Flipping the switch.

An athlete’s life is different from most people;

There is a lot of pressure to preform from a young age. You may get a few injuries and your time is so carefully planned so that you can fit in school, homework, practice, friends and competition. Yet outside of these seemingly negative things, you can gain so much more than what you would expect. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you have spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your best. You develop a routine and learn how hard you can push your body. Some athletes get to see more of the world when they travel to games and for some, an extra opportunity in colligate levels!

Then one day, it’s all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you’ll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you’re no longer an athlete. you forget what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something bigger than yourself. It may hit harder in part because by playing you realized that competing was an escape and helped you become who you are.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you and see your family in the stands. It’s simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head.

So make as many memories as you can and enjoy every moment of play because when you leave sports behind, you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as you will miss the game, be thankful for everything it brought you. It teaches you how to be a good friend, respect others around you, and to push yourself to discover what you are capable of.

Enjoy it while it lasts and make the best of the skills you learned while you were an athlete!

EmailBskinner@sstcanada.com for more information on our facility or to book a complimentary demo session!

Female Athletes; No you wont look “Bulky”

We seem to always talk about how women need to look instead of how well they performed; its why I think a lot of women are still scared to lift weights because they don’t want to bulk up. The ideal feminine body is thin and while ‘flab’ is not desired anywhere; toned muscles are desirable in legs as opposed to a ‘bulky’ upper body.  This pressure is unfortunately put into the minds of young female athletes that are already under pressure for many reasons (such as doing well academically, peer pressure to “fit in” and many pressures they put on themselves).

This is a problem because they need to do a specific training program that is designed to train them to be effective in their sport. A lot of people walking into our doors ask for programs for training speed and explosiveness. Often we find that the athlete first needs to work on muscular strength before we can ask their bodies to perform better in those explosive movements required in their sport. The reaction most women give is the looking bulky excuse.

We want our athlete’s attention on what their bodies are capable of doing, what they can accomplish rather than what their bodies look like. Aim to improve the function of overused muscles and joints by stretching and releasing them and strengthening the underused muscles this allows us to balance the different demands placed on an athlete’s body given their particular lifestyle. Not to mention, women (without the assistance of drugs) don’t have the hormone profile to look bulky.

Resistance training is not designed to change the looks of their bodies but to alleviate pain and improve mobility in whatever activity/sport they are interested in. This does not mean that we all will look the same—that is already predetermined by our genetic make-up. A young athlete that sits at a school desk during the day, might also be a competitive soccer player and thus, the bodily requirements for balancing both school life and training need to be considered. Many athletes also need considerable muscle strength and thus, should embrace visible musculature. We all need muscles to have enough strength to support our bones, but the amount of strength in specific muscles can vary greatly depending on each individual’s needs.

Instead of worrying about ‘bulking up,’ we could celebrate the muscles that enable us to do what we want to do. Be proud of the muscles that allow us to perform well in our sports and allow you to function in everyday life without pain and to move smoothly in a variety of situations. Muscles are necessary for poised movement, not for ‘the looks of body.’ They should, thus, be appreciated as important parts of anyone’s beautifully moving body!

Email Bskinner@sstcanada.com to schedule a free demo session to find out how we make our athletes stronger!

Are You Explosive Enough In Your Sport?

One of the most important aspects of training an athlete is plyometrics. It is crucial in making an athlete more explosive. Here is the key piece with Plyo’s with young kids. They are great but an athlete needs to be assessed before to correct all of their deficiencies. If an athlete is not strong it is very hard to make them explosive. It’s a very simple equation, you must be strong before you can be explosives. Here are my three favorite plyometric exercises!

Box Jump:

Everyone does this! It’s a great way to train jumping! Here is my biggest tips with regards to box jumps. The landing is the most important part. The landing needs to be soft and you shouldn’t hear it. If you can hear the landing make the box smaller and land soft. One way to spice up box jumps is too jump out of a seated position! My personal favorite way to take this drill to the nest level is to make the athlete jump on que, that’s the way sport is played; very rarely do you get to pick and choose when you want to react!

Depth Jump:

This is an awesome one for young athletes but also older athletes. This is so important on training not only plyometric strength and isometric strength. This exercise allows you not only to learn how to land which is so important, but it teaches your body how to take a load through the ground which is important. One cool way to do a depth jump is to add a box jump too it. Have a player jump off a box take the load thru the ground, then jump up into the air!

