At Outlaw: SFR we have one overarching goal that we aim to achieve with all of our athletes…
…we want to develop athletes who can perform at a high level on a consistent basis.
This means that we train them in a way that teaches them how to develop power and explosiveness while simultaneously training them to prevent injuries.
For us, this all starts with how the athletes are introduced to strength training…
In our program, the starting point is called The Futures which is a fundamental training course for athletes ages 12-14 years old.
I started The Futures program in May of 2017 with the goal to teach 12-14yr old athletes how to lift properly and train to be explosive. To date, we have had 40+ athletes complete the program and have seen remarkable results in all testing areas. Our next group of athletes will start training on November 12th.
This program has three objectives…
- To prevent injuries by increasing the baseline strength and declarative capabilities of young athletes.
- To give athletes the tools necessary to embrace the physicality of their sport.
- To have athletes who can walk into a high school weight room with competency in the squat, deadlift, press and bodyweight movements.
As we progressed through the training program I found that while athletes were seeing phenomenal physical results in their strength and speed testing the largest improvement came in their self-confidence. Which I believe to be the largest limiting factor holding back many young athletes.
I run this program for a few reasons…
First, as an athlete myself, I suffered through some serious injuries issues in high school and I know that my low back and knee issues started when I first began to lift weights. Nobody taught me the right way to train. They just gave me a program and let me go at it. Zero technique, zero coaching.
Second, I know this lack of proper instruction is a problem for a ton of young athletes. They walk into a high school weight room, fitness center, or lifting group and don’t know how to train. The one thing I know better than anything is teaching strength and it is my goal to help young athletes have a long and healthy athletic career.
Finally, I want to be the coach I needed when I was young. Once I saw an increase in confidence in my athletes it lit a fire in me to expand this program and build my business around helping young athletes develop confidence. I believe that the weight room develops you in ways that are far beyond getting stronger and faster.
“My son has been able to be more confident in stepping into a new environment because this program really taught him early on and now the transition to the high school weight room is not scary. He has been able to talk competently and confidently with the coaches about what he can and can’t do.”
As I’ve said a thousand times – it is my belief that the #1 cause of injury in young athletes is the improper implementation of strength training.
Athletes have to be taught how to train and they have to be progressed in a safe manner. If we are going to train athletes to be strong and powerful it all starts with teaching them how to control their bodies.
Big Engine. Big Breaks.
If you look at injury rates in youth sports they are through the roof!
Why is that?
Simple. We are not building our athletes to have the capabilities to withstand the demands of their sport. We are teaching them to run faster but not how to apply the brakes properly.
This is why the majority of the ankle, knee, and hip injuries are non-contact injuries.
It all boils down to this – youth athletes are not strong enough and don’t understand how to control their bodies in order to absorb force properly.
“I couldn’t be happier with The Futures program! My son’s results increased in every tested category. In the past I would enroll him with private trainers, however, with this program the classes were small, allowing for “one on one” time where needed and a competitive environment for the athletes to push and test themselves against the other participants.”
Our goal in The Futures program is to build a durable and explosive athlete. In order to do this in a way that allows for long-term athletic success, we need to introduce strength training.
The thing is, every athlete will be exposed to a lifting program at some point in their athletic career. However, the quality of the program for their introduction to strength training is critical to their long-term athletic development. Just like teaching a young Quarterback proper mechanics early in his career, proper strength training implementation will set the athlete up for success.
To be completely honest, some introductory strength programs are awful and some are outstanding.
What separates the good from the bad is twofold…
- Good programs focus on proper movement and muscle firing patterns before they introduce weight.
- Proper strength implementation is done in a systematic fashion that takes into account all three phases of strength development – Isometric, Eccentric, and Concentric.
“Progressing athletes to the next exercise without requisite proficiency is like promoting a kid who reads at an elementary level to high school” – Nicodemus Christopher, Director of Performance – Missouri Basketball
So, how do you ensure that the program your athletes are following is appropriate for a new lifter?
- Make sure that they are taught how to move through the entire range of motion of a strength movement before given an external load.
- Ensure that they are given a program that focuses on isometrics and controlled eccentrics before the concentric phase.
- Understand that every new lifter will respond to strength differently and programs need to be specific to varied developmental levels and the athlete’s individual starting strength.
- Be patient. Lay a good foundation. Just like any well-built structure – the wider the base the higher the peak.
If you ensure that your young athlete follows the above guidelines and training progressions you will have an athlete that is not only ready for the physicality of their sport but is set up for a successful career in the weight room.
As coaches, if we take the time to do this the right way we can guarantee that our athletes are better off because of it.
The next group of athletes for The Futures program starts on November 12th.
If you are interested in getting your young athlete involved in this program please shoot me an email at Coach@CoachVanStrength.com or call at (303)332-2722.
This program will prepare athletes for the next level by building a foundation on which they can grow.
As the saying goes – “the wider the base, the higher the peak”
“As a former professional football player, I had the opportunity to have 6 of my boys who I coach in youth football participate in The Futures program. I was immediately impressed with the knowledge that the coaching staff had as they began work with the boys. They have developed a curriculum that was both challenging and specific to their needs. I felt the coaches at Outlaw had the skill of presenting a no-nonsense and motivational plan was exactly what these boys needed. I began to see immediate results in their strength and conditioning. Not once did any of these boys quit in their workouts as they were motivated by the gains that they were experiencing. We had a few boys who struggled to make one push up. At the end of their six weeks, they had worked that number to 15 solid push-ups. I have been around many strength and conditioning coaches throughout my career. I highly recommend coaches at Outlaw and The Futures program as not only very knowledgeable coaches but a people who genuinely care about the growth of each individual they train.”