16 Quotes From Game Changer

One of my favorite books from 2017 was without a doubt Game Changer by Fergus Connolly. The other day I picked it up again and was looking through all the things that I highlighted. Here are a few of those highlighted quotes;

  1. The less versatile you are, the better you have to be at what you do well. – Bill Belichick
  2. There must be a single coherent message throughout the entire organization and even in the game plan, strategy, and tactics.
  3. The game itself is the only true test of player and team performance.
  4. Athletes should be told as little as possible about the drills they participate in and should instead be allowed to learn through discovery.
  5. You simply cannot put athletes through high-intensity sessions day after day, or sessions that are dense or have high volume. Otherwise you’ll compromise learning outcomes and the players will be worn down going into the next game. This is why the nature of tactical sessions must be balanced within the morphological programming approach.
  6. If there is one central point underpinning sustainable success, it’s that athlete health is the most important factor in achieving maximal and sustained performance, for both the individual and the team.
  7. If the athlete can ensure proper recovery through adequate rest, sleep, mobility, and nutrition, the para-sympathetic response should be enough to facilitate restoration and adaptation to training stimuli and experiences.
  8. Health has to come before performance.
  9. The generalized concepts of peaking and tapering make no sense.
  10. Do all that you need to do to make an athlete better and nothing more.
  11. Structure and consistency create perfection.
  12. There should never be anything accidental in a training session. Every activity must be geared toward the accomplishment of a specific goal or set of goals.
  13. He who can handle the quickest rate of change survives. – John Boyd
  14. Intensity and quality always trump volume and quantity.
  15. If the leader is positive and energetic, this is contagious and impacts everyone else.
  16. Glittering stadiums, new gear, and fancy facilities do not win sports games: a dedicated, committed team of happy, healthy people does.

Weekend Week in Review

It’s Sunday which means I review some of the podcasts I listened to and articles that I read throughout the last week.

When it comes to the podcasts, I really enjoyed the newest episode of the Strength Coach Podcast. Cam Josse is an extremely smart guy is quickly becoming a very well-known name in the field. Along with that, the Just Fly Performance Podcast with Alex Natera was great, with lots of talk on isometrics, which is something that I am spending a lot of time looking into recently.

For articles, I enjoyed the article Mick Hughes wrote on whether or not injury rates effect team performance. Injuries are certainly an issue in team sports and logic would tell us that teams that are healthy are going to have a better chance of winning when it matters.



Pacey Performance with Jason Hettler

Strength Coach Podcast #225 with Cam Josse

Just Fly Performance with Alex Natera

CVASP with Dr. Zak Gabor


Do Injury Rates Effect Team Performance by Mick Hughes

Explosive Lifting for Hockey by Sean Skahan

Hard Work is Not Going to Break You by John Cissik

Fixing Dave Tate with Dr. John Rusin

The Ultimate 6 Part Hip and Core Warm Up by Matthew Ibrahim

Band Resisted Eccentric Chin Up

Currently in the first week of an eccentric based block with UNH Men’s Soccer and we started off the week with some band resisted eccentric chin ups, trying to overload and really challenge them through the eccentric portion of the lift – plus they are kind of fun.

We aimed for ~5 seconds down for 3 sets of 4 reps, adding a rep each week for the next 3 weeks. Give a try and let me know what you think!

Power/Dynamic In-Season Lift

A quick glance at our current Wednesday lift with UNH Women’s hockey. Our goal is to perform movements with the intent of doing everything fast in order to prime the nervous system for the weekend of games as well as trying to ‘peak’ as we are in the late stages of the season and/or playoffs.

Things we aim to do or not do;

  • program movements that have little if any eccentric movement to eliminate any potential soreness
  • leave the weight room feeling fresh
  • have fresh legs going into and over the course of the weekend
  • amount of weight lifted goes down, speed of movement goes up

Yielding Isometrics

Yielding and Long Duration Isometrics with UNH Volleyball and UNH Men’s Soccer.

One change we’ve made in the first phase of our off-season training this year is adding both yielding and long duration isometrics, which simply asks an athlete to hold a certain position at a sub-maximal level for an extended period of time while fighting against an eccentric contraction.

The rationale behind this is to increase the ability of the muscle to tolerate stress – the more you can tolerate the better one should be able to perform during high intensity/high stress situations.

Again, curious if other coaches program yielding and long duration isometrics, how they implement them and with what exercises?

