The Impact of $4

This semester I started a weekly award … the “Bingham Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Week”. Each week I pick one boy and one girl athlete (students in my class) based on a different set of criteria (some subjective, some objective) such as “best technique”, “highest pound for pound ratio”, “highest power quotient”, or “best teammate”.

For each winner, I blow up a picture of them lifting and put it in a poster frame attached to each door entering the weight room.   I also tweet a picture of each athlete standing by his or her poster. At the end of the week I give the posters to the athletes to keep.IMG_6755

It has become a very popular addition to the class. There is always a buzz on the day the new “Athlete of the Week” poster is unveiled…

  • “who got it this week?”
  • “can you let me in the weight room to see?”
  • “what was it based on?”
  • “what will the criteria be for this next week?”

You would think that I was awarding the Heisman Trophy. You can see the pride on their faces, and admiration from their classmates. The best part is when I am able to give them their poster at the end of the week to take home.

I get the posters printed at Staples. I actually got the idea from my wife who saw it on Pinterest and passed it on to me. They are called “engineer prints” and are 3’ x 2’ black and white prints that cost less than $4.

The process is simple… take a high quality jpeg, convert it to a PDF and upload it to their site… or just take the file on a thumb drive and have them print it while you wait.

But this post isn’t a plug for Staples, or about “engineer prints”.

It is about the impact that $4 can make in your program.

We don’t all have unlimited budgets… many of us are really trying to do more with less… actually on more of a “shoestring” budget than the unlimited variety.

There are many things that can be done… many great ideas out there… that don’t cost a dime (or under $4) than can have a huge impact with your students and with your program.

The thing about the Athlete of the Week posters isn’t how much or how little they cost… it is about stopping everything and making a statement and recognizing someone for doing something right… doing something well.

And the recognition isn’t just a one-time shot…

  • They get recognition when their poster gets “unveiled”,
  • They get recognition when I tweet the picture of them and their poster,
  • They get recognition each day when their classmates see their poster as they enter and leave the weight room
  • They get recognition when I “award” them their poster at the end of the week to take home.

It is just another way of saying “Good Job!” to a student and at the same time reinforcing a component or concept that you feel is important.

Every week I think to myself, “this is the best $4 I have ever spent! 

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You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

It is Never Easy

The other day I invited classroom teachers from my school (Bingham Middle School, Independence School District) to come down and visit my students as they worked out.

Actually, I had the students invite their teachers to come down to the weight room… sometimes a scary place for a classroom teacher… lots of noise, metal clanging, occasional shouts, etc… I told my students it was…

National Invite Your Classroom Teachers to the Weight Room to See How Hard You Work on Heavy Squat Day in Strength and Conditioning Class”, day.

OK, I made the day up, but…. we did get a few teachers to venture down to the weight room.

My purpose… I wanted their classroom teachers to see how hard these students work … daily… in this class… and I wanted them (their teachers) to see their students in a different light, and a different setting than they were used to seeing them.

One colleague who came down watched in amazement as the students worked out… and did the little things that they do daily… and do pretty much on their own.

  • Reading their workout cards
  • Calculating the weight needed to be put on the bar
  • Disciplined behavior
  • Putting the weight on the bar
  • Adjusting the rack
  • Spotting
  • Encouraging
  • Laughing
  • Working
  • Transitioning from one lift to the next
  • On task
  • Coaching one another
  • Seriously training!

These are 8th graders.

He asked “How long did it take to get them to this point?

IMG_6514It is an excellent question. At this point in the year, into the 4th quarter… the class is very low maintenance…. I am sure it appears that it is an easy class to teach… and at this point of the year, it is!   I spend very little of my day, and very little of my time each hour babysitting, redirecting, disciplining, or managing behavior. I get to spend the majority of my time teaching, coaching, and motivating.

