Blog Roll

What An Annual Athletic Development Plan Looks Like

January 27th, 2015

Like no other time in our history, the decisions on where to play, what to spend time on, what to cut out, is critical in the long-term development of every young athlete with dreams of playing at higher levels. And make no mistake, these decisions matter greatly.  Better opportunities lead to better results.  As the book Game On explains in detail, the trend in college scholarships right now is that a higher percentage of them are being awarded to richer families each year.  They conn[...]

Barefoot Training - Secret Weapon Of Athletic Success

January 27th, 2015

Is finding the right sneaker or shoe really as big an issue as we all (myself included) seem to think it is these days? Or should we be focusing a lot more on strengthening and mobilizing the foot and ankle better than most of us do right now? Many of the world's elite distance runners train barefoot regularly.  The winner of the 1960 Rome Olympics won the Gold Medal running barefoot on cobblestone roads.  Zola Budd broke distance running world records in t[...]

Sled Training: Who It Really Helps

January 27th, 2015

If you have followed the fitness world for any length of time, you've seen an incredible amount of fad training concepts come and go.  One of the more popular ones right now, for athletes and even general fitness populations, is sled training. For anyone who hasn't seen or used them, it essentially involves pushing or pulling a sled loaded up with a good amount of weight.  Depending on how the workout variables involved are designed (distance, reps, sets rest time)  it ca[...]

Absolutely Critical For Your Health

January 27th, 2015

Do you wish you could lose a few pounds? Do you wish you had more energy? Do you have some kind of physical ailment you wish went away? If you answered yes to any of those questions, I strongly recommend you look at the some of the work done by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D, author of the book 'You're Not Sick, Yo're Thirsty!  Water for Health, for Healing, for Life'. Those of you who read our emails know how big we are on drinking water.  But in thi[...]

The #1 Key To Running At Top Speed

January 27th, 2015

A few weeks back we discussed acceleration skills, the ability to reach top speed as quickly as possible.   But what about what happens after those first few strides? This is where most athletes who don't seem to run properly stick out.  Something is just off in their stride, but you can't quite put your finger on it. Well, just like with acceleration, there are a lot of things that it could be. Arm movements Rotation in their upper body Poor posture Weak ankles and poor pushoffs Striking the ground at [...]

The Law of 168: How It Affects Everything You Do

January 27th, 2015

The Law of 168 is a very simple concept, that we all have the exact same number of hours each week to spend on what matters most to us. And it is how well we match up our actions in those 168 hours each week with our goals that ultimately determines our long-term success or failure. Although this applies to all of us, adults and kids alike, the start of a new school year is a critical time for kids to re-focus[...]

Understanding Speed - Acceleration Skills

January 27th, 2015

While it is true that your maximum speed potential is determined in part by genetic factors (limb length, muscle fiber type, hip width, etc), everyone has technical areas they can refine to improve their current speed. But those factors are hard to see, and harder to coach, because it all happens so fast. Below is a link to a video of sprint champion Asafa Powell in slow motion.  This short clip shows exactly how young athletes want to accelerate. Before you watch the clip, t[...]

Do Sports Kids Have A Protein Problem?

August 27th, 2014

The average young athlete these days is working very hard to achieve their goals, but they're doing it on a less than optimal nutrition plan. And more often than not, at the heart of their problem is a total misunderstanding of how to take in adequate amounts of protein. I'm sure you already know that protein is incredibly important for active people because it helps repair and rebuild broken down muscle tissue that is damaged from exercise, both during sports participation and[...]

Stretch This, Then Strengthen That

August 27th, 2014

Of course every individual client we see, both kids and adults, are unique in their own way.  However when you see enough people training there comes a point where some very obvious patterns emerge. In this case, for 2 groups in particular: - Adults who work at a desk or tend to be in a seated posture most of the day. - Upper class high school athletes who spent a ton of time in their school weight rooms working on programs that almost exclusively focus on bench pres[...]

4 Key Findings From Our Performance Combine

August 27th, 2014

This June we ran our 2nd round of performance testing for all of our athletes.  Now that we have gone through all the resuts, we've learned much more about how each athlete has progressed over the last 3 months, and what they need next. But just as interesting is that with 2 sets of data we can now see some trends in the way our athletes change over time.   With over 100 kids testing in each season, our findings still represent a[...]

Are You An '80'?