Weekend Week in Review

It’s Sunday which means I review some of the podcasts I listened to and articles that I read throughout the last week.

When it comes to the podcasts, I really enjoyed Mike Robertson’s Physical Preparation Podcast with John Kiely. John is quickly becoming a go-to resource when it comes to all things periodization and has a ton of valuable insight into how periodization applies to team sport athletes.

For articles, I enjoyed Joel Smith’s article on keeping things simple. In the current world of strength and conditioning and all the information out there, it can be easy to get away from what works, and that’s the basics.



Just Fly Performance with Carl Valle

CVASP with Dr. Zach Long

Pacey Performance with Andrew Russell

Physical Preparation with John Kiely


Overcoming Isometrics

Clusters for Power

Top 10 Strength and Conditioning Books to Read in 2018 by Carl Valle

Doing Simple Better by Joel Smith

Hockey Advice from a Strength Coach by Michael Boyle

Insighted on Functional Athletic Performance Training by Michael Boyle

Why ‘Conscious Coaching’ Beats a System Based Approach to Training and People by Brett Bartholomew

Overcoming Isometrics

Overcoming Isometrics with UNH Men’s Soccer & UNH Volleyball in the first block of their off-season training.

  • Easy to reach proper positions
  • Greater motor unit recruitment
  • Taxes movement patterns at specific joint angles
  • Potential increase in rate of force development

This is the first time we’ve used these in this phase of our off-season training.

Are any other coaches uses isometrics in their programs? When? How? Would be curious to see what others are doing.

Clusters for Power

Our in-season off-ice training with women’s hockey is essentially broken up into three phases;

  1. Strength-Speed (October – December)
  2. Speed-Strength (January – February)
  3. Power (March/playoffs

Ultimately, our goal from January on is to do everything we can to develop faster and more powerful hockey players. In trying to accomplish this one of the small changes we’ve made has been implementing cluster sets with our power work. The idea is that by adding adequate rest (we’ve used ~10 seconds) between reps of our cleans/snatches/jump squats, the athlete will be put in a position to better maintain velocity throughout the course of the entire set and as a result increase power output to a greater degree then they would if they were performing traditional straight sets.

Weekend Week in Review

It’s Sunday which means I review some of the podcasts I listened to and articles that I read throughout the last week.

When it comes to the podcasts, I really enjoyed the Just Fly Performance Podcast with Michael Zweifel. Lots of talk on speed development, agility and things along those lines.

For articles, I enjoyed Allistair McCaw’s article on ways to improve as a coach as we can always become better as a coach no matter how good we feel we are at the job. On top of this, I also really liked Zach Dechant’s article on why TCU baseball is a 3 day a week lifting team in the off-season and not a 4 day a week team like many are – it definitely makes you think about what the proper amount of strength training is!



Strength Coach Podcast #224

Rdella Training with Brett Bartholomew

Pacey Performance with Robert Butler

Just Fly Performance with Michael Zweifel

Iron Game Chalk Talk with Brian Sipotz


Why We Program the Overhead Throw

Why We Are a 3 Day Team by Zach Dechant

25 Ways to Improve Yourself as a Coach by Allistair McCaw

What Really Wins in the Real World by Sean Light

Leadership Comes Down to 3 Things by Justin Gray

Living Better in a Profession of Martyrdom: Advice for Young Strength Coaches by Byran Mann

A Simple Plan by Tony Holler

Why the Overhead Throw is a Staple in Our Program

Though the internet/instagram/Twitter continue to try to complicate the training process, I firmly believe simplicity is key in any sport performance program.

Case in point, one of our staple med ball exercises with UNH Volleyball is a simple overhead throw that’s effective for a handful of reasons;

  1. It improves/trains the anterior core for power which is important for any sport not just volleyball.
  2. It allows us to train a very sport-specific pattern that mimics the high speeds that are similar to those seen in their sport.
  3. When we progress to the standing, stepping and more dynamic variations of the exercise, it helps to teach an athlete how to properly create forces from the ground through the legs, through the core, then finally out of the arms in a similar fashion to their sport.
  4. Finally, and maybe the most importantly and often overlooked with med ball work for a volleyball and/or overhead athlete from an injury prevention and shoulder health standpoint, an overhead throw teaches the posterior shoulder to decelerate appropriately once the med ball is release, in a similar way that will be seen when hitting a volleyball.

Effective training doesn’t have to be complicated.