Category Archives: Power

Success Story: Volleyball Star on the Rise

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When Champion’s QUEST first opened the doors to youth athletes, the focus was all geared to helping the local Seal Beach Volleyball Club. Now we have been open for over fifteen years and have been able to help athletes in all sports with their athleticism. We have continued to provide the training for many young volleyball athletes in the Los Alamitos-Long Beach area and we are now working with a phenomenal athlete that is on the 14-1’s team for Seal Beach by the name of Grace Abdoo.

Grace started back in 2011 with our Summer Volleyball Camps and continued doing theunspecified-1 camps for the next couple of years. She joined our program as a full-time athlete in the Spring of 2014, which was a little less than a year after her older sister started the program. After doing three years of the Summer Camps along with seeing all the improvements her older sister was able to gain, her mother wanted to give Grace the same advantage her sister was gaining since she competes in a sport where height is an advantage. From her first evaluation back in the Spring of 2014, up to her most recent in the month of August, Grace has been able to increase not only her athletic ability but her confidence on the court.

Her Mother had told meIf you could have seen how she served in a game back when she was 12, and how she serves now, it’s night and day. Also, she doesn’t get nervous in big games, even if she knows a lot of people are watching. For example, when they made the finals at Junior Nationals early this year.

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CVBA Santa Monica Women’s B Tournament Winners

Earlier this month, Grace was able to win the California Beach Volleyball Association Women’s B Doubles Tournament. She started playing in unrated and B women’s tournaments this just year, just to get some experience playing against adults since she has been playing Beach Volleyball for just about three years now. Grace is currently a Freshman in the Pace program at Long Beach Poly High School and is a starter on their girls JV Volleyball team.

 

Grace has gained a lot over these past couple of years and she continues to grow in her athletic ability. She may not have the height most Volleyball coaches look for in their athletes but she makes up with tons of talent and ability on the court. Her game knowledge is a level above her peers and she will continue to grow in her sport from her coaches at LB Poly, Seal Beach VC and her Beach Volleyball Coach Misty May-Treanor.

Being a freshmen in high school comes with different struggles and I am very confident that Grace will have that mental strength to push herself beyond any situation that may be presented to her within the next four years. We at Champion’s QUEST will continue to provide her with a strong direction and guidance in her sport and life!

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Summer 2011

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September 2016

Article By: Coach Derrick Campbell, USTF-L1

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“The Process” : Mental Approach on the Diamond Part 3

In our last article, we had an in depth look at what the “process” looks like for a ball player. To recap, “the process” is all about controlling only the things that you can control. By understanding that results are out of their control, the athlete can focus in on the things that are important. These things that are important are hitting the ball hard, making quality pitches, putting their bodies in the right position to field on defense, and ultimately, staying completely aggressive with their approach and effort. clayton-kershaw9

Baseball was never designed to be a sport based on accuracy and analytics. If pitchers were only required to throw strikes, and hitters were only required to hit the ball into permanent unchanging gaps, then we could maybe put the heavy emphasis on stats that we do. However, Baseball is so much more than just ERA, batting average, hits, walks, strikeouts, on base percentage, and everything else we obsess over! This game is an art form, and chess match that pins competitors against each other in a ballistic, fast paced, ever changing setting with strict guidelines and a human umpire who can determine their fates. With this thought in mind, how do we set up a pitcher to have the best possible chance of success on the mound? 635982535697601028-ap-rangers-tigers-baseball-m

If you are a pitcher, it is not rocket science to know that “better stuff” (i.e. velocity, movement, spin, etc.) equals a higher likelihood of getting the batter out. This also means that a pitcher that is throwing 95MPH versus a pitcher that is throwing 85MPH can get away with way more mistakes, because the batter is stressed with reaction time. If a pitcher that throws harder can get away with more mistakes, from an odds perspective, doesn’t he have a better chance of getting the batter out? You may be saying to yourself, “well yah of course, unless he’s really wild.” Ok, well now let’s imagine this is the same pitcher that has the ability to throw 95MPH but the coach has asked him to “tone it down” and throw 85MPH with more strikes.