August 27th, 2014

Once every season, we take all our athletes through a 2 week performance assessment during their workouts. It consists of 8 tests with a point system attached, the highest score per test being 10 points. The goal of this is three-fold: 1.  To identify each individual's greatest development needs right now, so we can create better programming for every athlete training with us. 2.  To track the progress of each individual over longer periods of time, giving them a simple system to see if t[...]

Stretching & The 30% Rule

May 29th, 2014

Adequate total-body flexibility is a critical yet often overlooked factor in the development of any athlete.  Most teams do stretch during their warm up for games and practices, but not much thought is usually given to how well it is done. So how can you make stretching more effective? Easy, by following the 30% Rule. Simply put, the 30% Rule states that you should only apply 30% of the maximum tension on a muscle while stretching it. So if 0% is no stretch at [...]

How Long-Term Athletic Development Works

May 22nd, 2014

More and more national sports organizations are embracing a Long-Term Athletic Development (LTAD) approach to high athletic achievement in youth sports.  The US Olympic Committee, USA Hockey, US Lacrosse, and many others have moved quickly towards a model that is widely accepted worldwide as the best way to make youth sports both productive and fun for our kids. HOW LTAD WORKS Proper physical development at all ages is endorsed by doctors as the best way to lower the alarming rise in youth [...]

Our 2014 Summer Sports Training Schedule

May 7th, 2014

We will once again expand our youth training class times once we get to the end of the school year, which is only a few more weeks away! You can find our full summer athletic development schedule here: SUMMER ATHLETIC DEVELOPMENT CLASS SCHEDULE   Here are some of the highlights: - We are putting a much greater emhasis on speed development.  Morning speed academies and semi-private speed training lessons are found throughout the week.   -  Our morning Speed Academy is a very low cost option for speed de[...]

3 Key Injury Prevention Tips For Throwing Athletes

May 6th, 2014

Spring is the season for throwing athletes, particularly in baseball and softball.  And with throwing season in full bloom, elbow and shoulder pain are guaranteed to come along with it just as predictably as the days starting to get longer. Rotator cuff tears, torn labrums, Little League elbows and other joint problems are about to be in full bloom across America as a whole new set of unprepared arms break down under the strain of the throwing motion. Coaches and leagues everywhere [...]

The Daemon Vs The Resistance

April 16th, 2014

'Linchpin', written by Seth Godin, is a book I wish every high school and college student in America would read. It talks about how to achieve greatness in any field while navigating through the challenges of our 21st Century world. In one critical part of the book, Godin talks about how we all struggle with the internal battle between the daemon and the resistance: "The Daemon is a Greek term (the Romans called it a 'genius').  They believed the daemon was a separate [...]

Filters To Athletic Success

April 2nd, 2014

Back in my college days I remember one of our engineering labs using this giant machine to filter sediment. Essentially what it did was, after we'd pour a mixture of dirt and rocks into the top of the machine, separate the pieces by size.  It did this by falling through a series of grated trays, each one with progressively smaller holes than the one above it. The bigger rocks would catch and stay on the top filter, the next biggest pieces would [...]

Is It Really Speed That You Need?

March 19th, 2014

In talking to prospective new participants in our youth training programs, I'd say about 90% of the time they immediately mention speed as a skill they want to improve on. Without a doubt speed is a critical piece of the puzzle in most sports.  Typically it is one of the bigger factors in players moving up the ladder of athletic success as they get to high school and beyond. But is speed development as it is typically understood ("Go run sprints!") what [...]

Important New Feature For All Of Our Athletes

March 12th, 2014

We are always looking to give our athletes the greatest advantage in their workout programs compared to their competition, and recently we've added a new feature that we believe will do exactly that.   This past week we have concluded our first season of performance combine testing in our group personal training classes.  Using tests commonly run at college and pro prospect combines held around the country, we now have a system in place to accurately track changes in both our middle [...]

How To Become A Complete Athlete

January 29th, 2014

Kids come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. Some make huge progress in their sports over time, but others do not. Many have the drive to succeed but get frustrated over time because they don’t see progress in their performance. Unfortunately, becoming what we refer to as a ‘Complete Athlete’ has many facets.  It’s not as easy as everyone going out and taking a few more shots or doing a few more pushups to reach the top. But if there is an overall formula for exce[...]

Excellence Or Mediocrity?

January 18th, 2014

'We will relentlessly chase perfection, knowing we'll never reach it, because in the process we'll catch excellence.' - Vince Lombardi Training programs for young athletes have certainly caught on nationwide, fueling not just programs like ours but also team-wide and even school-wide development programs. This can add another advantage for athletes who have the opportunity and desire to use it for improvement. But with the onslaught of coaches at all our local schools trumpeting the 'you better get in the weight room!' approach, it might[...]

