Youth strength and conditioning

Course Review: YSCA Assistant Coach

The YSCA Assistant Coach course is an entry level course at the beginning of the YSCA coaching pathway. It is aimed at Coaches and Parents who have an interest in youth fitness and movement, but have no previous knowledge or experience in the area. I think the course is pitched perfectly with a good balance of theory, footage of live coaching and a bit of humour added too.

Given the economical price of just £39, I was impressed with the professional, high quality video content presented. Being video-based, it’s entirely self-paced so you can pause, rewind and progress as you please. Complementing the videos are some downloadable PDF’s, on the theoretical aspects supporting Youth S&C, which can be saved and stores for future use/reference. Again, I really liked this, as it means you don’t need to be furiously scribbling down your own notes.

Throughout the course, they make repeated reference to their 3 E’s model, when coaching young people:

  • Excite
  • Engage
  • Enable

Origin, Mission and Vision

This obviously forms the basis of the course but gives a good overview of some of the key theoretical and philosophical components of Youth S&C. For example, overviewing the key components of fitness , the importance of strength through range (flexibility and mobility), movement competency, as well as the notion that the Youth S&C is both a fast and slow journey, building on solid foundations of movement competency.

Do’s and Don’ts of Youth Strength & Conditioning

In this section they answer 2 key questions:

  • When are children ready for S&C?
  • Do Children need S&C?

I feel they presented a solid rationale for the need for Youth Specific S&C, with some supporting statistics on obesity rates, injury rates and the forces incurred during sporting activity. They also discuss some of the misconceptions around Youth S&C. These statistics and supporting evidence could be stored for future reference and in my experience are very valuable when trying to engage parents and coaches who may be sceptical around Youth S&C programs.

Warming up the YSCA way

This module featured a good amount video footage of coaches actually delivering the activities in person. This followed the RAMP warm up principle. I found this really matched my own philosophy around utilising the warm up effectively as a mini-S&C session and found a lot of similar drills and games to what I use as a coach. I also picked up one or two extra variations which was great!

I always find it’s great to actually see coaches delivering their games and drills as you pick up on coaching cues, different nuances and concepts you don’t always get from written presentations. This is also what we actually complete these kind of course/workshops for – the practical activities we can go away an apply! So this video content was really useful and applicable.

Developing Physical Literacy in Young People

Again, more great video here of live coaching covering the progressions and regressions used to coach youth athletes through the fundamental movements in a bodyweight or empty bar context.

  • Squat
  • Lunge
  • Push
  • Pull
  • Brace
  • Rotate

In conclusion, I think this is a great resource for parents and coaches who are taking their first footsteps into coaching S&C. At this point in time, I’m unaware of any similar online product. The information is pitched at an appropriate level and there are plenty videos of practical examples given for activities and exercises, with associated regressions and progressions. I think those who undertake it will leave with the knowledge required to improve their coaching of strength & conditioning to youth athletes.

You can find the course available here.

(Please note I did not receive any financial payment or benefit in kind in return for this product review)