First of all, he is now trying to do something which he has never done in his life, which is throw the ball with less than 100% effort with high pressure to a small target. With that his mechanics will change, his approach will change, and ultimately he will lose confidence in throwing the ball over the plate with conviction. This is because he is now solely thinking about just throwing strikes, rather than competing as an athlete. This leads me to the big take away. The pitcher, no matta0qcber how hard he throws, will compete at a higher level and have higher success, if he is trying to put a hole in the catcher rather than just getting it to the glove. This is because…

  1. His “stuff” is better and therefore the batter has less time to react and adjust.
  2. He is allowing himself to throw the way he has HIS ENTIRE LIFE of playing the game. From an early age, he has honed his craft of playing quality catch in a relaxed state of mind without conscious thoughts, and the demands of high achievement and pressure. So quite simply, practice like you play, and play like you practice. 

I have said it before and I will say it again, baseball players are gymnasts on a diamond. This means that ballplayers have to play the game instinctually with full trust that their countless hours of preparation have established their skill set. If you go out onto the field and try to do something different, by appeasing a voice that is telling you to play it safer, you are only setting yourself up for frustration and suffered performance.

It is time to take a step back as a culture, and not only look at how we are mentally developing our youth ball players, but also how we choose to coach our older elite ball players. Next time we will talk about this mental approach from a position player/ hitting perspective.

Coach Kyle Richter, CSCS, USAW, TPI

USC Baseball Alumni, BA Human Performance

 

Speed Camp Registration is open – Time to Unlock Your Hidden Potential!

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Soccer Article: Olympic Lifting for Power

Maureen Kennedy GymPower = Strength x Speed. Everything we do in life, in or out of the gym involves an expression of power. In athletics, power is defined as the ability to exert a maximal force in as short a time as possible. Sports require power in different ways. For example, kicking a soccer ball requires power, as does swinging a golf club or baseball bat. Power is basically strong movements, performed with speed. To be powerful you need to be strong, but you also need to have good balance and coordination, to direct and control this power.jump2

Olympic lifts are a way for athletes to improve explosive power and increase their performance in their sport. They train the body to transfer force from the ground to the fingertips as efficiently as possible. Olympic lifting techniques incorporate large muscle groups and recruit a very large proportion of muscle fibers throughout the entire body. This puts a significant metabolic cost on the body when performing these Olympic lifts because of the energy required to recruit these muscles very quickly. Core strength and stability are needed to perform Olympic lifts and this transfers well to sport-specific movements that require athletes to have proper posture. Also, athletes who need to perform high velocity movements such as sprinting and jumping can benefit from these lifts as significant coordination and muscle control are required.DSC08264

At Champion’s QUEST, our athletes perform variations of Olympic lifts in our Power Hour clinics. Athletes must show proper lifting technique on exercises such as the squat, bench press, and deadlift as a prerequisite to beginning Olympic lifting. Our athletes learn these Olympic lifts with a light bar or pvc pipe so that their form is good before adding additional load to their bodies. Once the athlete has mastered these basic lifts, they can advance to more complex movements such as the power clean, snatch, and jerk.

Interested in developing your athlete’s power or finding out if your athlete is ready for Olympic lifting? Send Coach Kyle an email by clicking the link below.

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Coach Kyle Ertel, Soccer Performance Coach, CSCS USA-W USSF

Kyle@ChampionsQUEST.com       562-598-2600

 

 

Why is “Core” So Important? Part 2

Where we last left off, I introduced the topic of Core training, and why it is so important for rotational based athletes. The idea is that we use the body as a “giant whip” from the ground up to propel ourselves or an object with maximal force. The legs can be considered the big “V8 engine” that is responsible for starting the acceleration process. This emphasizes that a large amount of force is being pushed through the ground. From there, the core is next to engage and represents the connection point between the lower and upper extremities. Without a strong connection point, the energy will sub-maximally be transferred, and thus the athlete will not maximize their potential power.

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At 5’10” 170 lbs, Jamie Sadlowski is a prime example of how a powerful core can propel an athlete. He has won two World Long Drive Titles, despite being “under-sized” for the sport. 

