Monday, March 31, 2014

Athlete Spotlight #69) Chris Punka

Hello Everyone!
It’s time for another Akron General Sports Performance Athlete Spotlight! Our next athlete spotlight is a baseball player from Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy. He been with us for a few off-seasons now and his transformation has been incredible to watch. He's dedicated to building as much speed, strength, and power as he can. It’s time to meet our newest athlete spotlight!

Athlete Name: Chris Punka
Sport(s): Baseball
Position(s): 1st Base and Pitcher
School: CVCA
Graduation Year: 2016
AGSP Athlete Since: 2010
Favorite Professional Sports Team: Boston Red Sox
Favorite Professional Athlete: Dustin Pedroia

Chris develops all aspects of his athleticism at AGSP.

Favorite Lift: Back Squat
Favorite Movement Skill: Acceleration
When I am not training at AGSP, I am: Doing baseball stuff and resting.
What are your short-term goals? To be the best player in our pac this year.
What are your long-term goals?
To play at a D1 college in 3 years.

How has AGSP impacted your performance as an athlete?It made me faster, stronger, more powerful and a better athlete overall.

Keep Training! 
Coach Amanda Kephart and Akron General Sports Performance

Friday, March 21, 2014

Off-Season Programs and Recruiting

Coach Nicolas White is also a coach for Baldwin-Wallace University's Football team. Here he shares some of his powerful insights for athletes that want to play at the collegiate level.

Off-Season Programs and Recruiting

Generally speaking, collegiate coaches ask high school coaches 4 specific questions when evaluating potential recruits.
  1. How are their grades? 
  2. How are their test scores? 
  3. How is their work ethic? 
  4. Is he/she an athlete? 
The first three questions are straight-forward and there is only one way to attain great grades, test scores, and work ethic. The last question, is he/she an athlete, can have many roads to achieve success. Should I be multi-sport athlete? Should I train all-year-round for my one sport?

The method for evaluating athleticism, without film, for years has been recognizing multi-sport athletes. This idea is contradicting to the collegiate atmosphere where athletes train (sport-specifically) 365 days a year. If your off-season strength and conditioning program is multi-faceted attacking all aspects of movement and strength development then training becomes a sport.

Athletes, find a program that encompasses all elements of movement and strength training. It will pay dividends at the next-level. I see it every season at the college level; athletes that come from great programs are normally the first to impress. I believe a great understanding of movement and strength training will increase your “athletic ceiling.”
If your off-season strength & conditioning program is multi-faceted, then training becomes a sport.

Coaches, if an off-season program is operated properly it can foster an area to build toughness, leadership, responsibility, teamwork, and work ethic. Our job, as coaches, is to develop our student-athletes. Entice your athletes to stay and train within your off-season program. This will allow your staff more opportunities to instill your “characteristics of success” and team values. I believe a great understand of movement and strength training will increase your programs “championship ceiling.”

Keep Training!
Coach Nicolas White and Akron General Sports Performance 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Athlete Performance Testing - Part 10

So far, we’ve taken a close look at the vertical jump, broad jump, and 10-yard dash performance tests. We’ve identified common errors for these tests and walked you through ways to correct these performance leaks. In our final installment of our Athlete Performance Testing series, we’ll look at ways to correct the most common flaws of the Pro Agility test.
If you’ve been following us for the last 9 articles, some of these corrections will seem oddly familiar! That's because the flaws we identified in our last article are also ones encountered in the vertical jump, broad jump, and 10-yard dash. Remember, the Pro Agility is unique in that it combines aspects of all three of these tests. Likewise, the Pro Agility test also has similar movement errors. So we can kill two birds with one stone by performing the same corrective exercises used in the last three tests for flaws in the Pro Agility.
For the sake of brevity, we’ll keep it to just one corrective exercise for each performance leak. If you’re hungry for more, you can go back and read our other installments for additional ideas!

Are valgus knees affecting your start on the Pro Agility? Time to break out the TheraBand!

Stepping out in front? Take it to the wall.

Having a hard time staying square? This exercise is perfect for developing an explosive start and the ability to change directions quickly! Start with just your bodyweight before adding a medicine ball for an extra kick in the butt.
That's all, folks! Hopefully the articles in this series have helped you dial in your performance tests! As always, we're here for any questions you may have. Feel free to leave a comment or drop us a message on Facebook or Twitter! Onward and upward!

