Letting student-athletes connect the dots

(Cet article sera rédigé en anglais, puisque le contenu de la séance d’aujourd’hui s’est déroulé majoritairement en anglais)

Today, I was working with the Soccer Concentration program at Rosemere High School. Two sessions were held in the weight room and let’s be honest, when you are 13-14 years old and are part of a soccer concentration, you would rather perform technical and tactical work with the soccer ball than spend 75 minutes in the weight room. But, overall athletic development is an important aspect of sport participation that can not only improve performance on the field but also prevent injury and set up the foundation for long-term physical activity throughout your life.

Since I don’t want them to limit themselves to bodybuilding exercises like the bench press and arm curls and actually challenge themselves, I have to come up with learning opportunities that fit my goals and that are fun. Moreover, I’ve had numerous conversations over the past few months with my friend Nick Hill whose background in teaching and athlete-centered coaching led me to re-orient my own programming, especially when working with the younger soccer players. I want them to understand basic fundamentals of athletic development and also question themselves about how can one exercice fit the bigger picture of helping my soccer game.

With that in mind, I took some concepts from Rhodri Lloyd and Jon Oliver’s book Strength and Conditioning for Young Athletes: Science and Application (Lloyd & Oliver, 2014) and combined it with the work of Kelvin Giles (Giles, 2012, 2015) and wrote the following on the blackboard :


Athletic Movement Skills




Exercise selection & progression (How)
Lower body (1 or 2 legs)SquatStatic to Dynamic
Upper body (push/pull)Lunge or step-upSlow to Fast
BraceHingeSimple to Complex
Jump/Land/BoundPushUnloaded to Loaded
Throw/Catch/GrabPullAll directions
Accelerate/Decelerate/Re-accelerateBraceAll planes
RotateAll speeds
All amplitudes

In sum, the students were asked to pick seven movements, write them down on their sheet of paper what AMS they want to work on (the reason why I am doing this exercise) and come up with different progressions/variations using their own bodyweight,light barbells, dumbbells, medicine balls, stability balls and BOSU. My input was minimal and was more geared towards helping them how to connect the elements from the three categories.

For example, if students were to pick a squat, I asked them what AMS they wanted to work on. Could there be more than 1 AMS involved? Is the movement you chose simple or complex? Unloaded or loaded? How can you integrate a bracing action into this exercise? How can you incorporate rotation into this exercise?

In the end, we had the best class I’ve had so far with this group in terms of discipline, effort, behaviour and most of all participation. Below is an example of one of the training sheet two students gave me after the session. Mind you they are Grade 8 students with very limited background in athletic development.

Capture d’écran 2015-11-25 à 18.46.57

I really didn’t care if the students had the right answers or not. My goal was for them to think about what movements are performed in different sports and how you can link the WHY-WHAT-HOW and provide a learning experience that was both challenging and fun.


Giles, K. B. (2012). An introduction to athlete development. (M. D. U. K. Ltd., Ed.).

Giles, K. B. (2015). Movement efficiency for the developing athlete. Movement Dynamics UK Ltd.

Lloyd, R. S., & Oliver, J. L. (Eds.). (2014). Strength and Conditioning for Young Athletes: Science and Application. New York, NY: Routledge.

3 réflexions au sujet de “Letting student-athletes connect the dots”

  1. Ping : Introduire un peu de pédagogie dans le monde de l’entrainement | Le site de XR Performance

  2. Ping : [Présentation] Le coaching centré sur l’athlète – Le site de XR Performance

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