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Acadia Performance Training Inc.
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Ross added to Team Canada World Junior Team

Tuesday, December 20, 2016, 10:41AM by Elliott

Congrats to Football NS and CK athlete Connor Ross on recently being named to U18 Team Canada Football! 

http://footballcanada.com/team-canada/2017-north-american-championship/

 

Veinot invited to Basketball Canada Assessment Camp

Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 10:10AM by Elliott under News

Port Williams and Horton Basketball athlete Jayda Veinot has been invited to Basketball Canada's Age Group Assessment Camp.  Click here for more

 

How specific does training need to be?

Saturday, April 16, 2016, 7:54AM by Elliott

A common question brought up in sports performance training is around the specificity of training.  It was brought up again in a recent survey where a few people asked directly, or indirectly about if our programs would benefit certain sports.  The next couple paragraphs explain how specific training needs to be, and how we adapt our model to fit those athletes. 

When we watch sports, or athletes compete, we see a really diverse set of skills that they use to be great at those sports.  These skills are no doubt very specific and very unique to each sport.  There is certainly very little if any transfer from swinging a baseball bat to skating and if you're good at one doesn't mean you'll be good at the other. So it's easy to think that every athlete needs to be trained very differently. 

However, there are a few common pieces that are common with every athlete.  First, they all have to create movement from the ground up.  Whether it is sprinting, jumping, cutting, throwing, swinging a bat/club, tackling, completing turns in swimming, or racing down the slopes, all the athletes complete their skills from the ground. The more power they have in their legs, the more power they can express in their specific sport skill. This is why we put such a big emphasis on leg strength, power, and explosiveness for all of our athletes. The fastest sprinters produce the most force into the ground when they sprint, the hardest throwers put the most force into the ground when they push of their back leg, the hardest kicks in soccer are matched with the highest forces in the plant leg so having strong and powerful legs help every athlete.  The transfer to their specific sport skills happen when they go from their training to their sport practice.

Second, in almost every sport, being a better athlete helps.  Nearly every coach would want an athlete to is faster, stronger and better conditioned. If an athlete has these traits then it makes their specific skills even harder to match. Our goal is to make sure that the weakest link in their game is never athleticism. Even in golf we are seeing the likes of Rory McIlroy take their training seriously because they understand the benefits of being a better athlete. We can't teach an athlete to be better at their skills, but we can train the physical pieces that improve those skills!

Third, reducing injuries help an athlete become better by allowing them to participate more in their sport. Injuries derail practice time, playing time and enjoyment.  Training has shown to be capable of significantly reducing both acute (tears,sprains,strains) and overuse (soreness, inflamations) injuries.  Part of the injury epidemic is because of how much our athletes are playing one sport. By completing sport specific movements all the time, they start to wear down the muscles and joints for those, as well as lose movement patterns.  Our approach to training focuses on reducing these factors by strengthening the common areas that get under utilized in sports, as well as give the athletes more movement capability. Finally we work on strengthening the areas that are normally weak in all athletes (hips, hamstrings, core) that are significant contributor to major injuries.  By developing a more robust and injury resistant body athletes can train harder and longer at their sport. 

With all that being said, we don't take a one size fits all approach to our athletes.  We have variations of our athletic development model that help athletes get specific pieces of training that might help them. With rotational athletes (athletes that swing, shoot, kick) we incorporate a lot of medicine ball work to teach them how to effectively transfer leg power into the ability to express that power in their sport skill.  We also take exercises out for athletes who may have issues, such as a baseball or volleyballs players don't do certain pressing movement, in order to keep their shoulders healthy.  

To sum it up, we can't, or don't have the expertise to improve the specific skill of all the sports.  However, part of being a great strength and conditioning coach is being able to know enough about each sport to classify sport skills and address them differently.  Fortunately, one thing that simplifies this is the fact that all sport skills start from producing force from the ground. So for as much force an athlete can put into the ground, the ground puts that force back into the athlete to allow them to sprint, jump, throw, swing with mor power. 

 

Staff News - James Young

Sunday, August 16, 2015, 5:42PM by Elliott under News

Last week marked the end of James Young’s time with Acadia Performance Training. He has been a part of Acadia Performance Training for over two years.  More importantly, James significantly impacted everyone involved in our service from athletes, to students and myself.  James was our first Assistant Strength Coach, which allowed us to help more athletes and set a high standard for what we expect from our staff going forward.  He will be leaving to continue his education as a Masters level student at Memorial University (MUN) in Newfoundland and we wish him nothing but the best!

