Ask the expertYouth strength and conditioning

Ask the Expert: Olie Trotman (Swansea City Academy & Athletic Development Wales)

In this Ask the Expert interview, we speak with Swansea City Academy Strength & Conditioning Coach and Director of Athletic Development Wales – Olie Trotman!
1)What has led you into youth sport?
I think the fact that I enjoyed playing a variety of sports whilst growing up taught me how impactful youth sport can be. I had some great PE teachers at Cowbridge Comprehensive School (Glan Williams, Huw Williams and Neil Thomas) and club sports coaches (Andrew Leftley) that upon reflection have definitely shaped me into the individual I am today. The thought of me being able to have a positive impact on the next generation is my primary reason for choosing to work with youth populations.
2) What has been your biggest influence in your practice in youth sport?
I wouldn’t be able to name one big overall influence or influencer so here are a few that come to mind…
As stated above, throughout my childhood I was lucky to have great experiences playing sport at a youth level. I learnt a lesson from every teacher and coach I had throughout my development. These lessons definitely influence my approach when coaching.
My time at Cardiff Metropolitan University helped shape my understanding of the science behind coaching. The likes of Jeremy Moody, Jon Oliver, Joseph Esformes, Rhodri Lloyd and Robert Meyers all played there parts in my pursuit to becoming a strength and conditioning coach.
All of the strength and conditioning coaches that I have been lucky to work with to date. Each one of them supported my personal and professional development, tolerated my mistakes and pushed me when I needed it (Chris Jones, Andrew Joy, Jeremy Moody, Sam Dodge, Ryan Whitley, Tim Mullen, Megan Rottler and Nick Davies).
3) What is your particular area of interest?
The long-term holistic impact that a properly planned and executed youth athletic development programme can have youth development. The literature only seems to report physical benefits whereas from experience I think the real gold lies within the psycho-social benefits.
4) How do you think this particular area applies to youth athletes?
When working with youth athletes if you are fixated on physical outputs alone then I would serious question and challenge your understanding of the role you have. In my opinion the gym environment can and should develop more than just physical attributes.
5) What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Is it a goal or a dream? Choose… as the journey can be very different. It’s all about decisions.
6) What advice would you give to coaches working with youth athletes?
Simply put, it is not and should not be about you.
7) Can you recommend any particular resources for youth sport coaches?
As far as books go…

  1. Strength and Conditioning for Young Athletes by Rhodri Lloyd & Jon Oliver
  2. An introduction to athlete development by Kelvin Giles
  3. Athletic Development: The Art & Science of Functional Sports Conditioning by Vern Gambetta
  4. Conscious Coaching: The Art and Science of Building Buy-In by Brett Bartholomew are all winners.

Science For Sport has a monthly Performance Digest that explores some of the latest research in the field and also the Proformance S&C Online Hub has some great lectures and content available covering LTAD.
On Twitter you have @Jeremy Frisch and @Joe_Eisenmann over in America pumping out some great content as well as the coaches at Aspire Academy (James Baker and @ChrisBrandner).
Facebook wise you have the Youth Strength & Conditioning Coaches group that produces great discussions and engagement.
When commuting my go to podcasts are the Gaincast with Vern Gambetta and The Athlete Development Show with Dr Craig Harrison.
8) Where can people find out more about you and your work? (Social media links, websites etc.)

We are grateful to Olie for contributing his valuable time and experience! If you like this content and want to keep up to date with us, like us on Facebook!
Are you a grassroots youth sport coach or PE teacher who wants to improve the athleticism of your athletes?? Check out our Fundamental series athletic development programs here.