Random Thoughts: May Edition

It’s a new month, so here are 10 quick and random thoughts that have been floating around my brain recently. If nothing else I hope it makes you think a little. Enjoy!

1. People need the simple stuff more then anything else. In my opinion, overcomplicating will just lead to undertrained athletes. Don’t underestimate the power of the basics because they aren’t as sexy as some of the other stuff.
2. Recently I heard Buddy Morris comment that his ‘skill’ guys with the Arizona Cardinals don’t squat during the pre-season period because of the eccentric load on their hamstrings through daily practice. To be honest I don’t know what to think about this, except that it does make me think.

3. General observation: if athletes are chatty and hard to focus through the warm up, it is probably a good indicator that they are recovered and ready to go. The reverse seems to also be true; if they are quiet with no energy, they probably aren’t ready and recovered from their previous training. This might sound obvious, but instead of trying to reign athletes in when they are chatty maybe we should try to use that to our advantage.

4. Athletes don’t buy into coaching, they buy into coaches. If you find yourself having to motivating a group every single day you might be better off looking in the mirror and trying to find out what you can do to make the group buy into you more. Motivating washes off like soap in the shower.

5. This spring in our ‘power’ block we paired two med ball throws, a plyo/jump and some type of speed/sled. The goal was to let the athletes recover completely after each speed/sled exercise through active recovery so that they could give a legit 100% when it came to the speed work. For what it’s worth, it seemed to work really well. We’ll see if this really did work as we thought it did when they have heart rate monitors next fall…

6. Blatantly stole this thought from ‘Strong by Science’ on Twitter…“Why do we label a 500lb squat strong and not a 36 inch vertical jump? One is arbitrary and the other is an example of power to weight ratio.” Really makes you think a little as to what is really important…

7. Sport specific training; move well, move fast, move strong, move for a long period of time. It’s that simple.

8. No matter what the sport, the best players are typically the fastest. So, does it matter how much weight we can move slowly?

9. Using the previous thought as a jumping off point, if max strength was the end all be all then power lifters would walk in and dominate sports, but they don’t. That doesn’t mean that being strong isn’t important, but at some point you are strong enough…I’m just not sure we know what that is quite yet.

10. If you are getting the training effect you are after with a ‘regression’, then why do you need to move on until that adaptation ceases?

Getting Into the Industry

These days it seems like every guy that lifts weights wants to be a strength coach. College and professional athletes rely on their strength coaches to give them a competitive edge whether it’s through strength training, conditioning, rehabilitation, or regeneration amongst many other things. The coaching staffs at these schools or for these professional teams also rely on the strength coaches for these same things along with building mentally tougher athletes as well as setting the tone for the entire program. That said, what should the inspiring strength coach do to get in on a piece of the action?

1 – Knowledge is power

You need to know your anatomy, and more specifically functional anatomy. That’s the first place everyone should start. When you think you have anatomy down, continue to learn.

2 – Read at least one hour per day

There are so many aspects to becoming a strength coach and you’ll never know everything. Keep exploring new topics and never stop exploring. There are so many areas you can focus on, whether its nutrition, biomechanics, programming, anatomy, new training techniques, or even personal development. The fact of the matter is I doubt there is anyone out there that reads too much.

3 – Realize that you need to know much more than just strength training

This basically piggybacks off of #2, but whether its nutrition, mobility/stability, speed training, or how to continually motivate and connect with athletes, you need to know it and understand it. It’s so much more than just a couple sets of hang cleans followed by some squatting and benching. The sooner you realize that strength training is one of many different aspects of this job, the sooner you’ll be on your way to having a successful coaching career.

4 – Find a mentor(s) and learn as much as you can from them

Every strength coach started in the same position as you are in right now and almost all of them are willing to lend a helping hand to an up and coming strength coach. Find someone who has a very good reputation and learn as much as you can from them. Ask them as many questions as you can think of and make the most of learning from someone who is the position you hope to be in someday. Plus, when you finally have a job and your own teams, you’ll always have someone or a couple of people to shoot emails to and call when you have questions.

5 – Intern/Volunteer as much as you can

This is an obvious one; you need to get out there and get experience. If you look at almost all strength coaches resumes you’ll find they interned and/or volunteered many hours when they were young to get their foot in the door. Furthermore, when interning or volunteering, if the strength coaches let you actually get on the floor and coach the athletes take full advantage of it. It takes time to be able to successfully coach up an athlete so they actually understand what you are talking about. In a perfect world you should intern/volunteer with a couple different coaches at different schools to learn as much as you can from as many different people as you can. The more your exposed to, the better as it will help you develop your own philosophies and systems.

