Constructing the core muscles not only builds the muscles in the pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen, but it helps to build better balance and stability. These exercises can improve overall athletic ability and performance for athletes at any level.
So what exercises should I be providing for my athlete(s) to strengthen their core(s)?
Interested in learning more about core conditioning for your athletes? Take the Developing the Core by Human Kinetics to learn more.
Ontario coaches will earn 3 NCCP PD points.
This is an excerpt from Human Kinetics Developing the Core by NSCA – National Strength & Conditioning Association & Jeffrey Willardson.
Lie faceup on the floor with your legs bent. Place the arms and hands across the chest. Your upper back should be slightly off the ground to maintain constant tension on the target muscles. Bring your knees up toward your chest, bending them at a 90-degree angle. Contract your abs to raise your hips up off the floor slightly, raising your legs in the process. Return to the start position, and continue for the desired number of repetitions.
To increase intensity, place hands behind the head or overhead.
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Assume a quadruped (all-fours) position, chin up, spine in a neutral position. Simultaneously extend your right leg and left arm so they are parallel to the floor. Do not allow the hips to rotate outward. Hold this position for the desired amount of time, and then repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Continue for the desired number of repetitions, alternating sides with each repetition.
Lie on your back with your arms out to the sides and palms flat on the floor. Keeping your legs straight and feet together, raise your thighs so that they are perpendicular with the ground. Keeping your upper back pressed to the floor, slowly lower your legs directly to the right. Raise your legs back to the start position, and repeat the process on your left. Alternate from side to side for the desired number of repetitions.
Reverse Pendulum Medicine Ball Twister: Bend your knees and perform the reverse pendulum movement as described. If the movement becomes easy, place a medicine ball between your knees or thighs.
It can be hard to demonstrate and emphasize the importance of athletes taking their time while doing weighted exercises. The Upright Row is a simple, yet effective exercise to build strength in the upper back and shoulder if done correctly. While this exercise may be less complicated than others, it’s important that athletes understand each movement’s purpose to achieve maximum results.
How can we break down this exercise into simple terms for our athletes? And what other resistance exercises can I teach my athlete(s)?
Interested in learning more about resistance training techniques for your athletes? Take the Exercise Technique Manual for Resistance Training by Human Kinetics to learn more.
This is an excerpt from Human Kinetics Exercise Technique Manual for Resistance Training-3rd Edition with Online Video by NSCA – National Strength & Conditioning Association.
As coaches, we know the importance of having our athletes perform exercises safely. While not every sport utilizes the same training exercises and programs, many athletes use push-ups to increase their power. With its variations, push-ups are a great exercise and can accommodate various levels of athletes: novice, intermediate and advanced.
But how can we, as coaches, ensure that our athletes are performing this type of exercise safely and with maximum results? And how can we adjust this exercise to be easier/harder for our athletes?
Interested in learning more about resistance training for your athletes? Take the Exercise Technique Manual for Resistance Training by Human Kinetics to learn more.
This is an excerpt from Human Kinetics Developing Power by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association, Mike McGuigan.
See band and depth-drop push-up.
A band or tubing offers both resistance during the concentric muscle action and an enhanced eccentric action (as opposed to a weight or dumbbell placed on the athlete’s back, which doesn’t offer enhanced loading).
Increase intensity by leaving the ground, similar to a jump push-up (advanced level).
Returning to the playing field after a layoff, whether from injury, a facility closure or a cancelled season can be a challenge for any athlete. Understandably, many athletes want to jump right in and get back to work. However, it is important to remember that it takes time to regain the same level of fitness and performance that they enjoyed before their hiatus. Trying to do too much, too quickly can result in undue emotional, mental and physical stress, and potentially injury.
In this webinar, Sylvie Tetrault (Sports Nutrition, Strength and Conditioning – Gary Roberts High Performance Training) will explore how coaches can help their athletes return to sport safely by looking at:
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Nadine Powell – Richmond Hill – Soccer
“Figuring out the proper loads and ensuring they are kept safe and injury-free. An added challenge is dealing with parents who always think intense is better. They don’t understand the demands on athletes and the potential for harm.”
