Monthly Archives: December 2013

Dec 27

Looking for Youth Sport Coaches

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Image of Coach Ron Usher

My wife and I skiing at Diamond Peak over the holiday weekend.

I haven’t blogged in almost two weeks. Things got pretty hectic with the holidays. I was winding up the school year and getting ready for Christmas. It’s funny how adding a little bit of stress to your life can derail you.

I’m back on track…to some degree. My new goal is to write blog posts twice a week; once for Athletic Skills and once for Coach Ron Usher. If I write posts twice a week, it will give me time to work on marketing, connecting and writing new material.

Speaking of new material…I learned that my Vision Exercise book on Kindle sold 12 copies last year. Not too shabby! It’s not enough for me to retire on but who knows…maybe some day. If you’re looking on how to improve your team’s vision skills then check it out here.

I also learned how to put up a banner on my Facebook page. And I’m working on adding pictures, quotes and workout ideas. Join me here: If you have some pictures of your athletes in action, feel free to post. I’m hoping that the Facebook page will open up a large dialogue for parents and coaches.

While I was on vacation, Melissa and I got a chance to talk about the websites, products and marketing. We realize it’s too big of a project for me to do part time. Plus, I like writing but find that it takes a lot of time and self-discipline. Two things I don’t always have.

To help out, we are looking for coaches that would like to blog about their sport or their ideas. You will have your own page and be able to post from your computer.

The sports that we are interested in are:

  • Swimming
  • Soccer
  • Football
  • Volleyball
  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Track and Field
  • Wrestling
  • Competitive Martial Arts
  • Basketball
  • Water Polo
  • Tennis
  • Skiing/Snow Board
  • Lacrosse

I think that covers most of the high school and youth sports. If I’m missing yours, let me know.

If you want to “own” a sport, that can be done. At first, we might have multiple bloggers but I’d like to keep it limited. Also, there should be room for multiple coaches at different levels. For instance, a high school soccer coach and an U/10 coach.

If you’re interested in blogging with me, let me know. Let’s have a super successful 2014!


Dec 05

Youth Sports and Fundamentals

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Image of field hockey player

Are kids ready for youth sports?

This is an excellent article about the importance of teaching movement fundamentals to kids.

I’m not sure why it’s excellent. It says the same thing I’ve been saying in my blogs and writing for the last seven years. Maybe it’s just nice to read about someone else supporting me for the same reasons.

Kids are coming to PE class and sports teams without the fundamental skills and abilities needed. Not needed just to succeed on the athletic field, but also to prevent injuries. And needed to go on to being healthy and fit adults.

The problem is that too many kids get less than twenty minutes of active movement a day. (That’s just my estimate. It could be less.) As humans we are used to being active most of the day. Even the “Play 60” movement doesn’t provide enough movement experiences.

If left to our natural instincts of being outside and playing with other children, most kids would get the natural experiences needed to develop their bodies.

They would learn to run correctly. They would be strong enough to climb trees, jump fences and throw rocks.

Their muscles, bones, ligaments and joints would be ready for real world. They’d also be ready for little league, youth soccer, swimming and football.

But they aren’t.

If you’re a coach working with any youth sports team at any level you need to start developing all of their athletic skills.

Even if you’re coaching kids at an elite level, there’s a good chance that many of your kids won’t have the fundamentals either. Even if they are the fastest kid on the team and have lightening moves there’s a very good chance their bodies aren’t really ready for sport.

They may be great on the team but their specialization will increase the likelihood of injury.

I believe that by spending practice time developing their athletic skills you will have three very positive effects:

1. They will become better athletes and performers on the team.

2. They will be less likely to be injured especially from overuse injuries.

3. They will be healthier and fitter adults.

Spend ten to twenty minutes every practice to work on strength and balance. If you don’t have that much time, incorporate it during your practices.

If you still don’t have the time, give some exercises every night as homework. Encourage the kids to practice and play on their own.

They will thank you. So will their parents. And their teachers.

Dec 03

What Are Your Team’s Routines?

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Kids and youth sports teams need routines. What are yours?

Having a routine is critical for kids. Parents know this. Teachers know this. I’m not sure youth coaches know this.

Establishing routines for kids is one of the first things parents learn. Have a routine for getting ready for school. Have a routine for going to bed. If you don’t have a routine for your kids to follow, you are likely to have problems.

It’s the same thing with teams. If you don’t have a routine for how to start practice, the kids are going to arrive late, goof around and not be ready to focus.

If you don’t have a routine for how to end practice, the team will won’t remember what you worked on during the practice. They might not be excited for the next practice. They are missing on an opportunity for team bonding.

I think having routines prevents so many problems for youth coaches. Here are the areas that teams should have routines and typical areas to work on.

  1. The start of practice: Time of arrival. What to do if you’re late. What skills to work on when you first get there.
  2. The warm-up: What exercises to do. Who leads them. Formation to use. Skills to work on.
  3. The parts of practice: Introduction, instruction, individual drills, small team drills.
  4. Finish of practice:What was worked on. Upcoming schedule. Homework. Team bonding and support.
  5. Competition: Arrival. Warm-up, Time outs. Team cheers. End of game.

This is only an outline of some routines that you could use in your practices.

I don’t think everything needs to be a routine or the same. But the more that you can keep things from getting away from you, the more you’ll be able to control them when they do.

And when you work with kids, things always go awry.

You can (and should) have a routine for that as well.

Coach Ron Usher has over 30 years of working with kids in a variety of programs and levels. He is an Adapted Physical Educator and helps parents, coaches and kids with their fitness and health.