elite sprinters can put tremendous amounts of forces into the ground at a much faster rate compared to non-elite sprinters. How do we train the ability to put force intro the ground at a high rate? Sprinting is the most obvious answer, but this can also be accomplished through fast stretch shortening cycle plyometric activities as well. The nice thing about developing elastic strength is that it doesn’t require any equipment.

When preparing an athlete to sprint, we want to prepare specific tissues through plyometrics in a progressive manner going from least intensive to most intensive. Along with many of the dynamic warm-up activities mentioned (marches, skips, A-Runs), we like to use 1-leg Medial-Lateral Line Hops as a low-level activity to prepare the tissues of the lower leg. The middle ground can be used for activities like Pogo Jumps, Hurdle Jumps variations, and Depth Jump variations. Prior to sprint work, I like to transition to plyometric drills that address specific technical elements that translate a little more to sprinting, my favorite being bounding. With bounding, you’re developing an athlete’s stiffness, elasticity, coordination, and timing.

Hopefully, this will give some ideas as to how you can improve your sprint training as we continue to make it through this difficult time. Be safe, everyone!

Note from EC: If you're looking to learn more about Lee's approach to programming and coaching speed and agility work, I highly recommend his Certified Speed and Agility Coach course. The information is top notch, and it's on sale for $150 off through Sunday. You can learn more HERE

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About the Author

​Derek Kambour serves as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. Prior to joining the staff, Derek completed an internship at CSP-FL in the fall of 2018. Prior to joining the CSP-FL team, Derek coached a variety of athletes and clientele at performance facilities in New Jersey. He graduated from Montclair St. University with a degree in Exercise Science and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA. Derek is also a competitive powerlifter. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 7/15/19

I've finally gotten this feature back on an early-in-the-week publication schedule! Here's some good stuff from around the 'Net of late:

Complete Speed and Agility Coach Certification - I've commented on numerous occasions how much I like this resource and accompanying certification from Lee Taft. It's on sale for $150 off this week and definitely worth the investment.

It Took Me Ten years to Become an Overnight Success - A recent conversation reminded me of this article my business partner, Pete Dupuis, wrote a few years ago. It's an important one for the up-and-comers in our field.

The Value of Self-Doubt - I enjoyed this podcast from Brett Bartholomew at The Art of Coaching. It's a great listen for both novice and more experienced coaches. I loved him arguing FOR imposter syndrome in an era where everyone is positioned as an expert.

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Tall athletes have much less wiggle room with their setup than shorter athletes do, as long levers can make weights feel heavier, and more range-of-motion equates to more opportunity for things to go wrong. This is especially true when it comes to pulling from the ground. On the left, you'll see @joerock___ (who is 6-7) round over and try to use the bar to pull himself into a good starting position - but he doesn't quite get to where he needs to go. On the right, we reach the arms out in front as a counterbalance, and have him descend to the bar without ever giving up an optional torso posture. The best way to firm up good positions is to never allow bad positions to take place. Swipe left for the actual set (good work, Joe!). . . . #cspfamily #deadlift #trapbar

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The Truth About Dodgeball and Tag

Today's guest post comes from Lee Taft, creator of the Certified Speed and Agility Coach (CSAC) offering, which is on sale for $100 off through the end of the week. I'm a big fan of this resource and would strongly encourage you to look into it if you work with athletes in any capacity. Anyway, enjoy the post! -EC

If we listen to those making the decisions to eliminate dodgeball and tag in Physical Education (unfortunately there are some PE professionals not doing their best, so it appears these games are useless or harmful) we might come to the conclusion they are correct in doing so. But, if we edit the purpose and role of these "types" of activities, we see just how WRONG they are.

1. Dodgeball should be the culmination of a well thought-out and progressed throwing, catching, and agility unit. Students from primary grades on should learn how to properly throw, hit still targets at various heights and angles, and catch a ball coming at them from different angles and speeds (in primary grades, sometimes we just want kids to be able to touch the ball as it comes near them to develop tracking and limb location).

2. We need to progress to throwing at a target in which the target is moving, AND when the student who is throwing is moving, AND when both the target and student is moving. This teaches leading and directional aiming skills. And, it teaches students to predict intersection points.

3. We need to use a type of ball that takes fear out of catching, throwing, or being hit. There is nothing wrong with getting hit by a ball. It teaches kids how to protect themselves from objects coming at them. It sharpens their reflexes/reactive abilities. It trains their feet, core, and vestibular system to quickly protect through bending, twisting, jerking away, ducking, dodging while maintaining spacial awareness and balance. These strategies are very important to acquire and develop at young ages!

