The Courage to Compete

softballIt takes courage to participate in athletics.  You are “putting yourself out there” for everyone… spectators, family, friends and foes alike to watch, judge, critique, etc.  It is easy to sit in the stands and grouse about how your team is lacking, or how your school’s players are “not very good”.  It is much harder to compete, take the risk, do the work, and be a Doer!

It takes courage to be a coach, to put your product (your team) out for evaluation every Friday night or Tuesday or Sunday afternoon.  I chuckle inside when other teachers worry/ complain/ get angry about being “evaluated” once or twice a year.  Coaches not only get evaluated during those two “official” teaching evaluations, but also every Friday night when they put their team on the field.  The evaluation is done not only by school officials, but parents, community members, students, and the media.  In addition to these “evaluations” many of us also get evaluated almost daily by our Activities Director and/ or administration… watching practice, checking grades, monitoring your teams behavior while they are at school.  And it is ALL GOOD!  It comes with the job; it is what we signed up for, and generally keeps us on our toes.  So why do we do it? Why do we decide to compete, to coach?

This is a excerpt from Seth Godin’s blog yesterday about being a spectator as opposed to a Doer:

The spectators foolishly assert that if everyone was a doer, a leader and a maker of ruckuses, then there’d be no one left in the audience. As if those that do require an audience.

The alternative to being a spectator involves failure and apparent risk. It means that you will encounter people who accuse you of hubris and flying too high, people who are eager to point out the loose thread on your jacket or the flaw in your reasoning. The spectators in the stands are happy to boo, happy to walk out when the team is struggling in the third period, happy to switch if the bread or the circuses cease to delight.

Why on earth, they ask, would they want to be anything but a spectator?

And yet, those that have foolishly picked themselves, stood up, stood out and made a difference, can’t help but ask, “and why would I ever want to be a spectator again?

And yet, those that have foolishly picked themselves, stood up, stood out and made a difference, can’t help but ask “and why would I ever want to be a spectator again?”

Indeed!

Pick Yourself – Be a Doer, Be a Competitor!

Tomorrow – Bench Press video and tips.

Notice that the blog address has changed – simplified!  I have my own domain:

youcandomore.net    (.net NOT .com!)

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Be a Quick Purple Cow!

The next quality I am going to discuss, the next quality that will set you apart from the other 250,000 high school seniors that are playing football, is the Purple Cow Quality of Athleticism and Quickness

pro agilityThis quality is related to speed and explosion, which were discussed in previous posts (Purple Cow Quality #2 Speed and Explosion-how to get it) but slightly different. Coaches look for the ability of an athlete to change directions, stop and start, adjust angles, and their overall body control.  Some of this can be measured by tests, the most notable the NFL Pro Agility shuttle test.  This video is one of the best descriptions of the NFL Pro Agility shuttle test (also known as the short shuttle, or 5-10-5 shuttle) I have seen.

Aside from testing, coaches will evaluate film, and possibly evaluate performances in other sports such as basketball or wrestling.

How do you improve your Athleticism and Quickness thereby improving your time in the NFL Pro Agility Drill?   How do you develop Purple Cow Quickness? Now that would be REALLY remarkable… a Quick Purple Cow!

Much of the same type of training (plyometics, dynamic weight training, etc.) that lends itself to increased speed and explosiveness will help improve quickness, too.  In addition, if you are currently not doing quickness drills as part of your workout program, ask your coach for a program you can do on your own, or look at some of these drills:

These links are an excellent series of drill,  Lateral Speed and Change of Direction Drillsfrom Central College:

Here is the Lane Shuffle Drill

And the Sprint Agility Drill

This link (Florida Gator Agility and Foot Quickness Drills ) will take you to another list of football specific drills from the Florida Gators Strength and Conditioning Coach.  There are drill descriptions and some accompanying video: 

Another good series, and time tested set of drills are the BFS (Bigger Faster Stronger) dot drills.  Here is a pdf file explaining the drills: BFS Dot Drill and this video showing an athlete completing the drills.

Like all the other qualities I have discussed, mastering this one does not come easy, or all at once.  Practice, improve, and become a Quick Purple Cow!

Tomorrow video and coaching points on the first of our four core lifts, the Bench Press.

