Strength and Conditioning/ Coaching

7th Annual Coaches and Sport Science College

This year’s Coaches and Sport Science College is December 14th and 15th, followed by the UK Strength and Conditioning accreditation on Friday (where you take care of the practical portions of your UKSCA accreditation).  On Friday and Saturday, we have a stellar lineup of speakers including: Dr. Adam SayersJohn GoodwinMeg StoneMike FavreDr. John IvyDr. Bill SandsDr. Michael Stoneand more.. (check out the full list here). You will get to hear from these speakers, as well … Read more

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A Great Way to Get Audiobooks Free

I’ve been doing a lot of driving over the past few months, and I figure that if I’m by myself, it is just wasted time. To use the time wisely, I listen to audiobooks. Unfortunately, I am far from well-off enough to buy a new audiobook every time I go for a drive, so I tried to find ways to get them for either free or cheap that isn’t unethical. Here is what I found: … Read more

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Athlete Monitoring via Google Forms

There is some really awesome information to be had via regular surveying of athletes (aka athlete monitoring). You can get a very quick snapshot of how an athlete is feeling, responding to training (via markers of mood, sleep etc), and any other variables you might be interested in.  However, it is often difficult to get all of the information down quickly and efficiently.  Many people have used paper and pencil surveys, then entered data by … Read more

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Athlete Monitoring via Google Forms – Part 2 – Variables

Note: This is a continuation of information from part 1 (read it first if you haven’t yet). We have had a very successful run of using Google Forms for athlete monitoring so far. The total fill-out time seems to run about 2 minutes, not including quiet sitting for some of stuff we test. We are also able to get some fairly useful information out of it that has helped us to stay on top of how … Read more

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Diminishing Returns

It seems that there is a relatively clear divide between lab and field tests- laboratory tests tend to be more expensive, more specific in terms of the variables you can look at, and require a greater amount of technical expertise. Field tests on the other hand, are generally much cheaper, give less specific information, and are usually easier to operate.  I don’t think that I could break this down and say that one class of … Read more

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ACSM Position Stand Title

Focus on the Basics – aka KISS

In my strength and conditioning class today, my students worked through the ACSM Position Stand “Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults“. A major concept to take home from that paper, and something I try to emphasize in the class, is that the basics are important. The basics are what the biggest part of your progress is going to come from. The basics should be the vast majority of the training that you or your … Read more

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For simplicity’s sake

A few thoughts: It seems to be very easy to immediately jump to the fancy methods, the complex techniques, and to the stuff with bells and whistles.  As a pretty green academic, I find myself drawn to the methods and statistical techniques that look and are complicated.  I am in dangerous territory if I forget that complicated does not necessarily mean better. After all, the plethora of statistics we have are not for looking smart, … Read more

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Golf Training Infographic Title

Golf strength and conditioning – Infographic

Sometimes, when I should probably be working on other things, I procrastinate “productively”. Here is the result of one of those times: a short infographic summing up some of the current golf research. Enjoy!  

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Great Al Vermeil Quotes, Care of Charles Poliquin

There are some really good lines here, it is definitely worth the read.  Here are a few of my favorites: “Great athletes have made up for the sins of many a poor strength coach.” “The very essence of loading creates the stability you need. If you’ve got someone who can’t do a power clean and squat with a reasonable weight, how are they going to take impacts in football?” And finally: “There is no maximum … Read more

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Great Quote

Got this from an Alwyn Cosgrove Blog Posting: “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations – we fall to the level of our training”-Archilochus, Greek Soldier

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Great Quote by Boo Schexnayder

“You must give your body an unambiguous message of what you want it to become.” Boo Schexnayder

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Great TED Talks – David Epstein

I am a huge fan of TED talks.  I like the idea of people who are influential and extremely knowledgeable in their field, and distilling the important points and ideas into ~15 minutes. Some of them are great, some aren’t (seems the lower quality ones come from the TEDx meetings, not the main one), but overall they are usually worth watching. David Epstein is the author of The Sports Gene, one of the best popular … Read more

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Great TED Talks: John Wooden on Success

While John Wooden has passed, he left an indelible ink on coaching. He was the head men’s basketball coach at UCLA from 1948-1975, but had a long career as both a player and teacher. He has a legacy from both his wins and his approach to coaching. This TED talk is from 2001. Here are some highlights from his talk: A direct quote of his definition of success: “Peace of mind, obtained only through self-satisfaction in … Read more

