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How to Choose the Right Performance Coach--->, FF Insider#107
November 16, 2011
Welcome Back,

Please enjoy another issue packed with evidence-based information about sports performance training and news about current events at Finish First Sports Performance. If you find value in this e-newsletter, please forward this message to your teammates, coaches, or other parents of hard working athletes.

Finish First Sports Performance is the official training/performance coaching provider for the Youngstown Phantoms USHL Hockey Team, the Robert Morris Univeristy NCAA Division 1 Men's Ice Hockey Team, and the Miss Pennsylvania Scholarship Organization.

Inside this Issue:

To bring you the very best information, this newsletter focuses on awareness of the training principles for young athletes, and how to use them to make sure your coach is on the right track. Enjoy!

1. Performance Article I: 12 Guidelines to Help You Choose the Right Performance Coach

2. Performance Ariticle II: 5 Solid Reasons Why You Should Start a Golf Fitness Training Program Before January

3. Special Announcements

4. Motivational/Inspirational Quote

5. Thank You

The North Face

Performance Article I:

12 Guidelines to Help You Choose the Right Performance Coach

By Jeremy S. Hoy,MS, CSCS, NASM, NASE, Performance Scientist

Another very important item in your preparation for athletic success is selecting the right performance coach to help you get to your goal(s). Just as there are many ‘wannabe’ performance coaches, there are also many high quality sports performance coaches around the world and we feel that it is crucial that you know the difference and choose correctly. It has been our keen observation, through years of personal athletic competition and through the development of our training system, that there are several common characteristics of a competent, high quality sports performance coach and/or performance training facility.

1. Choose a “Full-time” performance coach.

You want to choose a coach that coaches athletes as his/her main employment. Full-time coaches are surrounded by athletes during most of their day and as a result are usually more saturated in research and have an opportunity to use the current scientific research with these athletes. Full-time coaches get paid by helping their athletes perform their best. In other words, a full-time coach feeds his/her family and pays his/her bills by helping athletes achieve their goals. They don’t have another job that pays the bills—they have to work extra hard and pay special attention to the progress of their athletes or they don’t eat! We feel that this is great motivation for them to be on top of the latest training research and give each athlete the most attention he/she can get. Would you choose a full-time truck driver and part-time doctor to do your brain surgery? Neither would we. Coaches that are part-time usually are just using sports performance training as a hobby. They don’t need it--it’s just something they use for extra money or for ego fulfillment. (We understand that some high school strength coaches are full-time teachers and part-time strength coaches. There are many quality performance coaches at these schools. For one reason or another, the school does not have a full-time performance coaching position. In other areas, there are opportunities for these teachers to start their own performance training companies. These teachers are less interested in training athletes than being teachers and most often want to jump on the success of a team by offering their services. Be wary of these coaches and do your research. As we said earlier, Full-time performance coaches are the best fit.)

Additionally, just as you wouldn’t hire a full time strength coach to perform knee surgery, or perform chiropractic care of physical therapy, it is important that you should not hire a full time medical doctor, chiropractor, or physical therapist as a strength coach. Each professional specializes in their specific field of study and are trained to practice within the scope of their profession. Olympic and professional athletes and professional organizations use each of these specialists for services in their field only. This is a model that has successfully been used for years, and should continue to be followed for optimal performance and safety.

At Finish First Sports Performance, our athletic our performance coaches are full-time strength and conditioning coaches.

2. Choose a performance coach with a specialized college educational background.

Quality performance coaches come from a variety of educational backgrounds, but we have found that the best ones come from exercise science, kinesiology, sports medicine, biomechanics, exercise physiology, or physical therapy. The top performance coaches internationally have both undergraduate and graduate degrees in an exercise science field. The human body is extremely complex and coaches with a greater understanding via experience, research, and classroom education have the most to offer.

At Finish First Sports Performance, our performance coaches have undergraduate and graduate degrees in exercise science, exercise physiology, or performance enhancement and injury prevention.

3. Choose a performance coach who only trains competitive athletes/clients.

Personal training (fitness training) and sports performance training require different levels of expertise. Sports performance training is much more advanced and requires the advanced education and experience to do so. A performance coach who only trains competitive athletes/clients is also deeply saturated in the field; a true coach lives it and breathes it every day.

At Finish First Sports Performance, our performance coaches only train athletes and clients for competitive events or sports.

4. Choose a performance coach with current certifications.

Many coaches get certified, but fail to stay current with their certification. Staying current typically requires annual continuing education credits/units received for attending research seminars, hands-on clinics, or for taking tests on research publications. You want a coach that is up to date with the latest research and training methods. The top two (most widely recognized and widely respected) certifications are the CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the PES (Performance Enhancement Specialist) by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. These two certifications require proficiency in designing programs for athletes of all sports at any age (age appropriate programming), and at every level, covering the facets of strength, conditioning, assessment and evaluation, corrective exercise, injury prevention, rehabilitation and general nutrition.

