pfp fb 2

Edel’s Journey to GREATNESS at Peak fitness and Performance Centre Longford.

With Edel’s transformation at PFP going viral she has been inundated with messages of support from members and also messages from people outside of PFP looking for advice on what she eats to get lean along with what training she was doing to get the body she wanted.


Edel has kindly wrote for a mini blog for everyone at PFP

Any fitness or nutrition Questions for Edel or coaches then please leave them below in comments section.

Take it away Edel…….

I was stuck in a rut and had been needing to start something to get into shape for weeks. I needed to get back into a good space both mentally and physically. I’d tried many shortcuts to get results before and to be honest wanted a quick fix but they always put me back to square one, if not worse than when I started. I tried the usual classes around the area but started seeing PFP on Facebook and it kept getting my attention by the loud, no nonsense approach to getting in shape.

Like starting anything new in a strange environment its very hard for us ladies especially to join something new but I knew I had to take the plunge. Several negative thoughts went through my head like..

  1. I wouldn’t know anyone there
  2. Would I be fit enough to do these training sessions at PFP?
  3. I didn’t want to go alone

So my brain was giving me all these negative feelings and telling me not go and make a change for the good but I fought the brain and got in contact with James on the PFP Facebook page who urged me to come and try it out.

I never made it in that day and he contacted me a day later again to make sure I came in or he would drag me in kicking and screaming (win Free membership here)

When I walked into PFP I was greeted by the coach and several other members who where all really nice and supportive before the session even started which put me at ease right away. I was looking at them thinking ‘God I’m so unfit I’m going to die here’ but they all started the same as me and went through what I did which was encouraging to hear.

I was dreading it and very conscious that I would be way behind everyone in the class, but the coaches simplified the exercises for me which was very personal and supportive!!!

No one judged me, everyone was so supportive and really encouraged me. Class was tough but I got through it.

I remember leaving the first class and getting into the car thinking ‘God I should have came here sooner’ and it wasn’t anything like I expected it to be and I’m definitely coming back.

One major thing that stood out for me was the buzz and friendliness about the gym and the way other members interacted with each other and motivated each other.

I started off first going to 2 classes a week and that started to build up gradually to 3/4 classes per week and now I’m going to 6 classes a week (provided my body is able and I get adequate recovery between sessions)

As for my asthma I haven’t touched an inhaler in weeks!! ‪#‎winning

So I’m going to PFP for a about 5/6 weeks and had the gym buzz going and then coach James took me in for a chat about my eating habits/nutrition and to have a look at my diet to see where improvements could be made.

His main message to me was to make small changes each week for a number of weeks and after 12 weeks I will have made a radical change to my whole lifestyle in-terms of training, eating habits and lifestyle choices.

He showed me how to live the 80/20% rule which suited me perfectly as I like to go out at the weekends with friends and family for nice food and have a few beers so that was my 20% there. (win Free membership here)

My diet has been completely transformed from what it was over a year ago and a big lesson I can give is to not worry about the small things and think about the bigger picture and how you want to get there.

–1 bad meal doesn’t make you fat as 1 good meal doesn’t make you lean—

I know for a fact if I had of woke up and decided that I’m going to completely change my diet, lifestyle and start a fitness journey all the same day I would fail and probably still be trying to find quick fixes.

Hard work and consistency is key to all this and knowing and trusting the process you are on to get you there.


So my typical training day nutrition would look like this, it changes daily with different meals and intakes of carbs, protein and fats.

-5:50am Pre Workout Banana & Kinetica Pre fuel


-8:00am Post workout – Kinetica Strawberry sundae protein shake

-8:45am 3 eggs scrambled, 2 turkey rashers, Spinach & tomatoes all cooked on coconut oil.

Drink 2/3 cups of hot water with lemon (breakfast is always prepared night before as don’t have time for cooking in mornings)

-Morning Break: 3 heaped table spoons of fage Greek Yoghurt, mix into this is 3 crushed oat cakes and chopped fruit and nuts

-Lunch: 3 egg muffins (mixed veg and bacon)) 2 crackers with cottage cheese all on a bed of spinach, onions and tomatoes

-Snack: 2x slices Homemade chocolate protein oat bread & grapes/blueberries

-Dinner: Peri Peri Baked salmon with roast veg and rice

-Snack: peanut butter & oat cakes

Supplementation list

^fish oils

^protein powder

^Vitamin D3

^pre workout

All food is cooked with coconut oil! Limiting myself to 1 cup of coffee per day and instead I’m drinking hot water with lemon/herbal teas.

Tried the koyu Matcha green tea and love it and I’m always drinking water throughout the day.

(This is just a typical day and like I said it changes to day to day but I will always have it planned ahead and know where my next meal comes from)

I’ve attached some pictures of the foods I eat for people looking for new ideas.

So many people have been emailing, texting and calling me about the results I have achieved which is great and inspiring and I hope you can take something from this mini blog I decide to write.

edel blog

Id like to thank everyone at PFP and the support of all the coaches too. Keep up the good work everyone.

Enjoy the journey and love every minute of it.

Edel x

Ps you can follow Edel on Instagram where she is forever posting pics of food and the odd selfie

Contact us on 0861677045 for more details about joining. 



Acceleration – It’s not just the legs

When athletes think of acceleration they immediately think leg strength, but that is only a part of the Acceleration equation. Acceleration requires huge force production over a longer ground contact than at top speed, making maximal strength for bodyweight is critical. Stride frequency and stride length are slower and shorter in acceleration than at top speed. Upper body strength is also essential to great acceleration because improved arm strength and mechanics are more important to driving the athlete forward during the acceleration phase than at top speed.


Many athletes only think of acceleration in terms of running straight ahead for a short distance. In reality, acceleration can take place in any direction. In actual play, athletes accelerate forward, backward, sideways, and diagonally. Many think acceleration occurs only from a static start. On the contrary, acceleration can also take place from a moving start at any number of speeds. For instance, a player in motion may have to accelerate quickly or decelerate quickly on the field. Both of these are forms of acceleration, and both can be improved with proper training.

Here we are using forward acceleration from a static start as a common way to describe the muscles and biomechanics of the Acceleration.

There are a number of physical and technical characteristics that can lead to poor acceleration. The first and most important characteristic is relative body strength. How strong an athlete is for how much they weigh is directly proportional to how well they can accelerate. Since acceleration is an athlete overcoming their own inertia with the force they produce, the leaner (less body fat) and the stronger they are at that weight are predictors of how well they will accelerate.

To look at the situation generally, the major muscle difference between acceleration and top speed is that the quads are used more in acceleration, and the hamstrings and hip flexors are utilized more during top speed. The most important areas to strengthen for acceleration are the gluteal and quadriceps muscles, the calves and muscles of the upper body, especially the anterior deltoid. Maximal strength is important here because ground contact times are much longer during acceleration than at top speed. Since there is a greater amount of time to produce force, the more absolutely strong a muscle is, coupled with greater relative body strength, the better the acceleration. For acceleration training, more maximal weights can be used in exercises such as the squat, lunge walks, chin ups, pulls ups, calf raises, and step ups.

We know that acceleration has a longer ground contact, smaller stride length, less stride frequency, different technique and teaching cues and relies differently on the muscles of the body when compared to top speed. Since there are different muscle actions during acceleration and top speed, it is logical that there will be different cues used when teaching technique. For instance, for force production at foot contact, acceleration should be taught as a “pushing” motion.


For good acceleration, keep the center of gravity low and forward while trying to push out as long strides as possible. As a vast generalization, a forward body lean of 45 degrees is recommended. However, it is difficult for any athlete to learn to “lean forward”; genetically we’re programmed to keep our bodies from leaning forward and falling. (You fell, a large ferocious animal ate you – we learned!) Continuous practice of “falling starts” helps to overcome what we’re hard wired to not do, breaking those bad habits.

Falling start video

Driving arm action is also critical to proper acceleration. Your arms not only add power and speed but they are related to your legs and force propulsion. The faster your arms move, the faster your legs move.

When running, the elbow should generally be at a 90 degree angle, with the motion taking place in the shoulder, which drives the arms. The action is not at the elbow or the wrist, meaning that the 90 degree angle at the elbow joint remains constant throughout. Shoulders are forward facing in forward acceleration and face the direction you want to go in sideways acceleration. Hands are not clenched, but open with the palm facing inward and sideways. As your arm goes back your thumb should be parallel to where your back pocket would be, not much further (or you’re wasting energy and motion). The opposite arm should simultaneously be coming up so that you can see your thumb in front of your chin or nose. If the athlete can’t see the hand, the hand is in the wrong place; we don’t want the hand to cross midline – that misaligns the body.

The angle of your arm to your body (humerous to torso) is critical to the angle of the height of the knee on the opposite leg – and we want the knee to drive up. With your arms in the wrong position your hip will be out of position for maximum movement.



Common mistakes with Arm Action video:



Finally, the athlete should draw in breath right before the acceleration and hold it for the first few steps. This will allow for a Valsavla maneuver and a subsequent better opportunity for your nervous system to produce force.

Coach Dominic Casciato CSCS

Parisi Speed School Port Washington

Coach Dominic Casciato CSCS   Coach Dominic was NCAA Soccer All American, an Academic All American and a Strength and Conditioning All American as well as playing professional soccer in England. He has helped coach one of the most successful Men’s Soccer development programs in the United States and in late December 2013 his U16 team became the US Youth Soccer National League Champions and was the first team in tournament history to play 7 consecutive games without conceding a single goal. He is a Parisi Speed School Coach in Port Washington and a TFW Instructor.


We have some online coaching places coming up for anyone looking for a specific training program to maximise their performance.