4. Catching is a fundamental tracking skill that allows for advancements to sports requiring a racquet, stick, or bat. When kids learn to catch, they are creating awareness of limb length to reach length. This, in turns, allows them to make adjustments to their limb length plus an implements length (e.g., stick, bat) and an oncoming ball in order to strike or catch it.

5. Tag teaches problem solving with regards to several factors. These factors are how much speed is needed to solve a problem of tagging or not getting tagged. When their speed isn't "good enough," they now select abilities of creating angles that can "even the playing field" and solve their problem. They use fakes, and spins, and change of pace to elude - as well as tactics to avoid being faked.

6. Games that involve avoiding being struck by a ball or tagged by a classmate drive to the heart of the CNS. It requires the student to learn from their environment and problem solve. These activities are primitive in nature and TAKING THEM AWAY ERODES at these primitive skills that give us foundational movement skills, tracking skill, timing skills, targeting skills, and evasive skills. When we lose touch with these skills (or abilities) we subject these potential future athletes to being exposed on the playing fields with less athletic armor.
Stop looking at these types of activities as useless. They carry a huge primitive foundational movement and developmental package. Use them in favor of our kids.

As I mentioned, Lee's certification is actually on sale through the end of the week for $100 off the normal price. If you're looking for top notch direction in coaching movement training with your athletes, look no further. You can check it out HERE.


 

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What Happened to “Global” Athleticism?

Back in my high school sports career, I was much more quick than I was fast. Actually, I wasn't fast at all.

Apparently, the combination of not eating great and not having any organized strength and conditioning programming doesn't exactly do wonders for building speed that cripples your competition. So, regardless of the sport in question, I was left to fall back on my skills for any success I had.

Looking back, though, it fascinates me that I was actually still pretty quick, and it was readily apparent. In the sports I played - soccer and tennis in high school - I was a much better indoor soccer player (smaller field = more change of direction) and doubles player (cut the court in half = more change of direction). When the field of play opened up and top, straight-ahead speed mattered, I didn't show as well.

In hindsight, I still think it's intriguing that I was still able to develop a strong proficiency in change of direction work without any specific quickness or agility training. I didn't see an agility ladder until I was well into my 20s, and only time we ran "shuttles" in practice was for punishment, not developing quickness.

What I did do, though, is play every single kind of sport possible: soccer, tennis, baseball, basketball, football, ultimate frisbee, wiffle ball, street hockey, dodgeball, volleyball, you name it. I grew up next to a church, and it had a large grass parking lot that was only used a few hours each week - and the rest of the time, it was a field for all the kids in our neighborhood to play pick-up anything and everything. In high school, some buddies and I even started a weekend rugby pick-up game even though we had no idea how to play rugby. I was the kid who was soaked with sweat at the end of gym class and I wore it like a badge of honor.

Before I drift off into an Uncle Rico moment, let's talk about what this means for you.

Kids don't do this anymore. I don't want to sounds like an old man complaining about how generations have changed, but there isn't the same kind of day to day free play that previous generations have had. Moreover, even the athletes who do have a daily "training" stimulus of some sort have less variety in that stimulus. Instead of playing touch football on Sunday, wiffle ball on Monday, volleyball on Tuesday, basketball on Wednesday, etc., they just play soccer every day for the entire year. This obviously has injury and burnout ramifications, but even beyond that, it reduces the likelihood that these athletes will "accidentally" develop athletic qualities like I did. Variety served me well, even if it wasn't intentional. 

Earlier this week, Cressey Sports Performance coach John O'Neil and I carved out some time to discuss speed and agility progressions for our offseason baseball programming, and we touched in this point in some detail. If athletes have a "global athleticism" foundation like I did, they can probably thrive on just 2-3 days per week of true speed, agility, and quickness work as part of their strength and conditioning program.  However, since we're losing out on this variety at the youth levels now, we have to make a more dedicated effort to getting it with our training. In the past, we could assume some baseline of "reactive ability" and just initially focus on getting them strong (and don't get me wrong; that is still the most important thing).

Nowadays, however, the untrained, specialized kids need to do something "athletic" every day. They need to skip, hop, jump, and throw medicine balls every single time they come to the gym. It's not enough to take the "Just get them strong!" mentality.

[bctt tweet="Kids must train power daily now since they don't have free play like previous generations did."]

And if you're going to program more "global athleticism" - speed, agility, quickness - work, you better understand how to coach it. To this end, there is no better resource on this front than Lee Taft's Certified Speed and Agility Coach course. It's on sale for $150 off through the end of the week, so I'd definitely encourage you to check it out at this great discount.

