Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Training Adolescent Athletes

Velocity Sports Performance. It marked the first time that I trained young athletes. With the age range between six years of age and up, the young athlete offers an array of experiences, dynamics, and...feelings. My toughest group rested in about five 6yo girls who came to Velocity over 14 years ago. Oh man, they settled in with the feelings: if you one cried, for whatever reason, another cried because her friend cried. I remember having to coral the crew, so they would pay attention to the next drill.

It was work!

Young Athlete Experiences |
Most of my athlete experiences have occurred in a typical gym-setting. But, I still do not think these settings offer the best opportunity for athletes. Check it: You cannot drill an athlete without giving him or her proper space to develop. You can get results, for sure. But, athletes need a turf or grass area, a track will do as extra incentive for many athletes. Squat racks, pools, vertimaxes, rehabilitation services or tools need inclusion for optimal athletic development. Oh, and referring back to the Velocity concept: have an area or multiple areas where an athlete can practice his or her sport. For example, if you have a basketball player come in to the facility, then have a basketball court. If you have a lacrosse player come in to the facility, then have an indoor field or one nearby. Keep in mind that some sports present a little more difficulty in getting their appropriate athletic field, such as, but are not limited to the following:

  • Indoor Track & Field. Where are the indoor tracks???
  • Baseball. Plenty of field outdoors, but weather takes a toll. Get those pitching stations in the facility.
  • Any sport on ice and snow because ice and snow not only need additional facility space and different gym-settings, but they need a cold climate change, which is not always accessible in certain regions. You know these sports need temperature changes. If you have a facility that is fortunate to hold an ice rink or more sheets, then, by all means, use it athletes! Improve your skills!
The year 2008 was a good professional year. As a physical therapy student, I had the opportunity to intern with the New England Patriots for six months during the Pats 18-1 year, coming on the intern staff as the playoffs began. That internship was perfect. Working with the athletic trainers and strength & conditioning coaches in a professional football team environment gave a different look at, well, training. It gave me more confidence in working with pro athletes and in organized team structures. Hey, the Pats know success!

The ability to work with multiple sport teams is a skill. Tolerating the teams is both a skill and a choice. See, adolescents range in skill level: they may arrive with no experience and can barely lift a weight or run properly, or they can perform as if the NCAA will knock on their mail slot any day.  Ice hockey has served as the sport that I have worked with the most as an ice hockey coach and as a strength & conditioning specialist. Its in-season posts challenges:
Many older ice rinks do not have gym facilities in which to give a quick pre or post-practice workout.
When a gym is not present, a field can be used. Simple as that, for sure. Just remember: exercise design and selection may change. As a strength & conditioning specialist, you have to think about the sport, the time of year, the experience of the players, off-ice availability, athlete availability before or after practice, and interest.

Working with the Bishop O'Connell Ice Hockey program on their summer strength & conditioning program is rewarding. Why? For one, as the Varsity 2 Head Coach - we have two varsity teams with Coach Flip Collins serving as the V1 Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations - I can split concentration between on-ice, in-season activity and off-ice, off-season activity. The split is necessary. Implementing new ideas and experiences in to the workout is necessary, especially for a group that has an array of conditioning levels.

Exercise Preference |
Bench Press. Deadlifts. Squats. The three main exercises that, I have learned, ice hockey players like to perform. The three are not the most important - in my opinion unilateral and weight shift exercises (dumbbell or an  alternate dumbbell variation, squat variations, single leg deadlift variations, and lunge variations) that incorporate these forms hold more importance. 

PlayersCan we do bench press?
Me: Can we work on your push-up because you need better should stability and a higher total number of push-ups (from the pre-test of # of push-ups in 30 seconds to test upper body speed-strength, a skill needed in ice hockey). Plus, there are 20 of you; and the transition slows down our progress.

Oh, we can do bench presses. But, the BP offers a good time to work on vanity muscles and competition.

Ice hockey has a lot of leg dominance. Well, it takes on a lot of leg-to-arm and arm-to-leg transition dominance. Deadlifts and squats are fantastic exercises, and young athletes love to see how much they can lift. However, I am an advocate for better performance on the ice. Take that deadlift and move it to one leg. Take that squat and move it one leg or move it at a good speed that offers a chance to incorporate power with balance and coordination.

Training the adolescent athlete has its fun and challenges | 
Here is the chance to train kids when they are young with no to little wear and tear. They have none to little responsibility, so the excuses level has a low entitlement. They have more energy than batteries. They look forward to letting loose. They might show timidness or a lack of confidence, and, as a coach and specialist, the opportunity rises to instill a sense of interpersonal and interpersonal trust in to their abilities. 

Players: Coach, can I do the workout that my trainer has me to perform at the gym I belong to?
Me: It's good that you have access to two different workouts and programs. But, nope! we can't have one person deviate from our routine with the team. Plus, why would you do the same workout three or four days in a row?

Watch out for this tactic coaches. Sure, you might lose a few players to their individual gyms. But, remember that you do not pull your program design out of your butt. You put time in to organizing it and writing it up. Hopefully, all players return in tip-top shape.

It helps to learn from others |
Since entering the fitness profession in 2003, I have learned from other professionals, fitness enthusiasts, by pure observation, and by attending conferences. The growth in the industry has ignited and continues to nourish everyone. The 2019 NSCA Conference held in Washington, DC saw our summer conditioning at O'Connell make a sudden change thanks to Jay Dawes' lecture. Continue the assembly line, specialists!

