Exercise Caution Online

The personal trainer on the YouTube video promises that her curtsy lunge with dumbbells is the secret to “a beautiful butt,” then conducts a very enthusiastic series of deep curtsies with the legs thrown back – right, left, right, left – arms by the sides, back straight, head up.

In reality she probably stands a better chance of blowing out her ACL than making her butt beautiful with that move. It’s a classic way to put excess stress on the knees and should be completely avoided during youth athletic training or teen sports performance programs. Continue reading “Exercise Caution Online”

Guided Discovery

My youth athletic training-room culture promotes free choices and personal responsibility for the athletes by giving them opportunities for guided discovery. While it is important to know and follow the specific instructions I give in circumstances where they are learning new and proper exercise form, and I would never leave them in a situation that risks injury, they also have opportunities to explore their abilities at their own pace. I borrow a term from my soccer training called “guided discovery.” Continue reading “Guided Discovery”

The Weight-Room Experience

Even though I was playing on an undefeated championship high school football team, I loathed going to the weight room. Working out was too much like work. I did it because I had to, and I did the minimum to get by. We were winning anyway, so what did it matter? Lifting is still a stressor for me, although I always feel better once I’ve completed a session. I want to make sure that the athletes I help have a completely different foundational experience: Continue reading “The Weight-Room Experience”

Too Many Machines?

Weight machines, developed for bodybuilders 50 years ago and useful for targeted physical therapy after an injury or surgery, have gained an outsized place in many training rooms. Considering that most people imagine a bodybuilder’s body when they think of a strong athlete, this isn’t surprising – but it’s wrong. The bulging muscles of a weightlifter are not necessarily useful for athletes, and they can be a hindrance in some sports where they restrict agility or speed. Continue reading “Too Many Machines?”

Goal Setting — Control What you Can Control

I work hard to create a youth sports performance culture that instills confidence in the athletes. Confidence comes from success – not just winning but achieving incremental goals. This is more likely and more frequent when focusing on outcomes the athletes can control. A kid cannot control how much they play. Playing time might go up if they do all the right things, but it might not, depending on the other players and the coach’s strategy, among other things. Another athlete might do all the wrong things and still see a positive result. Continue reading “Goal Setting — Control What you Can Control”

Where do they come from and where do they go?

Young athletes come from all over the front range to train with Coach Tom and to become better at their sports and prepare for the challenges of playing at the next level.  Check out map to see where they come from:

Many of the Athletes who train with Coach Tom go on to have successful sports careers at the NCAA Division I, II, and III, and NAIA college level.  Some even go on to a professional career!  Take a look at the map to see where they go to:

Did we miss a place?  Let us know and we will add it to our maps!  Contact Coach Tom to see how he can help any individual, team or organization reach the next level.

Working Hard to Inspire Hard Work in Sports Performance Training

When it comes to effective youth athletic training, leading-edge science and experienced coaches are necessary, but they’re not sufficient unless the culture of the environment promotes a positive attitude and inspire the athlete to hard work and dedication. One key feature of that culture is mutual respect. During sports performance training I expect a high work-rate from the athletes, and I feel responsible to give them a model of dedicated commitment in my own job. Continue reading “Working Hard to Inspire Hard Work in Sports Performance Training”

Practice Makes the Perfect Squat

Straight bar squats can produce strength and power in the legs that enhances performance in nearly any sport, but the athlete must exercise patience during an extended, gradual process to perfect the squat safely and effectively. Taking shortcuts or rushing to strenuous weights without adequate coordinate, flexibility, range of motion, and technique risks serious, sidelining injury.  I herniated a disc in my spine during college while improperly performing a squat with too much weight. Our modern lifestyle, particularly sitting on furniture, hinders our ability to squat naturally, which involves straight back, knees behind toes, and hips even or below knees. Learning the correct technique takes practice. Continue reading “Practice Makes the Perfect Squat”

Holistic Exercise For the Whole Athlete

Many training regimens take a Body Part of the Day approach – maybe chests on Monday, backs on Tuesday, biceps and triceps on Thursday, and legs on Friday. Monday’s workout, for example, would focus on pushing exercises such as bench presses and pushups. That’s probably appropriate for bodybuilders and power lifters, but for everyone whose sport involves using the whole body, the whole body should primarily be exercised together. The body parts will work together more effectively – and more safely – if they’ve been trained together. Continue reading “Holistic Exercise For the Whole Athlete”

Keep the Muscles Learning New Things

What’s the best exercise to boost a particular skill?

Surprises: It’s the one you’ve never done before.

Just as intellectual learning means mastering new material – not repeating well-known answers – athletic training should constantly give the body new challenges so it becomes agile and able to adapt to unforeseen circumstances on the playing field. Continue reading “Keep the Muscles Learning New Things”