Brian Stittle – Brampton – Hockey
“The need for a step-by-step approach to returning and the recognition that things won’t be the same as they were prior to the disruption.”
Gina Bin – Mississauga – Rowing
“Athletes are dealing with a new reality at this point, and the challenge is motivating our athletes to step into this new reality which for the right now includes training at home on their own. The challenge is to motivate the athletes to move into their training with confidence. We need to talk about their emotional well being especially with the isolation of training, not being able to train with their peers, have their coaches on hand to teach skills and correct techniques. It is more difficult for some to get up and get to the training if they do not have coaches and peers on hand to motivate them. Many have great aspirations for national teams, and the challenge to train with the intensity that they need can be scary at this time.”
Shannon Sandford – Bolton – Gymnastics
“Mental and physical stress of wanting to jump back into training. Making the athlete understand that this could result in an injury and set them back even more can be challenging.”
Claudio Berto – Calgary – Alpine Ski
“Trying to help athletes to understand that it takes time to improve and some just want to find short cuts.”
Scott Rye – Peter – Hockey
“The approach to build from basics again. Normally, they want to jump right in at the last spot/exercises.”
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Mindfulness is being fully present in the moment, aware of our thoughts and feelings but not judging them or allowing them to distract ourselves or our athletes. But how can you use the techniques of mindfulness to reduce stress and improve performance?
This webinar will give you the tools to recognize and move past negative self-talk while training our brains to embrace mistakes, leading to higher levels of confidence and more positive emotions.
Missed the webinar? Become a CAO Member to have access to past webinars.
Julia Toljagic – Kayak – Scarborough
“For some workouts on the erg (indoor rowing machine), I have put a sticky note over the time/split so I can only see the remaining distance. This helps to reduce my stress over my performance because I can’t see how I’m doing. I haven’t used this technique on my athletes yet, but I will be trying it with one this Saturday! Excited to see how it affects their performance and feelings.”
Justin Disher – Hockey – Welland
“Prior to this webinar, I have always encouraged my athletes to visualize success prior to performing their competition. I have found running scenarios through your mind before putting them into practice helps reduce the nervousness during competition because you already have a plan in place on what you want to accomplish and how to get there. I find with this solid foundation that your natural abilities can then take over and adapt to the specific situations you are presented.”
Peter Menyasz – Soccer – Nepean
“Stress and the learning environment are top of mind when planning and executing practices and running games. I hold team meetings to go over strategies including visualization, positive self-talk and goal-setting.”
Miranda Tomenson – Swimming – Toronto
“I think focusing on the positive is great. I have an athlete who is really hard on himself, so I try to tell him to focus on what he does well. I also like the advice of turning “I can’t do this” into “I can’t do this right now”.”
Paul Young – Football – Ottawa
“By somewhat controlling the environment by maintaining a calming voice, presence and reducing my athlete’s anxiety through breathing and setting a positive example for them to follow.”
Carol Christie – Fencing – London
“Focus on what you want to do ie attention; mistakes help you learn; breathe; train hard with your team and have fun; keep learning – keep improving; celebrate; cheer for your team; care for yourself – food, sleep, work, play.”
David Cheng – Badminton – Markham
“The breathing method, self-evaluation, awareness, dealing with mistakes, and the use of perspectives.”
Olga Kashkevich – Gymnastics – Mississauga
“We used breathing techniques and focusing on the present. We also try using the “not yet” terminology when kids have a hard time with skills.”
Emotional Intelligence is fundamental in developing a successful coach-athlete relationship, and ultimately enhancing performance and well-being. But what exactly is EI, and how can you harness the power of it to your advantage?