But as you know, it does not happen all at once, or by magic. The heavy lifting (pun intended) of the class is front-loaded. I spend a great deal of time in the first 6-8 weeks on every small detail including…

After that first couple of months, it just becomes reinforcing the good stuff… fine-tuning a few things each day by constant assessment of where they are with their technique, knowledge and strength level.

At this point of the year, the class is a well-oiled machine.

It is just like the football program that makes reeling off winning seasons, conference championships, and playoff appearances look easy.

It is not easy… it is not ever easy… It is a result of hours, months and years of hard work… concentrating on every bit of minutia… every detail in the program.

Being a good teacher is hard work… being a good coach is hard work

But it is so very worth it.

If you have not had the chance, I hope can read my post from last week, The Case for Middle School Strength and Conditioning. If your District offers this class, kudos… if not, this may persuade you to hop on a soapbox. 

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

The Case for Middle School Strength and Conditioning

Nearly a year ago I wrote about our school district’s (the Independence School District) decision to add a Strength and Conditioning class to the middle school curriculum (Efficacy and Safety-Middle School Strength Training)

When this decision was made, there were some skeptics… in the community, in the district, even among peers in our department.

Here are the concerns “They” voiced about the class…

  • “They” said that the class wouldn’t “make”… that there would not be enough interest.
  • “They” said that middle school students would get bored with this (a full year) class
  • “They” said that middle school students did not have the attention span needed for this class on a daily basis
  • “They” said that the class would not be safe at the middle school level
  • “They” said that middle school students are not physically ready for a strength and conditioning class
  • “They” said that middle school students are not mentally ready for a strength and conditioning class.

Well, after nearly a year into teaching this class, all I can say is that apparently “They” do not know these 156 students that I have had in class this year.

IMG_6721In my 30+ years of teaching, this has been one of the best, most rewarding years I have had, and it is a credit to the administrators, students and colleagues in our district and our building. These students have been nothing short of AMAZING… pretty much daily.

Regarding the above mentioned concerns… I spoke to most of these in my original post, Efficacy and Safety – Middle School Strength Training.   Regarding the interest level, attention span, or mental readiness questions, here is what I have found.

This, the first year of the class, we offered six sections… two for 7th grade and four for 8th grade… and in order to keep class sizes manageable due to space and equipment limitations, capped each class at 24 students.

IMG_6782We had over 200 7th graders initially sign up for the class, and 180 8th graders, which meant that we had to trim about 2/3 off the 7th grade list and 1/3 off the 8th grade list.   There was more than enough interest.

I ended up allowing a few more students than the capped number in case any student wanted to drop out after seeing what the class was all about… and ended up with 156 students enrolled in my classes.

Out of the 156 students originally enrolled in the class, only 2 dropped out and opted for a different PE course. I also added several students at semester that wanted to get into the course after seeing what it was all about…. The students did not get bored, they have the attention span, and there is an interest.

The nuts and bolts of the class organization can be found in my various posts on the workout program, but in a nutshell, here is some general information:

  • Typically we are in the weight room training Monday and Wednesday and every other Friday.
  • Tuesday we are in the classroom doing the Health part of our curriculum,
  • Thursday we do speed, agility, or functional strength work either outside (weather permitting) or in an area of the gym
  • Every other Friday is “Choice” day where they get to choose an activity along with all the other PE classes.
  • We have 4 “Core” lifts that we have taught and comprise the majority of our workout: Bench, Squat, Hang Clean, and Push Press
  • Each week we include 3 of the 4 lifts in the cycle and eliminate one lift, rotating the omitted lift each week, thereby having 4 different weekly combinations.
  • Each week we normally do a “change up” lift one day… clean from the floor, front squat, hang snatch, clean to push press, etc.
  • Every student has a workout card that is individualized and proscribed to them based on their current strength level… a perfect example of differentiated instruction.

I don’t want to get too long winded with this post and stray from the intent… to write about the merits of this class. If you want more information, details of the program can be found on my various posts regarding the workout program.