To take it a step further, most colleges and professional teams are looking for someone who has a master’s degree. Get as much experience as you can so that when its time to get that masters degree you can also get a graduate assistantship. As a GA you’ll basically be a strength coach, running your own teams, all while learning from other like-minded coaches, get paid a monthly stipend, and go to school for free. Not a bad gig.

6 – Learn how to communicate

Whether you’re standing in front of the women’s soccer team giving them a run down of everything on the agenda for the day or coaching up an athlete one on one, you need to know how to communicate with them so they understand exactly what you want, and as easy as it may sound, it takes time to master. Furthermore, while in the weight room there’s a lot going on, from loud music to other teams and coaches being loud. Because of that, often times you’ll need to raise your voice so someone of the other end of the room can hear you. I’ve seen some coaches do this and it always seems like they are yelling at someone and some coaches that do this and it always seems like they are coaching someone. It’s a huge difference and one that takes time to master.

7 – Remember that your number one goal as a strength coach is to keep the athletes as healthy as possible at all times

It doesn’t matter how strong they are if they can’t get on the field or on the court. If an athlete has their leg rolled up on and ends up with a torn ACL there’s nothing you can do as a coach. However, if an athlete is running and cuts or stops quickly and ends up tearing an ACL, it reflects back on the strength coach. This is where the countless hours learning about corrective exercise, rehabilitation, and regeneration come in handy to keep everyone healthy and on the field. Chasing numbers and having some strong athletes is always a good thing, as long as it comes second to having healthy athletes.

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 9/25




Here are another series of articles, blogs, and interviews from the last week. Enjoy.


Muscle Snatch for Strength and Power by Wil Fleming

Eric Cressey on Iron Game Chalk Talk with Ron McKeefrey

Are Bulgarian Squats Superior to Regular Squats? by Ben Bruno

CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret by Eric Robertson

3 Training Lessons You Can Learn From MMA by Martin Rooney

9 Great Ways to Improve Your Workouts by Dan John

Core Exercise Progressions by Mike Boyle

The Lowdown on Levers by Dean Somerset

9 Ways to Increase Productivity


Plan Your Day the Night Before

If you are really serious about getting things done, take a couple minutes the night before and plan out your day. It works wonders, especially when you stick to the plan. Try it out for a few weeks or a month and see how much more you get done throughout the course of your day.

Prioritize the More Important First

We all have numerous things that we need to get done in the course of our day. Start by tackling the most important things first. Prioritizing everything that you need to do allows you to get the stuff done that is more important first, then focus on the issues that aren’t quite as important.

Don’t Leave Emails Sitting in Your Inbox

We all do it, and to be honest, it’s pretty stupid when you think about it. We take the time to log on to our email account, read an email that is in our inbox, and then close our email without responding. From now on act on all those emails you read. Save yourself the time of coming back and re-reading an email and having to respond. Plus, this will eliminate that email that gets lost in the shuffle for a few days that we forget to act on.


Get Started

This seems so obvious but it needs mentioning. The only way to get things done is to start. Stop procrastinating and start getting things done.


Avoid Disruptions

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Get off them and get stuff done. You’d be shocked how much time we actually spend messing around on social media and the internet in general. Stay off these sites until you get your actual work done.

No Multi-Tasking

We all think we can do it, none of us do it well. When we try to get 3 things done at once we either get nothing accomplished or we get half assed results from all the things we are trying to get done. Stick to one task, complete it, and repeat.

Be Slow and Make Sure You Get Things Done Right the First Time

To piggyback off the no multi-tasking thought, get things done and get them done right the first time. Spend the time to do things correctly. If you don’t have a ton of time to do things, having to do things over and over again because you never do things right the first is a simple way to make sure your productivity is terrible.


Set and Respect Deadlines

I think it’s safe to say we all set deadlines. I think it’s also safe to say many of us don’t respect those deadlines. Keep setting deadlines but make them realistic – then hold yourself accountable and respect meeting those deadlines.

Keep a Notebook and Write Things Down

This is one of my favorites and something I learned from Mike Boyle, someone who has a ton of stuff going on in his life yet gets everything done and then some more. Simply get some type of notebook and write things down. Ideas pop into our head at the most random times – write things down immediately and stay on top of everything that you need to get done.

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 3/27

Here are a few good reads to get you through another work week;

Boring Work

12 Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat by Jason Ferruggia

Nothing Beats Single Leg Training by Ben Bruno

6 Coaches Weigh In on Shoulders by T-Nation

Olympic Lift Variations to Get Big by Wil Fleming

The Tale of 2 Rolls by Charlie Weingroff

Roman’s Road Rules by John Romaniello

Supplement Review Part I by Tony Gentilcore

Supplement Reveiw Part II by Tony Gentilcore