4 Dot Drill:

My personal favorite! This drill is basically 4 dots on a mat, and the athletes will jump in different directions from dot to dot. The best way to do this drill is in short bursts, 5-10 seconds. You can make this drill harder by changing the way the athletes faces during the drill, flipping his hips during the drill. My biggest tip for this drill is to make sure the athletes keeps his or her eyes up. You can make them focus on some sort of visual cue!

Plyo’s are so important to creating an all around great athlete. But like I previously stated, young athletes need to be “strong” before we worry about Plyo’s!

Email Bskinner@sstcanada.com to schedule a free demo session or to ask about out vertical jump program or our strength and conditioning programs.

Using The Gym To Mentally Prepare For Competition.

One the biggest problems with young athletes today is that they don’t know how to completely focus all the time. You can also see it during their competitions. Athletes get out of place or don’t react fast enough because they didn’t see something or couldn’t see something because it was happening to fast for them. Here are three tips to use to increase an athlete’s focus!

Eliminate Technology In the Gym; Athletes and people are way too reliant on technology. When athletes lift, they should not be on their phones. It should not be used in between sets. They do not have cases to their phones during their competition, so don’t let them use a phone during training. When athletes are resting during sets, I teach them how to breath and give them a skill they can us on the field of competition. This is a learned skill set that can be practiced instead of being on a phone.

Quiz Them In States Of Exhaustion; This could be my favorite of all time. When I work with my Offensive Lineman, I often ask them question right when they finish working. They are tired and this is when their brains sometimes don’t want to work. I try and mimic this so that when they are tired they are used to thinking, and it’s not new to them. Something as simple as asking them what 8×7 is when they are huffing and puffing. It’s really simple yet so darn effective.

Simulate Game Situation In Group Training; Make your athletes work as a team when they train as a group. For example when doing the fictional training with hockey players I like to make one athlete of “off” and have one athlete run “on” to start and finish their set. This simulates a shift change. You can also do to with 5 players at a time if you are working as a big group. Something as simple as that will help them get used to stay mentally focused during their competition.

Come in to SST Burlington to put these and more training tips into your training routine!

Resistance Training for Acceleration

Sprinting has been described as consisting of a series of phases: an acceleration phase (typically the first 10 metres), a transition phase, and a maximum velocity phase.  For sports such as soccer, rugby, football and basketball, maximum velocity is not always attained, and repeated short sprints are more common.  Taking this into consideration, the ability to develop speed in as short a time as possible (acceleration) may be of high importance to many athletes.  It has been proposed that acceleration and maximum velocity are relatively separate and specific qualities.

An athlete’s ability to accelerate his or her body during sprinting is dependent on several factors.  These factors include technique and the force production capability of the body, in particular the leg muscles.  It has been shown that the technical aspects may have less importance for the acceleration phase of performance than for a typical sprinting event.  For example, in many sports the athletes have to accelerate from a lying or crouching position, from landing on 1 leg and pivoting, from catching a ball, and so on.  Therefore, the force capability of the muscle may be more important in improving acceleration of the athlete.  This point was supported by R. Mann in his publication titled “The Elite Athletes Project: Sprints and Hurdles.” which stated that the ability to perform well in sprints over short distances is dependent on the ability to produce large amounts of force at crucial times.

A variety of methods are used to enhance force output.  These methods include resistance training, plyometric training, and assisted and resisted sprinting techniques.  For this article we will focus on resisted sprinting which involves athletes sprinting with added load.  This load can come in different forms: weighted vests, sled-sprints, uphill sprinting and limb loading.  More specifically, this article will focus on the towing of weighted devices such as sleds which is the most common method of providing towing resistance for the enhancement of sprinting.

It has been shown that the use of towing as a form of resistance may increase the load on the athlete’s torso and therefore require more stabilization.  This training stimulus may increase pelvic stabilization, leading to a positive effect on sprint performance.  Increased torso loads also cause an increased upper-body lean and increased thigh angle at both the beginning and the end of the stance phase.  This increased thigh angle reflects the increased need for force production during the prolonged stance phase.

It is important to note that sprinting speed should not be decreased by more than 10% when adding resistance; adding too much resistance may alter running kinematics in ways that are not desirable.  It is also maintained that sled-sprinting should not be employed when the desired training effect is neural (i.e. maximal velocity).  Sled-sprinting is an effective method for a metabolic training effect (i.e. acceleration).  Due to evidence that only the first 10 metres of a sprint have been designated as the acceleration phase, it is suggested that sled-sprints should be performed for distances no longer than 10 metres.

