Athletic Movement Progressions

Imagine this scenario…

You are a performance trainer specializing in injury prevention and athletic development for youth and teen athletes.  One of your existing clients refers you to work with one of his teammates.

You present your program to him and his parents and being the great closer that you are, of course, you close the contract.

You work with the kid for 3 months in the off-season.  He is the classic overachiever.  Pretty skilled in his sport, but not the most explosive or very fluid in his movement.

The kid works his butt off and you see a huge improvement in his athletic ability.  And even better, when he goes back to work with his team as the season approaches, his coach notices the changes and asks, “What did you do this off-season, kid?”

The kid raves about your off-season training program, so the coach grabs your contact info and reaches out to set up a meeting

This is a huge opportunity because if you play it right, you will go from making $75-$150 per hour doing personal or small group training, to $300-$400 per hour in a team setting.

But now you run into three issues:

  1. Your training program is designed for a one-on-one or small group setting.  You don’t have enough equipment for 30-50 kids.
  2. Not only do you have no equipment to work with, you also have no facility, except the field or court to work with.
  3. And on top of all that, you only have 30-60 minutes per week to work with the team.

I ran into the same issues as I learned to leverage my time and took my training progressions from individual to team settings.  I also wanted to stay true to my injury prevention progressions and not cheat any of the athletes, parents, or coaches.

But before I present you my solution to this problem, allow me to introduce myself…

My name is C.J. Easter and if you follow college football, I was best known as Stanford Football #12 before Andrew Luck.  I am currently the CEO of the Performance Science Training Institute and am now known as the Stanford Speed, Agility, and Injury Prevention Expert.

My company contracts with youth sport organizations and high school athletic programs to implement speed, agility, and injury prevention programs on a mass scale.

You can find out more about the system that I use at Performance Science Training Institute.

Ok, enough of me and back to your dilemma… How do you stay true to your progressions and not “sell out” for the financial opportunity of working with a large group?

I’m going to take you from a micro-variable level all the way to the macro level of the concepts behind our team-training program.

Feel free to swipe these concepts and use them to truly leverage your time and win your first big team training program.

So here’s a quick glimpse of how we break down our progressions as well as a completely done-for-you training session:

We break down athletic movements into 8 categories, based on the dominant joint.  We call these the “stem cells” of athletic movements because all other athletic movements are derived from these patterns.

Here are our “Easy Eight”:

  • Ankle Flexion
  • Ankle Extension
  • Bilateral Knee Dominant
  • Unilateral Knee Dominant (F/B)
  • Unilateral Knee Dominant (L/R)
  • Bilateral Hip Dominant
  • Unilateral Hip Dominant
  • Core Stability

Now that we have a base set of movements, let’s look at how we progress our athletes through these movements:

  • Isometric: To develop muscle memory of proper movement mechanics and to build strength at the point at which the body is at the greatest mechanical disadvantage
  • Repetition: To develop the strength through the full range of motion to repeatedly recreate proper movement patterns
  • Dynamic: To develop the ability to create proper movement patterns on the move and prepare the body to create force on the move
  • Explosive: To develop the ability create and absorb maximal force with proper movement mechanics

These progressions must complement and supplement the team’s skill development and game schedule, so we break our progressions up into four types of sessions:

  • Development Session:  This is a session in which we are looking to make some athletic gains with our athletes.  We can push your athletes in these sessions because you don’t have to worry about a little soreness the next day affecting their game performance.  For example, let’s say they play a game on a Saturday and they don’t play again until the next Thursday, a Development Session fits well on a Monday or Tuesday of that week.
  • Pre-Game Session:  This type of training session is to be scheduled the day before a game.  The goal is to work out any tightness or soreness to prepare the legs to be fresh and explosive the next day.  This movement progression remains constant throughout the program to allow the athlete to develop a focused routine going into game day.
  • Game Day:  This is go-time!  We want to increase the internal temperature (“warm-up”), wake up the proper neuromuscular movement patterns that we’ve been training, and prepare the body to be explosive and compete.  This movement progression remains constant throughout the program.
  • Post-Game Session:  This is a recovery day.  The muscles break down after the intensity of competition, so we want to increase blood flow to the muscles to aid in recovery and maintain strength.

And each of these sessions are a part of a larger phase.  Here’s how we approach Phase 1:

Phase 1- Pre-Season ≈ 2 Weeks

Goal:

  • To prevent injury by progressively preparing the body for competition
  • To establish a foundation of strength, flexibility, and speed and agility mechanics to build upon for the rest of the season

Volume:

  • Assuming a lighter schedule for this phase and more general prep than game-planning
  • 2 Development Days, Pre-Game, Post Game, Game Day
  • (Assuming 1 game per week in this phase) 50 mins/week of strength and flexibility development, 40 mins/week of speed and agility development, 30 mins/week of cardiovascular base conditioning*
  • Assuming 4 practices/week at about 2 hours per practice, Phase 1 takes up approximately 25% of the week

Below is a completely done-for-you Development Session that you can use right away to train a team.

Phase 1, Week 1, Development Day 1

Beginning of Practice

Dynamic Flexibility Development- 5 mins
(Lines heading out from baseline or goaline)
 
Single Leg Hamstring Stretch- 15-20 yards
Superman Quad Stretch- 15-20 yards
Knee Tuck- 15-20 yards
Side Lunges to Sumo Squat- 15-20 yards
Forward Lunge w/Reach- 15-20 yards
Toe Walk- 15-20 yards

Athletic Movement Fundamentals- 10 mins
(Stationary, team all together)
(Assuming this is your athletes’ first time performing these movements, we allow 30 seconds in between each movement to explain the next one)

Set 1
Calf Raise Reps- 15 seconds
Rest- 30 seconds
 
Squat Hold- 15 seconds
Rest- 30 seconds
 
Split  Squat Hold with Running Arm Action- 15 seconds each leg
Rest- 30 seconds
 
Lateral Squat Reps- 15 seconds each leg
Rest- 30 seconds
 
Hip Extension Hold- 15 seconds
Rest- 30 seconds
 
Single Leg Hip Extension Reps- 15 seconds each leg
Rest- 30 seconds
 
Push-Up Hold- 15 seconds

Set 2
Same movements as above with only 15 seconds rest in between

Speed Mechanics- 7.5 mins
(Again assuming this is your athletes’ first time performing these movements, we allow 30 seconds in between each movement to explain the next one)

Knee Drive Isometric (15 seconds each leg)
Rest- 30 seconds
 
Knee Drive Reps (10 reps each leg on your command)
Rest- 30 seconds
 
Knee Drive with Extension (5 reps each on your command)
Rest- 30 seconds
 
Knee Drive with Reverse Extension (5 reps each on your command)
Rest- 30 seconds
 
Arm Action- 30 seconds
Rest- 30 seconds
 
Arm Action with Opposite Knee Drive – 30 seconds
 
Dynamic Speed Development- 7.5 mins
(Lines going out from the baseline or goal line)
 
A-Skips- 15-20 yards
Straight-Leg Skips- 15-20 yards
B-Skips- 15-20 yards
Fast Leg Cycles Right Leg- 15-20 yards
Fast Leg Cycles Left Leg- 15-20 yards
Backwards Run- 15-20 yards
Fast Feet to High Knees- 15-20 yards

Hey, I hope this article opened up your eyes a bit.

I will be back again with another article for you.

Later.

CJ

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Thanks a bunch CJ, that was great.

Rick Kaselj, MS