 

There aren’t enough great things I can say to explain how much he has developed as a Coach but I will try in these next few paragraphs and hopefully capture what he means to APT.  I was first approached by James when he expressed interest in volunteering with me as a part of The Exercise and Training Practicum through our Kinesiology Department.  It was near the start of my career and it was great to have someone to spread a bit of the work around as our Varsity program took shape.  He was around that summer and first got involved with Acadia Performance Training and our local athletes.  He learned quickly and absorbed everything that I attempted to teach him.  He could execute exercises with high level of skill but it was ability to connect with every athlete that trained with us that really impressed me.  For those that don’t know James, he’s a bigger athlete, shaved head, with a beard. For some athletes this could be intimidating but James could make them all feel welcome – male/female, younger/older, extrovert/introvert.  He’s a nice guy and hard worker; he listened and absorbed but also questioned and added value to what we did.  Initially I had no measuring stick for what to expect from an intern but now I know what to look for.

 

After his first summer he spent the fall competing with our Football Axemen in his last season.  It was already decided that he was going to start a full internship with me that winter.  I didn’t know how committed he would be but I was blown away.  He spent nearly every morning, at least five days a week in the weight room with our athletes. By the end of it he probably put close to 300 hours with our athletes, and had a tremendous impact on their development and growth.  I know the Women’s Rugby Team and Women’s Soccer team benefited tremendously from his dedication.  Over the course of the semester he continued to gain confidence, bought into our system of training and really showed he could command the respect of a team or group. Following the semester I knew he was capable of being entrusted to run the private side of my agreement with Acadia – my business Acadia Performance Training.  He started full time in the evenings at a point where our demand was booming. My goal for APT is to provide high quality Strength and Conditioning services to as many athletes in the Valley.  Without the knowledge, dedication and expertise of James it couldn’t have been possible.  He allowed APT to run more sessions, grow with our more experienced athletes and continue to provide a great product. His involvement also allowed me to start mentoring more students to continue to expand and help more athletes. He taught courses and helped me mentor upcoming student S&C Coaches in Kinesiology.  His attention to detail helped improve our testing, streamline our warmups and allow our partnership with the Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic to be a tremendous success in year one.  Without James there wouldn’t be the amount of athletes working with us and getting better at the rate they do because of his dedication, personality and skills.

 

Prior to James I had no expectations for Interns, Assistant Coaches or Lead Strength and Conditioning Coaches. Due to everything he’s done the bar has been set extremely high.  If someone is going to work for me and help our athlete’s they need to be the following:

  • Nice! James is one of the nicest, caring people I know.
  • Dedicated.  James has a 99.9% record for attendance. There are never any convenient excuses that pop up.
  • Prioritizes APT.  Works everything in his life around APT. Again, no petty excuses.
  • Cares.  He truly cares about each athlete that comes through the door and wants to see them succeed.  He knows every single person’s name!
  • Reliable.  Completes every task I’ve ever asked him and supersedes expectations.
  • Organized & attention to detail.  Has helped improve our training space.
  • Prepared.  Always ready for every session in terms of equipment and setup.
  • Personable. As I mentioned above, he connects with every athlete that comes through the door.
  • Coaches intensely.  Always coaches at a high level, demonstrates exercises, cues and corrects in a positive manner. Great posture when on the floor.
  • Positive.  Finds the best in people and situations and always high energy.
  • Coachable.  He listens and applies everything he is taught regardless of his previous experience.  He understands that we’re trying to run a system and knows that everything is done for a reason.
  • Smart.  For those that don’t know James had a near 4.0 GPA his last year.  More importantly that that he can hold a topic about training and life in general.  We always say that you truly don’t know a topic unless you can confidently hold a conversation about it; James can talk shop with the best of them.
  • Takes initiative.  Even though he would listen and apply everything I taught him he would still come up with suggestions and a plan for how change what we do to make our athletes better.  If he had an idea on how to improve something he would act on it.

 

 

If you have any notes you’d like me to pass on to James please send them to me and I will forward them to him. He’ll also be checking in to tomorrow night’s training sessions and maybe on Tuesday.  I don’t know how to thank James for what he’s added to my experiences thus far at Acadia.  He’s allowed me to grow my impact on the community while able to start spending a few more hours at home with my wife.  She’s probably as big a fan of James as I am.  He’s allowed me to let control go of the operation, which has been difficult as the person who has built up Strength and Conditioning at Acadia. Most importantly he’s leaving this place far better than how he left it.  His legacy will be that he enabled hundreds of athletes to get better beyond what I could do by myself. His contributions will be felt for years to come in this area.  Thanks James!  

 

How we train speed, and why it has nothing to do with how quick your feet move

Thursday, June 18, 2015, 11:29PM by Elliott

Speed is the most sought after quality in athletics. Every Coach is looking for that player who can get to a loose puck/ball, gain that step on a defender or close the gap on defense. Even though speed can be the difference maker there’s a lot of confusion around how to train it or even what it looks like. In this short article I’ll take you through some misconceptions around sport speed as well as how we train it at Acadia Performance Training.

