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Summer Training

As the school year comes to an end many young athletes are planning to attend sport specific exposure camps and club team tournaments. With hopes of being recognized by high school & college coaches, many athletes are led to believe that this alone will properly prepare them for the upcoming Fall season. Unfortunately, this is not the truth. Today we see more injuries in middle and high school athletes than ever before. The problem is over competing and under training.

The summer has become an additional sport season that consists of weekend tournaments and club leagues. A large percentage of athletes are convinced to play more games rather than train to get bigger, faster and stronger. They play games during the week for one team and then travel during the weekend to play in tournaments for another team. Ironically, this is not the sport they will play in the Fall for their school. They enter the season without the proper mental, physical and motor development. The result is usually injury and poor performance due to fatigue.

Summer Is The Time To Train

Young athletes and their parents must understand that you do not prepare by playing more; you prepare by training properly. A common mistake made by parents and young athletes is not taking a season off. The summer is a critical time in a young athletes career. It is the time to take a break from sport specific movements and train to enhance physical qualities. The athlete who trains properly and increases his size, speed and strength becomes more powerful. As a result, he is able to maximize his sport skills for the upcoming season. This is the athlete who performs at a higher level than his competition, recovers faster and remains healthy throughout the season.

Training Objectives

The two main objectives in any training program should be to enhance injury reduction and increase athletic performance. At Get The Edge we begin by teaching our athletes how to train. We breakdown complex movements into learnable segments and teach strength training fundamentals. We then focus on improving movement, strength, speed, power, and conditioning. This is done through a sequence of exercises using logical progressions. Complimenting this, we incorporate regeneration strategies that help facilitate recovery and increase the body’s ability to mentally and physically reboot. All athletes are closely supervised with attention always paid to proper technique and safety. We take pride in delivering the best experience possible while staying focused on each athlete’s individual’s goals. In order to do this, we limit the enrollment.

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Training Insights From Houston – Movement

In April I had the privilege of coaching 20 of the best high school linebackers in Texas and Louisiana. This was a very talented group of athletes. Whether it was dropping into zone coverage to defend a pass play or cover a running back man to man, they all exhibited a high level of multidirectional speed.

Coaching Insight #1 – The number one quality in athletics is movement. Competing at any level of athletics is impossible without the ability to move in multiple directions at high speeds. This includes physical and decision making competence.

Multidirectional Speed

Reactive agility & change of direction movement are the two components of multi-directional speed. They are often used interchangeably when in fact they are different. Change of direction movement is when an athlete is asked to run in a single pattern or multi-directional pattern sequence. The athlete has an understanding of the drill demands, as there is no reactive component. A linebacker reacting to a running back in a man-to-man coverage drill is a reactive agility-based speed movement. It requires the defender to move through a pattern sequence and make a reactive decision based on the running backs spontaneous movement. This is what I call “Game Speed”.

Coaching Insight #2 – In order to improve multi-directional speed, athletes must learn and practice a balance of fundamental movements, change of direction and reactive agility drills. Here is a sequence of drills performed daily in our program.

Stance

We teach an athletic stance that’s allows athletes to move forward, backward, laterally and rotationally. This base position helps athletes position the feet and load the hips so they can move forward, backward, laterally and rotationally. This is the position they will land in and/or transition into before moving in other directions. Every successful movement begins with great body position.

Movement Skills

We perform fundamental drills to improve deceleration, acceleration and transitioning. We focus on the correcting the position of the torso, hips, inside and outside leg.

Change of Direction Drills

We combine movement skills into multi-directional patterns. An example would be asking an athlete to shuffle for a short distance, crossover and sprint. This is similar to a base runner trying to steal second base. Here the athlete accelerates laterally, transitions rotationally and accelerates forward.

Reactive Agility Drills

These drills require both efficiency in movement and decision making abilities. Sport can be organized chaos at times. Athletes can strain the motor system when making a decision on the field, which can slow down reaction time. This is why we include reactive agility drills in our program. The more often an athlete has the opportunity to make decisions the easier it becomes.

Summary

Athleticism becomes apparent when an athlete has to move in space to evade or defend an opponent. In our summer program we break down complex movements into learnable segments. Athletes become faster, move more efficiently and reduce potential for injury.

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How You Can “Get The Edge” Over Your Competition

If you want to unlock your athletic potential, this camp is for you! Our program is designed to enhance all components of athleticism. Athletes that are explosive, fast and healthy have a huge competitive advantage over those who simply focus on sport skills. It’s simple, the stronger, faster athletes win.

