WYC 119 – Youth Sports – Wil Fleming talks Mental Toughness & Strength and Conditioning

Wil Fleming is a sports performance coach and expert on being a more explosive athlete. His expertise comes from years of training and coaching athletes in multiple sports. His athletes are routinely the most explosive, fastest, and strongest on the field. He is also one of the strongest medium sized guys you will ever run into boasting some pretty decent numbers on the platform and in the weight room.

Wil is the co-owner of Force Fitness and Performance and Athletic Revolution Bloomington, in Bloomington, IN.  Force Fitness just turned 4 years old and is already one of the most successful training facilities in the Midwest with nearly 300  clients, 60 athletes earning Division I scholarships and nearly 125 athletes moving on to compete at the NCAA level in Division I, II, III.

Websites: wilfleming.comforcebloomington.com

Twitter: @wilfleming; @forcefitness

Facebook: /coachwilfleming//BloomingtonFitness/

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‘Pressure is what you feel when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing’ – Peyton Manning

Being coached by your dad

  • Wil’s dad coached his brother and it led to some tension in their relationship, so he decided to not coach Wil and did a great job of just listening and not trying to coach Wil.

Cringe moments

  • Early in his career – Wil made a workout for a tough kid that made him throw up, but he realized that was not his role, true coaching is to make a tough workout that allows them to come back the next day and get stronger long-term.

Strength and conditioning in practice

  • Level 1 – Movement
  • Level 2 – Strength & Conditioning
  • Level 3 – High-level skills
  • Biggest mistake for untrained coaches: Weighted conditioning(weighted baseballs, resistant bands, weighted sleds.) Do high reps of body weight exercises.
  • Sensitive periods: 8-12 years old for girls, 9-13 for boys- Speed sensitivity period. Games with lots of running (tag, etc.). Strength periods happen after that – 13 to 15 years old.

Teaching Skills – Fun games

  • Let the kids help make up the rules – they will get much buy in
  • Trash ball – Trash can at each end, ultimate frisbee type rules
  • Zombie dodge ball – If you get hit, you join the zombies

Mental toughness

  • Take visualization very seriously
  • Have your practice sessions be as similar to game situations as possible
  • Have a mantra – ‘I am strong.’ ‘I am a weightlifting superhero’
  • Before competition – tap into parasympathetic nervous system – which is rest and digest. Sympathetic nervous system is fight or flight – nerves, etc. Great way to do this is teach them how to diaphragmatically breathe. Breathe through your belly, not your shoulders and neck.
  • ‘Pressure is what you feel when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing’ – Peyton Manning

Accelerate deep practice

  • Eating, sleeping, resting are how to take things to the next level
  • Become a student of the game – watch film, watch the best, create a mental image of themselves doing what the best are doing
  • Visualization – great example of olympic weightlifter breaking into a sweat just through visualizing his routine

Connecting with and impacting kids

  • FORD – Get to know about kid’s:
  • Family
  • Occupation(school)
  • Recreation(outside of sports)
  • Dreams

The one that got away

  • Big Ten championships his senior year of college, was seeded #1 in the hammer, and was ahead for the first 5 rounds, in the 6th round the guy in 2nd place threw past him, and Wil couldn’t get himself back focused and came in 2nd. He had let his guard down and wasn’t ready mentally for his competitor to step up his game.

Best borrowed/stolen idea

  • Nick Winkelman and Brett Bartholomew:
  • People remember things much better when there is a story or external queue that reminds them what to do. (i.e. ‘no ducks’ for a stance, or ‘squash the bug’ for a baseball swing

Favorite coaching book/quote

Wil Fleming

  • Instagram: @WilFleming
  • CertifiedWeightLifthingCoach.com – Course to learn

Parting Advice

  • Begin with the end in mind – Long Term Athletic Development – learn more at canadian sport for life: sportforlife.ca

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