As always, any questions comment or email… I will answer!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Rocket Science

It is not… getting recruited, that is. It is not Rocket Science.

launch1bI have had conversations with colleagues and students over the last few days about the excerpts from my eBook that I have been posting.  What it comes down to is that the concepts are simple, the actual “doing”, tends to be much harder.  There really is no “magic bullet”, sure-fire single thing that will get you a college scholarship.  There really is no “miracle pill” that will get the college recruiters lining up at your door.  Well, there really is a “miracle pill” that you can take, but it just takes four (or more) years and a lot of hard work to swallow!

What it boils down to is that over the next four years (if you are a freshman) you will be given literally thousands of choices that you will need to make. The result of these choices will either get you closer to your goal of being a college athlete and being rewarded for your hard work, or put you further away from your dream.    The sneaky thing, the really insidious thing, is that most of these choices by themselves aren’t “deal breakers”… making the right choice will not automatically earn you a college scholarship, and making the wrong choice will not prevent it.  So it is easy to think at the time you have to make the choice, “oh, this is no big thing”.  And you are right, this one single choice probably is NOT a big thing, but making these choices, good or bad, is incremental and cumulative. I have seen student-athletes make these same types of choices over the last 30 years of my career.  The athletes that make the majority of choices that positively impact their goal are FAR more likely to achieve that goal.  Here are some choices that bombard a typical high school athlete…

  • You decide to skip the Friday after school off-season program because you want some extra time to get ready for your date tonight…. It Matters!
  • You decide to take a Team Sports class next semester instead of Advanced Strength Training for Athletes because it is easier… It Matters!
  • You work out with a group of 4 at a rack instead of 3, knowing that there will be more rest time… It Matters!
  • You chat with your friends in the evening instead of reading your literature assignment, which you will be tested over in the morning… It Matters!
  • You miss a summer-school strength and conditioning class session because you were “just too tired”… It Matters!
  • You stand at the side and talk to a teammate while others are practicing and coaches are coaching instead of getting a “mental rep”… It Matters!
  • You take your scouting report home, but don’t study it like the coach asked you to because your favorite TV show was on… It Matters!
  • Your mom schedules a dentist appointment on the day of practice, but you say “It’s OK, we just have practice that day”…. It Matters!
  • You decide to go to a party where you know there will be alcohol and underage drinking because all of your friends will be there…. It Matters!
  • You are late to practice because you have a detention for too many tardies…It Matters!
  • You jog through the finish of a drill instead of going full speed because you know the coach is helping someone else and isn’t looking at you… It Matters!

You get the idea, and could probably add more examples of choices you have had to make.  These type of choices come up all the time… daily… and I am here to tell you that It Matters!  It is not easy – as I said this “Miracle Pill” takes four years and a lot of hard work to swallow.  But you can do it… You Can Do More!

Tomorrow I will discuss the Purple Cow qualities of Athleticism and Quickness. 

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Playing Fast!

film studyTo catch a college football coach’s eye (or a college coach in any sport),  not only do you have to have the Purple Cow qualities of Speed and Explosion, you have to be able to prove that you can transfer those physical skills to the game field and be a great football player.  You have to show the recruiting coaches that you have the next Purple Cow Quality – Playing Speed!

As coaches we have all had athletes that “looked like Tarzan, and played like Jane”.  When I was an assistant football coach at the University of Central Missouri, we had a player that had all the tools.  He was 6’2”, 210 pounds, ran a 4.4 to 4.5 40 yard dash, smart, had good character, and was strong and explosive.  He was the first player that every NFL scout asked about when they visited our campus.  Unfortunately, his physical attributes did not transfer to the field or to film.  He very seldom showed up making the type of plays you would expect an athlete of his caliber to make.  He very seldom showed up on film at all making any plays.

How do you improve your “playing speed”?  How does your speed stand out on film like a (fast) Purple Cow?

Practice!

You will play like you practice. Develop Great practice habits, Championship practice habits, Purple Cow practice habits!