Contact us @

Managing the welfare of the Elite Athlete: Sir Dave Brailsford (Team Sky general manager) 


Three students head off down the butchers to get some meat for their barbeque and they’re greeted by the man himself.

“Right lads!” he says. “Since the World Cup’s startin’ soon, I’ll do ye a deal. Tell me what team you support and if you can relate it to the meat, I’ll give ye that piece for free!”

The first student steps up: “I support Liverpool, so I’ll have a liver!”

Second student pipes in: “And I support Hearts, so I’ll take the heart!”

The final student reluctantly comes forward: “Well, I support Arsenal but…um… I’m not hungry”.

That was stuck in my head throughout the whole conference… They always say open with a good joke… or maybe in this case, a tumbleweed. I’ll let you decide!

arsenalI was privileged to be one of the attendees at the recent Sports and Exercise Medicine Conference at Arsenal Football Club and, whilst strictly not an Arsenal supporter, I’m now a huge fan of their set-up, player management, development and ethos on sharing training and treatment methodologies. This sharing of knowledge is something I believe in vehemently and is why I contribute to this page.

A lot of you reading this will undoubtedly work with aspiring athletes at differing stages of their development; however, not everyone will be blessed with a tertiary education in Exercise Science/ Strength & Conditioning. For the benefit of these athletes and coaches alike, I’ll always try to impart what (little!?) knowledge I have, particularly on the basic principles, paradigms and techniques of the field. After all, we all have to start somewhere on our CPD pathway, and it is this pathway that will influence the future sporting stars of our country.

As a strength & conditioning coach who’s returned to study a second degree in Physiotherapy, it was hard to resist the lure of the conference, what with the world’s leading researchers and practitioners in Sports Medicine, Physiotherapy, Sports Science and Strength & Conditioning all presenting under the one roof; essentially (and at lunch-time, quite literally) a buffet of information! In an ever-expanding field with constant regurgitation and plagiarism of practices, it was refreshing to see original thinking, methodologies and reviews from world leaders in their respective fields. Furthermore, it was surprising that they were humble enough to chew the fat with us mere mortal attendees afterwards!

Now that I’ve more spare time post-uni, I hope to impart some of the event’s key messages to you all, starting quite fittingly, with Sir Dave Brailsford’s presentation on managing elite athlete welfare. In his presentation, he spoke of concepts that I think Irish sports and their coaches, from club to representative level, could and should emulate. That is of course, if they want to succeed…

david brailsfordSir Dave is general manager of the Team Sky professional cycling team, the former performance director of British Cycling and a two time winner of the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year. His career honours speak for themselves, being hailed as the architect behind British Cycling’s 18 medals at the ’04, ’08 and ’12 Olympics, not including the multiple world championships also won under his guidance. Now, whilst the Irish leg of the Giro d’Italia wasn’t exactly successful for Team Sky, (particularly after that crash in Belfast), you can rest assured the team are in good hands; where Brailsford specialises, is in the holistic management of athletes and staff under his direction. It is this forward thinking, all-encompassing management that provides a formula for excellence and a potential formula for success for Team Sky.


Initially, according to Brailsford, it’s all about getting the right people for the right roles. Sir Dave took on very bright sports science graduates, not necessarily with experience in cycling, but those educated enough to adapt and think logically and laterally. In my opinion, this is a no-brainer. We NEED the right people in the right roles to facilitate performance. Since returning home, a frustrating observation of amateur/ developmental stage sport here is when people (including myself) volunteer to help local clubs in their athletic prep, only for said club to respond “oh, well “such & such” already takes care of the fitness” or technical coaches think they know more and simply point-blank refuse. Quite often, these people have a wealth of sports coaching experience, but aren’t S&C accredited, have no tertiary education in the field nor partake in any CPD or further learning. To these coaches, all I’ll say is:

Stale practices lead to stale results for your players and your sport.

Sports coaches should use graduates if they volunteer! Obviously, the issue of remuneration will arise at some point as no one can work for free forever, but this topic is article worthy onto itself. My advice is to sort that on an individual basis and come to a mutual agreement. Sir Dave said the following:

“Imagine if you were part of a team or staff, where EVERYBODY wasn’t just great at what they did… they were FANTASTIC. They were THE BEST at what they did. Imagine how that would feel. There’s no reason why teams can’t be like this, in fact, all teams should STRIVE to be like this. This is a major factor in predicting success”.

“This notion”, he said, “helped establish our key principles”. They’re listed below:

1)     Outcome focus: Establish what it takes to win, how to win and truly understand the demands of your event (in S&C, this is your Needs Analysis). Reverse engineering can then occur and plans of progression can be formed, particularly for the long term. This is a concept fundamental to most businesses, so it’s surprising it isn’t applied as much to sports.


2)     Aggregating marginal gains: This concept is one that Sir Dave has spoke of frequently before. It’s rare to see a huge step change in performance from one event to the next. Typically, fluctuating improvements or incremental gains in performance present that aren’t necessarily linear. Brailsford advises a 1% gain in performance between events is A LOT more manageable for athletes and staff. 1%This feeds back into the aforementioned philosophy based upon THE BEST people for all roles. If the best people are present, they’re more likely to engage fully and thereby build upon every single aspect to improve performance. Buying into this philosophy generates a contagious enthusiasm, momentum and positive environment. Team dynamics are also improved if everyone believes in the philosophy, as it helps eradicate feelings of scrutiny or judgement if/ when passing comment on others work i.e. everyone is trying to help each other, not criticise. In fact, Brailsford states that with Team Sky buying into the “marginal gains mindset”, people actually thank others for their input on their own tasks, EVEN changing tyres!


3)     The Human Mind: Sir Dave consulted Dr. Steve Peters (a consultant Psychiartrst and University Clinical lecturer) on managing his athlete’s psychological issues, particularly addressing athlete emotional response and it’s effect upon performance; something Dr. Peter’s refers to as “The Chimp Paradox” (covered later in this piece).

4)     Team Culture/ Environment: Finally, Brailsford wants the environment in which his athletes and staff operate in to be based upon their welfare; an environment that optimises performance for everyone in the team. Based upon Team Sky’s own observations, they’ve noticed that the environment in which their team/ staff operate can affect performance by up to 30%, evidenced by their race programme of different teams working with different staff. These different combinations produced different micro-environments, subsequently producing different results. The advice? Find what staff (coach) – athlete combinations work, as ultimately, they’ll have implications for performance success and consistency. Play around, preferably in off-season with coaching combinations, group dynamics and, what’s vital, gather feedback from the athlete(s) on their view of what/ who works.

Still with me? I hope so. We’re getting to the good stuff! The next principle is quite literally, the CORE of what Team Sky are about…

The CORE principle

Let’s forget cycling and sport for a moment and think about human beings.

Brailsford’s question was, “What environment would it take for an individual to achieve excellence consistently?” His answer was the CORE principle, which is used on both an individual and collective basis in forming Team Sky’s culture.

Commitment: The major predictor of success, according to Brailsford, is down to the talent and commitment of the athlete and coach collective unit. It’s not motivation that is important, rather, it is the DESIRE and WANT to suffer and to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. Breaking down what it takes and measuring up: what suffering, sacrifice, work and time will it take and will this person commit to it? If so, the chances of achieving that goal are much greater.

Ownership: Let’s be honest, only masochists truly enjoy being shouted at for encouragement. Ultimately, people know what will move them, push them, and drive them forward. Initially to Brailsford, athlete ownership seemed a crazy idea; however after consulting their riders (including Chris Hoy), it was apparent all they wanted was expert support and guidance. Consequently there was a shift in the management approach from athletes being TOLD what to do, to a NEGOTIATION of training with the athlete’s input. Team Sky athletes now create and negotiate their own annual performance plans, which result in increased motivation and enthusiasm. The counter-side to this, according to Brailsford, is ensuring that athletes have clarity over their responsibility, accountability and the potential consequences of what happens if they DON’T take responsibility for or adhere to, their plans.


Responsibility: Team Sky believe that athlete selection is one of, if not THE biggest cause for agitation amongst riders, particularly if they don’t understand what the coaches are looking for or want from them. This is a problem I’ve encountered many a time working in team sports. If I had a fiver for the number of times a player’s come into session outright p*ssed off over selection, I’d probably be sipping a mojito in a much warmer climate rather than drinking a coffee in my house with no heating. Sir Dave’s solution? Ensure your athletes understand what the selection methodology is; that way, they can evidence their skills against that criteria. Brailsford takes this notion of responsibility further, in that his athletes are encouraged to create their OWN rules and selection documents.

Excellence: Hopefully, the above will result in excellence! Excellence is judged on a personal level, most of the time against the pre-determined and agreed criteria stated above. During crunch time when decisions need to be made, everyone is expected to have an opinion; this isn’t an expectation, but a professional OBLIGATION, according to Brailsford. Then wherever possible, these opinions form a collective opinion on the issue.


The next concept is something grossly overlooked in amateur/ aspiring sports here. The best example I can recall, is a football (soccer) coach GULDERING at a team of U10’s who were using our facility, shouting things like “That’s stupid, Mark!”, “for f*ck sake that’s terrible!” etc etc. (I think we all know the type). Now, granted this fella had given up his Saturday morning to head down and coach the youth, however, I think we’d all agree that reinforcing/ punishing behaviours in that manner, for that age group, simply isn’t on. Our actions, behaviours and mood as coaches affect our athletes and players. This is something that should be remembered regardless of the LTAD stage coaches find themselves; furthermore, it is an aspect that Brailsford deems critical to performance.