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Great TED Talks: Sir Ken Robinson

In short, here is Ken Robinson’s idea: “My contention is that all children have talent, and that we squander it ruthlessly… My contention is that creativity now is as important for education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” And an important subpoint: “If you are not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” (I’m paraphrasing here) …and yet the way we have structured education is to … Read more

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Clipboard and Pen

How to Choose a Training Method

Ultimately, there are going to be thousands of ways and thousands of methods that you could possibly choose to use with your athletes. If you narrow the potential methods and combinations of methods that work, we are probably down to the hundreds, and if you narrow the methods down to those that work, that are appropriate for your athlete, and the ones that are truly feasible for your situation, then you’re probably down to tens … Read more

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How to make near-invincible lifting straps

This is a post I wrote for the sportscienceed.com blog– thought it was a good item to put here as well. Everybody who uses cloth straps knows they will bust eventually. In fact, in one fateful Saturday, I busted through three straps in a training session. Upon seeing my difficulty with these cloth straps, the former OTS Coach Tim McInnis showed me the wrist straps he had made from dog leashes. Before I lost another … Read more

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Methods for Athlete Tracking, Part 1

In my last blog post, I gave you strong reasons why you should be keeping records.  In this post, I will give you a slew of ways that you can keep track of records.  Hopefully you can use a few of them!  Keep in mind this is far from exhaustive.  These are but a few of seemingly infinite ways you can track training. Subjective and Self-Reported Measures: 1.       Regular Surveys: (i.e. Ask about sleep duration, … Read more

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Methods for Athlete Tracking, Part 2

Here is part 2 of Methods for Record Keeping: Others: 1.      Medicine Ball/Weight Throws for Distance: There are many variations of throws you can do here, such as behind the back, forward push toss, granny toss, and side tosses. 2.      Jumping Movements: Standing Broad Jump, Vertical Jump (Vertec or Jump Mats). Source:http://georgebeckham.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/StandBroadJump-1-.jpg 3.      Body Mass and Body Composition: This can be especially important for sports that adhere to weight classes, but is still an important … Read more

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Nature versus Nurture- the pendulum swings

I can’t figure out why people are so polarized on the nature vs nurture argument within sports. On one hand, you have your Eric Ericsson/10,000 hour side (and most recently, it has been Malcolm Gladwell touting this concept in Outliers). On the other hand, I have heard it argued that all you need is great genetics and you’re set (admittedly, I’m simplifying the Sports Gene, but you get the idea). The fact of the matter is that … Read more

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New Research: Loading the Hang High Pull Exercise

We have put together some neat studies using Tim Suchomel‘s thesis data.  One of Tim’s major research interests is the use of clean variations, and in particular, variations that don’t involve the catch (here’s a post all about ’em: clean variations without the catch). Here’s a quick video to watch so that we’re on the same page- For this paper, we examined the effect of manipulating loads on lower body kinetics. Participants did repetitions with 30%, 45%, … Read more

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New Research: PUSH Validity

Measuring and monitoring lift velocities is something that has been rapidly growing in popularity- for good reason. We can get all kinds of useful information from paying close attention to the bar velocities our athletes are able to create. We can use this information to direct training, to get a feel for athletes’ progress, and to assess preparedness. There are quite a few devices out there that do this. Tendo and GymAware are probably the … Read more

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No Victoria, the study didn’t “prove” anything

Don’t get me wrong, I love the “cult of science” that has become so popular. There are tons of people that are gaining a new appreciation of science as a field. The popularity of the revamp of Cosmos, or the gigantic layperson backlash against anti-vaxxers is a great thing. What I am leery of is the statement and the layperson perception that various things have been deemed “proven” by scientists (Note: I’m not sure that this perception is anything … Read more

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On Record Keeping

One of the most important things you can do as a coach is keep records. You can keep track of attendance, RPE (rate of perceived exertion), training load, bat speed, playing minutes, the list goes on and on. Even something like writing daily comments about how the team and/or players are looking can serve an important purpose. Tracking these pieces of data can serve a few vitally important functions: •Accurate view of the team’s and/or … Read more

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Protein Synthesis

Yes it is late to be putting up thoughts about the coaches college, here are some thoughts I had during a presentation on PWO nutrition by Dr. John Ivy: Being a strength-power oriented athlete and academic, I tend to think of increasing anabolism post-training as a means to cause adaptation to contractile proteins – focusing on the things that will increase strength, hypertrophy or RFD.  It would benefit me, and many others I’m sure, to … Read more