Start With WHY

January 18th, 2014

If you or someone you know sets a New Year's Resolution to change a habit or set an annual goal, this one tip will greatly improve your chances of success. In the book 'Start With Why', author Simon Sinek states that the things we do have 3 layers - WHAT, HOW, and WHY. WHAT we do is pretty obvious.  They are our jobs, hobbies, habits and so on. HOW we do them goes a bit deeper.  This layer gets a bit more specific on the way you go about doing w[...]

When Sports Drinks Help & When They Don't

October 8th, 2013

Sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc) have become so popular, especially among kids, that to some they are part of their daily diet.   This is an incredible transformation for a beverage that was originally created for performance under the most extreme circumstances. Certainly there are times that its use is critical for both performance and energy levels.  Hopefully the recommendations below will help you see when it is the right time to turn to a sports drink, and when it isn't. When Sports Dr[...]

Can You Touch Your Toes? Why It Matters

September 16th, 2013

'I'm not flexible at all, I can't even touch my toes!' There are many facets of total-body flexibility, but this one example seems to have become the universal test for whether a person is or is not flexible.  It is so common that most people reading this probably already know if they can touch their toes or not. Why should you care?  I mean, many great athletes struggle to do it.  Many very out-of-shape people can without any problem at all. Well, it de[...]

4 Critical Tips For Pre-Season Conditioning

September 9th, 2013

The time of year where fall sports teams get back on the fields and begin preparations for what hopefully will be a successful season has begun.  Step one for almost every sport is to work on conditioning. At the younger levels taking a lap and running basic drills constitutes conditioning, but as athletes advance up the ladder the specifics of conditioning take on greater importance. And coaches who understand how to effectivly create conditioning plans for their teams that revolve around the following 4 pr[...]

Think Big

August 10th, 2013

We've reached the time of year where many of our athletes begin leaving for college. Some have been with us for years, and going to play a college sport is the fulfillment of a dream they began working towards many years ago. They are field hockey, ice hockey, track, football, and baseball players but are united with the knowledge that they worked as hard and as wisely as they possibly could to prepare for this moment. But did they all reach such a high le[...]

The Secret To Building Better Habits

May 15th, 2013

Some young athletes seem to be destined for greatness at early ages but never reach the heights that many thought they would achieve. Others start slow but continue to make progress year after year, until one day they have gone much farther than the so-called 'can't miss' kid from their earlier days. How does this happen? Habits, both good and bad. In his excellent and highly-acclaimed book 'The Power Of Habit', author Charles Duhigg gives a very well researched and informative look into how habits [...]

8 Ways To Get More From Your Team Training Sessions

March 27th, 2013

Having worked with dozens of coaches over the years, I know that every single one of them wants nothing but the best for their players.  They are typically consumed by the desire to get an extra edge for their kids that will put them ahead of their peers.  And it eats at them to see one of their kids go down with a serious injury, especially if they feel it could have been prevented. Today, the dream for many sports coaches is to give their kids [...]

3 Lessons Coaches & Parents Can Learn From The NFL Combine

February 19th, 2013

This upcoming weekend, most of the nation's top pro football prospects will gather in Indianapolis for the 2013 NFL Combine.   It is what the league refers to as a '4 day job interview', where participants are subjected to a battery of physcial tests, position drills, interviews, and aptitude tests to determine how likely they are to succeed in the league. Millions of dollars can be earned by top performers, and jobs are on the line for the team's talent evaluators.  Everyone has a huge[...]

Why We Do In-Season Training For High School Athletes

January 22nd, 2013

High school athletes who are in-season must budget their time extremely well.  For most competitive athletes these days the time and energy commitment needed to succeed in their chosen sport is as intense as it has ever been.  Add to that (hopefully) an equally strong focus on academics, and you have a generation of kids that couldn’t get much busier when their season rolls around. Often times, our athletes quickly assume they will not have the time to train even for a s[...]

20 Tips & Thoughts On Training

January 3rd, 2013

1. Knowing your resting heart rate and measuring it daily to see when it is well above normal is a simple and effective way to know when you, as a fitness enthusiast or an athlete, need to focus more on recovery strategies. 2. Having a 'fast metabolism' is something anyone can work towards, but to get there you need to understand how metabolisms work. They are raised by being active of course, but also through the amount of muscle tissue you[...]