Athlete Welfare

Health, happiness & wellbeing: Brailsford says we need to remember that athletes aren’t robots. Anxieties can be displaced from our behaviours onto others, particularly in a hierarchical manner from management/ staff – athlete/ player. I’d like to think it’s common sense that an anxious athlete/ person who feels under-scrutiny won’t perform to their potential. Therefore, we need to control or modify our own behaviours to facilitate the performance of others via a positive environment that is conducive to the athlete(s).

Medical and Psychiatric model: Theinterface between medical and psychological practitioners is key, according to Sir David. Team Sky try to mould this into a single unit, known as the Rider Development Team (RDT).

 team sky

The RDT: Rider Development Team

You Allied Health Professionals out there will LOVE this one. (I guess the NHS has done something positive after all!) THE RDT is based upon the NHS model on case conferencing, i.e. practitioners from different disciplines meet every 2 weeks to share their expertise and ensure their inputs with athletes are coordinated. During this meeting, they are professionally obliged to raise concerns to avoid any issues going unaddressed. Brailsford, however, realised something was missing from the RDT and, based upon on a gap analysis, he identified that the MDT gap should be filled by the athlete themselves. It’s all well and good talking ABOUT someone, but maybe talking TO them would be more beneficial? Now, Team Sky’s athletes feed into the RDT process, thus providing a forum for development and ensuring everyone is on the same page. No issues are left unresolved.

There are numerous benefits to this approach: preventing mixed messages; isolation; unsanctioned actions and opinions, whilst promoting team unity; openness; a fixed opportunity for formal discussion and appropriate delegation of responsibility.

The notion of the Rider Development Team is DEFINITELY something that should be extrapolated within sport here. Essentially, it is your Club Committee/ Panel staff, however (speaking from personal experience), these don’t always include the view of the player. At the end of the day, this is who we are dealing with and making decisions about, so, let’s deal WITH them and provide them the opportunity for their view to be heard.

The next concept is something Brailsford calls the Winning Behaviours Program, where it subjectively identifies what staff and athletes believe is helpful to making Team Sky successful.

The Winning Behaviours program (WBP): Looks at the culture of Team Sky, it’s evolution and continuing personal development. A lot of sports psychology literature focuses on the positive aspects of behaviour; employees are asked what they consider are winning behaviours, however, the WBP also tries to identify negative aspects of behaviour on group dynamics, culture etc. and what people think will stop them winning. Brailsford says his athletes and staff will then adhere to and be assessed or judged by these criteria. The criteria is then broken down into each department, with behaviour and individual development plans established to implement key winning behaviours and priorities.

Inter-departmental management is organised with minimal positions of authority to remove the idea of performance scrutiny. If people don’t want to communicate/ talk/ complain UP the chain about practices or problems, often they’ll vent their frustrations to people they perceive as their equal (particularly if it’s ABOUT a line manager!) A “safety valve” is therefore present in the form of a neutral person allocated to that department who they can approach with any issue, thereby managing the environment and atmosphere by preventing gossiping.


Finally, the one I found most interesting. I must add that Sports Psych is not my Post-grad specialism or forte; my knowledge is limited to the basics covered in several modules of my first degree e.g. the “Inverted U hypothesis”, managing the coaching environment via ABC’s/ APC’s (Meiz & Booker, 1998; covered later), so please excuse if this comes across as disjointed. Nonetheless, this was the area that I found most interesting, particularly as a Physio student completing modules in Neurology who constantly tries to relate aspects back to sports performance!

The Chimp Model- Dr Steve Peters (also works with Liverpool FC)

Dr Steve Peters

I highly recommend checking out Dr. Peters work. Simply put, he deconstructs the complex side of neurology and brain structure by portraying it as a machine. Brailsford (all too familiar with psychology himself from his own studies), wanted his athletes to understand what parts of the brain were most active or “thinking for them” during different scenarios, thereby helping them understand the interaction between individual, team and task behaviour. He therefore enlisted the help of Dr. Peters, a clinical senior lecturer in Psychiatry.

In layman’s terms, the brain has it’s own language that allows interaction with conflict, anxiety and our approach to competition according to it’s different areas. Dr. Peter’s and Sir David developed a simplistic language and understanding of the brain that their athletes could relate to which allowed them to convey what they were feeling, particularly when addressing performance anxiety, managing the environment and helping others optimise their performance. The result, was the Chimp Paradox ( The basics are listed below, with the main areas of the brain relative to performance as:

The Frontal lobe: where logical thinking, consequence and the “mind” itself reside.

The Lymbic system (the Chimp!): produces emotional responses only, reacts quickly and informs the frontal lobe.

The Parietal lobe: where all learned experiences are recorded i.e. where hours of training, preparation, skills are stored.

In short, according to the theory, we want to ensure our “chimp” (our emotional response e.g. anxiety) isn’t riding or playing the game for us as it’s not useful for performance. What we want, is the parietal lobe to play and instinctively perform and reproduce those thousands of hours of training and preparation. This is also known as “the zone”, which can lead to an autonomous performance. Sir David stated that this was evidenced in GB Cycling’s Beijing Olympics performance, where 22 athletes produced PB’s after implementing the Chimp Model.

The model not only helps facilitate performance, but also helps manage conflict between athletes, staff etc. If someone is agitated and can’t “control their chimp”, they are encouraged to vent their frustrations by saying “my chimp is furious” etc; they’re allowed to talk/ exercise it/ let it out but they do so in a detached manner by referring to their feelings AS “the chimp”. Listeners don’t engage with the content of this vented frustration as it’s recognised as solely an emotional response. Once finished however, they’re asked what they want done with that information e.g. facilitate the conversation with that person via the “valves” or “neutral people” under the WBP. Team Sky try to do this frequently as it helps with team dynamics, understanding performance and ultimately resolving conflicts.


Extrapolating and adapting these concepts for Excellence

And there you have it folks; Team Sky’s principles in managing their athletes, staff and environment to achieve success. The big question is though, “how can we learn from this to better OUR athlete and environments?”

Personally, I find my persona and approach differ when working with team and individual sports. I’ve always tried to manage the coaching environment to facilitate performance according to the APC model (Accountability, Performance & Consequences) based upon the work of Meiz & Booker (1998),however, following Sir Dave’s presentation, I believe S&C coaches working in a private/ consultative basis could implement the Commitment, Responsibility and Excellence components of the CORE principle. Let players establish their own rules and responsibilities for attending sessions at the beginning of the training block e.g. start times 5 mins before, penalties if late, not adhering to rest time or intensities etc. At the same time, liaising with head coaches regarding athlete work output, effort and attitude during sessions (if the coach isn’t present) will be beneficial, provided athletes are allowed to voice their own opinions too. Finally, technical and tactical coaches could implement the Winning Behaviours Program prior to commencing off/pre-season training as this could help formulate SMART goals for S&C staff.

The same can be said when working with individual sports, however, I try to create a positive environment that’s more personal to that athlete e.g. finding out are they in/ extrinsically motivated, what cues/ triggers calm them down/ fire them up etc. Now, excuse the double negative, but personally, I HATE negativity during session; we’ve all been through our fair share of sh*t in our lives, but you don’t walk your sh*t over the weight room floor or onto the training paddock when you’re about to perform. Using past experience for motivation or aggression is absolutely fine, provided athletes can detach from it, just DON’T LET EMOTION OVERCOME YOUR ATHLETES i.e ensure their Chimp isn’t in the driving seat during training or fixtures.

And so it is. In closing, just make sure you have effective management strategies in place, so your Chimps don’t go bananas.


Brailsford, S. (2014) “Managing the welfare of the Elite Athlete”. Presented at the Arsenal FC SEMS conference, Emirates Stadium. London; UK.

Meir, R. Booker, R (1998) “Managing the coaching environment to enhance performance”. Strength & Conditioning, (February): pg. 50 – 56.

Coach Profile


Gareth O’Neill is a graduate in BSc (Hons) Applied Sports Sciences with Coaching, accredited Strength Conditioning coach (NSCA CSCS) and REPS Level 3 Advanced Personal trainer. Following 4 years experience in Sports Science support/ Strength Conditioning roles in semi-professional and representative sport, he has returned to Belfast and is currently finishing a second degree in Physiotherapy at the University of Ulster.

Gareth O’Neill BSc(Hons) ASSC, BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy
Gareth is a graduate in BSc(Hons) Applied Sports Sciences with Coaching, an accredited Strength Conditioning coach, REPS Level 3 Advanced Personal trainer and Olympic weightlifting coach. With 5 years experience working abroad in Sports Science/ SC roles, he has returned to NI and is currently studying Physiotherapy at the University of Ulster.Gareth combines his qualifications, experience and academic position to apply current research, knowledge and evidence-based methodologies to practice, aiming to surpass training expectations and get the best results from athletes goals. He currently operates under the name GSCPT from a private suite in Belfast City Centre, working with athletes from numerous sports including elite motorsport, county GAA, boxing and rugby union/ league. He can be contacted by the link below:!/pages/GSC-PT-at-Bodyrox/176379252509612




One day workshop for club football players looking to train like inter county football players and get the extra EDGE!

We are putting on a 1 day only Strength and Conditioning PRACTICAL workshop for GAA CLUB PLAYERS looking to get the competitive edge while hitting the pitch in top physical condition come championship.

You will walk away from this workshop with your very own TRAINING PROGRAM to follow for 4 weeks while confident to know what your doing in the gym/pitch is right to make progression in the gym and transferring it onto the playing field. Phiily, myself and Peter will cover as much as possible to help you become better athlete. There will be a full on session for attendees do so get a fair idea of what the guys at the top are doing.