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Quantify Your Workouts With Session RPE

PUSH asked me to write for their blog again. Instead of writing about Technology in Strength and Conditioning, this go-around I wrote about how you might use session RPE to help quantify the work and training load for athletes.  Most coaches don’t have the luxury of heart rate monitors, or Catapult, so a simple system you can use to collect all of your data can go a long way! You can check out the blog post … Read more

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Setting the Pace

Yesterday I made the mistake of not setting the correct pace and mindset for a client’s training session. My client is a 20 year old left tackle, who is getting ready for his move into another season of JC level football. We typically BS for a bit while he is foam rolling and stretching before his training, but this particular session, I told him about the crazy weekend I had flying out to an east … Read more

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Should you bother with clean variations without the catch?

I’ve been involved in a few studies with my colleague Tim Suchomel looking at a number of different clean variations. In particular, the clean variations we looked at were the hang power clean, jump shrug, and the hang high pull. What is particularly unique about two of these studies, is that they are evaluating two clean variations that don’t involve the catch.  Traditionally, many coaches (myself included) have relied on clean variations that involve receiving the bar with our athletes. They are a … Read more

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Sinclair Total Calculator, Updated with Online Calculator

At weightlifting meets, we usually use the Sinclair Formula to adjust performances in order to determine best lifter.  The Sinclair coefficient and formula is based off of world record performances in the previous Olympic Cycle.  The idea is that it adjusts a person’s performance using their bodyweight and the coefficient.  The number that is gotten by using the Sinclair Formula  is what the lifter would total, theoretically, if they were at the highest weight class, assuming the same … Read more

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Evernote Logo

Software and Apps that I use Part 3

Well, it has been almost 6 months since I last talked about various programs and apps that I have found useful. Last go around, you guys seemed to enjoy the suggestions (see part 1 and part 2. I ended up in an interesting conversation with one of the guys from Mendeley, who convinced me to check out the software again. I quite enjoyed it, and have been using it more often than Endnote these days. … Read more

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Volleyball Block

Some thoughts on Youth Sports Lawsuits – Volleyball

There is an interesting bit of news that is happening right now- a story recently broke about a family that is suing a Volleyball club over not their daughter not being able to switch teams. The story goes something like this- girl does extremely well at tryouts, gets recruited by multiple club teams, signs contract to play for a coach who supposedly promised her some playing time. For whatever reason, coach decides she isn’t ready … Read more

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Computer for data collection

Sports Performance Measurements – Which data matter?

I love that we are collecting more data than ever before. There are new devices and technologies all of the time aiming to help us better understand training and performance. We have everything from the low end, like the Jawbone and Fitbit, all the way up to the high end, research-grade equipment. This means we have access to more sports performance measurements, more environments and more sports than ever before. There are also more people than … Read more

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Stolen Gold – Olympic Scandals

I found this just recently, it is a really interesting look at scandals in the Olympic games. Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56IFM-FzbXsPart 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6R7KrbLgr08&feature=relmfuPart 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLjHPURppaE&feature=relmfuPart 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oax2A4_M9s0&feature=relmfuPart 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMeonm3a8cg&feature=relmfu

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Strength and Conditioning Ethics

Something I think we can universally agree upon is that one of the foremost obligations we have as strength and conditioning coaches is to give our athletes the training that is most optimal for their needs. We are ethically obligated to give them effective, efficient, safe programs that are based on the best and most recent scientific evidence available. I doubt there is little controversy among coaches and sport scientists that this is the case. … Read more

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Technology within the field of Strength and Conditioning

PUSH is a pretty neat company that makes devices that aim to measure weight room performance. They are pretty cool little inertial measurement units that strap to your forearm.  They make an estimation of whatever the important part of the exercise is – center of mass, system mass (body plus barbell), or just barbell mass, depending on the exercise. There needs to be some validation done on their product, but for now, it is a … Read more

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The Combination of Coaching and Programming: Part 1

Note: This article is in three parts. The first article looks at the relationship of the training plan and the way it is coached. The second article focuses on improving both parts of the overall process. The third is coming soon. I’ve been lucky to work under a Head S&C coach that puts just as much focus on HOW he coaches as WHAT he coaches. His philosophy (I’m paraphrasing here) is that the way you … Read more

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The Combination of Coaching and Programming: Part 2