3 Steps To Improving Rotational Power For Sports

November 15th, 2012

Power in sports is usually thought of and measured by tests like the vertical jump, but more often it is rotational power that actually translates to athletic achievement.  If you compiled a list of every sport-specific movement that is best done powerfully, a great majority of them would have a rotational aspect to them.    Here are just a few: Skating Baseball/Softball swing Baseball/Softball pitching Hockey slap shot Golf swing Soccer kicks Javelin throw Discus throw Shot Put Lacrosse shot Tennis serve This is no coincidence.   Strength coaches and sports rehab specialists for years have identified a phenomenon they called the 'serape [...]

Let's Race! The Sumo Wrestler vs. The Ultra Marathoner

November 8th, 2012

It's a 40 yard dash! Our oversized and powerful sumo wrestler is up against the very lean and efficiently framed ultra marathoner.....which type of athlete is more likely to win? Or how about an NFL defensive lineman versus a world-class distance runner? If you play these general scenarios out in your mind, you'll likely begin getting to the heart of a critical balance required to maximize speed - getting lean vs. improving your explosive strength and power potential. Stronger and more powerful athletes, all else aside, are faster.    Athletes like the[...]

Should High School Athletes Bench Press & Squat?

October 16th, 2012

Back in my football playing days a couple years (OK, decades) ago, our off-season lifting program revolved around improving our bench press and squat.  Sure we did some other exercises, but our progress was almost solely measured by whether we could bench 300 pounds and squat 400 pounds.  Everything else was secondary. Since then, the sports training world literally exploded with new ideas, information, and training concepts that really work.  Systems have been created to develop the total athlete, which applies not jus[...]

Plyometrics: Are They Useful Or Dangerous For Young Athletes?

October 2nd, 2012

Plyometrics have been a part of American sports training programs for over two decades now, and have slowly filtered down from elite levels into many youth sports practices and team training sessions these days.   They originally became popular because they were one of the hidden secrets of the old Soviet Union's training regimen that produced so many world-class athletes, and as the iron curtain began to fall the rest of the world became aware of how these drills could help their ow[...]

How To Reach Your Athletic Goals This Year

August 21st, 2012

Everyone has dreams and goals they wish to achieve at some point in their life.  For athletes, having a sports-related dream is usually one of the most powerful driving forces in their earliest years. Some have visions of becoming a pro or college athlete, maybe even an Olympian.  For others the dream is more tangible, like getting more playing time on their team or reaching the varsity at their school. Whatever it may be, having a dream and focusing your energy towards that single pur[...]

Practicing Safely In Hot Weather

August 14th, 2012

Heat illness is a very real concern for fall sports athletes, and it seems like this time of year there is always a story or two about health problems brought on by a youth sports practice in the heat. Coaches are, by and large, a very caring group who only want to see their players succeed.  And to do that they know their kids need to be challenged from a conditioning standpoint in order to best prepare for the challenges of [...]

Player Of The Game Fundraiser For Youth Sports

August 5th, 2012

Youth Fitness Organization Looks to Gift $100,000 to Local Teams Athletic Revolution Leominster Rewards Sports Participants Many grown men look back fondly to their Little League days and remember when they received the “game ball” from their coach after a job well done. Receiving this honor was a big deal. Everyone on the team, parents too, gathered around the coach. The kids knew what was coming and eagerly anticipated hearing their name called. They wanted that game ball. The little gifts associated with the honor, suc[...]

Should Young Athletes Be Using Band Resistance Instead Of Weights?

May 24th, 2012

There are many middle school and high school athletes using weights to enhance their athletic performance, but there are also many others who feel they are unsafe and could potentially be damaging.     Recently, band training has also become a popular form of resistance training for kids.   Bands are less intimidating and do not have the stigma of creating bulk. which have made them a favorite with the crowd who dislikes weights. But are bands a better choice from an athletic development standpoint?  Possibl[...]

Should Your Child Be Training Like A Pro Athlete?

April 30th, 2012

These days there is an endless supply of online video, not to mention TV footage and magazine articles, showing what professional athletes do in their workouts.  Many times these are highlight reels of the coolest looking or most diffucult exercises they do. And as a parent of a young athlete, if you've ever seen something like this surely you wondered whether this is the type of training your child needs to achieve excellence in their sport.  To understand what types of exercises ar[...]

