Youth Sports Think Tank 2019 Day Three Review

Coach, Give Me The First Five Minutes Of Practice

“Let’s build strong, robust, resilient young movers.”

Dr. Joe Eisenmann

Welcome to my Day 3 review and summary of the GO! Chase Excellence in Youth Sports Virtual Think Tank.

My review focuses on one presentation that I have viewed in the last 24 hours.

Each of my reviews follows the format of the Think Tank ‘Workbook & Reflection Journal’ provided alongside each of the sessions:

  • What – What issues does this session address?
  • So What? – Why are these issues important?
  • Now What? – How can I address these issues or implement the ideas in this session?

Today’s Review

Today’s review is from the “Correlate” track. The “Correlate – Coach the Person” track is focused on various aspects of youth sports from nutrition, to fun maps, to physical literacy and more for the WHOLE athlete.

The presentation I chose today was Dr. Joe Eisenmann’s “Coach, Give Me The First Five Minutes Of Practice”


Joe’s presentation advocates that coaches should include fundamental movement skills in every coaching session.

Fundamental movement skills (FMS) are the building blocks of sport specific skills and correlate closely with athleticism. They include locomotive (e.g. walking, running), stabilisation (e.g. balancing, landing) and manipulative (e.g. throwing, catching) skills.

Joe provides some practical ideas about these skills can feature within a session. He suggests that the first 10 minutes of a session and the last 10 minutes of a session present ideal opportunities for their inclusion.

Work on fundamental movement skills in the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes of a session.

The First 10 Minutes

Warm ups are often poorly utilised by coaches. Athletes are often allowed to just “go through the motions”, sometimes with the coaches paying very little attention.

During a warm up, rather than jog laps and then statically stretch, athletes should:

  1. Move in every direction and through every plane of movement.
  2. Accelerate, decelerate and change direction.
  3. Go through transitions. (e.g. change from forwards to backwards to lateral skipping).
  4. Experience different tempos (e.g. 50% intensity, 75% intensity, etc).

Variety and novelty are important in gaining an athlete’s attention and preventing boredom. To avoid monotony, rather than always having athletes warming up in a straight line, the coach can use:

  1. Curvilinear or zig-zag patterns.
  2. An obstacle course/circuit.

The Last 10 Minutes

A simple 15-20 minute strength routine involving body weight exercises, resistance bands, medicine balls, etc, can be incorporated into the end of a session.

So What?

Fundamental movement skills are often overlooked by coaches and parents. We too often attempt to fast-track our kids past the fundamentals. We bypass the basics.

If an athlete’s fundamental movement skills are underdeveloped, an athlete’s ability to become proficient with sport specific skills will be hampered.

It is likely that strength training can improve performance (including the development of FMS) and decrease the risk of injury.

Improving FMS & strength levels = Increased performance & decreased risk of injury.

A dynamic warm up and a short strength program a couple of times a week is a small change that potentially can make a big difference.

Now What?

I loved some of Joe’s suggestions for expanding the warm up repertoire. I am keen to experiment with these and pass the ideas onto other coaches.

The key with kids is continuing to make everything interesting by using novelty, fun activities, challenges and games.

FMS and strength development must shift from a “nice to do” to a “critical” aspect of our youth sports coaching.

Favourite Quotes From Presentation

“Let’s build strong, robust, resilient young movers.”

“No laps, lines or lectures.”

Further reading

Ironman Performance

Avoid This Big Mistake When Warming Up Young Athletes

Awesome Medicine Ball Ideas For Coaches of Young Athletes

The Missing Ingredient in Youth Physical Development

Youth Sports Think Tank 2019 Day Two Review

If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.

20150614_154020-1Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, Anchor or via email.

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