Youth strength and conditioning

Athletic Evolution Conference 2019 Review – Jake Peake (Guest Post)

Having attended this year’s Athletic Evolution Annual Conference, while I have a moment, I thought I would take this time to reflect on what I took from what I would deem as a very successful and thought-provoking weekend.

Dr Sean Cumming – Growth and Maturation in Youth Athletes

Having recently attended a short seminar on this subject with one of his colleagues, I was hooked and eager to hear a more in depth talk on this subject. Working in a youth environment where the age ranges between 8 and 18, this particular subject of Biobanding was of great interest to me.

Taking home the thought of being able to tailor our training to maximise our players development through their maturity and growth (biological age) rather than just their chronological age is extremely exciting. This will help us keep them injury free from a training perspective, but also help keep “late developers” from dropping out by giving them experience of success and leadership and “early developers” from not being challenged enough through them having to rely more on technical and tactical abilities and not just their advanced physical attributes.

Steven Curnyn ­- Animal Flow Movement Breakout

Although I had used elements of Animal Flow before, I had never fully appreciated its full benefits in strength and range of movement. This practical session lead by Steve was awesome, I really enjoyed his passion and how engaging he was with 40+ coaches in a confined space all trying potentially something new.

Seeing this done with a large group and varying degrees of abilities, you could see how this would challenge even the most agile of movers- me not being one of them sadly. However, I did take this home and implement elements of it in my squad training the next day and even partook myself, which was greeted with great enthusiasm from the players!

Tom Coughlin – Nutritional Considerations for Youth Athletes

Nutrition is one of the constantly changing and controversial subjects, so I was really eager to see what Tom was going to present and I was pleasantly surprised at what was presented. Expecting him to going to detail about what, when and how nutrition should be implemented for our athletes it was refreshing to hear something else – instead Tom spoke about changing a culture and getting them to take more ownership with what they were eating and drinking.

Take home message for me here was to keep things simple and educate the athletes as to what they are eating and drinking.

Andy Blyth – When there’s Something to Win or Lose, People Change: Do You?

As we all know, sport doesn’t only challenge athletes technically and tactically, but also psychologically. This was a great insight by Andy into the world of psychology using the Spotlight tool by Mindflick where the individual’s mindset and behavior were looked at determining where their strengths lie, rather than focusing on their weaknesses.

This system seemed really easy to take home and use with your own athletes without having to delve right into “scary” world of psychology to really help them focus on how to achieve.

Rob Anderson – Filling the Toolbox: Coaching Novice Strength Trainers

Rob Anderson from Scottish Rugby really ended the conference with a bang. The practical based talk was well delivered and challenged even experienced coaches to delve deep into their toolbox to come up with alternative way of challenging athletes with and without equipment.

Rob’s 5 take home tips where a great reminder that complex doesn’t mean effective – stick to what is required and not what looks fancy!

Robs 5 take home tips;

  • Keep it simple
  • Keep the main thing- the main thing
  • Prioritise fundamentals
  • Quality over quantity
  • Make athletes earn the right to progress

In conclusion this was a great conference on youth development, one from which I will be taking a lot home and applying into our programme. The day was a great balance of practical and academic golden nuggets which, as mentioned in the previous year’s review is a hard balance to strike but one that works very well!

Thank you to Athletic Evolution for a great opportunity to attend a well organised and engaging conference where you were made to feel very welcome

Looking forward to #AEConference2020!   

Thanks to Jake Peake for his review!