This is for players who are serious about getting FASTER, STRONGER, FITTER & POWERFUL.

We have 2 inter county players who are also top Strength and Conditioning Coaches to present at the 1 day intensive workshop.




Phily Mc Mahon (Dublin & Ballymun Kickhams) 2 All Ireland football titles with Dublin & reached the All Ireland Club football championship final in 2013 with the Mun.


peter foy 1

Peter Foy (Longford & Longford Slashers) Peter is one of the best athletes I have ever trained and you will be blown away by his condition he maintains during In-Season. (Often seen in our training videos)



These 2 coaches/players are both in top physical condition while having over 20 years training experience combined.

Both are also Strength and Conditioning coaches who do this for a living with various teams.
The workshop will be held in Longford in our training facility. Each player will receive a 4 week training plan to take home and will be put through a training session on the day.

Content to be covered on the day but isn’t limited.

1. Warmups/Cool Downs. What you should and should be doing for warmups to prep you for the training session ahead (foam rolling/Active release, Mobility, Dynamic Movement, Static Stretching)

2. Power Training (Plyos-bounds, hops, landing, jumping, loaded jumps, med balls, ladder drills, hurdles etc)

3. Strength Training (Barbell and Dumb-bell training you should be doing and exercise selection)

4. Speed Training

5. Conditioning to improve fitness and body composition

6. Recovery sessions (post game)

7. Nutrition/supplementation/pre game performance supplements, body fat assessments for all players.

8. Mental Preparation for games/training

9. Training Session for attendees to show how the guys at the top train

The workshop is limited with high practical content and training session for attendees and places are secured through the following link below.

We have 8 places remaining and is suitable for both female and male GAA players.

Cost: 167 Euro

Time: 10am-4/5pm

Location: Longford

Date: 7th June

Aside  —  Posted: May 19, 2014 in GAA
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Dan-BakerDan Baker Strength & Conditioning Workshop We are delighted to announce we have Dan coming to Ireland to deliver 2 day workshop for us. It will be Dan’s first time in Ireland and he can’t wait to get over to present his vast knowledge of experience with you. Anyone in the Strength and Conditioning circles knows of Dan Baker and its going to be full for the 2 days. Dan will be covering everything from athletic development in young athletes, strength and power training in amateur/professional sports, in and out of season programming, cross training, endurance development, bands and chains and their use in sports training and much, much more.   Turning Athletes into Hardened Professional Athletes the Australian Way A quick overview on some of the presentations/practicals Dan will touch on over the 2 days.   Presentation 1: Preparation Not Annihilation An Overview of Dans view LTAD with an emphasis on the resistance training progressions. In this session: Dan will go through an overview of LTAD, the Australian system of athlete development, reasons why child and youth athletes get injured and/or give up sports/training, what has been done in Australia to create best practices, with an emphasis on physical competency and controlling load.   Practical 1: Child/Youth Training Emphasizing the Right Start with Bodyweight Exercise This session will entail six methods to optimise the primary bodyweight exercises for athletic development.

  •  Push-up
  •  Pull-up
  •  Squat
  •  Split leg
  •  Plank
  •  Sit-up

Presentation 2: Training to Compete with the Big Boys Dan will look at the resistance training progressions necessary to undertake before advanced methods of strength and power training are embraced in addition to discussing the theoretical aspects of band and chain training. Basically this presentation looks at progressions in programming. This includes progressions in periodisation (cycle) structure, as well as exercises, sets, reps, volumes and intensities. Practical session 2: How to set-up and use Band and Chains How to use bands and chains for strength, power and size with amateur and professional athletes Presentation 3: Advanced Power Training This lecture will present data upon the following Dan’s research into the effects of different power training variations and hence why Dan uses or recommends certain techniques or strategies: The following will be discussed:

  • Negative acute effects of high reps upon power output
  • Full acceleration exercises such jump squats and bench throws
  • Timed-rep sets
  • Contrast load complexes
  • Agonist & antagonist contrasting muscle action complexes
  • Cluster sets
  • Drop sets
  • Bands & chains

Dan will also go through some of the programs he used at various times at the Broncos, including Gen. Prep., Spec. Prep. for both NRL and NYC (U/20 yrs). The difference in programming between NRL and NYC will be discussed in the context of the previous lectures. Practical 3: Advanced Power Training Methods Practical This session will entail a practical of:

  • Negative acute effects of high reps upon power output and the positive effects upon power output of
  • Full acceleration exercises such jump squats, bench throws
  • Timed-rep sets
  • Contrast load complexes
  • Agonist & antagonist contrasting muscle action complexes

Presentation 4: In-season training – Aggressive maintenance In this session, Dan will go through the evolution of his Wave Method for in-season training, results from 20 -years for in-season maintenance of strength & power.  Dan will also go through some of the programs he used at various times at the Broncos, including during Finals series and Grand Final weeks. Presentation 5: Energy system fitness training In this session, Dan will go through current trends in training for energy system fitness. If you train athletes who run or fight, this may be the most important lecture you attend, as the following will be discussed, with concrete recommendations:

  • DContinuous training V interval training
  • Maximal aerobic speed (MAS)
  • Intermittent Field Test : IFT- 30:15
  • Anaerobic Speed Reserve (ASR)
  • Small sided games (SSG)
  • Circuits & strongman type training
  • Interaction and/or progression in these different training modes

Presentation/Practical 6: This will be left for attendees to decide Anyone who books on the 2 day workshop can you please send us an email on what you would like covered that isn’t mentioned above and Dan will happily put something together to present and go though in practical too. We want this lead by the attendees on the day too so everyone can walk away from spending time with Dan and be able to implement material to whoever they work along side or clients. 

Location: Ireland Strength Conditioning Midland Centre
Gem Business Park
Athlone Road
Co. Longford
Date: 11th 12th October
Times: 9am – 5pm
Places: SOLD OUT 40/40
Food, snacks and refreshments will be provided over the weekend 

We will be going for food on the Saturday night with Dan so it will give everyone a chance to network and chat business and training. If anyone is looking for somewhere cheap to stay on the saturday night here is the best and only spot   dan 1 Dan Baker is one of the worlds leading authorities upon strength and power training for sports athletes. A PhD in sports science specializing in the testing and training of strength and power,he has the scientific knowledge and practical know how to implement effective strength and power training for sports athletes. Unlike most Phd’s he does not work as a full-time lecturer or in a laboratory – he trains athletes. No science bullshit – just the stuff that works.Some things about Dan Baker As a strength & conditioning coach: Former strength and power training coach of the Brisbane Broncos Rugby league team since 1995 (title winners 1997, 1998, 2000, 2006) Former champion powerlifter and powerlifting coach Strength and Conditioning Coach to elite international and national level athletes in the following sports – rugby league, rugby union, powerlifting, diving, soccer, track & field, netball, mixed martial arts to name a few A Level 3 Strength and Conditioning Coach and Master Coach of Strength and Conditioning as recognized by the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association As an Educator and Mentor for strength & conditioning coaches Dan is the National President of the Australian Strength & Conditioning Association (ASCA) which is the not-for-profit body recognized by the Australian Federal Government to educate and accredit strength & conditioning coaches within Australia. Dan continues to lecture to all levels of ASCA coaches, from Level 1 beginner Coaches through to the Level 3 Elite Athlete Coaches. Dan is a sought after Educator of Strength & Conditioning Coaches because he makes the science easy and tells it straight. The practical implementation is what it is all about. Life memberships In Australian sport and social life, the “Club” is important. Dedicated club members are sometimes bestowed an honour titled “Life Member” for endless hours of dedicated work on behalf of the Club or Organization. Dan has three Life Memberships. Dan is a Life Member of the ASCA. Dan is a Life Member of North Kirra Surf_Lifesaving Club Dan is a Life Member of the University of Queensland Powerlifting & Weightlifting Club.


It’s a long way from Tipperary to DeFranco’s.


Dinny Stapleton.


Before I start telling you all about my time in New Jersey I will just tell you a bit about myself. I don’t have a qualification in S&C nor do I work in the area. I am a 26 year old Medical Rep from Tipperary with a huge interest in the area. So the question that springs to mind then is, “Well, why are you going to New Jersey to meet one of the World’s best S&C coaches?” I went over to Jersey to meet Joe D because it has been an ambition of mine since I first watched Joe’s YouTube video montage 2 years ago.

It literally had the hairs standing on the back of my neck! I was just after coming off the back of a difficult season with my club, I had a lot of doubts about my game, my physical shape and basically what the hell was  I doing. I had a poor season personally and needed to find a new edge, something different to focus on for the long winter months ahead and in Joe D I found what I was looking for. I quickly clicked on to more and more YouTube clips of guys jumping almost through the roof, lifting weights with “purpose and bad intentions” and then I stumbled across a video that had the most profound effect on me. It was of Joe D saying that all his athletes have one thing in common; they want “to be the very best they can be.” It doesn’t matter if they are the best athlete in the world or just an average Joe from Tipperary. From that moment on I said to myself “I’m going to train with Joe D!” But first I needed to learn for myself what’s involved. I proceeded to buy some of Joe’s DVD’s, Power, Extreme, HardCore and his original Strength DVD. I meticulously scowered through the DVD’s trying to learn as much as I could about weights, reps, set’s and 1RM’s, the whole deal and of  course what it really means to be a G.A.M.E.R. What really stuck out for me was Joe’s guys were all athletes, sure they could squat and bench big weights but they could move, they were agile, mobile and powerful. From a G.A.A perspective I thought they had it all.