At Finish First Sports Performance, our performance coaches have current CSCS and/or PES certifications.

5. Choose a performance coach with experience as both a competitive athlete and a successful performance coach. (Ask for references)

A former successful competitive athlete will better understand the pressures and time-management issues associated with sports and school.

At Finish First Sports Performance, our performance coaches were former competitive NCAA Division I or Division II athletes, and also have over a 10 year history of successfully helping athletes reach their goals.

6. Choose a performance coach with liability insurance (you can get this information and find out if they have any claims against them).

Insurance companies are only going to insure coaches with a reputable certification and legitimate business—both are very important to you.

At Finish First Sports Performance, our performance coaches carry the highest amounts of liability insurance available to coaches in the industry.

7. Choose a performance coach that is a product of the product.

You want a coach that still actively trains. It is important that a coach has personal experience with the exercises and methods that he/she uses with his/her athletes. A coach should never prescribe an exercise regimen without having first experienced its effects first-hand.

At Finish First Sports Performance, our performance coaches still actively train using the same methods and techniques used with each athlete to produce great results.

8. Choose a performance coach that doesn’t use a family member, a friend, one athlete or one team as his/her claim to fame.

Coaches that use one athlete or experience with one team as their claim to fame, usually have no other success stories. Anyone can get lucky once, but if the coach is repeatedly producing successful athletes, and has experience doing it repeatedly for several years, then the coach is legit. (side note: coaches who use one athlete as their claim to fame are sometimes just receiving a favor from that athlete—could be a family relative, good friend, former college roommate, etc.—be suspicious and do your research!).

At Finish First Sports Performance, our performance coaches are not in the habit of “name-dropping” to sound impressive—we let our results and our athletes speak for us.

9. Choose a performance coach that is familiar with AND uses more than one training method to achieve results.

The best performance coaches understand and use the many different training methods available for athletes today. Coaches who employ only one method or swear allegiance to one specific type of training are not providing the best training system for their athletes. Remember, each athlete is unique and needs to be trained accordingly. A coach using only one method will use the same method for every athlete, regardless—does this make sense? No.

At Finish First Sports Performance, our performance coaches use a variety of training methods and have been exposed to a wide variety of methods both as coaches and athletes. We utilize the most appropriate training method for each athlete at his/her specific stage of training. Much of our training philosophy and methodology is deeply rooted in Eastern European research with Olympic and professional athletes, producing excellent results consistently.

10. Choose a performance training facility that does NOT use their “special equipment” or “special exercises that you won’t find anywhere else” as their #1 marketing strategy.

Performance training facilities who build their business around having a specific piece of equipment usually don’t have much else to offer and are trying to hide that fact. A business normally promotes itself based on their best services, or through the results athletes have achieved through using their services. If the goal of the athlete is better performance through complete performance training, the facility they choose should not be centered around one piece of equipment. Likewise, a facility claiming to use special exercises you won’t find anywhere else is full of it. It is most likely that those same exercises are being used somewhere else—the training methods used with those exercises may be different, but the exercises are still the same. Exercises are exercises—you can find them online, in a book, or at the gym; it is knowing when to use them, which ones to use, and how to progress them that is more important. Find a facility that has coaches that know the various methods, not just the exercises.

At Finish First Sports Performance, our performance coaches only use equipment that is needed to accomplish the training goals and have a high transfer result to each athlete’s sport. In other words, if what you gain in the weight room has no transfer to your sport, it is irrelevant training. In order to accomplish our goals, our coaches don’t swear allegiance to any one specific training apparatus or piece of equipment, and you will never find any utilization of “gimmicky” equipment or techniques in our facility.

11. Choose a performance coach that has produced results with many athletes as they have aged (repeated results).

Despite what many performance coaches may want you to believe, getting results with novice athletes is not a complicated task. Novice athletes are physiologically like a sponge waiting to be led in any direction (right or wrong), and will produce results regardless. It’s similar to an adult trying a new diet for weight loss. The first 5 pounds are typically easy. It’s the next 5 pounds that become more difficult because the diet is usually not designed correctly for continued progress. The plan is not designed correctly. This is the same thing with performance training. The first few months, or perhaps the first year is typically easy to produce results. But, are they setting the athlete up for the next stage of his/her athletic life? Are they specific to the athlete’s needs? Are they specifically preparing the athlete for success in his/her sport? What about 5 years from now—will the athlete continue to see similar gains in performance? Getting stronger and more powerful in the weight room is ONLY important if it is done appropriately so that it can be transferred to his/her sport. There are many strong athletes (by weight room definitions) that are not excelling in their sport. Why do you think? It’s because the gap has not been bridged between the weight room and the competitive arena, and perhaps the athlete needs to work more on his/her technical skills (sports specific, such as shooting a puck, stick handling, systems strategies, etc.). Find a performance coach who has been producing outstanding results with athletes consistently, for long periods of times. For example, the coach should have references of athletes who began training with him/her when they were younger (8-12 years old), and continued to train with him/her for the years leading up to their role as a NCAA Division I, II, or III athlete, or professional athlete. As a parent, it is important to align your child with a coach that has experience taking multitudes of athletes to where your child wants to be…to help your child on his/her journey towards his/her goals.