Keep Training!
Coach Anthony & Akron General Sports Performance

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Athlete Performance Testing - Part 9

Our final test, the Pro Agility, is probably one of the more complex performance tests athletes will encounter. The Pro Agility combines components of all 3 previous tests and then some. Explosive power, acceleration, deceleration, change of direction, and reacceleration are all aspects of this test!
This video is not sped up!

With so many components, there is a lot that can go wrong to reduce power output and performance. Our goal as coaches is to identify and minimize these flaws as much as possible!
Let’s examine the start first. When an athlete begins the Pro Agility, they will traditionally start in a three-point stance with both feet and one hand planted on the floor. Remember the valgus knees we encountered with the vertical jump? They can reappear here in the Pro Agility as well.
The thing about valgus knees is that they aren’t always a bad thing when it comes to maximizing athletic performance. In the case of lateral movement, having the knee of the trail leg angled slightly inward actually loads the inside edge of the trail foot and improves force production and movement efficiency when the athlete begins to accelerate to the side. 
Note the valgus knee collapse of the lead leg! This is a no-no!

When the athlete does initiate acceleration, their first step should be taken with the lead leg. In doing so, they will drive off the inside edge of their trail leg and propel their body laterally in a 45-degree angle. It is crucial for athletes to drive their feet backwards behind their center of mass when taking their first step! Failure to do so will result in braking forces that will slow the athlete down!

A first step out in front will put on the brakes! Don't do it!

Just as when an athlete goes to accelerate, when decelerating, they should remain square and facing out. More times than not, when an athlete changes directions, they will simply bend over, touch the cone, turn around, and reaccelerate. This is inefficient and time consuming! Make sure you stay square!
Stay square when changing directions to maximize movement efficiency!
Are any of the flaws identified above slowing down your Pro Agility time? If so, don't sweat it. In our final installment, we'll look at ways to correct these errors and get you moving as efficiently as possible!

Keep Training!
Coach Anthony Colarusso and Akron General Sports Performance

Monday, March 10, 2014

Is that too much?

Hello Everyone!

It's great getting so many returning basketball and footballs athletes back training with us at AGSP. These athletes realize that if they want to keep improving their game, it starts with improving their bodies.

Frequently we will have parents ask us, "along with sports performance training our athlete is also doing ____ (skills training, clinics, combines, personal skills coaching, travel ball, etc). Is that do much?"

I find this interesting since parents don't think twice about sending their football athletes off to summer two-a-days in 90°+ heat or sending their basketball athletes to weekend long tournaments where athletes play 6 or more games in a single day.

The short answer to, "is that too much?" Is no.

The longer answer is no, as long as your athlete is having fun and getting decent sleep. On a basic level, today's athletes spend the majority of their non-sport related hours either sitting or sleeping. That's a lot of recovery time even if your athlete does some type of training every day. Whether it's sitting: at school, on the bus, while doing homework, at the movies, at the dinner table, playing video games... Most of your athletes' time is spent recovering.

When it comes to sleep, which you can read more about here, as long as your athlete is regularly getting average sleep they'll be able to keep up with the demands of training. And if they are not getting adequate sleep then what are they doing up late at night?
Remember the more you practice/train the faster you see results.
AGSP gets results for basketball athletes
Lifting young for big results
Results in returning athletes
The time to prepare for opportunity  

So welcome back returning athletes and hello new athletes! Let's make the most of this amazing time to get faster, stronger, and more powerful.

Keep Training!
Coach Amanda Kephart and Akron General Sports Performance 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Feedback and Fast Results

Hello Everyone!

"I didn't know I did that."

We hear this saying quite often at AGSP. It's athletes responding to one of our coach's keen eyes observing some movement deficiency (improper/poor/weak movement).

One of the biggest reasons why athletes at AGSP get such great results is that we constantly provide feedback to them.

If you don't know you're doing it wrong how can you ever fix/improve it? The answer is you can't!

Having an expert provide you specific feedback to your speed mechanics and lifting technique is what turns a normal day of practice into a deliberate attempt to improve yourself. 
Having a coach provide you feedback will help you get results faster!
One way you can try this at home is by watching yourself in a mirror or video-taping yourself. (Just make sure you know what your watching for!)

Everyday at AGSP, with our coaching staff, is a day where athletes get better because they start understanding their movement better.

Keep Training!
Coach Amanda Kephart and Akron General Sports Performance