Developing Lightning Fast 1st Step Quickness

April 17th, 2012

There is no team sport where being fast to the ball or puck is not critical to your success as an athlete.   Sporting events are made up of hundreds of small moments throughout the game where players must react quicker than their opponent to win the one-on-one battles that ultimately separate wins from losses. And improving 1st step quickness is suprisingly one of the most trainable speed skills there are, meaning those who put in the time will give themselves a g[...]

Athletic/Fitness Revolution Leominster Launches 3 Month Drive for Youkâs Kids

April 12th, 2012

From April 16 to June 30, Athletic/Fitness Revolution Leominster will be hosting a fundraiser drive to benefit Youk’s Kids, as part of national fundraising campaign Revolution for a Cause. The local youth fitness and adult personal training business will be joining dozens of other Athletic/Fitness Revolution locations nationwide for the 3 month charity drive. Having helped numerous clients reach their health and fitness goals, AR/FR Leominster owner Jim Herrick has set his own goal to raise $1,000 in the next 75 days. Jim s[...]

5 Traits Of A Champion That Coaches Love To See

March 14th, 2012

Do you want to make the team, get more playing time, or win a championship this season?   If you do, stop worrying about ability and start focusing on habit building. Athletic Revolution coaches around the country work hard to instill Champion habits into all the kids who work with us, whether they play sports or not.  We do this because we see how important they are to a young athlete's long-term success on the field, in the classroom, and in life. Kids wh[...]

Spit On It And Suck It Up?

March 6th, 2012

Growing up I had a football coach who was not that big on players mentioning or showing they were in pain.  It seemed like at least once per practice we'd hear him tell someone to 'Spit on it and suck it up!'   Maybe some of you have had a simliar experience in your younger days. Acting tough when you are hurt is not always a good idea.  Knowing when to push through vs. seeking immediate treatment is a key step in the growth and maturation process[...]

Preventing Knee (ACL) Injuries

February 22nd, 2012

The good news about knee injuries these days, and Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears in particular, is that medical science has turned what used to be a career-ending injury into something most athletes can recover from in time. The bad news is that ACL tears are occurring more often than ever.  Anyone involved in youth sports likely knows at least one athlete who has had a severe knee injury in the past year. Why do these injuries occur?  The ACL is a small ligament run[...]

5 Golden Rules Of Strength Training For Athletes

February 7th, 2012

It seems like most high schools in our area, and all around the country these days, now has some form of a weight training program in place.  Contrast that to even just 10 years back, when any type of off-season program would have been cutting-edge for its time. Although this has been a very positive development, as strengthening is critical to success in all sports, there are certain guiding principles that these programs must follow if they are to produce the best r[...]

How To Create Sport-Specific Workouts

January 30th, 2012

"How is this going to help for soccer?" "Is this program specific to field hockey?" "Will that exercise help me for football?" Since the phrase 'sport-specific' started popping up about 5-10 years ago, the idea that all workouts must be for one sport and one sport alone has become common wisdom in our part of the world.   There certainly is a time to gear workouts towards the specific demands of a single sport, but when you make that switch and how you do it are ext[...]

3 Food Categories For Young Athletes (And The Rest Of Us) To Avoid

January 25th, 2012

Many young athletes these days seem to misunderstand how much their eating habits are tied into their sports performance.  A diet made up of good, whole foods can increase a young player's energy levels, keep them from getting sick, improve their body composition, and even lessen the likelihood they get injured.  A poor diet can do exactly the opposite. And this does not just apply to athletes, or even kids in general.   We are all susceptible to falling into the Big 3 of f[...]

The Truth About Muscle Building Nutrition

January 18th, 2012

As a strength coach, the nutrition question you get asked most by your athletes is always some variation of,  'Should I be eating more protein to build muscle?' It really is an important question, and although it usually comes from our male athletes, females who are training to increase strength and power would help themselves immensely by understanding how muscle building nutrition works too.    To help separate fact from fiction, here's a few straightforward answers to to common nutritional questions to help both athletes and parents better understand muscle-building nutrition[...]

7 Nutrition Tips To Help You Excel During Sports Tournaments

January 12th, 2012

For many of our athletes, and I'm sure most sports-playing kids everywhere these days, full weekend tournaments are part of their in-season schedule at some point.  They are most common for AAU and elite travel teams, where regional events require many games to be played at one location and in a brief period of time.  Very often, these tournaments present opportunites for young athletes to showcase their talents.  A good showing can potentially open up new doors of opportunity. To play yo[...]