Championship (Purple Cow) practice habits:

  1. Finish every drill
  2. Full speed effort during drills
  3. Go at “game speed” during scrimmages
  4. Do not take a play off during practice.
  5. Never walk on the practice field – jog (or run) onto the field and jog (or run) off the field. Develop the “between the while lines” mentality.
  6. Study  – Know you Alignment and Assignment and Opponent.  Watch Film!  The better you know these things, the faster you will play!
  7. When you are not actively participating in a drill or scrimmage, get a “mental rep”. The better you know your alignment and assignment, the faster you can play.
  8. Get in great shape – the old saying “fatigue makes cowards of us all” is as true today as when Vince Lombardi stated it. Not only does it turn us into cowards, but slow cowards as well!

It sounds simple, but it is really true. When great effort becomes a habit, it will show up in improved playing speed, and it will show up on film.

Most high school players have no real concept regarding effort, and what it means to truly play hard every play – and it shows on film.  I can count on one hand the number of high school athletes that I evaluated when I when I was a college football coach (over 14 years) that went hard every play.  Every one of those high school athletes that did were full scholarship athletes, either at UCM or a level higher.

Those players that do give great effort every play, stand out on film like… well… a Purple Cow!

The next quality that recruiters will look for – Athleticism and Quickness!

In addition to these written posts, I have recently launched my YouTube Channel that deals specifically with the recruiting process.  The channel can be found here : The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, and the complete playlist can be viewed here.

 

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

Any Questions?  Just comment or email, I will respond!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Explosion – How to get it

TGC-VerticalJumpIn addition to wanting to know about and see your speed, specifically your 40 yard dash time, (see my previous post regarding how to improve your speed and 40 time) they will also want to see (and will ask your high school coach about) if you are an explosive athlete.  Typically the physical test coaches use to determine how explosive you are is the vertical leap.  How do you improve your “athletic explosiveness” and thereby improving your vertical leap test results? How do you show the recruiters that you have remarkable explosion… Purple Cow jumping ability?

Generally speaking a program that incorporates dynamic strength training (power clean, push press, snatch, etc) and plyometrics will give you the best results. The workout program that I have shared in the post  A Weekly – (not weakly) Workout is a dynamic strength training program.

hopPlyometrics, or “plyos” for short, are a type of exercise designed to produce fast and powerful movements. They are generally used by athletes to improve performance in sports, especially those that involve speed, quickness and power. Here are video of some great plyometric drill you can do, shared from the Central College Strength and Conditioning web site.  Clicking these links will show examples of these plyometric drills:

Here are a couple of samples:

Hudle Hop – Continuous

Depth Jump

Some additional training guidelines and suggestions regarding plyometrics can be found at this site: Plyometrics – Exercises and Program Planning

If you are currently not doing these things (dynamic strength training and plyometrics) as part of your workout program, ask your coach for a program you can do on your own OR you might try to begin training using the information I have provided on this site.  You can also consult other information that is available on the web, such as this jump training program which incorporates dynamic strength training and plyometrics.

Train to be an explosive athlete!

You Can Do More – your brain is lying to you…. don’t believe it!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Six Daily Habits for Artists

From Seth Godin’s new book, the “Icarus Deception, How High Will You Fly

Six Daily Habits for Artists (You!)

icarus

  1. Sit alone; sit quietly.
  2. Learn something new without any apparent practical benefit.
  3. Ask individuals for bold feedback; ignore what you hear from the crowd.
  4. Spend time encouraging other artists.
  5. Teach, with the intent of making change.
  6. Ship something that you created.

You ARE an artist! How high will you fly ?

You can do more!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

eBook

A couple of quick blurbs today …

First… If you have not been taking the time to click on the hyperlinks that I embed in my posts, I hope that you will start doing so.  I take time to research and curate this information, only linking to items that are instructional, helpful, and well done.  I will try to never link to information that is not quality, or will not help you become a better athlete, coach, or instructor.

wantedSecond…. I have had several people (some students and some parents) ask if my eBook, “Wanted, and Rewarded, Take Control and Market Yourself…The Complete Guide to a Successful College Recruiting Experience”, is available online in one location.  Well, it is, but I really don’t want to send it out, for a couple of reasons.  First, (and self serving) is that I would like for you to keep visiting this blog!  But, a more important reason is that I continue to add to the eBook and update the links (see above) to give you the most up-to-date information possible.  Things have changed somewhat in the last couple of years regarding recruiting guidelines (including these NCAA de-regulations last week) and I want to make sure you have accurate information.  By the time I have finished posting excerpts, you will have a complete, updated eBook!  Right now, here are the posts so for dealing with recruiting:

Tomorrow back to recruiting and those Purple Cow Qualities that will help make you remarkable!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Purple Cow Quality #2 – Speed

Today it is all about the second Purple Cow Quality, Speed

One of the first thing college recruiters will look for, and one of the first things they will evaluate on film, is how well you run and how explosive you are on the field.  College coaches are a pretty confident group. They will always figure they can get you bigger, stronger, and teach you better technique once you have been in their system.  The one thing that they will want to see you have coming in, is that you can RUN – and that you DO RUN on the field during a game!

One of the biggest mistakes many athletes make as they prepare for their college career is to work very hard “getting big” but neglect the running part of their training regimen.  Do you want to be a remarkable high school football player?   Do you want to be a Purple Cow?  Then run – and train for speed, quickness, and explosiveness .

College coaches will look for (and ask about) three things related to speed and explosion:

  1. What is your 40 yard dash time?
  2. What is your vertical leap?
  3. Does your speed show up on the field? (Do you play FAST)

How do you improve speed, and thereby improve your 40 time?  How do you become a remarkably fast athlete… an athlete with Purple Cow speed?

speedSpeed training – If you are currently not doing this as part of your workout program, ask your coach for a program you can do on your own (or look at this sample speed training program).  There are also some excellent videos of speed training drills at this Central College web site.  In order to improve your speed, you have to run fast.  Running long slow distance may improve your overall fitness, and help you lose weight, and improve your cardio-vascualr system, but to learn to run faster, you have to RUN FAST!  Speed training programs are all about running shorter distances, and running at top, or near top speed.

When I was an assistant coach at the University of Central Missouri, we used to test our athletes in the mile run before the pre-season practice started.  Now, the mile run is probably not the best indicator of “football speed” or being in “football shape”, but we used it just to test their toughness more than anything else.  One year we had a track runner (800 M runner) walk on our football program.  Needless to say, he tested lights out in the mile, although in the 40 and all the other speed and agility  tests he was middle to end of the pack for his position.  When he finished his mile test, one of the other assistant coaches turned to the rest of us who were helping time and said, “Well, if it is ever 3rd down and a mile to go, we know who our man is!”  That was the last year we tested in the mile, opting for a 10 x 40 yard dash test instead.

Hear is a TIP …

40 ydOne of the easiest and quickest way to improve your 40 yard dash time is by improving your start.  Most high schools (and colleges) will have you start your 40 yard dash test in a three point stance.  The watch (or electronic clock) will start when your hand comes off the ground. An efficient, explosive start can shave .2 to .3 seconds off your 40 yard dash time! This video from the Parisi Speed School is one of the best I have seen on teaching the technique of the 40 yard dash start.  Most of the collegiate players testing at the NFL Combine will use the techniques taught in this video

An efficient way to get some good speed training in, is go our for your high school track team if you are not involved in another spring sport.  College coaches like seeing athletes (contrary to popular belief) involved in other sports.  If you can take part in another sport, and improve your playing speed, that is a bonus!

Tomorrow we will talk about explosion – how to improve your vertical leap, and playing FAST!

Remember – You Can Do More …. your brain is lying to you, don’t believe it!

Any questions – comment or email – I will respond!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Purple Cow Quality #1 – Coachable-Character

A quick review of how to become Wanted and Rewarded.

Today I will be discussing the first of the Purple Cow Qualities – the things that will make you a remarkable (recruitable) student-athlete.

Purple Cow Quality #1 – Coachable – Character

Your high school football coach will be your first contact with college recruiters.  Each year he will get literally hundreds of college prospect forms to fill out. These will be asking for 10th, 11th, and 12th grade prospects that have the potential to play college football.  Your high school coach can be one of your biggest assets in getting an initial connection to college football programs.  It won’t be mom and dad, it won’t be your AAU coach, it won’t be the recruiting service you paid $200 to make sure you were a Five Star recruit.   It will be your high school coach!