The summer is a critical time for young athletes. It is the time to prepare for the upcoming season. However, instead of preparation, they are convinced to choose exposure. They travel all over the country to attend camps with hopes to be seen by college coaches. As a result they are not physically prepared. This leads to injury and/or below average performance.

Today’s young athletes and parents must understand that you do not beat your opponent by playing more; you beat your opponent by out preparing and training smarter.

Our mission is to teach young men how to prepare both mentally and physically for their upcoming athletic season. Our program concentrates on enhancing the components of athleticism. This includes flexibility, balance, coordination, strength, speed, power, endurance, durability and self-confidence. By doing so we enhance injury reduction and instill a work ethic that will give each athlete “the edge” during and after their athletic career.

Last year our program included student-athletes from the following sports: Basketball, Baseball, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming, and Wrestling. Its simple, either you get the edge or you give it away.

The Workout

Every workout follows a specific sequence that optimizes performance while avoiding over training.

Warm-Up – enhance performance while decreasing risk of injury during training.

Explosive Power – jumping, hopping, throwing, landing and deceleration techniques.

Linear & Lateral Speed – increase first step, ten yard quickness & top speed. Agility – improve the ability to accelerate, decelerate, stop and re-accelerate at high speeds.

Reaction – optimize the ability to react to a visual que or movement by an opponent. Strength – increase strength and power by performing ground based, multi-joint, and multi-directional exercises.

Conditioning – sport specific that will enhance your ability to maintain high levels of effort for longer periods of time during competition.

Its simple, either you get the edge or you give it away.

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Body Position

In my last coaching insight, I spoke to you about how I assess athleticism. This included body position, movement, strength, speed, & agility. In the next series of training insights I am going to break down each component and explain the importance of each and how our program will help you improve each one.

Body Position

When watching a lacrosse, basketball or baseball game everyone tends to watch the ball. The next time you watch one of these events try to focus on the postures of the athletes. Observe the lacrosse player who changes direction the quickest or the basketball player who jumps the highest. Watch a short stop field a ground ball. If you pause the video at the exact moment before the athletes executes one of these skills, you will notice similarities in their stances. Although the sport is different, the lower and upper bodies resemble one another.

Lower Body

This is the power-producing part of the body. The lower body is flexed at the ankles, knees and hips. The feet are aligned hip to shoulder width with adequate knee bend. The hips are pushed back.

Upper Body

The trunk will move forward but not completely parallel to the ground. Look at their uniform and you will be able to see most or at least the top half of the number(s) on the jersey. The back is flat and the shoulders up. The head is in a neutral position. The athlete is now in control and has increased his chances at beating his opponent to the goal, grabbing a rebound or fielding a ground ball.

At Get The Edge we emphasize the importance of posture as it relates to the movement being performed. Our goal is to improve the athlete’s ability to maintain proper body position in flexed, extended and rotated positions that involve multidirectional and linear movements. Every successful movement begins with great body position. This is another way we help our athlete’s “Get The Edge.”

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Training Insights From Cleveland – Athleticism

I am proud to have been selected once again to coach this year at a series of Under Armour All-America Elite Football Camps. The first camp was held a few weeks ago in Cleveland Ohio where I coached 26 of the best high school linebackers in the Mid-West. What an experience and privilege!

➢ The top performers at each position are invited to play in the UA All America Game held in Orlando, Florida.

The first part of the camp starts with each position performing a sequence of drills that helps the coaches assess their individual athleticism. During the second part, coaches run drills to prepare their athlete’s for one on one man coverage and pass rush drills.

Coaching insight #1 – athletes displaying a higher level of athleticism and proficiency during the first series of drills are more successful in the second part featuring 1-on-1 competition. A large percentage of these players are multi-sport athletes who have been exposed to a larger and more diverse skill set. The components I look for when assessing athleticism include the following:

Body Position – All movement begins with great body position. Proper athletic posture at the moment of throwing, kicking, striking, shooting and/or direction change is extremely important. This requires an athlete to bend slightly at the knees, hinge or rotate at the hips, keep their shoulders up and back slightly arched, not rounded. This requires a strong core (trunk).

Movement & Coordination – Great athletes are fluid and transition their body movements through space effortlessly. It’s important to have quick feet, but the hips are even more important. They are the transfer system for the lower body through the trunk and upper extremities. Great athletes have the ability to lower their hips while moving fast. This allows them to plant, pivot and change direction quickly and under control.

Strength, Speed & Agility – The ability to accelerate, decelerate, stop, re-accelerate without losing balance, strength and speed are essential in all field and court sports. For all athletes, strength is not functional unless it can be applied with correct body position and balance on one or both feet.