At Finish First Sports Performance, our performance coaches have many NCAA Division Athletes that began training with them between the ages of 10-13 and have continued to train with them and see positive performance gains each year throughout their playing career.

12. Choose a performance coach who is a quality role model for your child.

In this day and age, it is difficult as a parent to surround our children with positive role models who will impact and make a positive difference in their lives. With the breakdown of many professional athletes (think Tiger Woods) who are failing to live up to expectations as role models, it is extremely important to select coaches that will influence our children in the right way. We entrust our children with teachers (educators) during the school year and have faith that the schools have chosen only those who will act as positive role models to help shape and mold our children, and contribute to what values we are trying to instill in them as they grow and develop. A performance coach should be no different and also be held accountable to the same standards as those educators. A performance coach should be careful to only encourage positive activity and discourage any unprofessional or inappropriate activity. For example, performance coaches have been terminated from major universities or private training companies for inappropriate pictures on their Facebook accounts, with which they shared with the younger athletes. Doing what is right isn’t always cool, but it is what is best for the athlete and the coach. Find a coach that’s not afraid to do what is right, and will offer direction as a leader and positive role model for your child.

At Finish First Sports Performance, our performance coaches are held to a higher level of standards and must represent a solid role model for our athletes both in and out of the gym and sports environment.

At Finish First Sports Performance, our coaches are also required to pass a PA State Child Welfare Clearance to certify that none of our coaches are child predators. This is a big deal and should not be overlooked!

(Article originally printed in May 2006: Edited again for topic update 2010, 2011).

©Finish First Sports Performance, Inc 2011

Performance Article II:

5 Solid Reasons Why You Should Start a Golf Fitness Training Program Before January

By Brandon Monin, MS, CSCS, TPI CGFI, Performance Scientist

Many golfers wait until the snow is flying before they start their golf fitness-training program. To achieve the desired results next season, a golfer needs to begin training more than three months before s/he hits the links again.

Although it’s certainly better to start a program late than never at all, I am going to give you 5 solid reasons why getting started early is more beneficial.

Why should you start a Golf Fitness Program before January?

1. Because golf really has three seasons…

Whether you live in warm weather year round or not, golf needs to be split into three seasons:

1. Post-Season: November – February;

2. Pre-Season: March – April; and

3. In-Season: May-October.

Clearly, separating golf into seasons will better prepare you for when you are golfing most frequently.

2. Because there won’t be enough time to improve strength and power…

Getting stronger and more powerful takes several weeks to see true improvement. The post-season is the perfect time to improve strength and power.

3. Because balance and flexibility should be addressed year round…

Improving balance and flexibility needs to be addressed year round. Training for balance and flexibility is an on going process that can’t be neglected. Waiting until the pre-season to decide you need better balance and flexibility won’t get you the results you need.

4. Because lean muscle tissue increases after initial strength gains…

Initial strength gains are from increased neurological development. Muscular development occurs after the first 6 weeks of training. Waiting until the pre-season to train will not give you enough time to build lean muscle tissue and allow you to have a solid base to maintain during the in-season.

5. Because injuries take time to truly heal and improve…

Nagging injuries can be caused by imbalances or weakness in your body and need to be addressed immediately to be sure they are corrected before the season begins. It often takes several months to strengthen and eliminate imbalances that are causing problems with your golf game.

Additional Questions that you should be asking about golf fitness:

What is golf fitness training?

It is the combination of exercises and stretches that help to improve mobility, balance, increase strength and power, to maximize your swing efficiency and decrease the incidence of injury. The goal is to decrease physical limitations and improve your golf game.

What is a golf fitness evaluation? Are there different types of evaluations?

A golf fitness evaluation is a series of tests that are used to identify any physical limitations that may be causing faults in your swing. The tests break down each sequence of the swing called the kinematic sequence. There are many different types of evaluations, the most recognized and widely used is the Titleist Performance Institute’s (TPI) Golf Fitness Evaluation. TPI has done years of research to develop the most accurate evaluation. Because of the amount of research and how specific the TPI Golf Fitness Evaluation is to the mechanics of the golf swing, I would recommend using the TPI evaluation before beginning your golf fitness training program.