I also tweet daily with activities and video from the class (@youcandomore1)

My closing thoughts:

  • Some will use the “readiness” argument… that student are not physically or mentally ready to take a Strength and Conditioning class in middle school… I argue that it probably is the perfect time to introduce elements of this class
  • This class and these students have been nothing short of amazing (and I am usually not prone to hyperbole) … pretty much daily… they have handled everything that has been thrown at them, and are learning how to compete.
  • While the majority of the students in the class are athletes, there are some that are not… and they have responded equally well.
  • I do believe this class will have positive ramifications in our athletic teams at the high school level. Our students will go to high school with a good understanding of strength training concepts, techniques, and a better understanding of what it means to compete.
  • If your district does not offer this class at the middle school level, I would get on the bandwagon and lead the charge… if not it is a missed opportunity.

IMG_6526

If you have specific questions about the program or how to implement, please feel free to contact me… I will respond!

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

400m Track Workouts in Excel

I have always enjoyed Track and Field… as a competitor and coach. I was actually a head Track coach prior to being a head Football coach. As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have coached Track and Field at every public school that I have been at.   At the collegiate level, although I did not coach Track, I had a keen interest in it. This is a picture of my son and me during a track meet at UCM when I was on the football staff there.

carter trackToday I am going to share a workout for 400m runners.   Philosophically, I believe that developing a pool of 400m runners can be the keystone for a successful Track and Field program. The best programs that I have coached, we had a strong core group of athletes that could run the 400m.

From that group we typically had some that we ran “up” in the 800m run, and some that we ran “down” in the shorter sprint races. From this group we could also fashion many of our relay teams.

This workout for 400m runners is based on work and research done by many successful Track and Field coaches, but borrows most from Clyde Harts work. Coach Hart was the long time Head Track and Field Coach at Baylor University, which earned the reputation as “Quarter-Mile-U”.

Coach Hart’s 400m workouts contain eight different components:

  1. Speed Endurance
  2. Tempo Endurance
  3. Strength Endurance
  4. Endurance Running
  5. Power Speed
  6. Event Running
  7. Speed
  8. Strength

The workout I am sharing (actually an Excel workbook) focuses on the Speed Endurance and Tempo Endurance components of Coach Hart’s 400m workout plan.  To download the workbook, click on this link : 400m Workout Workbook, or the picture below

sprint workbook

In a Speed Endurance workout, the runner incurs a high oxygen debt, and a lactic acid buildup. The emphasis is on quality, not quantity; with almost full recovery between runs.   Distances of these training runs can vary from 100m to 600m, with the total distance run during a workout being about 1000m.

A Tempo Endurance workout is aerobic, which will help the 400m runners increase their oxygen uptake, which helps shorten recovery time. In addition, these workouts help the runner learn rhythm (tempo) and also help train the body to increase production of phosphate… a primary energy source. The pace of these workouts is slower, with a shorter rest period, and more emphasis on quantity.

What I have tried to do with this workbook is to take these concepts from coach Hart and put them into an editable workout workbook. There is a tab for Speed Endurance workouts and a tab for Tempo Endurance workouts. Each workout is based on the runners 400m time, with the target times to hit based on calculations from this time.

I tried to make the workbook flexible, so that a coach would have a variety of workouts, with target times all based on the athletes 400m time:

  • Tempo Endurance workouts with Intervals of 100m, 200m, 300m, and 400m and intensities between 80% and 95%.
  • Speed Endurance workouts with Intervals of 100m, 200m, 300m, and 400m and intensities between 90% and 100%.

For example, in this Tempo Endurance workout, the athlete would run 5-8 (you would decide on the amount) 200m intervals, with a target time of 30 seconds (based on a 400m time of 54) with about a 2 minute recovery time.

sample workout

The calculations for the target times are not exact… the formula calculates what their estimated 100m, 200m, or 300m time would be (based on their 400m time) and figures the percentage for their target time from that. That being said, I always liked giving my athletes specific times to hit, rather than just say “run this at about 80% effort.”