What I quickly learned from Joe’s articles and blogs was that if you want to get the best out of yourself then you can’t make excuses, you have to make sacrifices and above all else you have to go out and get what you want and not expect someone to hand it to you. So two years after I first watched Joe’s montage I sat down and began to plan my way to New Jersey, I emailed Joe’s business partner Jim Smith and enquired about the CPPS (Certified Physical Preparation Course} the guys run. I basically wanted to know if I could do the course even though I didn’t have a qualification, it also killed two birds with one stone, I could workout with Joe D, learn from him and also learn from Smitty too. I have to thank Jim because he made it possible for me to pay for the course in instalments assured me that it would be ok to stay on for a few extra days to train at Joe’s place, next all I had to do was ask the main man himself! I emailed Joe, explained I was a huge fan and that I was travelling over from Ireland to do his CPPS course, I asked would it be ok to stay a few days extra and train with him. About two weeks later Joe emailed me back, told me that was no problem, I could train with some of his NFL guys. Could you ask for better? I was over the moon to be honest. Two weeks before my trip I had just finished one of my best hurling seasons to date, I had won a Munster and All Ireland Intermediate Medal with Tipperary and I felt I owed some of my success to Joe as I have religiously followed his training programmes for two years. In those two years I have reduced my body fat by 11%, increased my box jump by 12 inchs, and increased speed, power and overall strength. As a result my own game had improved. My thanks to Joe? I gave him my All Ireland Jersey to hopefully put on his wall. Well, I can’t take it back now anyway because once Joe put it on he stretched it out to such an extent that it would look like a bag on me. J


The Man Himself.

That’s enough about me and my background, it’s time to talk about the man himself, the man with the perfect eyebrows. To answer the question on everyone’s lips, Yes those are his real eyebrows and no he does not get them groomed in any way. J What you see with Joe D is what you get.

A 7 hour plane ride, 5 trains and two buses later I arrived at my hotel in Fairlawn New Jersey on a Thursday night. I immediately tweeted Joe and asked could I drop by the day after to see his place. After all I wanted to make the most of my trip. Of course he said no problem. I dropped by the following day and to be honest was almost too nervous to walk in the door. As soon as I walked in to the gym I knew the trip was worth it. The gym is exactly what you see in the virtual tour on YouTube only better.

I was greeted by Mike Guadango, he’s basically Joe’s right hand man and has worked in the gym since his sophomore year. Next guy I meet was Cameron Josse, the newest addition to Joe’s staff. The two guys are very nice, humble, and down to earth, they were interested in knowing who I was, where I was coming from and above all, why I was here. Next two guys I had the pleasure of meeting were Kareem Huggins and Keith Williams. They are two stalwarts of the gym and the cover boys of Joe and Jims speed DVD. These guys are phenomenal athletes! (Just google them or check out Joes YouTube channel to see for yourself.) Both guys were going through some mobility work before their main workout when the man himself walked in.  Joe DeFranco. He was at his desk chatting to a few guys when I came over to him, He put out his hand straight away and said “Hey there, you must be Dinny, welcome to DeFrancos bro!” I stayed with Joe for an hour chatted with him watched Kareem and Keith go through a gruelling Energy training session and then showed Joe and the rest of the crew a few clips of the game I play, hurling.

“That game looks absolutely crazy!” That was the general consensus of the Joe and his NFL guys when they watched clip after clip of Tipperary and Kilkenny doing battle in 09, 10 and 11. What they really couldn’t believe was that hurling was an amateur game and that these guys didn’t get paid to play. That’s where I felt Joe had respect for why I was there. No one paid for my trip, no one made me go to do a course or was forcing me to train. It was all off my own back with a view to “trying to be the very best I could be.”

Dinny & Joe D. Hurling

I left the gym on a complete buzz, I hadn’t trained or even lifted a weight but I felt like I was on top of the world after meeting Joe and his crew. The next two days were spent doing the CPPS course. I have to say the course itself is excellent. As previously mentioned I have no qualification in S&C so I was nervous I might not know what these guys were talking about. Jim Smith put me completely at ease in his opening address to the class. As Einstein once said “If you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t understand it well enough.” The course itself is brilliant. I got an awful lot from it and would highly recommend it to anyone who’s interested. You get two days of full quality interaction with two of the best S&C coaches in the world. Its hands on, practical and you learn from doing, you’re not sitting there taking loads of notes, you actually have to get up coach the rest of the class.

The course finished on the Sunday evening and the next two days were what I was really looking forward to. I’d get to fulfil my goal, and train with Joe D. I turned up on Monday morning ready for action, I got to train with Kareem Huggins he had just recently finished a training camp with the New York Jets. Kareem is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, completely down to earth. No ego, just an extreme work ethic. We chatted for a while and I learnt that Kareem was just back from completely blowing out his knee. It has been 1,076 days since he saw NFL action. In a recent article on the Jets website Kareem says

“He never got down and never thought about quitting. He credits his mother with giving him a positive attitude and encouraging him to continue his dream and stay solid in his faith. DeFranco marvels at his work ethic and integrity and now Huggins hopes the Jets will see the same thing. In his words, he says, “I hope they will see that I’m relentless and hardworking and will never quit on them. I didn’t quit before, and I won’t quit now.”

Kareem turns up every day to train with Joe and works his ass off to try and get back to the top, to me he’s a great example to any aspiring athletes out there. The easy option for him would be to give up and be happy with his lot, but no, he wants to push on and become a great NFL player once again. It’s only a matter of time before he gets signed.

Kareem 51_ hurdle

Kareem and I were both put through a fairly rigours upper body workout by Joe. I got the chance between sets to pick Joe’s brain a bit about what types of training a G.A.A player should be doing. His words to me were fairly simple “Man you’re too skinny for starters! Eat more and lift more!” He then went on to tell me that from what he has seen on YouTube that G.A.A players needed a mix of strength, speed, power and endurance, he said his NFL guys don’t need as much endurance as the average play in a NFL game last between 3 and 5 seconds, so his guys need their power and strength outputs to last for that amount of time, whereas G.A.A players need it to last a lot longer. He told me to do more upper back work as he said I was a bit “rounded forward” he also said the two best tools he has in his gym are his sleds and prowlers and to incorporate more prowler pushes and drags into my workouts. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t telling me to become a massive muscle bound beast, what he was trying to tell me was that I needed to a bit bigger than what I currently am. Joe is a big advocate of functional training, training that helps you get better at your sport, rather than just lifting weights for the sake of it. There should be a purpose to why you train and why you do certain lifts.

One thing really stuck out about Joe. As I struggled with the bench press, I expected him to help me a bit and spot me, he said “Come on, push that bar, no one will give you anything you gotta make it happen.” Then he told me that was enough, even though I had two reps left. Joe said that once the quality goes out of the lift, stop. Quality is key to his programmes. “Keep the quality even if you only get one or two reps, quality in your training will always outweighs poor form.” To be fair I think he has a point, too many young athletes out there are more obsessed with hitting big numbers in the weight room rather than honing their form and mastering the proper technique. This can lead to mobility and injury problems further down the road.

Joe spotting kareem

Joe spotting kareem

Upper body work out done and I actually left the gym with a small vein bulging out of my right bicep, I felt like I could have played for a NFL team afterwards. The following day was lower body day, or to be exact “Dynamic Lower Body Day” where the focus was all about speed and power. It was one of the best workouts I’ve done, loads of Jump variations, some box squats and to finish off….the Dreaded prowler! Once again it was a very challenging workout, one which I got a lot out of. Again like upper body day, quality is key. Once the quality drops, stop. This was my last day with Joe and his crew and I took the opportunity to give him my Tipp jersey and thank him for everything.

Overhead shot of gym in Action

I couldn’t say enough about Joe, he is a seriously nice guy, who see’s everyone as the same. Once you want to work hard and improve then you have his time and respect. It is no accident that he is one of the best in business, as Joe said “If you want to be the best, you’ve got to put in the hours!” The previous night he drove 3 hours up to Connecticut to train Paul Levesque and his wife Stephaine. You might know them as Triple H and Stephanie McMahon from the WWE.  Joe only got back to his house at 4am. He makes that journey up to 3 times a week.


Above all else, Joe is down to earth and extremely humble, he treated me like one of his athletes from the minute I walked into his gym right up until I left. He gave me time, encouragement and above all else respect. He has the traits that one would associate with all great people. Hardworking, honest, humble, loyal and a man of his word. At the end of January I hope to meet up with the great man again as I head State side for the Super Bowl weekend, when I told him I was coming over he immediately said “shoot me a mail when your here and we’ll try meet up.” Joe D doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk.

Final instalment of our 3 part series of mental health issues in sport.

Part 1 we talked about Depression and Gambling 

Part 2 we talked about Anxiety and Player Burnout 

Injury :

Injury can be a very tricky time for any Player or Athlete as it can take away their sense of being, motivation and overall enjoyment in life and the same can be said for any role within sport. When a person in any walk of life loses or can`t do their daily career it can be a very hard mental battle as they basically can lose who they sight of who they are.

Clarke Carlisle who is chairman of the Professional Footballers Association and was once  a player with QPR and Leeds amongst other clubs explains that “People have this perception of elite athletes and sports people that they are these infallible beings. But although they may have a strength or a talent in a particular area, they are no more immune to mental health issues as they are to any other illness” . He was speaking about English Cricketer Jonathan Trott who has just recently been allowed to leave the English Cricket Camp in Australia to return home to his family due to stress and injury related reasons.

