I've just returned from a bit of a road trip. I attended the UKSCA National Conference which was held in Bedfordshire this weekend, and I have to say I really enjoyed the conference (not a sentance I would have come out with a couple of years ago!).
The speakers were first class and included several overseas speakers including Avery Faigenbaum, Martin Rooney and Jeremy Boone. There was a strong showing from the UK as well, but I've got to be honest I was there to see the guys from America (a chance to see guys at the top of their game in your back yard can't be passed up).
I really enjoyed Avery Fagenbaum's keynote presentation on youth resistance training. Anyone that starts by telling the audience that his laboratory is the gym is onto a winner in my opinion!
Two messages really struck home for me.
1. The best coaches should be working with young athletes - all too often this is where money is scimped and saved and graduate coaches and volunteers are let loose on young children, sometimes with disastourous effects. The best coaches more often than not work with the pro's and elite athletes. This could be completely back to front...if a better job of coaching and conditioning took place during the formative years then the senior athletes would have all the tools they needed to go out and perform. If you run a youth programme and are looking for coaches find a way to hire the most qualified coach available - don't rely on volunteers and helpers.
2. Don't be a supply teacher - make a connection with your clients. Your job is to coach and you can only do that if your have a connection with your client. Rember when you had a supply teacher at school - fantastic - easy street... and more often than not you could make their life hell and not really pay attention! Think about your old teachers and which ones had the most impact on your learning, I bet they were the ones who made a connection with you.
The second standout presentation was from Marin Rooney of Parisi Speed Schools. He delivered a great session on multi-dimensional speed and agility. The key take home message for me was the importance of having good brakes!
Most athletes and clients don't spend enough time learning how to decelerate - you wouldn't drive a sports car with not brakes would you?!
He also had a great slide which summed up the weekend nicely for me;
K - A = 0
K = Knowledge
A = Action
0 = Nothing
I picked up some great training information from the presentations and made sure that I took action (in fact I've already been using some of them with the young tennis players I work with today!).
Well done to my friend and colleague Duncan French on organising a great conference, I'm looking forward to next year already!