Happy Thanksgiving

It’s been another busy busy week and posts have been few and far between so I apologize for that.  I’m in the process of moving, which I hate possibly more than anything else.  Earlier in the week I had a post to get out but my internet was down so it hasn’t come to fruition yet. 

Our baseball off-season is quickly coming to an end.  We have essentially 2 weeks left in our training.  We will take a partial deload coming back from the Thanksgiving holiday and finish the final week with a little bit of testing / training.   I’ll have some thoughts on testing on in the next day or two but until then I wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving.


The Superdog

Recently, I found a video from Nick Tumminello that puts a new twist on the birddog. 

This is a great glute activation exercise.  Like we talked about before the whole concept of the birddog is to stabilize the spine while the joints around it are mobilized.  By placing flexing the opposite hip you put the pelvis into posterior tilt eliminating lumbar spine compensation and forcing the glutes to do the work. 

The Birddog

An erercise like this fits well into the warmup to get the glutes firing before other lower body activities.

Twinkie Diet

I heard an interesting story the other nite on the news about a professor losing weight on the Twinkie diet.   

Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds

Matt Haub, a nutrition professor at Kansas State, got the majority of his calories from Twinkies, and snacks for 10 weeks.  He counted calories during the entire process to make sure he was taking in his 1800 kcals / day, around 800 below his normal caloric intake. 

Haub was out to prove that calorie intake is a more important factor than the kind of food being eaten.  Over the 10 week period, Haub lost 27 pounds, decreased his LDL (bad cholesterol) by 20%, and decreased his triglycerides by almost 40%.  On top of that his bodyfat decreased 9%.  Impressive numbers especially when you consider he was eating Twinkies and Bon Bons. 

“I’m not geared to say this is a good thing to do,” he said. “I’m stuck in the middle. I guess that’s the frustrating part. I can’t give a concrete answer. There’s not enough information to do that.”

It’s an interesting article and point that Haub makes, but by no means is out there claiming this to be the way to go as far as losing weight.

Beware of the BCS

There’s a couple of good reads that I wanted to point out this week.  One of them is over at EliteFTS.com and an interview with East Carolina Strength Coach Mike Golden. 

Q&A with Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Golden

By far the best article I read this week was in Sports Illustrated titled “Does it Matter” by Austin Murphy and Dan Wetzel.  The complete story can be found in the link below.  For those that are true college football fans this story is great at breaking down the fraud that runs rampant in the bowl system and why we will never see a playoff.  It makes you sick to read how much money that is being passed around to college presidents, athletic directors to support bowl games, as well as the bowl committee’s themselves just stealing cash.  CEO’s of the Sugar Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl each pocketed in excess of $600,000 from their games way back in 2007.  They also have the ability to take out no-interest loans from the money made in these games. 

Does It Matter

The article tells of teams like Ohio State losing roughly $80,000 when it’s all said and done to play in the Rose Bowl.  That’s what they had to pay out after they got paid their conference share of $2.2 million to play in the that game. 

It’s a great article and I’m glad to see someone finally had the stones to talk about the corruption that is titled the BCS.  We all know it’s because of the money but at least this article gives us insight into how and where the money is going.

How to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach

A friend of mine, Jim Kielbaso, posted a great article at his website www.UltimateStrengthAndConditioning.comThe article touches on being a strength coach at various levels as well as how to get into the field of strength and conditioning.  It’s extremely informative and insightful especially for those younger coaches who are in the process of making career choices, or still trying to break into the field of strength and conditioning. 

How to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach

Another week of training is behind us for the baseball program.  This was Week 12 of the Fall Off-Season.  We only have 4 weeks left in the semester and really only 3 weeks left to train.  Time goes way too fast.  The players don’t realize how small of an opportunity they have between seasons to really get better. 

This week was our highest volume of speed work to date as well as intensity on our Main Effort movements. 

The video below gives a little of our training for the previous week.  It has a little of everything including some of our speed work, med-ball throws, and one of our team challenges. 


Hope everyone has a good weekend and GO FROGS!!!

Recent Interview on Coaching

I was recently asked to do an interview for a class in the Exercise Science department so I thought I would share that here as well. 

1) What is your coaching philosophy?

I believe in training an athlete to be specific to their sport, by looking at movement patterns, energy systems requirements, necessary motor skills, etc.  Within that I have two goals which are 1) injury prevention, and 2) performance enhancement.  We want our athletes on field and injury free.  They have attended the University to get an education as well as play their sport.  I want them always able to be contributing to the team.  As well, we always want to increase the ability of each athlete, year to year, to perform their sport at a higher level. 

2) What do you think about the statement, “athletes first, winning second”?

Hopefully the first takes care of the second is my first thought.  In this age of “win now” attitude it doesn’t make a sport coach’s job easy.  Everything is driven by money when it comes down to it money is driven by winning. 

As a strength coach, though, my philosophy is entirely based around the athlete.  I believe that the first creates the second.  Our job is to develop the athlete to the fullest of their potential while decreasing their chance of injury. 

3) Do you agree with that statement? Why or Why not?

As a strength and conditioning coach I do agree, but as I stated above that isn’t always the case.  Nobody will come out and say that but everything is driven by the almighty dollar. 

It’s no different in the private sector of our profession.  I know people who have no business training an athlete, but because they walked on to a football team 5 years ago they believe they have the expertise in creating proper physiological adaptations to anybody be it from age 10 to 70.

They do it because it’s easy money.  Every parent wants to believe their child is the next Tiger Woods so it’s easy forking over $500 a month to have somebody run their child until they puke never realizing they may be doing more harm than good. 