So … to put it simply, and a little corny (but true) you have to show him how remarkable you are!  Here is the question:  Will your coach be able to TRUTHFULLY say to a college recruiting coach that you have done everything in your power to become the best football (and team) player during the last four years?  If not, then you have work to do.  If you expect your coach to be your biggest fan, you must show him you have character and are coachable.  How do you do that?  Here are some (but not all) examples….

If your coach expects you to lift weights three times a week in the off- season, then be there every day, and be the hardest worker in the field house.  Don’t be this guy!

If your coach asks you to play scout team your sophomore year to help the varsity team prepare, then be the best scout team player on the field!  Make plays against good varsity competition and follow directions.

If your coach expects you to participate in 7-on-7 during the summer, then be at every practice and every game. Be a leader – learn your system – play fast.

If your coach asks you to switch positions your senior year to help the team, then take on the new position with enthusiasm.

If your coach expects you to evaluate your opponent’s game film an hour every day during your season, then watch 90 minutes a day.

If you coach demands that you are on time to every practice and meeting, then make sure you are on “Lombardi Time” and get there 10 minutes early!

When you coach says you should take a “6 inch step” during film evaluation of your blocking, you say “Yes Sir” and learn how to do it consistently rather than asking your teammates “what is the big difference between a 6 inch step and a 7 inch step?

When you do everything in your power to make yourself a better football (and team) player, then you will be able to check off the first, and one of the most important Purple Cow quality,  Coachable and Character.  Honestly evaluate yourself tonight – how are  you doing with this Purple Cow quality?

In addition to these written posts, I have recently launched my YouTube Channel that deals specifically with the recruiting process.  The channel can be found here : The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, and the complete playlist can be viewed here.

 

Any Questions?  Just Comment or Email!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Throwing a “Changeup”

clean to squatEvery couple of weeks we take a training day and change things up a bit, departing from our normal strength and conditioning routine or cycle.  Our normal program, as I have mentioned and shared in a previous post, has four core lifts, Bench, Squat, Hang Clean and Push Press.  We lift four days a week, completing three of the lifts every day (at varying intensities) while omitting one.

We throw these  “changeups” at our athletes for several reasons.  Often we just want to add some variety or “test” them in some capacity to see how they handle it.  We also add some of these lifts to focus on, or improve on, a segment of a core lift.  Some “changeups” that we have done, or are getting ready to do:

  1. Hang Clean to Front Squat on our “Heavy” Squat day (Tuesday) using our normal Tuesday (“Light”) Clean weights (percentages). On these days we eliminate our “Heavy” Squat since we are getting a Squat workout in addition to our Clean Workout.  We actually had our athletes complete this workout last Tuesday and you can see a brief video of this by clicking on this link: Hang Clean to Front Squat. or clicking on the above picture.
  2. Front Squat instead of back Squat on our “Heavy” Squat day (Tuesday) using our “Light” (Friday) weights (percentages).  This helps our athletes work on proper depth (since they are not concerned about breaking on their “Heavy” day) and also helps them keep their shoulders back in correct Squat position.
  3. Power Clean (from the floor) instead of Hang Clean. We do this on “Heavy” Clean day (Friday) using our “Light” (Tuesday) weights (percentages).  We have found that this helps stress using the legs (instead of back) and correct form when we transition back to Hang Clean.
  4. Hang Snatch instead of Clean on our “Light” Clean day (Tuesday).  This Olympic lift is a great change up using light weights initially.
  5. Inclined Bench instead of regular (flat) Bench on our “Heavy” Bench day (Monday) using our “Light” (Wednesday) Bench weights (percentages).  This gives us a way to implement one of our key supplemental lifts into our core lift rotation.

On these days when we are substituting in a lift, replacing what is normally a “Heavy” day lift, our athletes will not “Break” (see this post regarding breaking) by increasing their one rep maxes.  This takes some pressure off of them, allowing them to completely focus on the technique of the lift we are throwing at them.

These “changeups” have been a good way for us to keep our workout fresh and allow our athletes to gain experience (and strength) with different lifts.

Tomorrow another recruiting post, discussing the first of the “Purple Cow” qualities that will help make You a remarkable, recruitable student-athlete!

Any questions, just comment or email… I WILL answer!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com