“There are common triggers in sport and injury is one of them. In 2001 I needed reconstructive knee surgery. I was told I might never play again and may have to walk with a stick. That led me to try to commit suicide” says Carlisle speaking to the

Jonathan Trott was allowed to leave the English Cricked Camp due to Stress related injury - Picture by

Jonathan Trott was allowed to leave the English Cricked Camp due to Stress related injury – Picture by

Wayne Rooney has indicated that being injured is one of the most frustrating things that can every happen to a Player or athlete. He said in his Book “My decade in the primer league – When I’m out injured I know I can’t train or help the lads prepare for the next match so, typically, I get grumpy, a bit like someone would when they have to give up smoking or coffee, I’d imagine”

I’m a fidgety patient. I get snappy. I go quiet. I don’t get fed up with the treatment or the physios and club doctors, I just want to get out there and play in the practice games like everyone else. The worst thing is that the rehab process messes around with my head. I feel left out at the club. I miss the banter and the crack in the dressing-room. As I’m not fit enough to play, I don’t even get to spend the night in the team hotel with the rest of the lads before the next game. I have to stay at home, then drive into the training ground the following morning for some more boring recovery work.

        “Wayne Rooney’s horrific leg gash, sustained against Fulham in August”

Players become a spare part when they’re seriously injured. They become forgotten men around the club.

When I’m injured I get wound up and nervy watching games. It’s like being a fan all over again, probably more nerve-wracking than actually playing. It’s so frustrating. I can’t influence the game at all. I’m helpless.

There’s nothing I can do to change the result and help my mates win.

I try to keep a happy face on when I’m around the other lads afterwards, but it’s hard.

The psychology battle during injury is key to getting through some hard and lonely spells during injury - Picture of Tommy Bowe after being injuried during the Lions Tour

The psychology battle during injury is key to getting through some hard and lonely spells during injury – Picture of Tommy Bowe after being injuried during the Lions Tour

Former Dublin football captain Paul Griffin who promotes positive mental health by discussing the role that mind management can have in enhancing performance and overcoming adversity, speaks about the important role positive thinking played as he suffered set backs in his playing career with serious injuries over a couple of seasons.

Paul’s Top Tips to stay positive through injury  via his work with

  • Try to always look ahead and plan a path forward through the process. Use achievable goals and small targets to help break this down and take it step by step.
  • Look at the other opportunities that are open to you and other areas you can give more time to. Keep thinking of what you can do tomorrow and see it as an advantage.
  • Use the supports that are all around you and in particular family and friends to help take your mind off things.

Former Dublin Captain Paul Griffin had numerous set backs with injury - Picture by

Former Dublin Captain Paul Griffin had numerous set backs with injury – Picture by

  • Try not to dwell on the past and what if’s. The past can’t be changed so you need to look ahead and to the chances that the future can provide for you.
  • In a sporting context remember your team mates. You still need to be there for them. It might not be the same role but if you can still offer something to help your team be a success give them that support.
  • Keep your language and thoughts positive as these affect your outlook and energy.Enjoy the challenge of it all and the test it provides for you. Overcoming challenges successfully can help to develop your character and strengthen your resolve.


According to new stats released by Xpro,the charity which was set up to help Ex-footballers from England and Ireland shows a crisis of mental health among footballers and especially Ex-footballers  who can suffer from alcohol dependency or suicidal thoughts when adjusting to life after the game

By some estimates as many as three in five former players will be declared bankrupted and to often blighted by bad financial advice. At least 150 ex-professionals  are currently in prison and more than 700 a year end up being pitched out of the sport in their 20`s after failing to win a new contract.

An example of the is Ex-Arsenal left back Kenny Sansom who recently just admitted sleeping on a park bench. The 54 year old who was capped 86 times by England and £1 million player in the 80`s when such a fee was huge said he was homeless and battling alcoholism until the FA stepped in and helped him out.

Ex-Arsenal player Kenny Sansom says “Having to much time on your side can be a bad thing for a Footballer who retires”

It is said sports stars die twice, the first time at retirement. If you are no longer a sporting superstar, then who are you?

A report by Peter Crutchley from  BBC Sport  indicates that “Someone who knows this struggle better than most is boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard. He vividly recalls the feeling he experienced at the moment of victory and how he found its allure too enticing to resist”

Sugar Ray Leonard said that “Nothing could satisfy me outside the ring,” he went on to say “There is nothing in life that can compare to becoming a world champion, having your hand raised in that moment of glory, with thousands, millions of people cheering you on.”

Leonard reflected on how his inability to separate the boxer from the man became all-consuming, forcing him to the depths of depression and leading him to make repeated comebacks.

“When I came back I felt safer in the ring. I could defeat those demons that possessed me outside the ring,” he recalls. “It was such a release when I trained for a fight because all of a sudden I’m totally clean, whether it was from cocaine, or alcohol, or depression. It gave me a sense of calm.”

Sugar Ray Leonard - Boxing

Sugar Ray Leonard talks to BBC Sport Radio about his “Battle with Retirement”

According to Bill Cole, a world-renowned peak performance coach based in California who has worked across dozens of different sports and seen many athletes struggle to come to terms with their retirement there are many factors that one must have and go through.

Sense Of Loss

Their is no meaning to their daily lives from one day to the next after living such a structured life where every minuted was accounted for.

Biological Factors 

“Athletes had regular doses of serotonin daily for many years, and suddenly, that has decreased or stopped outright. That is a huge upset to the chemistry of the body,” he says. “Even some retired athletes who continue to exercise fail to get the endorphin highs since they no longer compete.”

Tunnel Vision

Leading sportsmen and women have lived a regimented training routine for years, often since childhood.

Cole says an athlete’s “tunnel vision and regimented life” is part of the reason why top-level sportsmen and women struggle more with retirement than those in other walks of life.

Grieving Process

The factors behind an athlete’s retirement can be crucial as the fact that many are forced to end their careers for negative reasons, such as injury, diminution of ability and de-selection, adds to this feeling of loss.


Sports psychologist Dr Victor Thompson recognises the challenges of retirement: “Elite athletes such as Premier League footballers relish testing themselves by competing in front of thousands of people, either willing them to succeed or fail. This is the type of challenge and buzz that you don’t generally get in everyday life.”

Having plans in place for their retirement, along with having a strong support group around them, are important components for helping athletes make the transition.

Transion project by the Victorian institue of sport Australia  

Life after sport can be a time of great challenge for many athletes. Post the Beijing Olympics a number of Victorian Institute of Sport athletes with significant sporting experience decided to retire from their sport. The project  was aimed to glean the experience and wisdom from athletes who competed at the highest levels along with learning about their life management skills. The project recorded the interviews and stories of 5 athletes to share with the broader athlete cohort. Athletse included are Grant Hackett, Catherine Arlove, Don Elgin, Travis Brooks, and Rachel Imison.

The following Interview is from Catherine Arlove who is an Australian judoka who has also represented Australia in wrestling and competed at a national level in cycling. Arlove has won ten Gold medals at the Australian National Judo Championships

She competed in judo at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

This video of Catherine discusses the experience of transition from the athletes sporting life to the next phase. Initial thinking about retirement, accepting the decision, timing of the decision, associated feelings, thoughts and concerns; strategies employed, advice sought along with how athletes are filling the void left by their retirement from sport.

Thanks to John O`Neill of for the guest blog.

John can be contacted at regarding any matters about this blog if you need any advice or help regarding issues of Depression, Anxiety, Burnout, Injury, Gambling our Retirement in sport please get in touch and I will do my very best to get back to you as quickly as possible with productive information. I just really hope you enjoy the aspects and reasons behind such a site.

You can also send us an email if you wish to discuss anything.

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 16.34.09Duncan French video Presentations and PDF’s now available for download.


Strength and conditioning coaches and sports scientists need to stay on top of current practise with regards to research and applied methodology in all areas associated with the profession.

This workshop will bring together the presenters extensive experience and research background in the field of strength and power development to give the participant a thorough overview of the current research and application of basic to advanced strength and power methods and key planning considerations to support these methods. Duncan will also be shairng information from the up and coming 2013 UKSA  conference that he has worked massivley on throughout the last 9 months to bring the best and up to date content.

Duncan is currently lead Strength and Conditioning Coach for the North West region of the English Institute of Sport where he works with GB Taekwondo.He is also Chairman of the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA). Previous roles have included Head of S&C  for premiership football club Newcastle United, Lead S&C coach for GB Basketball and many other consultancy and academic roles within well regarded institutions.


  • Current research and application on periodisation and planning for strength and power
  • Power development key considerations and current research
  • Hypertrophy key considerations and current research
  • Application of strength and power training within high performance environments such as Premiership football and olympic sports.
  • Training for strength considerations including basic, intermediate and advanced methods both theory and application. Some of these methods include but are not limited to:
  • Cluster training theory and application
  • Occlusion training theory and application
  • Complex training and post activation potentiation (PAP)


High Performance Strength and Conditioning:  An applied perspective- A unique look at the presenters experience with S&C at the highest level of sport. It’s not an ideal scenario, Duncan works within a team and the application of our ‘ideal’ model of delivery. This practical session will illustrate some of these concepts.

Strength and power methods- Get under the bar! The participants will experiment with some of the methods outlined in the lectures and experience them for themselves.

What you will get in the download is the following 

  • Video footage of both Presentations that was presented on the day in the lecture room along with PDF’s.
  • Video footage of both floor practical presentations that was given in the gym
  • Lecture presentations PFD’s on nearly 6 hours of Video content available to download for only 49 euro.

You will also receive up to 30 extra PDF’s on training/nutrition/research cause we are feeling in a good mood.


frenchWith over 10 years experience as a strength and conditioning specialist, Duncan has a wealth of knowledge in the physical preparation of elite and high performance athletes.  He has coached athletes from a host of different sports at all levels, including professional sports, those competing to Olympic and World-class standards, NCAA athletes, and athletes affiliated to National Sports Institutes and Olympic Training Centres.