The worksheets are editable… you can plug whatever 400m times you want to derive the workout from (in the 400 Time row) and the worksheet will calculate the corresponding workout.  This short tutorial describes some of the features of the 400m sprint workout workbook.  Click on the image below to start… if you click on HD in the upper right hand corner as it is playing, the quality is much better.

 

If you have any questions or comments about the 400m Workout Workbook, just shoot me an email… I will answer!

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You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

Fast “Track” to a Great Football Program

I am going to piggyback on Cole Young’s post on the PrepsKC site from last week regarding the Ohio State football-recruiting tweet that recently blew up the Internet… the one that graphically displayed the fact that out of 47 recruits on their (OSU) squad, 42 were multi-sport athletes.

ohio state recruitingWhen I was at UCM and recruiting Missouri, Kansas, and Texas (DFW area) the first question that I asked high school football coaches (after confirming grades, test scores, and character) was “What other sports does Johnny-Joe play?

We always had great success recruiting multi-sport athletes… football/ basketball… football/wrestling… and especially football players that participated in Track and Field.

Here is the latest graphic, a sequel to the above chart, drilling even deeper into Urban Meyer’s and Ohio State’s recruiting philosophy, showing that out of those same 47 athletes on their squad, 33 ran track in high school.

ohio state trackAdmittedly, I am biased… I ran track at both the high school and collegiate levels, and have coached track at every public school I have been at. I know running track helped my football performance.

I am not bashing the other sports, and not picking on the other spring sports, but there are many things about participating in track and field that can help you become a better football player… or better at any other sport.   Speed (sprint events), Strength (throwing events), Explosion (vertical and horizontal jumps) are all qualities that every football coach is looking for in their athletes…. and Endurance (distance events) is a quality that may not be essential for football, but is for sports such as swimming, soccer, or wrestling.

There is also a factor about track that college recruiters (including me) love… it is an equalizer… it levels the playing field.   Here is what I mean.

It is sometimes difficult as a football recruiting coach to evaluate athletes at smaller schools, or athletes that play against poorer competition… you question how they would perform at a higher classification or against teams comprised of better athletes… frankly, often times when you request for a player from a smaller classification school to be “put on the board” you are sticking your neck out a bit with the head coach.

If an athlete participates in Track and Field it is different. Running a 10.45 FAT 100m dash is the same if an athlete from Osceola High School (1A) does it as one from Blue Springs High School (5A)…. the same goes for a 50’ shot put, 23’ long jump, or 6’10” high jump. While these standards may not show what kind of a football player you are getting, they do reflect athletic talent.

If you need any further evidence to the benefits of your football players participating in Track and Field, considers these examples:

  • In Texas (where many people believe it is football year round) 74% of the DI FBS signees this year ran Track.
  • This article details TCU’s recruiting philosophy, loading up their roster with Track stars.
  • This video shows the difference between Winston’s and Mariota’s 40 yd dash at the NFL combine this year.   Guess which one ran track in high school? Guess which athlete’s stock just went up?
  • And a great read via Coach Jeff Gourley (@Gourleyfootball)  – 10 Reasons to Join the Track Team

Bottom line… there is mounting evidence that shows that specialization does not make sense. Encourage your athletes to compete… and if they don’t already have a spring sport they are married to, introduce them to their new sweetheart… the track and field program at your school!

BTW… a great source of information regarding Track and Field coaching is @pntrack, the twitter feed of Plainfield North (IL) High School Track and Field.

Tomorrow check back here. I will have a post that includes an editable excel spreadsheet for 400m track workouts – both tempo endurance, and speed endurance workouts.

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You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

Super Bowl (blame) Game

The Seahawks final offensive play of Super Bowl 49 has sparked much discussion. Most has revolved around “Why throw a pass from the one yard line when you have Marshawn Lynch in the backfield?”

blame gameHindsight, as they say, is 20/20.