Reaction – Athleticism becomes obvious when an athlete has to move in space to evade or defend an opponent. Vision and spatial awareness is vital. The best defensive players move to eliminate space between themselves and their opponents. This forces the offensive player to be one-dimensional and less elusive. The best offensive players move to create space between themselves and their opponents. This provides adequate time to produce successful game speed movement.

Coaching insight #2 – you do not enhance performance by playing more; you improve performance by preparing and training smarter.

At Get The Edge, our program concentrates on enhancing the components of athleticism. This includes flexibility, balance, movement coordination, strength, speed, power, endurance, durability, and self-confidence. Working with athletes ranging from middle school to the professional level, I know that the athletes who possess these characteristics, prior to mastering sport specific skills and tactics, are more confident and less injury prone. By focusing on improving athleticism first and performance second, we enhance injury reduction and instill a smarter work ethic that gives each athlete “the edge” !

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Summer Training, Regeneration & Recovery

As the school year comes to an end many young athletes are planning to attend sport specific camps, college recruiting camps and club team tournaments. With hopes of being recognized, many high school athletes are led to believe that this alone will properly prepare them for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, the truth is that today we see more injuries in middle and high school athletes than ever before. The problem is over competing and under training. When exposed to early specialization without the proper mental, physical and motor development, the result is usually injury and poor performance due to fatigue.

Simply put, young athletes and parents must understand that you do not prepare by playing more; you prepare by training properly and this includes mental and physical recovery.

Our program concentrates on enhancing all components of athleticism. This includes flexibility, balance, coordination, strength, speed, power, endurance, durability and self confidence. Complimenting this, we incorporate regeneration strategies that help facilitate recovery and increase the body’s ability to mentally and physically
reboot. This is extremely important during the summer season for those athletes who are showcasing their skills and competing in front of college coaches.

We do not believe in running our athletes into the ground and taxing their bodies and mind. Our primary focus is to enhance performance while enhancing injury reduction.

One more way we help you “Get The Edge”.

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How High School Athletes Can Get The Edge Over Their Competition

Dear Student-Athlete,

If you want to unlock your athletic potential, this camp is for you! Our program is designed to enhance all components of athleticism. Athletes that are explosive, fast and healthy have a huge competitive advantage over those who simply focus on sport skills. Its simple, the stronger, faster athletes win.

Sport specific camps focus on sport specific skills. Young athletes are often asked to perform complex movements with poor fundamentals of movement, mobility and stability. The result is one of two things, injury or poor performance.

Our mission is to teach young men how to prepare both mentally and physically for their upcoming athletic season. We provide a safe, challenging training environment that helps athletes maximize their physical potential while minimizing athletic-related injuries. As coaches we believe it is our duty to be positive role models for our athletes. We will teach, motivate and hold students accountable to our training principles.

Today’s young athletes and parents must understand that you do not beat your opponent by playing more; you beat your opponent by out preparing and training smarter. Every athlete must first build a solid foundation of relative body strength and fundamental movement skills. In working with athletes ranging from middle school to the professional level, it is evident that the athletes who posses these two characteristics, prior to mastering sport specific skills, are less injury prone and more successful.

Our program concentrates on enhancing the components of athleticism. This includes flexibility, balance, coordination, strength, speed, power, endurance, durability, nutrition, mental toughness, self-confidence and leadership. By doing so we enhance injury reduction and instill a work ethic that will give each athlete “the edge” during and after their athletic career.

It’s simple, either you Get The Edge or you give it away.

Coach Boyd

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Sport Specific Conditioning

Often I hear of sport coaches telling their athletes before summer break to make sure they are “in shape” for the up-coming season. The question I have for these coaches is, “do you want your athletes to be in shape or do you want them to be prepared to play?”

Being in-shape and being prepared to play are two very different things. Athletes usually get injured during pre-season practices because they are not prescribed a proper sport specific conditioning program. In other words, their bodies are not prepared properly for the demands of their sport.

At “Get The Edge”, the objective of our conditioning program is to improve performance, enhance injury prevention and prepare the athletes energy system for the sport they play. I believe all high school age athletes, regardless of their sport, need to address basic flexibility, strength, speed and power needs. However, when it comes to conditioning, sport specific programs should be prescribed.

Get The Edge Summer Conditioning Schedule

July:

The goal is to build a solid conditioning base while maintaining proper sprint motor patterns. This means we never jog. Athletes perform fast stride runs. This requires the athlete to run at approximately eighty percent of their sprinting speed covering distances between 60 & 100 yards. We then progress to timed shuttle runs. Shuttle runs cover distances between 60 & 150 yards and involve three key injury-prevention features: acceleration, deceleration and change of direction.