Note: This article is in three parts. The first article looks at the relationship of the training plan and the way it is coached. The second article focuses on improving the coaching side of the process. You can find Part 1 here. The two sides of coaching that I talked about in Part 1 are both challenging to improve. Here is an outline of the ways that you can best improve on the coaching side … Read more

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The Combination of Coaching and Programming: Part 3

Improving your programming This is part 3 of a 3-part series. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Improving your programming abilities are just as important as improving coaching. I don’t know EVERYTHING that you need to become a better coach, but I can share the things that have helped make me better. Hopefully the topics I write in the following will help you as well. ASKING WHY: Probably the best advice … Read more

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The Physical Characteristics of High Level Golfers

Nowadays, golf is a different game. Once upon a time, (relatively) unathletic golfers were the norm. High level golf was rife with “golfers” but not necessarily athletes. There are still a few holdouts from the old school, but we see that the golfers that are obvious athletes- the Tiger Woods, the Rory McIlroys, the Jordan Spieths – are rising to the top. The golf research that exists out there is still not as plentiful as … Read more

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The shoes we wear during training make a difference

If I had to guess, I would say that most people don’t think about the shoes that they wear to train in – as long as they are following the rules of the gym, they are good.  However, weightlifters have been ahead of the curve in this regard for a long time- and figured out that the right kind of shoes make all the difference when it comes to lifting weights. One of the key … Read more

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Training recommendations for developing a golfer

In Fall 2015, when I started here at CSUMB, I started working with the new Women’s Golf Coach, James Earle, to develop and run their strength and conditioning programming. Since then, the team has trained religiously in the weight room 2-3 times per week. We have had growing success, which has led to a few folks wondering what we are up to. After one tournament, another coach remarked that they were one of the most … Read more

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We Are Not Training Weightlifters

Have you ever heard the following statement, or a variation thereof? “You should be building better <insert athlete type here>, not weightlifters” I have. Many strength and conditioning coaches have heard it, and will probably continue to hear that statement. Strength and conditioning coaches might even use that statement. On the surface I suppose, it seems logical. We are not trying to build better weightlifters. Due to reasons related to specificity (and if you read last week’s … Read more

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We are now an Official Olympic Training Site!

It with great pleasure that I am able to say that we just finished our press conference announcing our newly acquired status as an Olympic Training Site! Below is a picture of Dr.  Stone, Dr. Noland, Dr. Stanton and Meg Stone holding the USOC flag.

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We’re on the same team

A conversation I had with one my fellow grad students got me thinking. It is very easy some times to be frustrated with the training decisions of sport coaches. Coaches may train their athletes with a frighteningly high volume of plyometrics, or run mile repeats the day before a competition. These training decisions run contrary to what we believe are prudent training decisions, based upon the physiological and biomechanical schooling that we have received. Many … Read more

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Why you can’t forget about the context of training

The vast majority of us are intimately familiar the major principles of training.  If you’re not, here’s a quick review: Progressive Overload You must create a stimulus that is a large enough to disturb homeostasis, and elicit an adaptation. Variation The stimuli you introduce to the athlete must be sufficiently novel to disturb homeostasis, and elicit a training adaptation. You can vary load, intensity, exercise selection, rest period, range of motion, body position, etc etc etc … Read more

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Why you should go to the 2014 ETSU Coaches and Sport Science College – December 5&6

While we are doing our best job to pump people up for this year’s College on the Sportscienceed website, I thought that I might try to do it a bit of justice here as well. The Coaches and Sport Science College is an event we hold every year here at ETSU in the winter. We bring in speakers from around the country (and sometimes, around the world), to talk on subjects related to sport. The vast majority of … Read more

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Weightlifting Bar, hand, chalk, shoe closeup

You Set Out to Actually Improve Sports Performance- Did You?

We wouldn’t train if we couldn’t improve. Our athletes would never suffer through the tasks we put them through if they weren’t sure that the training was effective to actually improve sports performance. In some aspects of performance improvement, it is really easy to measure how we are progressing. The “inches, kilos, seconds” sports provide a really easy way with which to measure how performance changes over time. Did I put the shot farther in this competition … Read more

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Lebron James and Maria Sharapova

Youth sports performance training: Easy steps for building your kid into a superstar athlete

So you want to build your kid into a superstar young athlete. You want to give her every opportunity that you never had. She might just be 5 years old, but you want her to get a full-ride scholarship, and then maybe, the Olympics. How the heck are you going to do it? The correct answers are not: Ultra-structured youth sports performance training, every day of the week. Year-round sports The same sport, all the … Read more

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