Before we touch on the specifics of proper rotational strength training, however, we have to understand how we approach this from a functional standpoint. The “Joint-By-Joint Approach” is something I explicitly follow when it comes to training athletes to be functionally stronger. This approach explains how each joint from the ground up must alternate between mobility and stability. For instance, the ankles must be mobile, the knees stable, the hips mobile, etc. When an imbalance occurs in this chain and a joint inappropriately either loses or gains mobility, the other joints in the chain will inappropriately have to compensate for the imbalance. This, undoubtedly, can lead to injuries. With this in mind, as we work up the chain, this approach demands that the Lumbar Spine must remain stable, while the Thoracic Spine must exhibit mobility.

This is such an important concept when it comes to rotational strength development. It is all too easy to put an athlete in a position where they are putting rotational stress through the Lumbar Spine. A prime example of this is a “Russian Twist.” How can the athlete possibly complete this drill without mobilizing the Lumbar Spine? The emphasis of tapping each side of the body forces the athlete to reach, round the shoulders, and inherently round their spine. The stress and “work” of the movement works its way down the rounded spine and falls directly on the Lumbar section. Even worse, the athlete is usually encouraged to use a medicine ball, which creates an added load and adds to the stress of the Lumbar Spine. So, while the athlete is gaining strength in the appropriate rotational based core muscles, they are promoting an imbalance in their mobility.0

This leads us to the absolute truth, that rotational based core training must promote rotational specific strength, AND promote the combination of lumbar stability and thoracic spine mobility. Strength without range of motion is useless! In fact, strength without range of motion, is an injury just waiting to happen. Next time, we will continue to dive into the specifics of this very particular type of training. Every athletic movement pattern can be classified by both the strength of the movement, and the speed of the movement. Stay tuned as we go over progressions, and how to effectively program for power gains.

Coach Kyle Richter, CSCS, USAW, TPI

USC Baseball Alumni- BA Human Performance

Suburban League Player of the Year: Ashley Whittall

Southern California is a hub for girls volleyball because of the amount of talent and the level of play in the area. There have been many of the local high 14-web-So-Cal-8x10-16-Smack-Ram-2015.jpgschool girls recruited into some of the tops volleyball schools all across the country.  This level of play sometimes makes it really hard for most of these girls to be noticed locally and when they do it is something that could be start to great success. Norwalk High junior Ashley Whittall is one of our athletes that has gotten noticed by the HMG Cerritos Community News as the Fall 2015 Suburban League Girls Volleyball Player of the Year. They also recognized her on the Suburban League’s Girls Volleyball First Team Outside Hitter, along with Honorable Mention from the 2015 Press-Telegram’s Dream Team all as a junior.

Ashley has been committed to our program here at Champion’s QUEST since April of last year and is very responsive to the training. She has attended a mix of Speed, Strength, Power and Volleyball ClinicsScreen shot 2016-01-05 at 2.16.09 PM during this past year. With the training, Ashley has been able to increase her blocking vertical by five inches and her approach vertical by four inches, which would take her up to 26″ off the floor. Her upper body pushing strength doubled from 30push-ups to over 60 within a minute. Her speed with court coverage had one of the biggest increases,she decreased her change of direction (Pro-Agility) time from 5.31 down to a 4.63. With the time she has spent dedicated to her training it has shown it on the court which has lead her being recognized by the Suburban League with her two awards.

Screen shot 2016-01-05 at 2.15.37 PMDuring the season Ashley has lead the Norwalk Lady Lancers volleyball team to a 16-11 overall record and 9-3 in league. This season she had 21 kills at Cerritos on October 8th, 20 kills against La Mirada High on October 15th, 16 kills against Mayfair High on October 1st and against John Glenn High on October 20th and 15 kills against Cerritos on November 2nd. All of these games plus her team leadership has made Ashley a standout amongst her peers which earned her the Player of the year for the Suburban League. One of the reasons for a high percentage of kills this is her arm strength and speed in her swing. With her quickness off the floor along with the height in vertical jump both compliment her ability to attack the ball.