Since most injuries occur during the deceleration phase of movement, incorporating change of direction into conditioning is extremely beneficial.

August:

The conditioning becomes more sport specific. Here we perform conditioning drills specific to the athletes sport work to rest time interval and movement patterns. To better understand this, let’s look at Football and Soccer.

Football is a series of maximal efforts lasting 4–8 seconds in duration followed by a rest interval of anywhere between 10–60 seconds. This is an average of a 1:4 work to rest ratio. Many teams run a “hurry up” offense which decreases the rest time between plays. Football athletes perform conditioning drills based on the information above. Each drill will last approximately 5-10 sec. with 30-40 sec. rest. The Drills progress to mimic the specific patterns of each position while reacting to a visual que.

Soccer, with regards to the work to rest ratio, is not as predictable. During a 90 minute match players stand, walk, jog, stride, and sprint at different intervals. Research shows that players will change direction up to 1,400 times in one game. Conditioning for our soccer athletes consists of shuttle runs that range from 50-300 yards. The Drills progress to mimic the specific patterns of each position using a wide variety of work to rest timed intervals.

Conditioning & The Summer Multi-Sport Athlete:
During the month of July, athletes usually have team practices (clinics) two-three times per week. They will also be attending college recruiting camps, and participating in club baseball, basketball and/or lacrosse leagues. These athletes need a proper balance of rest and work. Athletes in our program will participate in conditioning work customized for their summer schedule. At Get The Edge, we communicate with our summer multi-sport athletes to make sure we prescribe the correct dosage of conditioning.

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The Brakes

This past weekend I traveled to Houston, Texas where I coached 19 of the best high school linebackers from Texas and Louisiana.

I was extremely impressed at each athlete’s ability to change direction. In today’s game, playing linebacker at any level requires the ability to play in space. What this means is that there will be times you will have to play outside “the box” and cover down on a slot receiver. When I say, “box” I am referring to an area on the field that extends laterally between the offensive tackles on either side of the offensive line. Playing in space requires the ability to change direction in response to a visual que by an offensive player. Here your ability to decelerate is far more important than your ability to accelerate.

A few weeks ago I emphasized how important acceleration (The Burst) is to an athlete. It may surprise you but what really separates the best athletes from the rest is how quickly they decelerate or “brake”. This is true in all court and field sport athletes where being elusive and reactive is key.

To enhance the ability to change direction you must work on all of its components. This includes: acceleration, deceleration, stopping, and reaccelerating. At Get The Edge we train deceleration first. Most injuries occur during the deceleration phase and stopping phase of sports performance. Every time an athlete stops or lands from a jump incorrectly, tremendous strain (force) is placed on the body. This can occur thousands of times during the course of a season! Studies show that when athletes learn and practice the proper techniques to slow down, stop and land, they reduce the chance of injuries.

Deceleration Training
Our deceleration training is designed to enhance an athletes braking system. We do this by teaching and practicing proper techniques to reduce force and put less strain on the body.  By enhancing the braking system not only will you become more resilient to injury, you will enhance your ability to play in space. Just another way we help you “Get The Edge”.

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The Burst

In preparation for my GTE Strength and Conditioning Camp this summer, I will be writing you regularly to share my insights and experiences as a former NFL All Pro Linebacker, high school football and strength & conditioning coach.

This year I was proud to be selected to coach at a series of Under Armour All-America Elite Football Camps. The first camp was a few weeks ago in LA. During the camp I coached 14 of the best high school linebackers on the west coast. A majority of these young men already had full scholarship offers from several top 25-college football teams. What makes them elite and why are the top colleges in the country recruiting them?

Well, one trait they all have in common is the ability to move quickly in any direction with perfect posture and power. Athletes who posses the skill to accelerate from a complete stop without taking any false steps, will always have the advantage over their opponent. At Get The Edge (GTE), we call this “The Burst.”

The ability to accelerate is critical for EVERY ATHLETE IN ANY SPORT. This along with the ability to transition into a higher gear when necessary is essential. Covering ground faster than your opponent is what puts you in position to make plays. Whether you play soccer, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, football, or wrestle you must spend time improving your ability to accelerate. It is a skill that can be taught, practiced and learned.

Acceleration Training
Acceleration training is a component of our daily workout sequence at GET THE EDGE. We perform drills in every workout to enhance your ability to gain the extra step on your opponent. The is just one way we help you “Get The Edge”.