What I would rather talk about is how the key players reacted and interacted with the media following the interception and ensuing loss… Specifically Russell Wilson, and Seahawk head coach Pete Caroll.

I have written a few times about my belief how coaches, as adult, emotionally mature leaders, should react to the public and media after facing some adversity… as well as what should guide their thinking and speaking when something good happens in their program – like a win! That post can be found here: Chain of Accountability , Chain of Praise.

In a nutshell, what I believe is that Coaches, as adults should hold themselves accountable when things are not going well, and give credit to their players (who even in the NFL are really just big kids) when good things happen.

After the game, Coach Caroll handled a horrible moment with dignity and maturity, answered every question, and telling his inquisitors,

“Put it all on me. My fault, totally,”

Carroll held himself accountable for the outcome of that play and the game.

Russell Wilson did the same, saying,

“The message from Coach Carroll was he took the blame for it… that it wasn’t my fault. I put the blame on me for not making that play. I’m the one who threw it. … I thought it was going to be a touchdown. I don’t question the call. I thought it was a good call.”

Being able handle situations as these two did demands some emotional maturity… emotional intelligence… It is evident that both Wilson and Carroll posses that level of EQ… emotional intelligence.

But, how does that happen… how do you teach that… coach that?

I found myself trying to do this… taking baby steps… with some middle school athletes at our school.

Sometimes it is easier to do this when you are not directly coaching the sport. I am not a basketball coach.   Our boy’s basketball team had an excellent season, and most of the players played football for me and have me in our Strength and Conditioning class.

After every contest it became routine for me to ask the players to “give me a recap” … whether I was at the game or not… just to get their perspective.   After one tough defeat, I asked a couple of players who were congregating in the hall before school for this recap

The first thing they told me was that they gymnasium was small… that is was an elementary school gym… and that several times our team made 3 point shots but were actually out of bounds… that the 3 point line was that close to the out of bounds line.  I asked them “was the opposing team playing on a different court?” After a few quizzical looks, the light bulb finally went on… and with a sheepish grin they answered, “No”.   I followed up by asking, “Well, that being the case, what could you have done better individually, and what could you have done better as a team?” And they responded with great, introspective answers.

Another time, after asking for the recap after a loss, one player responded, “They were lucky”. I asked if he had played the best game possible… and he answered, “No, I could have played defense better and rebounded better”.

I was trying to get them to focus on things that are in their control, and helping them see that they have some accountability.

As the season progressed, I saw their responses, and them, gain maturity… both in the losses and wins. Maybe this is how EQ is learned.

What I do see, though, is that the Chains of Accountability and Chain of Praise, run both ways… particularly on a healthy team.

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You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

Signing Day and Recruiting

Jeff Floyd:

This post is, of course, still very relevant this year. I am amazed each year with the flurry of recruiting activity (mainly from those student-athletes wanting to get recruited) during the month of January. This really is something that student-athletes (and their families) should be taking care of beginning with their 9th and 10th grade years. Hopefully this information will find its way into some of those young student athletes hands … and heads!

Originally posted on You Can Do More!:

National Signing Day is exciting.

  • Exciting for the student-athletes (and their parents) that are beginning the next step of their athletic and academic career…
  • Exciting for high school coaches that are proud to see the young men that they have helped mold, shape and develop get rewarded for their work….
  • Exciting for the college coaches that have worked so hard over the last year (and longer) to put together their 2014 recruiting class… (and can now get off the road for a few weeks!)

national_signing_day

For the 2014 seniors signing the NLI , today is the culmination of the recruiting process.  For everyone else (athletes in grades 9-11) the process is either still ongoing, or just getting going.

When I checked my blog stats over the last couple of weeks, I noticed a huge spike with search terms regarding recruiting and that National Letter of Intent.  People with questions like “

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A Most Deserved HOF Induction

If you asked a group of young men to name an individual who had a profound effect on their life, I would suspect that many would come up with the name of a coach or teacher. That is without a doubt the case with me. Besides my family, that person would be my high school football coach, Fred Merrell.