Keep Inspiring,


Derek runs the summer strength & conditioning program for the Bishop O'Connell Ice Hockey program, and works as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at a few gyms around the Washington, DC region.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Nats and Os

Baltimore | DC

The below message was written when the Orioles were in 1st place at 4-1, and the Nats were in last place in the NL East at 1-3. Things have changed: Os (5-7, 3rd in the AL East). Nats (6-5, one game out of first in a tight NL East.)

The Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles can, in part, thank the off-season for their 2019 success...and it is only early April. Both of these teams have favor that they did not aggressively reach a degree. The Nats reached but were pushed aside.

The O's, worst team in the MLB in 2018 with a 47-115 record, received some bets prior to the 2019 season to win the World Series this year. How 'bout that? But, October is a long way to the end of the baseball season; a 4-1 start sees promise.

The Nats, well, they reached to re-sign Bryce Harper; but he reached to travel up to I-95 to Philly. The Nats could take that...disappointment(?) win the 2019 season series versus the Phillies, which  could, in turn, spill in to more wins versus other teams. But, October is a long way to the end of the baseball season; a 1-3 start sees promise.

You might be a fan of both teams, a fan of one, or completely removed from baseball. Either way, the end of the season stays in the distance (177 and 178 games to go for the Orioles and Nationals, respectively.) Feels like 749 each. How will you handle a situation like the O's and Nats face? - You enter a long season with ads against you or ones that challenge you. But, there is plenty of time to find a way to win. Some folks may give up in the type of situation. Some may down play the situation. Some may never have anything good to say to get through the circumstance.

So far, the Orioles have responded well <>. But, the season is young.

Ante up!

Keep Inspiring,

Derek Arledge, MS, CSCS
Founder - TEEM Performance Training

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Social Media Presence

Because this blog serves as the website, you have to come back to it just like you would to a website.

Kind of same thing. But, this model feels like it may work better. The social media presence is fun, active, informative, inspires...could it make you healthier? Sure. Could it help you complete your adventure run? Yes.

Did you know that TEEM has a page on the following social media sites (alphabetical order):

  1. Facebook - Basically, anything on here goes to Twitter.
  2. Instagram - Here, you receive new or older active exercise posts, which do not solely include locations in which TEEM, itself, operates. But, I might have taught a class or written down a challenge that was posted to IG!
  3. Pinterest - Photos of motivational and inspirational quotes, exercises, posters, and more.
  4. Twitter - Pretty much holds all of the Facebook posts plus posts that only the Twitter crowd sees.
  5. YouTube - Search through the old videos of exercises, commentary, and then the new ones as they are posted. Look for "Eye on the Exercise", a new channel episode series.
Keep Inspiring,

Founder - TEEM Performance Training

Sunday, April 7, 2019


Back after a two-year blogging hiatus on here! Things have not stopped over that time. Instead, everything was primarily accomplished on social media in the form of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts. Yet, changes have been made:

  1. The old website no longer exists. Took it down. No worries. Hey, it's part of re-thinking. Plus, you have this blog, which can serve as a good site.
  2. YouTube videos will re-surface. Like the blog, the YouTube videos are making a return!
  3. The email list serve? Stopped it. It could come back.
  4. New logo. Yes, there is an additional new logo, which appears on the Facebook page profile picture.
  5. This blog site will keep the older blogs from 2016 and back in addition to new blogs.
What is the same or enhanced?

  1. The color scheme has stayed put: blue, orange, and white.
  2. More hashtags on Facebook posts and tweets. #SpreadTheHealth and #ShoutoutFriday received plenty of play in 2018.
  3. Teams that win championships at the college and professional level most often receive shoutouts. 
  4. Clientele. Right now clientele consists mainly of clients from gyms. Yes, I work at a few places but not as TEEM Performance myself, an employee of that gym. So, you could see photos of from those places but not including members or classes. TEEM focuses more on the in-home and outdoor bunch.
  5. You will see a change in the Twitter profile as @DCAreaHockey has been added to it. That Twitter handle is different from TEEM or @teemptraining. However, beliefs in strength & conditioning are shared on that page in addition to that page sharing a part of what I do with ice hockey, writing, and athletics promotion. @teemptraining will focus more on ice hockey coaching that I do, which is separate from ice hockey promotion seen @DCAreaHockey. The 2018-2019 season marked my 12th ice hockey season in coaching and 3rd season as a head coach.  As a varsity 2 head coach, the opportunity to do the 2018 off-season workouts at O'Connell surfaced; so program design that I would do under the TEEM name was given to the players. Strength & conditioning programs are not solely open to ice hockey players but to any type of athlete. We would work in an outdoor setting.
  6. Speaking of the great plays a factor. With spring in the air and summer on the horizon, extreme know, the code orange and code red heat can deter solid outdoor activity. Rain is fine but lightning is not. Snow and ice threaten the outdoor season as well.
  7. With the video skills back on tap, you get videos. You get plenty of short blogs...19th year of dealing with athletes...16th year of practicing as a legit health & fitness professional. It feels great to have new ideas and methods. Come back often...Oh yea, old videos will stay on the YouTube page
Keep Inspiring,

Derek Arledge, MS, CSCS
Founder - TEEM Performance Training

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Car & Driver Ergonomics | Commuting in Anywhere is a Pain

With heart,


Derek Arledge, MS, CSCS         TEEM Performance Training, LLC

Military Thank You | Commercial

I have noticed that those in the military or who have retired attack life differently. They don't complain and get stuck. They keep going. Though they have seen things that many of have not at such a high intensity, they keep going. Learn from military vets in your family, especially the older veterans who have a good message!

With heart,


Derek Arledge, MS, CSCS            TEEM Performance Training, LLC

Move | Commercial

With heart,


Derek Arledge, MS, CSCS            TEEM Performance Training, LLC