What do the results of the evaluation tell you?

The results from the evaluation will identify physical limitations in your swing. These limitations can be causing your swing to be inconsistent as well as increasing your risk of injury. The evaluation will also help to identify your fitness level so that we can create a program that’s appropriate for you.

What can I expect during a typical workout? Is it lifting weights, running sprints, using machines, cardio machines, heavy lifting, ‘training like those big guys in magazines’?

A typical golf fitness training program is customized based on your age, fitness level, evaluation results, and goals. Therefore a 70-year-old golfer would not be doing the same program as a high school or college golfer. The fitness program will utilize a variety of training methods and equipment including such things as lifting weights (not like those big guys in magazines), using bands, medicine balls, biking, and light running.

How long does a golf fitness workout take?

Off-season workouts typically take 30-60 minutes. Again, workouts will be customized to your specific needs and tailored to meet your schedule.

What type of exercises will I be doing?

All exercises used have a high transfer to the golf swing. The exercises include general and specific power movements, which may include Olympic lifts or Olympic variations, plyometrics, medicine ball, and band exercises, in different planes of movement and including rotation. Strength exercises are also used and these are executed in different planes and directions for a proper transfer to the golf swing. Balance is improved by using a variety of exercises on the Bosu ball, balance board, and by using single leg exercises. Increasing flexibility and mobility is accomplished by utilizing stretches during the workout as well as a stretching with a band, static stretching, and manual stretching after every workout.

Will my workout be different in the off-season than in the in-season?

In-season workouts are also designed to take 30-60 minutes, depending on your schedule. The volume (amount of work being done in the designated time period) is less than an off-season workout (to avoid soreness and to prevent from negatively affecting golf performance) and the focus is to maintain the gains made in the off-season, although it is not uncommon for golfers to continue to make improvements throughout the in-season, training just one day per week.

How many days a week should I train in the off-season?

You can train as often as you would like to. Our recommendation to get the most out of your training program would be to train at least twice per week.

Will training one day per week have benefits?

Yes, you will see the benefits from training one day per week. The results will be more gradual but it will give you a solid foundation if and when you want to train more days per week.

Won’t lessons with a ‘golf pro’ improve my game more than a golf fitness training program?

Not always—countless hours of golf lessons will not address your physical limitations. Not addressing your physical limitations will only allow you to compensate for those in your swing and increase your risk of injury. An integrated team approach is the only way to maximize your potential. Your golf fitness instructor should work with your golf pro for the best results.

Where can I go for Golf Fitness Training?

Finish First Sports Performance (FFSP) has a variety of golf fitness training programs to suit all of your needs. FFSP offers customized training programs designed by our TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor. All training will be done at our gym in a semi private training environment. We also offer two online training options: the first is a highly customized program designed by our in-house certified golf fitness professional; the second is a program that is created by the Titleist Performance Institute automated computer system based on plugging in the results to your TPI Golf Fitness Assessments. Both online options will come with access to videos as well as phone and email support to ensure that you are doing the exercises correctly. Both have a storied history of producing amazing results for improvement in golf.

How do I get started?

It’s simple! Just call or email Brandon Monin to schedule your golf fitness evaluation. Email: Phone: 1-866-468-2231 ext. 820


  • The hours of operation for the Thanksgiving holiday week will be:

    Monday, November 21: 2pm - 8pm

    Tuesday, November 22: 2pm - 7pm

    Wednesday, November 23: Noon - 6pm

    Thursday, November 24: CLOSED

    Friday, November 25: CLOSED

    Saturday, November 26: 9am - noon

    Normal operating hours will resume the following the Monday.

  • Hot Item!...Get your Finish First Sports Performance apparel with the new hockey available dry-fit performance shirts at our store Online Store.
  • We have finally (after about 2 years) found a company to make our trademark logo New Era hats and have an order on the way to the world training headquarters in Robinson as we write this. If you do not have one of these fashionable hats and want want, stop by the gym and pick one up--but hurry, we have a limited stock!
  • Finish First Sports Performance is still making progress on the new World-Class training facility...we are close to making a deal that would give us the opportunity to move into a larger space, and still remain the Robinson/Neville area.
  • We are also currently in negotiations for a second training facility be announced once a contract has been signed...Yes, that is correct. We ARE GROWING...keep checking back to see where our 2nd Finish First Sports Performance training center location will be...

Motivational Quote

"The road to EASY STREET goes through the sewer"
-- John Madden

Thank You for Your Support

Thanks again for subscribing to this free e-newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I look forward to your feedback as I continue to research to bring you the most current scientific training information available.

Should you have any specific article requests or questions, email me at Please visit for detailed sports performance training information and programs offered exclusively by Finish First Sports Performance.

Yours In Training,

Coach Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Finish First Sports Performance

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