Athletes just like Ashley are one of the biggest reasons why I love my career. She always displays a strong work ethic, committed to her training, dedicated on  improving her skills and ability on and off the court. 14-web-So-Cal-8x10-16-Smack-Ram-2015.jpgAshley is not only a strong player on the court but she also is preparing herself academically for college by taking Advanced Placement courses that will help her increase the chances of getting an Academic Scholarship along with her athletic ability that will help her get an Athletic Scholarship. Any coach would love to have Ashley on their team because she is an athlete that will stay focused and always have a positive attitude during each session. I wish her the best of luck during the upcoming Club season on the 16’s Select with the So Cal Juniors Volleyball Club and will continue to develop her athleticism in order to give her a strong base to prepare her for college.

Congratulations Ashley!

 

Article by,

Coach Derrick Campbell, USTF-L1

 

 

Increase Hip Mobility to Generate Power

The Hip

It is the most important joint that we have to generate power throughout our body. The Hip or the hip girdle area is a very anatomically complex with over  that are associated with the area. All of these muscles work together to gain mobility and transfer power from the hip to the extremities. The more elastic or mobility you can create within the hip, the greater force production you can generate as you produce power. The power in your hips could be easily restricted if there were a group or one of those muscles did not have the elasticity needed in order to take the hip into a complete range of motion to generate maximum amount of force.

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Pre-Loading

Being able to pre-load the hips is crucial if you want to be explosive as an athlete in all planes of motion. In my years of training youth athletes, I have seen so many athletes demonstrate the inability to hinge at the hip correctly which leads to other areas to produce power or, in some cases, it will not be created at all. Being able to gain the hip mobility in order to hinge is important to all athletes that need to generate power. Also, having enough strength to aid in joint stability, especially in the lumbar area of back will help lead to the ability to display that force quickly through the body. The hip hinge is a movement that all athletes need to learn and master. There are drills that will help increase the mobility of the hip and there are other drills that will help teach you to hinge properly at the hip. If you need to help with taking strength and applying it quickly to generate power you can add these exercises and drills in your training regimen: Olympic lifts, Romanian DeadLift, Good Mornings, medicine ball ball throws, sprinting, jumping, hitting and throwing.

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Hip Mobility

Mobility = tissue length + neural muscular control/stability + joint structure. One big goal as a youth Athlete Performance Coach is to not only teach my athletes about their bodies but also to help them improve their mobility in all areas of the body to prevent injury. Having increased mobility is an aid to gaining the strength needed to generate power and assist with their recovery. Many athletes lack the flexibility in their gluteus and hamstrings in order for them to correctly squat, lunge and hinge at the hip. With the lack of mobility their stress will transfer into other areas such as the lumbar spine. This could be one of the reasons why we have youth athletes that suffer from lower back pain and injuries, not limited to the hip or lumbar spine areas.

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If you were asking yourself, when should I add in flexibility training in my workout, practices and competition. It’s simple: everyday and all day. In order to gain mobility you need to train your muscles to be mobile as much as possible because of the amounts of stress that you are applying to them on a daily basis. Do not limit the different types of mobility drills that you can apply to your flexibility training everyday. Unlike strength training, you are not going to over train your body by doing simple mobility drills throughout the day.

Pre-activity – focus on having an acute-corrective strategy to your flexibility training. That means to focus on the areas that may be limited in range of motion or may be compensated due to an injury. Also focus on more stretches that are more dynamic or ballistic in nature and stay away from a static stretch or limit your static stretches to under 8-10 seconds each. What you want to promote pre-activity is optimal length/tension relationships and develop active flexibility.

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Post-activity – your focus is more centered on recovery and tissue regeneration. Adding in myofascial tissue release into your cool down will help aid in tissue regeneration and recovery. Once you have completed your myofascial tissue release set then the ability to statically stretch your muscles will be more affective in gaining the necessary range of motion to aid in developing power and help decrease recovery time. One routine that you can add into your day is to have a static stretching protocol just before you get in bed. This not only will this help you unwind and relax, but it also helps you maintain any flexibility gains that you have worked on throughout the day.

Article by: Coach Derrick Campbell, USATF-L1