Duncan gained his Doctorate degree (PhD) in Exercise Physiology at the University of Connecticut, USA.  He has authored/co-authored over 40 scientific manuscripts and 5 book chapters in the fields of strength and conditioning and resistance exercise, and has presented work at scientific congresses and clinics throughout Europe, North America and Asia.  An editorial board member for the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, Duncan was a founder member of the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA).  He has sat on the Board of Directors for the UKSCA since 2008.

Duncan is a fully Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach with the UKSCA, and hold Certified Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) status with Distinction from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).  He holds USA Weightlifting Club Coach certification, and is an accredited sports scientist for research and support with the British Association of Sport and Exercises Sciences (BASES)

For 7 years Duncan was a Senior Strength and Conditioning Coach with the English Institute of Sport.  In 2006, Duncan was the Strength and Conditioning Coach to the England Basketball Men’s and Women’s national teams that won Bronze medals at the XVIII Commonwealth Games.  Following this success, Duncan acted as the National Lead for Strength and Conditioning to Great Britain Basketball for 6 years.  Duncan currently acts as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach to Newcastle United FC in the English Premiership.

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 16.36.23


Kevin D’Arcy,MSc. Physio, MISCP, CPSEM, CPMT, CSCS, WIL1,
Chartered Physiotherapist, Strength and Conditioning Specialist, International Level Olympic Weightlifting Coach will provide a seminar in utilising the explosive lifts as training methodologies for field sports.
As a competive lifter Kevin has many times broken Irish records, won 7 Irish titles and many times been been the top lifter in Ireland. He has also been the only Irishman to win a British title, to compete in World University Games, many times European Senior Championships and has coached Internationally for Ireland.
Previously working as a S&C coach with Scottish premier League, he currently works with both Connacht rugby and Galway GAA offering specialised Olympic Weightlifting coaching amoungst other services.
Kevin learned the best components of Olympic Lifting training when spending time training with the Polish Olympic team including World record holders for extended periods of time and has also trained extensively in Ukraine where he learned the well reknowned Soviet weightlifting system.
Kevin D'Arcy 14/8/2011
He combines this practical experience with his academic knowledge as a S&C Specialist and Chartered Physiotherapist to bring a very well integrated use of explosive movements to team sports.
This seminar will address:
1: Why we use Olympic weightlifting movements.
2: Choice of Olympic lift variantions for sporting performance.
3: Mobility requirements for various explosive lifts.
4: Warm up drills for explosive lifting.
5: Practical coaching and practice of snatch variations.
6: Practical coaching and practice of clean variations.
7: Practical coaching and practice of jerk/overhead varitions.
8: How and when to include these movements in our sports conditioning programs.
9: Practical coaching and practice of back squat, deadlift & bench press
10: Questions and answers section.
It is limited to the first 15 people and it will be our cheapest seminar as its the first one before we go nationwide with it.

Location- Longford Town, Athlone Road

 Price- 69 Euro only 

Date- 2nd February workshop 1- 9am to 2.30 ( 3 spots left)

Workshop 2 on same day from 3.30pm to 8.30pm(2 spots left)


If you would like more details then please email us at


In Part 1, we discussed the obstacles to optimal athletic development for youths, and how to overcome them. Also, the ideal types of activities at various age ranges were considered. In Part 2 we will look at building an efficient, injury-proof young athlete from the ground up. After all, the under 10s, 12s and U14s of today are the seniors of tomorrow.

Building the efficient Athlete

Building a healthy, resilient, powerful, skilful player, who is less prone to injuries, can be likened to building a wall. Look at the diagram below.

image 1-large

You can see that each layer of the wall represents an athletic trait. Players love to master the skills of their game, but when you really examine a wall, which row of bricks is the most important? The top one or the bottom one? It should be clear that we have to build layers from the bottom-up to finish with a solid wall, or a complete athlete. Therefore, with this in mind, my work with athletes, of all ages, involves ensuring that adequate foundations are in place before moving anything other than body weight is considered. The coach’s job is partly to make the athlete Stronger, Faster, more Powerful – in other words, a better mover, regardless of the sport.  All trainers will vary to some extent in methodology and style. However, when starting out with a new athlete or team, it is crucial, in my opinion, to ascertain their training age and current condition. This is done by movement screening: the process of assessing the ability to perform primitive bodyweight movements like squatting, lunging, etc… By analysing these movements, we can identify asymmetries between left and right side, muscular imbalances, and mobility and stability issues. If these remain hidden, then the athletes are only trying to build strength on dysfunction and are doomed to either plateau, get injured or both. By screening the athlete, the coach knows which layers of the “wall” are solid and which are weak. Something as simple as bad posture is dysfunction. It messes up the alignment of the body. Imagine the body is a car: how good would it be for the car to drive at 100kph with the handbrake on and all the wheels out of alignment? The first night I work with a team or athlete, we perform simple movement drills designed to show up compensation patterns. By identifying mobility issues in the ankles, hips, shoulders, etc… it provides us with a roadmap of where each person’s training must begin and the direction we need to take.

Mobility and Stability

image 2-large

I will deal with mobility and stability together, because they are

intrinsically linked. The joint-by-joint approach used by Gray Cook and Michael Boyle best illustrates this: In my book “Training and Optimal Health for Sports”, I explain the kinetic chain and how everything is connected to everything else. Cook and Boyle teach how to visualise the body as a series of joints stacked on top of each other with alternating needs. See Table 1.

Table 1.


Primary need

Shoulder (gleno-humeral joint) Mobility
Scapulae (shoulder blades) Stability
Thoracis Spine Mobility
Lumbar Spine Stability
Hips Mobility
Knees Stability
Ankles Mobility

If a joint that is meant to be mobile is overly stiff, then it shifts this responsibility to the joint higher up the chain. For example, if a person tries to squat but has poor hip mobility, then the necessity of mobility is usually shifted to the lumbar spine, which needs stability. The result is likely low back pain, which is cause by poor hip mobility, not necessarily a weak back (as is sometimes thought). By understanding this joint-by-joint approach we can ensure our clients meet the needs of the joints by tailoring the exercises accordingly.

Examples of recommended exercises for mobility are:

1. 90-90 Kneeling with rotation image 3-large

Purpose:      improves thoracic extension-rotation, stretches hip flexors, activates glutes.

Method:      Adopt a half-kneeling position, pushing hips forward, with hands at side of head and elbows back. Rotate in the direction of the front leg. Perform 8-10 repetitions and change legs. Ensure to “fire” glutes each repetition.

2. Side lunges image 4-large

Purpose:           To warm-up the muscles of the thigh/hips and stretch the adductors.

Method:            Stand with feet approximately twice your shoulder width, keeping feet parallel. Bend one knee keeping the other straight, thereby squatting to one side. Keep both horizontal. Shift weight to the other side without moving the positions of the feet. Perform 10-12 repetitions.

Examples of recommended exercises for stability are:

1. Side Plank image 5-large

Purpose:           To develop the stability and endurance of the lateral (side) trunk muscles, e.g. internal and external obliques.

Set-up:                Take the side plank start position. N.B: attention must be paid to maintaining neutral spine. Knees, hips and lumbar spine should all be extended. NO ROTATION. Maintain until position can no longer be comfortably held.

2. Bird-dogs 

image 6-largeimage 7-largeimage 8-large

Purpose:      To develop the stability and endurance of the posterior core, e.g. low back muscles, gluteals, also abdominals. It is particularly for rotational stability.

Set-up:         Kneel on the floor with hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Ensure spine is kept neutral. A PVC pipe or sponge noodle can be used to assist in this. See Fig 6. Brace the trunk muscles and raise one arm to the front without moving the low back out of position.

If the pipe rolls off, this indicates inability to maintain position. Hold for two deep belly breaths and slowly lower the raised arm to the start position. The next progression is to raise contralateral arm and leg while maintaining position.

General Movement Skills

This layer of training involves making sure that the young athletes can correctly perform the primal movement patterns, e.g. squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, bending, twisting and gait.

Example 1: Prisoner Squat. image 9-large

One of the key exercises I like to makes sure is correctly done, is the prisoner squat.

Purpose:        This is a bread-and-butter exercise for developing strength and power for any athlete. However, very few pubescent (and older) people do it correctly. When done properly, it works most lower body muscles in a movement capacity with a great deal of core stabilising and other proprioceptive benefits.

Set-up:           Have the athlete stand with feet approx shoulder-width apart, with feet turned 10-15 degree outward. Hands are held beside the head. When lowering, teach sitting back, NOT down, with weight on the balls of the feet and heels. Upper and lower back should be arched with the chest up. The knees should be tracked with (but not past) the knees.

Example 2. Lunges image 10-large

Purpose:        Great exercise for working most muscles from the trunk down. It is a also a great tool for assessing a student’s hip mobility (hip extension) and proprioception (balance)

Set-up:           With feet hip-width apart, have the students step BACKWARD into a reverse lunge.       Emphasise maintaining correct upright posture. Focus on creating right angles at both knees and hips. Trunk, rear leg and front calf should be perpendicular to floor. Front thigh and rear            calf should be parallel to floor. Return to start position by PULLING from front leg NOT pushing from back leg while remaining upright.

Mistakes:      Inability to step into the correct lunge position could indicate some or all of the following – weak hip extension as a result of tight/overactive hip flexors and inhibited/weak hip extensors. Inability to return to start position as described could indicate weak hip extension as a result of tight/overactive hip flexors and inhibited/weak hip extensors. See Fig 11 to observe the typical, incorrect lunge position.

