Ask the expertYouth strength and conditioning

Ask the Expert: Trevor Ragan (

Trevor Ragan is a US based coach educator, blogger and public speaker. He has delivered TEDx talks on Overcoming Fear and Learning like a Jungle Tiger! He is the founder of Train Ugly, a fantastic provider of workshops, articles and visual essays on learning, the Growth Mindset and the process of training and skill development. With Train Ugly, he has worked with organisations including Microsoft, Quest Nutrition, UCLA Football, Iowa State University and many, many more!
1)What has led you into working in youth sport?
Sports have helped me and taught me more than I can ever explain. I think they can such a powerful tool (when done properly).
2) What has been your biggest influence in your practice in youth sport?
Learning research by Robert Bjork, Carol Dweck, Richard Schmidt – their work can and should change a lot of what we do.

3) What is your particular area of interest?
How we mentally approach learning + how we design practice so more learning takes place.

Train Ugly has some fantastic resources like this on the process of learning!

4) How do you think this particular area applies to youth athletes? 
Creating better learners and designing a better practice is important in all levels of sport. We’ve worked with Olympic and professional teams but we’ve also built these principles into groups down to year three.

5) What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Be ” So Good They Can’t Ignore You “- Cal Newport’s book.
6) What advice would you give to coaches working with youth athletes?
Always remember why we’re here. Hopefully we’re here to make it a great experience for the kids, to help them play, enjoy the game, and learn all the lessons sports has to offer. If we remember that, it can guide many of our decisions.
7) Can you recommend any particular resources for youth sport coaches? – here we share a lot of the research that we’re working to implement with different teams.
8) Where can people find out more about you and your work? (Social media links, websites etc.) (I would highly recommend checking out the Train Ugly site – there are some fantastic videos, posters and articles on learning, the growth mindset and the training process!)
Thanks to Trevor for his time and expertise!
 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.
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