Coach Merrell was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame this past week … he was inducted into the Missouri High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1993.

I had the opportcoach merrellunity to visit with Coach Merrell at a reception honoring his award this weekend. In true Fred Merrell,  self deprecating fashion, the first words out of his mouth after saying thanks for coming were, “I’m not sure why they picked me… I never won a state championship”.

 

I can tell you that there is no more deserving man to be honored by this selection than Coach Merrell. I had the unique opportunity to not only play for Merrell at Blue Springs High School for three years, but also coach with him for three years fresh out of college.

If you visit with anyone about Coach Merrell, the words “He is one of the finest men I have ever known” (or something similar) will enter the conversation. I know of NO ONE who thinks any differently.

Every day that I coach and teach, I think about Coach Merrell. Most of the good procedures and practices that I still employ can be traced back to him… from film study, to breaking down an opposing offense, to how to respectfully treat young men.

The main reason that I made my decision to attend William Jewell College and play football was because that is where Coach Merrell played.

I consider myself very fortunate to have played football for a coach like Fred Merrell, and doubly so to have been able to coach with him.

The reception this weekend held another pleasant surprise for me. Tom McSparren, a History teacher at Blue Springs High School, was in attendance. I had Mr. McSparren for several classes…Civil War, Ethnic Heritage, and sat with rapt attention in various others of his classes during my study hall. Being in Mr. McSparren’s classes made me want to study and teach History… which I did!

I am lucky. In the course of 30 minutes this weekend, I was able to visit with the man who I wanted to coach like (Fred Merrell) and the teacher I wanted to teach like (Tom McSparren)…and I was able to share with them both how important they have been in my life.

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You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

Our Job… Your Tree

Recently amid all of the hoopla, conjecture and speculation regarding Jim Harbaugh’s decision to leave the 49ers and the NFL to land at Michigan, was a nugget that struck me.

The commentators were all discussing the usual, obvious reasons… money, returning to his roots, etc.

Then Lou Holtz made these observations…

He said that some coaches are simply more suited for collegiate coaching positions, not because their skill can’t cut it at the professional level, but because they feel they can have a greater impact on young men’s lives at the collegiate level… both to players that play for them, and coaches that coach with them.

woody hayesHoltz said, “Woody Hayes is alive today because he taught me…”

Coach Holtz was an assistant for Woody Hayes at Ohio State in 1968. Ohio State won the National Championship that year.

 

Think about it…

Who will you live on through?

They are in your program now.

Ours is an awesome job that comes with awesome responsibility.

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You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Conor Oberst and the AFCA National Convention

Jeff Floyd:

This is a re-blog of a post from the summer referencing the AFCA National Convention, which is taking place in Louisville, Kentucky this week.

The moral of this story is…

Persistence…
Practice…
Hard Work…
Hard Work Pays Off…

If you are at the convention, enjoy and do me a favor. If you read my blog, and like the content… share it (youcandomore.net) with a colleague in the lobby!

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Originally posted on You Can Do More!:

How are Conor Oberst and the American Football Coaches Association National Convention related?

Get ready for a relatively circuitous ride…

If you are over 30, there is probably a good chance that you do not know who Conor Oberst is. The 34 year old singer-songwriter has been playing music for over 20 years … he released his first recording, Water, when he 13. He was recording folk music before the likes of Mumford and Sons, and the Avett Brothers made it popular again.

My 24-year-old son, Carter, has been an Oberst fan pretty much his whole life… my wife and I, not so much. When Carter was in middle school, Oberst and Bright Eyes (his group) populated our iTunes library. Carter would sit at the computer doing homework and listen to Oberst … we would make his wear headphones because the music was… well… pretty awful.

tdc_conorMy son and…

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