Kids and CrossFit.  Not CrossFit Kids. 

Kids and CrossFit.  Not CrossFit Kids. 

There are many reasons why people coach.  Some coach for selfish reasons, some coach because there is a genuine desire to help, some coach for a career and some coach because - well, they still don’t know why.

We began our Atomic 10 GPP (General Physical Preparedness) program a year ago because as a conscious coach and one who is observant of their surroundings, I could see our children being guided by coaches who for selfish, genuine, career choice or “still don’t know why” reasons were incorrectly leading our children.

Let me go back 10 years ago when my son started to play Little League baseball.  Being new to the community, recently relocated, we joined the local Little League to meet our neighbors, get to know our community and introduce friendships to our son.  Quickly into the season I was able to observe the leadership qualities from a strong majority of the coaches and immediately knew that I did not want my son to be led by these men (no longer referring to them as coaches).  Needless to say the leadership qualities observed above were not good ones.  At the end of our first season I immediately put my name on the list to coach next year.  Selfish?  Probably so.  Genuine desire?  Yes.  Career?  No, because I knew nothing about baseball.  Did I know why?  Yes I did.

Fast forward to 2017.  Our son and daughter were now approaching the age where lifting weights and strength training would become part of their athletic routines.  School sports are now being offered and weight rooms are in sight and history teachers will soon be telling our kids how to lift. 

Side note here - I have no issues with History teachers.  I do have an issue with our district’s approach on how they assign coaches.  I know of some districts where coaches are employed under dual contracts.  One contract for teaching and one contract for coaching.  If you can’t coach you don’t get the contract.  It’s as simple as that.  These also tend to include a watchful eye from high school programs into which these middle schools feed into.  Also a good thing.

Back to the topic.  Strength and conditioning is in itself a different beast (pun intended).  I do not expect a basketball coach, a football coach, a volleyball coach or a track coach to understand the mechanics of moving a barbell safely and efficiently.  Nor do I expect them to geek out on a strength program or know how to address deficiencies in mobility.  These are things that well, we at Atomic do geek out on.  So, we created the Atomic 10 GPP program to safely make our young athletes stronger.  A stronger athlete is a better athlete (maybe our next blog topic). 

The Atomic 10 GPP program is a place where young teens learn how to lift properly and safely.  They learn the mechanics of the barbell, the importance of the fundamental lifts and the importance of moving well.  They also learn how to act and behave in a gym setting.  The introductory lifts for our new athletes include the bench press, back squat and deadlift - all movements the History teacher will say “go do 3 sets of 10”. 

The core approach to the Atomic 10 GPP program is that we work in 3’s.  None of the teen athletes know their 1 rep max through this program.  We improve the technique and the mechanics of the lifts by working through the 3 reps.  Not until the athlete properly and un-compromised, lifts their weight 3 times with correct form, proper mechanics and in full control can they progress to a heavier weight.  This 3 rep weight is now used in their percentage based programming until a new 3 rep max is established.  Example of strength session) Using 80% of your 3 rep max perform a rep scheme of 6 - 6 - 6.  Then 4 - 4 at 90% of their 3 rep max.

I am pleased to say that 4 athletes have recently progressed through this program and are now leaders in their weight rooms, even helping a history teacher or two in some cases.  We are now welcoming 2 new athletes into the program and we look forward to providing a positive, competitive and learning environment for them to grow and become strong.  Efficiently strong.