4) What hinders you from agreeing with or implementing that statement?

I believe I do implement this statement every day I train my athletes. 

5) How do you motivate your athletes? Discuss rewards and punishments you use.

I am a firm believer that motivation should be intrinsic.  If an athlete can’t motivate themselves to push harder, or do the little things expected of them, or do what they previously thought can’t be done, then they probably need to think about other options.  Motivation shouldn’t have to be pushed on to somebody. 

As far as punishment goes I have a team pays together mentality.  If an athlete misses a training session or shows up late, the team will pay for it as one unit.  Everything that happens on the field negatively during a game affects the entire team.   If a wide receiver fumbles the ball, it isn’t the wide receiver that pays a price, it’s the entire team.  I feel it should be the same way in aspects off the playing field.  Athletes must learn that there are consequences to everything in sports as well as life.  They must develop accountability to themselves as well as others who depend on them. 

6) What do you do to maintain a positive relationship with your athlete’s parents or family?

I don’t have a ton of contact with my athlete’s parents.  I see them during road trips and team functions but outside of that don’t have a lot of contact.  Our relationship is usually a result of what the athlete has told them about our training.  I’ve never had a bad relationship with a parent though.  Parents always understand that what I do is a necessary part of their child’s development in athletics and I am helping them to achieve their goals. 

7) What suggestions would you give about coaching to a first year coach?

As far as strength and conditioning coaches go my suggestions could fill up a multiple pages but I’ll try to keep it simple.  I always tell our interns to read everything they can get their hands on as it pertains to sports performance.  This will be the most important thing they can do for their development in this field.  University degree programs do not prepare students for this field so they must undertake this obligation of educating themselves. 

Begin creating a network.  More often than not in any field it will come down to who you know just as much as what you know.  Having a wide, diverse network will be one of the most important aspects of any career, not just coaching.  I made this mistake of not keeping in touch with some of my contacts when I was a young coach. 

Keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open.  Go out of the way to do anything that is needed.  Everybody has duties they don’t care for but performing these with a smile will go a long way.  Paying their dues is something that every coach has done and it will most likely be no different for the future generation.  Understand that you will earn what you get and it will not be given to you. 

Observe coaches and how they interact with their athletes.  Pick up coaching cues from their interactions during training sessions.  One thing beginning coaches lack is the ability to give short precise coaching cues.  They often end up talking their way through a movement, or exercise. 

This may be already understood but undertake internships, volunteer opportunities, anything where one can gain practical experience.  Too many coaches don’t want to work for free but this is often the route that one must take to prove they want to be a coach.  Take every experience as a learning opportunity and grow from it. 

8.) What made you want to be a coach?

I spent most of high school either training for sports, or reading about training for sports.  I didn’t really know what I wanted to do going into my Junior year of college and my dad said “Why wouldn’t you be a weights coach if you love it so much?”  That was pretty much the answer.  I have always had a passion for sports performance because it was such a huge part of my life. 

I survived as an athlete because I outworked everybody in the weight room, on the field, etc.  I had to make up for a lack of natural ability and I did that by supplementing my athletic ability with strength and conditioning.  I understood how important training was at an early age and look back at all the mistakes I made when I didn’t know any better.   I’ve always wanted to give athletes the best possible chance at becoming the best they possibly can and help them to avoid the pitfalls I encountered. 

9) What ambitions if any do you have for the rest of your coaching career?

Like anything else that I do I want to be the best I can be in my chosen field.  I have dreams of being a Director of Strength and Conditioning in the near future, and running an entire department at the collegiate level. 

10) How has being a coach affected you personally?

They may not know it but my goal isn’t just creating athletes.  It’s creating sound, disciplined young men that will succeed not only on the playing field but in life as well.  I enjoy watching kids come into the program and leave as men, feeling that I may have helped them along their path at some point.   

Activation Circuit

Ya, it’s been a while since my last post.  Life has been super busy lately.  Between fall ball officially ending and our true off-season training for baseball starting up, attending the ALDS, and World Series, as well as a few articles that you’ll see in the coming months, October was busy.  So with that behind me I can hopefully get back to it. 

This is a short video of an activation / recovery circuit that we did today.  This circuit had 4 exercises that were performed 3 times through with no rest.   We also perform some form of rotator cuff / scapula training that I didn’t include in the video as a part of this circuit. 

Our first exercise of the video is our Marching Man on a Stability Ball (Feet on Box) w/ WT.  This is 100% for torso stability.  We don’t utilize crunches, situps, Russian twists, etc.   All of our core work is in the form of stabilizing the lumbar spine.  This is how the body functions in sport.   Something stabilizes while other joints around it are mobilized, or moving.  The torso should be trained to aid in stability and transfer power to the linkages.  If you are in question about any of my philosophy on the spine, then look to any of Dr. McGills works. 

The second movement on the video is the Scap Pushup on the P.P.  w/ Feet Elevated.  In a study by Lear and Gross it was determined that the feet elevated pushup plus (scap pushup) produced much higher activation levels in the serratus anterior than with the feet on the ground. 

An electromyographical analysis of the scapular stabilizing synergists during a push-up progression.

Some form of glute activation is the final movement.  Today, this was the Outside Leg Raise w/ Resistance.  In a study presented a year ago in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy the side lying abduction is far and away the best exercise, by over 20%, for stimulating the glute medius.

Gluteal Muscle Activation During Common Therapeutic Exercises

This small circuit usually takes right at 12 minutes to complete and goes a long way to developing some of the often over looked areas in an athlete.