 

Quick feet = slow athlete

Fast feet = good for dancing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8ksMrFlSng 

The toughest thing to hear as a strength and conditioning professional is the obsession with ‘quick feet’. Too many players are being told that they need to increase their ‘foot speed’. However nearly all of them can picture an athlete they’ve seen play that looks like they’re moving slowly but actually have great speed. When we look at any research of athletes on land or ice it all says that the players that cover ground the fastest are the ones who take least amount of steps (not most) and actually have longer ground contact times (not picking their feet up quickly) and strides. The reason this works is because spending more time on the ground allows an athlete to put more power into the surface. Basic physics tell us that the harder you push into a surface, the harder it pushes you back. If you have the horsepower (strength) to push into the ground you won’t need to chop your feet. Think of quick feet as tires spinning but can’t grip the ground.

 

Acceleration is more important than full speed

 

The fastest athletes in the world (100m sprinters) don’t reach maximum speed until 50-60m. In sport we’ll rarely have that much time to move in a straight line without having to make some sort of a move or cut. Therefore, most sports are stop/go, change of direction and accelerating from a coasting position. To get to that loose object, catch up to or get past an opponent we need that sudden burst. That sudden burst is our ability to accelerate, not full speed. Acceleration is a product of our strength combined with the ability to produce it quickly. Think a big horsepower engine that is finely tuned. If your engine (strength) isn’t big enough to handle your body (size) you will struggle to have that burst.

 

How we train it

 

Strength – improving lower body strength is one of the best returns on investments an athlete can make to improve their ability to accelerate. Adding strength is like adding horsepower to an engine. We use predominantly single leg exercises to gain this strength because they’re easier to learn, safer and more specific to athletes who move one leg at a time.

 

Power – while we’re improving strength we also want to make sure we can put that power into the ground as quickly as possible. The faster we can produce that strength the faster we’ll push our bodies towards our target. We’ll use a combination of explosive exercises in the weight room and plyometrics to teach the body to produce power quickly.

 

Short sprint work – slower athletes will often dislike short sprint work because they don’t feel they can get going fast enough. They’ll prefer to do longer sprints where they can work to get to top speed. Here in lies the problem where they never get a chance to improve the most important quality – acceleration. For the majority of the summer we’ll use numerous short sprints to force the athlete to learn how to get going as quickly as possible. A combination of basic techniques, reaction sprints and competitive sprints will help them progress towards more game like situations.

 

Sled work – pushing a (relatively) heavy sled is probably one of the best, but least used exercises for developing acceleration ability. It forces an athlete to learn how to move a weight heavier than their body forward. By doing this we’re combining the ability to overcome our own body (and gravity) on an angle that is specific to accelerating. We’re teaching the body how to put the greatest amount of power into the ground. This will be used until the end of the summer when we replace it with light sleds that are towed at high speeds

 

Conditioning – even our conditioning helps us focus on speed development. Gone are the days of long runs to get fit to play sports. Nearly every sport involves bursts of high intensity activity combined with some sort of rest. By using high intensity conditioning we can train the body to work hard and recover hard. We also avoid the pitfalls of doing long, slow conditioning which teaches our body to primarily recruit slow twitch fibers. We always want to recruit fast twitch fibers because the evidence is clear that we can actually change some fibers from slow to fast twitch based on training.

 

The system – all together our whole system is geared to improve leg power, acceleration and speed. From the warmup exercises we do to get the joints moving, the core exercises that allow our body to function properly, and the strength and power exercises that drive the engine our primary goal is to make a better athlete.  

 

 

Recipe to kick start your week

Sunday, March 15, 2015, 8:40PM by Elliott under Nutrition

The main obstacle to having a healthy breakfast is always lack of time. To try and overcome that obstacle preparation is a key to success. Take 30 minutes one night or on the weekend and try the following recipe for a quick grab and go in the morning. A lot of the time we'll skip breakfast or go with a convenient processed snack like sugary cereal or a piece of bread. Kickstarting your day with some protein will help keep your energy levels stable and help improve your metabolism. Combine with greek yogurt and fruit or oatmeal for a well rounded breakfast. If you're short and time this is a better option then nothing or going to Tim's.

Try egg muffins

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup chopped peppers 

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped mushroom

2 cups chopped spinach 

*veggies can be swapped based on preference 

1 cup feta 

6 eggs

6 egg whites 

 

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F 
  2. Chop all veggies and add to bowl
  3. Add in eggs and cheese and mix 
  4. Spray egg muffin tin with olive oil 
  5. Place muffin cups 
  6. Spoon in all ingredients and top up with egg if necessary 
  7. Bake for 20-22 mins

 

 
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