Saturday, January 22, 2011

Part 2 of 2: The Importance of Upper and Lower Dissociation


Here's the Medball series from Jeremy Frisch. Check out his blog here.

The Other Side:
Some recommended books is on par for this week. Many people think genetics often determines how far you can go in your life. Here are four books that might make you think otherwise. These books pretty much explain and prove why the word talent is a myth.

"Talent if Overrated" by Geoff Colvin

"The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle

"Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell

"Bounce" by Matthew Syed

If you have an open mind and aren't in denial (sorry parents) check these books out they may change the way you think!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Part 1 of 2: The Importance of Upper and Lower Dissociation

Dissociation is a topic that often gets overlooked with performance training. Dissociation is different joints or body segments moving separate of each other in a sequential fashion. It is best developed through fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills during one's youth. However injuries, early specialization, over zealous coaching, etc. can all lead to improper development of dissociation. Here is part 1 that is focused on dissociation of the hips and lower body.

Questions or comments leave below or email me @

The Other Side:
I am so excited to share this next video. The song below, California Sunrise by Dirty Gold, is performed by 3 of my athletes at Pacific Ridge School. They invited the faculty of our school to come witness their first performance in San Diego and I was absolutely in awe of how good their music was. They have finished the first EP, and below is a link where you can buy their single (it should be on iTunes shortly). They have signed to a small label and are looking to get much bigger. I love getting to know what the kids do outside of their sport. It allows for better communication, trust, and its just fun to see how talented these kids really are.

Picture at their first show!

Link for their single:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Picking Brian McCormick's Brain

This weekend I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Brian McCormick, who is coach, writer, researcher, etc in the field of basketball/athletic performance. It was a lot of fun to pick his brain about how to improve athletes especially basketball players. Brian has great prospective on how to develop players the right way from a young age through college and professional ranks using a long-term athletic development program.

Here are some highlights from our conversation that I wanted to share:

“Fast movements are hard to teach slowly”

Examples- Defensive shuffle, sprinting, olympic lifts. You can break these down as much as you want but in the end you really can’t demonstrate fast movements slowly. There can be good drills to emphasize certain parts but in the end it must come together as one fluent motion. That is why speed is a skill that takes a lot of time. Coaches who try to over-coach these movements can often end up giving incorrect cues (i.e.:step slide) or make the athletes think too much. Give a short explanation, a good demonstration and then let them player figure it out. The body is an amazing machine that will get it right over time with proper coaching and demonstration.

“Kids will often move the right way, it’s bad coaching that gives them bad habits.”

Coaching the youth is not easy. You must know when to back off and let them figure it out by themselves, and you also must know when a short cue or instruction will help them learn faster. A problem is that most youth coaches are parents who think they are the next Bobby Knight, who end up giving 15 commands for something as simple as a layup. The old cliché… I hear-I forget, I see- I remember, I do- I understand. Short instruction, a good example, and let them figure it out!


“Coaches are stubborn!”
There are a lot of coaches out there who still refuse to learn or improve their program. We talked about this with regards to the step slide vs the shuffle. You are a dinosaur if you still teach step slide. It makes NO sense. Even if you teach step slide your players will still naturally shuffle in games because it’s FASTER! Brian told me about numerous emails and convo’s of coaches taking it personally because “our program has been winning for years and we teach step slide.” Instead of “wow I can still improve my program even after all our success.” It’s not personal, just bizzzznesssss.

Check out Brian’s products and info at these site’s. - Articles and Blogs More articles - His products (all reasonably priced with GREAT info!)
To subscribe to his newsletter email with the title of Subscription.

The Other Side:
I'm also going to start another section of my blog called "The Other Side," to share something outside of athletic performance. It could be a music group, movie review, book review, story, article, etc. I always preach to kids to be well rounded and try new things other than their sports. So I will share things outside of my career that interest me as well.

The first thing I wanted to share is a video that gives you goosebumps, and some of you may even shed a couple tears. This guy makes me want to be a father sooner than later. A young man and his daughter sing a duet to "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetics. Incredible.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Inception: Applying it to Athletics

You’re probably wondering why the Leo blockbuster has anything to do with youth training or exercise in general. Mostly it just drove people nuts trying to understand the plot and whose dream they were in. I saw this movie in theaters over the summer and then had to watch it again when it came out on DVD to see if I could pick up on anything else I may have missed. What I realized the second time is that I could apply many of this to training and developing youth athletics. Maybe it’s because I apply everything to training youth athletics.

Before I breakdown some of my favorite quotes from the movie, I want to discuss the idea of “pruning” or use it or lose it theory. Around adolescent the process of pruning occurs where the mind will break off connections it doesn’t use and reinforce the connections used regularly (1).

I am bringing up pruning because as the support system, (coaches, parents, mentors and/or role models) to young athletes, especially before puberty, we are HIGHLY influential as to how kids develop. They copy our words, actions, behaviors, etc. This can be both positive and negative, that will often set their habits and behaviors for life.

Back to Inception though….

“What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient...highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed - fully understood - that sticks; right in there somewhere.”
Holy smokes Leo, You’ve come along way since the Titanic. As coaches if we put the right ideas in kids head with regards to work ethic, reacting to positive and negative situations, sportsmanship, and overall attitude, which will stick with them forever!! They will understand and appreciate it more over time, but if we set the example and help teach it to young athletes, we set them up for success in anything they do.

“The seed that we planted in this man's mind may change everything.”

Every great sports story, especially the rags to riches, has an important figure in a child’s life that helped plant a seed that would change them forever. There’s often a star athlete’s saying if a certain person didn’t set them straight and show them right way, who knows where they would’ve ended up.

“You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”
Like my man Will Smith said, "Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity." Now I think in the short term being realistic is essential for achieving goals, but why not dream HUUUUGE for the long term? Many kids give up on their dreams way to earlier because their support system doubts and even discourages their dreams. Let the youth do what you couldn’t and even better, help them get there!

“I think positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time.”

Will there be negative emotions and people in every child’s life? Of course, and there probably will be more than positive people, but if the kid gets positive reinforcement and behavior around them from their coaches, parents, mentors I believe that will overcome negative emotions and people 100% of the time.

1. ( Wallis C., et al. (2004) What makes teens tick? TIME 163(19): 56-65.)