While Emotional Intelligence may sometimes seem like a kind of Jedi mind trick from Star Wars, rest assured this webinar will guide you in understanding EI, how to use specific tools and strategies, and unleash the “force” in your coaching role. Specific emphasis will be placed on developing resiliency and overcoming athlete setbacks and emotions in the heat of competition.
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How often do you use self-assessment to keep track of your own emotions as a coach?
Share your tips and best practices!
Lorraine Gouin – Ottawa – Figure Skating
“I’ve used self-assessment for my athletes to track their emotions at practice and competition but I hadn’t thought of tracking it myself, even though I did reflect on it after practices.”
Julie Multamaki – Peterborough – Field Hockey
“Never really gave it much thought, overtly, but I do try to be very even keeled when I coach to provide a positive environment. This certainly gave me more things to think about. A very interesting and educational webinar.”
Asif Farooq – Toronto – Multi-Sport
“I haven’t really used it to assess myself, but from time to time, would sit back and reflect on how I can emotionally connect with the players and become more impactful on and off the court.”
John Curtis – Thunder Bay – Volleyball
“I really haven’t thought about it that much. I am a new coach to the system and this seminar was very informative. I learnt quite a bit and will continue to learn for years to come.”
Kimberley Hart – Harrowsmith – Ringette
“I typically assess how I represented myself as a coach emotionally after every session I have with my team. Asking myself how I reacted in a situation, was it the appropriate reaction and how was it perceived by my players.”
Pierre Laframboise – Amherstview – Gymnastics
“I did this sometimes in the past, but after this webinar I will not only self-assess more often, but also be better equipped to do so.”
Ruth Moriana – Oshawa – Gymnastics
“All the time. I always use my 40min car rides to and from work to reflect and assess my own coaching performance and emotions. I have being making more of an effort to control my emotions and found this webinar very encouraging and helpful. I am a work in progress. Thank you!”
Jennifer Keller-Nelson – Cobourg – Basketball
“I utilize it frequently but it more depends on what age bracket I am with at the time. I coach kids as young as 4 up to 14. I am aware of emotions but pay a little closer attention when I’m with the younger ones because they are so much more impressionable. The older kids are impressionable but you can better explain things to them and have them understand.”
Benjamin Guthrie – Ottawa – Figure Skating
“While I have checked in with myself, I have never tracked my emotions. Looking forward to seeing what tracking my emotions as a coach can reveal and show areas of improvement for better EI strategies.”
Aloka Wijesooriya – Iqaluit, NU – Special Olympics
“Anytime I sense my emotions will negatively impact my coaching philosophy I used self-assessment strategies. I also practice these skills during my day-to-day life too. I find the more I practice the easier it is when I am on the ice. Today’s webinar added more tools to my knowledge toolbox.”
Mateo Diaz Granados – Quebec – Soccer
“Being a coach tends to involve leading by example, specially when dealing with young children. Therefore, I constantly use self-assessment to ensure I am portraying and reacting with positive emotions throughout game and practices. As you get to coaching older children/adults I am always impressed by the coaches that can keep their cool when setbacks occur instead of reacting against a referee for example and leading the way for the whole team to react in a similar way.”
Mike Stinson – Chatham – Hockey
“As a first responder outside of coaching – I learned very quickly that one of the most important things that can define your success is the reaction you give. Coaching is no different. There are a lot of athletes looking to you for an idea of how to respond to the event that just happened. As we develop and progress, it’s important to keep them positive and looking forward.”
Geoffrey Johnson – Stittsville – Curling
“I sometimes reflect on my emotions as a coach but after attending this webinar now believe I should be doing self-reflection after every practice, competition, etc. so that I can better position myself to support my athletes.”
Lucien Peron – Toronto – Basketball
“Your emotional state is picked up by your athletes, therefore it is critical to self-assess and reset before every practice. Open acknowledgement of emotions is important, which could take the form of a huddle before the start of the practice for all to briefly acknowledge their own emotional state, and the factor that might have triggered it, before a reset. Also important for all athletes and coaching staff to understand that the practice venue is a “safe space”, which means that the athlete enters it leaving behind the worries that the environment outside of practice may be triggering.”