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How Survival Instincts Drive Speed Development

Today's guest post comes from Lee Taft, the creator of the Certified Speed and Agility Coach (CSAC) course. I'm a huge fan of this certification, and it's on sale for $150 off this week. Enjoy! -EC

As a kid, I was a big fan of “The Flintstones.” I loved how Fred and Barney could run so fast. I can remember when they were chased by a Sabretooth Tiger; it was amazing how they could escape so quickly. Hmm, maybe there is something to that…

Fast forward to 2017, I still love speed. But now, I actually study it. I continually ask myself the question; “Why were humans given the ability to have speed and quickness?” This question has taken me down a road not many speed coaches travel. Many of these coaches like the traditional route of current methods of training. That’s cool, and in most cases, proves to be quite successful. But…

What if coaches would investigate more down the road of our human history? What if they allowed themselves to be vulnerable to the ways of how we escaped or attacked for survival? How would they think differently about speed?

What if we asked the question, “Why were we given the ability to have speed and quickness?” What can we learn when we venture down that path?

Here are a few of my thoughts:

1. Survival drives us through channels not so easily understood from a Central Nervous System (CNS) standpoint. We have to bow down to the subconscious effort that makes us move quickly on instinct or reflex. This is harder to understand, so we try to ignore it as a viable option for speed training.

2. Playing competitive sports actually taps into our CNS – or should I go deeper and say our “sympathetic nervous system?” This is where our heightened awareness of our surroundings kicks in. If I am caught in a rundown in baseball – or going to be tackled in football, or being chased during soccer i- it takes us to a level of effort we don’t commonly experience in our daily lives.

3. Our body kicks into what we call fight or flight: the survival mode. This occurs all the time during sports competition. It drives us to make incredible speedy plays. It forces us to react in such a way that our feet move quicker than our conscious mind can drive them. This is where I want to concentrate on for the rest of this article. I want to share with you strategies to make you faster!

Repositioning

Repositioning is a term I use to relate to how an athlete moves his or her feet quickly into a more effective angle to either accelerate or decelerate the body. Terms I have used to describe repositioning are:

Plyo Step: The plyo step is an action that occurs when one foot is repositioned behind, to the side, or at any angle behind the body. This act quickly drives the body in a new direction of travel.

Hip Turn: This is basically the same as the plyo step except the athlete turns and accelerate back away from the direction they were facing. Repositioning occurs to find an angle to push the body in that direction.

Directional Step: Think base-stealing. The athlete will face sideways but turn and run. The front foot opens to be in a greater supportive position to push down and back during acceleration steps.

The goal is to get into acceleration posture as quickly as possible to make a play when one of these repositioning steps occur.

A great drill to work on repositioning is what I call “Ball Drops.”

a. Simply have a partner or coach stand 10-15 feet away from the athlete with a tennis ball held out at shoulder height.

b. The athlete is in an athletic parallel stance facing the coach, turned sideways, or back facing- depending on the drill.

c. The coach will drop the ball and the athlete must accelerate to catch the ball before the 2nd bounce. I encourage the coach to use the command “Go” at the exact time of the drop to help when vision is not an option.

The action you will see 99.9% of the time is a repositioning or a hip turn or plyo step (the directional step is the act of preparing the front leg for push off; it angles in the direction of travel). Perform this drill facing forwards for four reps, sideways for four reps, and backwards for four reps (2 to eaach side for the side-facing and back-facing). Perform this drill 2-3x per week to tap into the "fight or flight" response.

Reactive Shuffle or Crossover

In this drill, the focus is on reacting to either a partner (like a mirror drill) or the coaches signal to go right or left.

a. The athlete gets in a great defensive stance and prepares to explode to her right or left.

b. The coach will quickly point in either direction.

c. The athlete will create quick force into the ground in the opposite direction of travel. Typically, there will be a repositioning step unless the athlete starts in a wide stance where outward pressure is effective in the current stance.

d. As soon as the athlete shuffles one to two times, he will shuffle back.

e. The same drill is repeated, but now using a crossover step.

Perform 3-4 sets of ten seconds of both the shuffle and crossover drill. Allow 40-60s of recovery between bouts.

Shuffle

Partner Mirror

Crossover with Directional Step

Hip Turn to Crossover

The final skill I want to write about might be one of the most important “survival” speed skills an athlete can have. It falls under the “retreating” set of skills where the athlete moves back away from the direction they are initially facing.

The hip turn can allow an athlete to escape or attack. The critical features are:

1. The athlete must “stay in the tunnel.” Do not rise up and down; stay level.

2. By staying level, the immediate repositioning that takes place allows for a great push off angle to move the body in a new direction.

3. The athlete should attempt to create length and cover distance quickly. Short choppy steps are not effective when in “survival mode.” GET MOVING!

4. In the snapshots below, the athlete is performing a hip turn based on the coaches command or signal. The athlete will perform a hip turn and either a shuffle, crossover, or run - and then recover back to the start position as soon as possible!