S.S.T. holds that a well implemented speed program should include a variety of methods to achieve desirable results (i.e. resisted sprints, assisted sprints, unassisted sprints and resistance training).  Also, methods such as resisted and assisted sprints should be used sparingly, such as in the final or next-to-final block of an athlete’s periodized program.

To find out more information regarding SST’s upcoming Lightning camp please visit our website at www.sstcanada.com

 

Q&A with Coach Delroy Rhooms

Delroy- thanks for taking your time and speaking with me

1. So Delroy why do have so much success with Soccer teams?
I really enjoy training soccer teams. Soccer was one of the first team sports we had come to us for training when we started SST Oakville. My staff and I have spent many hours with soccer athletes and have a great understanding of what is required for a soccer athlete to succeed. Our reputation and our results with soccer athletes have spread through the soccer community. We have teams from Burlington , Oakville , Mississauga and Brampton come out to train with us. The coaching staff of these teams trust us and understand our facility is “ no nonsense “ training center, as we build our soccer training programs to get their teams prepared for the season. We have worked with many soccer athletes who have gone on to play NCCA , CIS and professionally. We soccer athletes playing at University of Miami , University of Maine, Memphis University , kent State , Eastern Michigan , Louisiana State , Miami – Ohio , Carleton University , University of Western Ontario, Mc Master University to name a few. Today , we have Dianna Matheson from the Canadian Women’s National training in our facility to get herself prepared for the FIVB womens world cup. Here is what Dianna has to say about why she trains at SST Oakville:

“I use SST Oakville when I am a home because it has everything I need to train at the highest level. I go not just for strength training, but to be a stronger, faster, and more complete athlete.”

Thanks,
Diana

2. What are some of the unique coaching points/cues and training methods you use with your volleyball players?
Our volleyball athletes are unique in their needs for success. They work within a confined
9 ‘ x 9 ‘ area, so they need to be quick and very , very explosive athletes. We spend a tremendous amount of time teaching our volleyball athletes how to load their hips and fire their glutes so they are explosive in their attack. We use several lateral and linear movement drills like the “ N” drill and Figure 8 drill to help our athletes move quickly in a low volleyball posture. We do a lot of single leg work , like TRX single pistol squats and single leg opposite side load plyobox heal touches these are tremendous for our middle attackers. We work the trunk with a variety of Medicine ball throws and also land mine rotations to develop power for our outside attackers. Our Setter use a variety of Medicine ball wall drills and well as extended medicine balls pushes from the floor , so they can develop more power to push the sets out to the antennas during play. During the off season we spend a lot of time developing the vertical jump through a variety of power movements focusing on the posterior chain.

3. Can you add some insight into your strength coaching style?
My style of coaching stems from the type of coaches I had growing up as a young athlete to the coaches I had , as I trained while playing the Canadian pro Beach Volleyball Circuit . It was “ no nonsense” work hard , give a 110 percent and leave it all on the field. I have taken this approach with all my athletes and adult clients , I am tough and I expect you to give me everything you have while you are on the training floor. I have had athletes and adults see my car in the parking lot and tell me we know it is going to be a tough day when “ the dark over lord “ is on the training floor. I treat everybody the same, I want the same for everyone of my clients. Results period. I approach every training session with energy that fills up the facility. I want all my clients to have fun , challenge themselves and most of all work hard. For my athletes I treat them like family , my goal is help them all understand from my own experience and the experience of my high level staff what it takes from a training stand point to get to the next level. Mentoring is so, so important to me for my athletes. As I move around the community nothing makes me more happy than to here an athlete shout to me “ hey Coach “ . I absolutely love to train.

4. You have had many girls in many sports on scholarships…is there a key to your success?
I believe you need to understand the female athletes in order to get the best out of them. We have had such success with female athletes who have received scholarships , because we have created an environment at SST Oakville were these ladies feel they are at home . We have seen other facilities focus on “ just the boys” and at SST Oakville we treat everybody the same. The female athletes who come to us like us because we push them , we discuss their goals , we are not afraid to have them try complicated movements and they see the results of their hard work. Communication , Communication , communication is the key ingredient when dealing with high performance athletes. We take the time to explain , critique and most importantly coach and this seems to work really well as our female athletes respond and get tremendous results.