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Game-Changing Tactics and Crackerjack Prizes…

August 8, 2014
CrackerjackPrizes Game-Changing Tactics and Cracker Jack Prizes… It’s taken till 9:51 PM on Thursday to get through all the amazing feedback about the Dr. Andrews message sent Tuesday. From Coaches who were put off by the negative elements of the article, parents who asked if their athlete’s training and practices were too intensive to the Coaches who asked for help in making sure their programs were balanced. First off, if you are one of the Coaches who replied with your perspective, know that this article was not ‘about you’. The Coaches who actively support our programs know how to walk the fine line between ‘enough and too much’, motivation and manipulation, honest assessment of an athlete’s potential and wildly unmanaged expectations. The focus of the article was the need for time off across the year either by playing another sport or simply resting from the muscular and orthopedic demands of a particular sport. A little R and R just makes sense, the more physically demanding the sport- the more sense it makes. The five-to-seven fold (that’s 500 to 700%) increase Dr. Andrews referenced really makes it a mandate. Can we manage injury rates by a training approach that’s designed to minimize gaps in athlete development? Sure, I do it all day. When the overall situation is bad and getting worse- if you keep doing things the same way and expect different results (let alone ‘improved’) is the very definition of insanity. Not long ago, I was asked to speak to a local School Board as Subject Matter Expert on Youth Athletic Development and injury rates. At the time this particular High School had injury rates that were more than triple the National Average and were seeking upgraded facilities to stem the tide. They got what they needed for a state-of-the-art training center, but rest of the story is that the next closest High School in the District had similar rates of injured athletes even though they were well equipped. 2 things break the Cycle of Development for our young athletes, remember- we are looking at the radical physical and personal improvement that long-term participation in sports provides. First is Injuries. Whether catastrophic, season-ending injuries or the slow, long-term accumulation of orthopedic challenges, either one can make continuing in their sport overwhelming or impossible. Every Coach would like more time with their athlete to ‘make them better’. The problem is that without the variety of movement skills other sports across the year provide, the overuse of movement patterns in their position or sport will impact them eventually- probably while they’re playing for your team. Think about how the explosive power developed in the Field Events benefit your Linemen, the Agility created in Basketball or the Speed and Power generated in the short sprints, triple and long jump will help your athlete. ‘Better’ can and will come from ‘Different’ if it will involve muscles, movements, balance and strength. A final word in favor of movement variation, the strongest metal bar or plate will eventually break when bent back and forth the same way with enough repetition. The second issue is Burnout. I know, you’re saying “What? I’m not too tough on my athletes! I may work’em hard, raise my voice and regularly expect their best, but I’m just trying to make’em better and tougher.” You know what Coach? There’s nothing wrong with that…really there isn't. The issue is not You, it’s where your kids are ‘coming from’ and what they’re ‘going through’ in their personal lives. The stressors of single-parent homes, shared custody issues and the complications this can create. Even if they’re from an intact family, the financial pressures of the last 6-8 years make their sport participation (and your job) far more complex than before. Above your Wins and Losses, getting to the Playoffs, Area, Regionals and State Championships, we have to want our athletes to Go All The Way. They may be one of the 5.7% to go on to play Football in College, (1.8% on Scholarship) 6.1% to play NCAA Baseball, and so on…but if they don’t stay in the sport- handing them off to become part of a solid College program or anything beyond- cannot happen. When I was a kid, Crackerjacks had awesome prizes. Rings, plastic toys that had to be put together, you know REAL prizes! You wanted to wait until the end of all the peanuts and candy coated popcorn to let the anticipation build and then…BOOM! A Prize so cool you wanted to show it off to someone else. If you knew that there was an AWESOME Prize in the bottom of a box of Crackerjacks that you gave to one of your players, you would want to watch them as they went through the box and when the Crackerjacks were finished- get the great Prize. If they don’t get through the entire box and reach the Prize, we’re disappointed and they’re unfufilled. If there was something you could do to help them (and You) ‘get to the ‘prize and the bottom’, would you do it? Why Not? If you’re one of the parents or coaches who contacted me about the question of ‘What to Do’ (or were too reserved to do so) I’m so glad you asked… First is addressing Injury Risk, in schools and Athletic Programs where we have restructured Warm Ups to reflect the latest Best Practices in Mobility, Activation and Movement Preparation, injury rates decreased anywhere from 23-56%. Picture having half your injured athletes playing healthy and making their contribution, think your Season would have been better? You know it would… If you’ve been a part of this ‘conversation’ for a while, you may have gotten a copy of our Tissue Quality Manual, a guide to using the Foam Roller to prep for or recover athletic movement. 5-8 Minutes at the beginning and end of practice will go a long way to helping your players get the best of the workout they just had and get ready for their next one. Second is Burnout, when playing their sport just isn’t enjoyable enough for them to continue to sacrifice the time, energy and discipline to remain on your team. I understand that some of the factors we discussed earlier are completely out of your control, but the greatest factor is not… Consider this from a recent study on Sports Participation… process 2 process 1 I can hear it now…”Well King, that’s what 7 on 7 is for!” If there are Officials, Coaches watching, Stats and Scores, let alone a North Texas Championship where you might be forced to play 4 games back-to-back from the Consolation Bracket, (Paschal) it’s not for Fun, it’s for Keeps. What if you gave your players 20 minutes at the end of practice- especially a hard one- to choose up 2-4 teams and play games of Touch Football on 50 yard fields? A Sandlot Game for your Baseball or Softball players? They’re still practicing the plays and skills you’ve taught them, they’re still trying to Win by running, passing and catching the ball…Where’s the downside when the Upside is that they return to you the next practice ready give you all they’ve got because you gave them back something for all their hard work. Remember, like it says in the above slide, they may be 6’2” and 250 pounds, but they’re still kids and need Play as well as Practice. (why do you think they spend so much time on 'game; systems?) The psychological impact on your players will be powerful. This is not “Mission: Impossible”, but should you accept your Mission Assignment to be a State-of-the-Art Coach, you’ll commit to apply these Best Practices, if you do- Best Outcomes for you, your Program and your Players are closer than ever… Athletically yours, King Hoover- Transforming Athletics 605B East Renfro Burleson Texas 817-320-1161 www.transformingathletics.com p.s. If you feel your athlete has made substantial progress during their time in our program, please consider telling other parents about us. This allows us to keep our rates low and focus on what is most important- creating and applying the BEST approaches for improving your athletes. Thank you in advance for your kind referral. k

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