Perform 3-4 sets of 7-10s of work. If quickness/speed is the goal we want to do it in short bursts of time and not long duration where speed in compromised. Recover for roughly 45 seconds and repeat.

Now, I know it sounds kind of crazy to be talking about survival, cavemen, and “fight or flight” when we are referring to speed, but we have to always look at the genesis of all things. Animals that don’t have reactive speed have other ways to protect themselves. Humans have intelligence and the ability to escape or attack using systems derived out of our CNS to help us use our speed. Our job as coaches is to tap into this ability and use it to help our athletes “naturally” move fast!

Note from EC: As I mentioned earlier, Lee Taft is the creator of the Certified Speed and Agility Coach (CSAC) course. To say that it's excellent would be an understatement, and we're actually implementing it as part of our staff training curriculum; all CSP coaches go through the CSAC course. In fact, I think so highly of Lee's work that it was even filmed at our facility! This week, it's on sale for $150 off. If you're looking for top notch direction in coaching movement training with your athletes, look no further. You can check it out HERE.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 9/25/17

I hope you all had a great weekend. My kids are officially old enough that we can actually fill an entire weekend with friends' birthday parties, so that's what we did. Before I get to the recommended reading and listening for the week, I wanted to give you a quick heads-up that we'll be doing a baseball development workshop at our Jupiter, FL facility on October 19. It's only $20 to attend, and all proceeds will benefit charity. You can learn more at the following link:

The Building a Better Baseball Athlete Workshop

Certified Speed and Agility Specialist Course - Lee Taft is a go-to guy when it comes to speed and agility education, and this awesome certification demonstrates why. It was filmed at Cressey Sports Performance and was mandatory viewing for our entire staff. It's on sale for $100 off this week, so I wanted to give you a heads-up.

The Ideal Business Show with Andy McCloy - This Pat Rigsby podcast with Andy McCloy was outstanding. If you're interested in the business side of fitness, definitely give it a listen.

5 Things That Might Surprise You About Our Baseball Strength and Conditioning Programs - With the professional baseball offseason at hand, it seemed like a good time to reincarnate this from the archives.

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The Best of 2016: Product Reviews

To wrap up my “Best of 2016″ series, I’ll highlight the top product reviews I did at this site in the last year. Here they are: 

1. Certified Speed and Agility Specialist (CSAS) Course - Lee Taft is a go-to guy when it comes to speed and agility education, and this awesome certification demonstrates why. It was filmed at Cressey Sports Performance and was mandatory viewing for our entire staff. I wrote up an article about why it's so great: When Do Strength and Conditioning and Fitness Certifications Really Matter?

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2. The Complete Shoulder and Hip Blueprint - I was proud of my longtime friend Tony Gentilcore for releasing this, which was his first product. The content was top notch from both Tony and Dean Somerset, his co-creator. Tony covered the shoulder and Dean covered the hips, and I put out some solid takeaways from the resource; see Shoulder Strategies and Hip Helpers: Part 1 and Part 2 for my review.

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3. Elite Athletic Development 3.0 - Unlike most sequels and trilogies, this third installment from Mike Robertson and Joe Kenn didn't disappoint, as there were loads of great coaching strategies introduced. Cressey Sports Performance coach Nancy Newell and I shared some of these insights in our review: 12 Elite Athletic Development Coaching and Programming Lessons.

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There were certainly some other great products I encountered this year, but these three proved to be the most popular with my readers.

In 2016, I personally released Functional Stability Training: Optimizing Movement with Mike Reinold, and will have two new products out in the first six months of 2017, so stay tuned!

We're back to the regular EricCressey.com content this week. Thanks for all your support in 2016!

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The Best of 2016: Guest Posts

I've already highlighted the top articles and videos I put out at EricCressey.com in 2016, so now it's time for the top guest posts of the year. Here goes…  

1. Cryotherapy and Exercise Recovery: Part 1 and Part 2 - Tavis Bruce absolutely crushed it with this heavily researched two-parter on one of the most controversial topics in health and human performance today.

2. Big Toe, Big Problems - Dr. James Spencer took a close look at Functional Hallux Limitus, a common problem that is frequently overlooked in the rehabilitation world.

3. 4 Strategies to Improve Athletes’ Innate Acceleration - Lee Taft introduced some excellent ways to improve your speed and agility coaching.

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4. 4 Ways Hypermobile Individuals Can Improve Their Training - Laura Canteri offered some excellent insights for a very underserved population: loose-jointed clients.

5. Building Better Core Control with “The Bear” - Mike Robertson shared one of his favorite core stability exercises and it was a big hit with the EricCressey.com audience.

I'll be back soon with the top strength and conditioning features from 2016.

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