Is Your Junior Athlete Ready?

We’re excited to have this guest blog post by our resident youth strength and conditioning coach Jeff Turner.

Coach Jeff is the real deal, with over three decades in the trenches training elite level athletes in both soccer and lacrosse, as well as over a dozen other sports. His specialty, and why he’s a perfect youth coach for HFF, is developing the foundational aspects of athleticism, which lead to increased performance and durability (keeping juniors injury free).

He also takes a personalized approach and progresses each junior athlete at the ideal pace for him or her.

If you’ve got a junior athlete in your family, this post is for YOU.

Enter Jeff:

“Physical Readiness” is a term used by elite strength and conditioning coaches around the world. In plain English, it means that the athlete is prepared to meet the demands of their sport, both in practice and in games.

One of the biggest problems I see in youth sports is the assumption of physical readiness. Everyone assumes kids are able to perform activities like conditioning sessions, sport specific drills, strength training, and even the sport itself.

We’ve all seen the kid that looks like he’s running in slow motion ­­- he’s giving it all he has, but no matter how much effort he gives, he’s still struggling. You know something is off, but you can’t put your finger on it.

Tyler poor form

You’ve also seen the kid on the soccer field that continues to run into other players as she’s trying to stop ­­ why does she keep doing that, is she just a thug?

No, that’s not it at all.

Many athletes lack the ability to stop or decelerate under control. Coaches tell them to use their speed and attack the ball, but nobody really teaches how to stop, plant, cut and change direction.

It’s that “lack of control” that leads to many of the non-­contact ACL injuries that are happening in epidemic numbers with our junior athletes. It’s unacceptable! Yet we accept that kids are going to get injured and use hope as a training strategy. We’re seeing injuries (and subsequent) surgeries that happened to the professional athlete, not a teenager.

We coach junior athletes by “chunking down the skill” into simple segments, then build them back together again and practice the new patterns. Once we get good (enough) at the fundamentals we can move on to more complex movements. Think of it as a “do this, then that” formula. We progress per the individual athlete, not a generic blueprint.


Kids often get labels like “slow, uncoordinated and unathletic” which can kill their self esteem and desire to continue in the sport they love. They’re lacking basic fundamental movement skills that underlie athletic ability. Until they tap into or reclaim their natural movement, they’ll never reach their true potential. It’s like they’re driving with the parking brake on.

Releasing The Parking Brake

When we release the parking brake (poor movement) it literally changes their game and the Holy Grail of Speed, Strength, and Power is right there for the taking.

The before picture on the right shows us many inefficiencies ­- to say he’s running with the brakes on is an understatement. The after picture on the left is showing how he’s now able to express strength, power, and speed efficiently. His skills are increasing every week and confidence is way up.

See for yourself​. Bring your junior athlete in for an assessment and performance test (including video) along with 4 training sessions for only $79.00. That’s a $285.00 value. For more information and to sign­up contact Jeff Turner: [email protected] or call 614-­561­-4222

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