Originally called “Female Athlete Triad”, Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) was termed to include all of the side effects of energy deficiency that can affect any athlete. RED-S can affect athletes of any age, sex and has detrimental effects on bone health, immune function, cardiovascular health and psychological health and ultimately impacts athletic performance.
RED-S is the result of an imbalance that occurs when athletes don’t eat enough to meet the energy demands of training and daily life. Coaches can play a significant role in preventing RED-S by creating a supportive environment for their athletes. You’ll leave this webinar able to identify the warning signs and implement team strategies to maximize athletic performance.
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As a coach, how do you talk to your athletes about nutrition and healthy eating habits?
Denise Bussiere – Gymnastics – Nepean
“We discuss snack options and we have info on our website from a Nutritionist.”
Justin Tung – Gymnastics – Toronto
“I find it helpful to emphasize nutrition close to competitions as part of their competition preparation (e.g. encourage carbs before competition and healthy snacks at competition). This is done in person and via electronic reminders.”
Lorraine Gouin – Figure Skating – Ottawa
“Workshops with nutritionists, encouraging healthy eating habits before, during and after practice (team snacks, etc) and eating together at competitions and events even if they are bringing their own food.”
Natasha Vidalin – Multi-Sport – Toronto
“Nutrition is important, it sustains your body, your health and your well-being. Even if you don’t want to have a big meal, at least have a granola bar to sustain you. The worst thing that could happen is that you fainted because you starved yourself, if that happened you would let the team down and your body down, so just don’t do it! Here is some granola bars and some berries (not anything acidic), some coconut water if need be and a few cashews (it is a healthy fat). Nuts an hour before a game everything else when they need it.”
Hossam Refaei – Mississauga
“As a teacher/coach, a lot of my athletes are also my students in the classroom. An entire unit on healthy eating is shared with them which includes the benefits of timing of eating, what you’re eating and calorie intake importance. This is added with talk before practices about what to pack on game days and practice days. We share each others’ ways and what they like to eat before practice time or game day and that could motivate others to eat the same healthy way or find news ways to still have a great meal to increase energy and perform to the best of their ability.”
Rejeanne MacLeod – Curling – Sault Ste Marie
“During competition, I emphasize that we have an early morning so make sure you have a good breakfast to help you fuel yourself for the game and day. Also grab an orange or apple for your break or after the game until we can have lunch. If I notice that an athlete is not eating properly, I will take my player to the side and explain how important it is for your body and mine to be fueled. Ask questions to see if money is an issue or if he/she is able to get to the proper food.”
Diana Clarke – Volleyball – Port Sydney
“As a rule I talk to my athletes about food as fuel to allow them to compete. At tournaments each family is responsible to bring food to share; potluck style. This food is assigned so that it is healthy. I think it is also important to role-model healthy eating, so I’m not eating a burger during a tournament when they are eating veggies and hummus.”
Susan Emond – Ringette – Ottawa
“We talk about staying hydrated in general. During a tournament, we bring healthy snacks and encourage eating for performance. Other than that, there isn’t a set pre/post focus during training. This is something I will be interested in implementing!”
Jason White – Ringette – Minesing
“In volleyball, make a list of foods that each family can sign up for. This way we can somewhat control the foods brought.”
Layth Jato – Soccer – Etobicoke
“My sport is Soccer which is a team sport. Through team meetings or Post-Training group meals we speak and encourage proper nutrition.”
Amanda Kesselring – Boxing – Cambridge
“Explain the importance of healthy eating, eating before and after a game, refuelling, and proper hydration before, during and after a game.”
Marguerite Gagnon – Gymnastics – Thunder Bay
“My athletes are young (ages 8 to 13), so I use a car analogue a lot! A car needs enough gas, oil, water, transmission fluid, etc. to work at it’s best, just like athletes need enough Carbs, protein, fat, water, vitamins and minerals to train and perform at their best.”