Strength and Power

As a martial arts coach in Ireland, I have observed over the last ten-fifteen years that children coming into my classes are, on average, displaying less flexibility, less cardiovascular fitness, less strength and less favourable body composition than previously. This, I believe, is partly due to the advent of the games console, the now restricted level of physical activity in first-level schools and nutrition changes in society. Coaches and parents have a responsibility to try to turn this around, and I believe structured resistance training for children can play a key part in this. There is some concern about the safety of children undertaking strength training, but studies have shown that there are far more injuries from playing actual sports than from following an appropriate and properly supervised training programme. Fear of injury need not be a preventative factor in juniors doing resistance training once internationally recognised recommendations are adhered to. Some of the confirmed benefits of strength training for children are:

  • Sizeable strength gains, beyond those of normal growth
  • Reduced risk of injury in sporting activities
  • Increased performance
  • Improved recovery from normal sports injuries
  • Improved bone mineral density
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and/or obesity
  • Improved psychological health e.g. self-esteem

With all these benefits, it seems surprising that there aren’t more structured resistance training programs available. Perhaps it is because of circulating myths about strength training:

  • It has been said that strength training can stunt the growth of children – in actual fact, it has been shown that as long as professional recommendations of exercise and nutrition are followed, resistance training may have beneficial growth results and will NOT negatively affect the height a child would naturally develop. (Zatisiorsky and W. Kraemer, 2006)1
  • There are fears that there is potential risk of damage to growth plates – According to Paul Gamble2 there is no documented evidence of this. As previously mentioned, growth can be enhanced as long as the resistance is kept appropriate (See below).
  • That there are injury risks involved – it seems universally accepted amongst experts that the most frequent causes of injuries in resistance training for children are the same as those of adults, namely: incorrect technique, using inappropriate weight, and lack of qualified supervision.

Guidelines for resistance training for children

  • A child should have reached psychological and physical maturity to embark in structured resistance training. Consultation with the family doctor is recommended.
  • The programme should be individual to a particular child and not a one-size-fits-all team programme.
  • The child should be taught correct lifting and spotting (if relevant) techniques and supervised at all times.
  • Correct gym etiquette should be taught to avoid accidents, e.g. not leaving weights on the ground, etc…
  • Introduce resistance training to a child at a level that may be too easy rather than too difficult. It is better to gradually increase resistance as needed than to allow the child have a negative experience and/or risk injury.
  • New free weight exercises should be taught with a broom handle or an empty bar until competent.
  • It is vital to develop core strength to a high level with children as with adults. This can be done as part of resistance training using multi-joint exercises as well as traditional core exercises.
  • When a young athlete stops resistance there is deterioration in gained strength levels. To avoid loss of enthusiasm, a programme must include variation of exercises and types of training.
  • Prepubescent athletes should strive for neither hypertrophy nor explosive power; however, these may be introduced cautiously in adolescence3.
  • Young athletes should be allowed enough recovery time between sessions, as even growing takes its toll on the body.

Recommended Loads and Exercises for Young Athletes

Kurz (2006)4 quotes a study (Krumm 1988) which illustrates safe loading of weight for young athletes:

  • Eleven-twelve-year-olds should lift weight no more than 30% of body weight
  • Thirteen-fourteen-year-olds should lift no more than 50% of body weight
  • Fifteen-and sixteen-year-olds should lift weight no more than 100% of body weight

These weights should allow ten-fifteen repetitions for good strength gains.

According to the USA National Strength and Conditioning Association, young athletes should do only 1-3 exercises per body part in a workout and train 2-3 non-consecutive days per week. Drabik (1996)5 recommends alternating the body part exercised to allow sufficient recovery within a workout. Drabik also recommends the use of dumbbells instead of a barbell to minimise chances of spinal compression in younger children.

Speed and Agility

As in the prior section, there is so much to cover, that it is more a case of what to omit, than what to include. It seems prudent to define the topic first, in any case.

Speed can be simply defined as the ability to achieve a high velocity of a planned movement. Top linear speed while considered the main goal of track sports, is less applicable (although, useful) to field sports e.g. soccer.

Agility is generally considered the ability to decelerate, change direction and rapidly accelerate in the new direction. Agility is a keystone athletic trait in ball sports such as GAA, rugby, soccer, basketball, etc…

Both of these abilities are made up of two aspects – physical ability, and biomechanical training. Both aspects demand attention and are trainable with the appropriate drills. Remembering that this blog is in relation to youth conditioning, it is essential that we consider the sensitive training ages for speed & agility. According to Drabik6, the sensitive ages for developing speed are from age seven to nine for both boys and girls, with a further period of age ten to eleven for girls. He also states that boys’ speed may keep improving until the age of eighteen, whereas girls may peak by age 15.

Physical Ability:

Some qualities that need to be developed, particularly for multi-directional speed, are:

  • Balance
  • Co-ordination
  • Mobility
  • Strength

The latter two have been covered already in this article, but not balance and co-ordination. While there are simple exercises that can be done with young children to develop balance, I find I get the best results by doing it through gameplay. For example, single-leg exercises (which are great for children to develop independent leg strength and stability) can be easily incorporated in to races, etc… I sometimes like to give children an object, e.g. a book, to balance on their heads while performing a task. It promotes good posture – essential for balance and speed & agility. Partnering up the children to compete in push-pull games while standing on one leg, with a view to knocking the partner off balance is brilliant for improving spatial awareness, ankle mobility and balance.

A child’s level of co-ordination s directly linked to the ability to develop new motor patterns quickly. If coaches consider it important for a child to pick up new skills quickly, then I strongly recommend incorporating co-ordination exercises into the warm-up routines. The challenge of figuring out where the arms and legs need to go in space will, over time, yield motor learning improvements.

Technical Ability

There are a number of technical aspects to linear speed, multi-directional speed and agility that can have great bearing on how effectively an athlete moves on the field. Like any other form of programming, a coach must decide at what ages, and in what order, to implement these skills. In line with Newton’s First Law of Motion, more force is required to stop an object in motion than to overcome inertia and initiate motion. Therefore, I tend to focus much early speed work on deceleration. This, also, conveniently compliments the eccentric phase I emphasise in strength work. Plus deceleration is an unavoidable component of changing direction. Some skills to consider are:

  1. Forward deceleration
  2. Lateral deceleration
  3. Forward Acceleration
  4. Lateral shuffle
  5. Breaking right/left

Forward deceleration: Used when running forward and player has to decelerate in order to back-pedal or move laterally. Planting one foot forward while shifting the body weight back is typical. Ankles should be dorsiflexed, knees and hips flexed, with chest up. For back-pedalling the front foot is immaterial. However, if decelerating for lateral shuffling, plant the right foot forward to shuffle left, and lead with the left foot.

Lateral deceleration: Typically used when moving laterally image 12-large but may be used when running forward and the athlete plans to use a crossover step to change direction at angles of approx 135 degrees. Cues are to: plant the braking foot perpendicular to travelling direction with foot flat. Knees and hips flexed, chest up.

Forward Acceleration: The primary things to coach here are body positioning. To achieve maximum speed, lean forward (approximately 45 degrees). Feet should claw the ground – a common mistake is to plant the lead foot, heel first, ahead of the centre of mass. This only serves to decelerate, when the athlete needs to be accelerating. Arm mechanics are essential – elbows should be bent approximately 90 degrees and should swing freely from the shoulder. Avoid raising the shoulders. Avoid the arms crossing the midline of the body (coronal plane) – they should only move in the sagittal plane. Movement of the body should be horizontal, not vertical. Avoid the hips moving up and down.

Lateral shuffle: This is a relatively easy movement to master. The athlete should be careful to maintain an athletic stance, low with knees and hips flexed. Feet approximately shoulder width apart. Movement side-to-side is performed by leading with the leg nearest the intended direction.

Breaking right/left: This involves an opponent turning to run 90 degrees from the current facing, when a lateral shuffle wouldn’t be appropriate. The athlete should lead with the leg nearest the intended direction while truing the hips in this direction. The second step should now be from the back leg and the athlete is in a normal running gait.


  1. Science and Practice of Strength Training. 2nd Edition, (Human Kinetics 2006), by V. Zatisiorsky and W. Kraemer, pages 166
  2. Peak Performance Resistance Special report, Chapter “Women and Young Athletes,”, by Paul Gamble, page 65
  3. Science and Practice of Strength Training. 2nd Edition, (Human Kinetics 2006), by V. Zatisiorsky and W. Kraemer, pages 201, 208
  4. Kids’ Load Limits, by J.E. Krumm (1988) study quoted in Science of Sports Training, by Tom Kurz, page 165
  5. Children and Sports Training, by Józef Drabik (1996), page 136
  6. Children and Sports Training, by Józef Drabik (1996),

Check out Shane’s book, “Training and Optimal Health for Sports” which is available at


Shane Fitzgibbon is a 6th degree black belt in Taekwon-do and is a full-time martial arts instructor and S&C coach. Holder of a B.Sc and H.Dip in General Science, he dedicates his career to enhancing his sport in the modern era, constantly evolving and improving his training methods in line with the latest research. Fitzgibbon has won numerous gold medals representing Ireland in European, World and Intercontinental Taekwon-do Championships. He has served as a health and fitness columnist with Galway First newspaper, and specialises in functional training with personal training clients and sports clubs. He is a certified High School Strength and Conditioning coach (IYCA), Youth Nutrition Specialist, Youth Conditioning Specialist (Level 2), and Functional Movement Screening specialist (Level1). His book, “Training and Optimal Health for Sports” is available at