All Skate

While editing the Hang Snatch video for yesterday’s post (Supplemental Lifts – Hang Snatch) , I was hit by how many sports were represented in my sampling of raw footage.  I threw together another video showing and labeling these athletes and the sport(s) they represent at our school.

In addition, two of the athletes that have been “In the Spotlight” had great weekends competing.  Roy Bay (In the Spotlight- Roy Bay) won the 100m dash in a large invitational meet on Friday, and JT Hayes (In the Spotlight- JT Hayes) hit a 3 run home run in Friday’ victory.

all skate

I feel fortunate teaching and coaching at a school where all the coaches have “bought into” and believe in the benefits of the strength and conditioning program.

Questions or Comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Supplemental Lifts – The Hang Snatch

snatchAnother lift that we use to supplement our four Core Lifts (Bench, Squat, Clean, and Push) that make up our weekly (A Weekly (not weakly!) Workout) is the Hang Snatch.  The Hang Snatch is a variation of the Olympic Lift, Snatch, and is essentially the same lift except we start from the hang position as opposed to starting with the weight on the ground.  It is an explosive movement that is going to work many major muscle groups – hamstrings, glutes, gastrocnemius, quads, delts, and traps.

We talk about the hang snatch as being a combination of the hang clean and push press.  The starting position is identical to the hang clean, which is the fundamental athletic position.  The finish position is identical to the push press finish, which is the overhead support position.  We teach each position, and then ask our athletes to move explosively from one position to the next.

We use light to medium weight, typically doing 3 sets of 8 reps.  We stress that the lift should be smooth, explosive, almost an “elegant” type of movement.  If it gets too “herky jerky” and slow, we tell the athletes to use less weight.  If it looks bad – it is… use less weight.

Just as discussed in the Squat, and Push Press breakdown, the athlete will begin with a good athletic posture; good base with feet about shoulder width apart and toes pointed straight forward; stand tall with shoulders back and head forward. We use just a slightly wider grip than in the hang clean, with the hands a few inches outside the shoulders, with the bar hanging from straight arms.

To begin the lift, the bar should slide down your thighs as you bend at ankles, knees and hips and (slightly) at the waist. Chest should be tall with shoulders back. Descent of bar should stop at the top of the knees.  Shoulders should be directly over the hands at the bottom of the descent.

As soon as the bar gets to the bottom of the descent (top of knees) the athlete will explode, extending the ankles, knees, and hips. These three joints are linked, as they all will fire at the same time to produce a force great enough to move the load explosively towards the chin.  We tell the athletes to try to jump, drive their hips to the bar and explode the feet off the ground.

After this explosion or jump phase, the athlete will enter the pull phase, shrugging with the traps, and pulling the bar with your biceps and lats.  We tell the lifters to try to “bounce the weight off the ceiling“.  Just as in the hang clean the bar should remain close to the body during the shrug/ pull phase.  A common mistake is to swing the bar out in an arc away from the body.  The athlete will move the weight, in one continuous motion, through the shrug/ pull phase into the overhead support/ finish position “dipping” to catch the bar with bent legs, while fully extending their arms overhead.  At the top of the lift the bar will travel slightly back, with the lifters head moving forward through the “window” that is formed with their arms being the side of the window and bar the top.  To finish, the athlete will stand or squat back to a fully erect position.

We position our spotters as we do with the push press, at each end of the bar.  Because we are using lighter weight than when doing push press, the spotters should not have to assist the lifter moving the weight from the overhead support position, back down to the start position.

Below is a brief video of some of our student-athletes doing the hang snatch during class last week.  It is telestrated, with audio comments included.

As I have mentioned before, the Central College strength and conditioning site is a great source for training videos.  Below is their video of Hang Snatch technique

Questions or Comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Confident vs Cocky

namathThere is a fine line between being confident and being “cocky” (overconfident).  I always want my players to play with great confidence, but I never want it to creep into the sector of “cockiness”.  So what’s the difference?  How can you get the positive aspect of confidence, without the threat of “cocky”?

I think there are a few things a coach can do to insure your athletes get the confidence without the cockiness.  True confidence comes from knowing you have fully prepared; that you have put the work and effort in; that you have literally done everything in your power to put yourself in a position to be successful (Do… or do not. There is no try!).   Without this level of work “in the tank“, any “confidence” you display is probably blustering …  overconfidencecockiness.

Seth Godin discussed this last Saturday in his post, “Swagger

The problem with swagger is that if you’re the swaggering marketer, you might run into a competitor with even more swagger than you. When that happens, it’s time to show your cards, the justification for your confidence. And if you don’t deliver, you’ve done nothing but disappoint the person who believed in you.

Substance without swagger slows you down. But swagger without substance can be fatal. Right now, we’re seeing more swagger than ever—but it’s rarely accompanied by an increase in substance…

The rule is simple: it’s essential to act the part. And it’s even more important for it to be real.

I think in athletics it is exactly the same.  Substance (preparation) without swagger (confidence) slows you down.  But swagger (confidence) without substance (preparation) can be fatal (cockiness).

The other piece to this “confident vs cocky” puzzle is humility. I do believe we can coach and teach humility with our student-athletes.  Confidence and Humility are not mutually exclusive traits.  Your athletes can, and should, have both.

In a recent post, (Servant Leadership from the QB Position) Coach Keith Grabowski (Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach at Baldwin Wallace University) discussed how and why he came to coach his QB’s in “Servant Leadership

What I left [Darin Slack’s camp] focusing on as much as technique was the idea of “servant leadership.”.

It’s something that is a huge part of my coaching now, and I wish I saw more of it being coached, especially in youth sports. I have a nine year old son, and I am constantly frustrated when I see the showboating and individualism that is allowed. Kids are being outwardly labeled as “stars” by their coaches to the other kids. I see those kids, “the stars,” pout when they don’t get the ball, don’t get a call by an official, or are taken out of the game. Those kids, who at this point may be superior, need to be taught that their talent needs to be used to serve their teammates rather than the reverse. It’s a disturbing trend.

The other concern I have is that development camps like Darin’s are threatened by combines and showcases that put the emphasis on showing off individual talent. There’s a place for those, but it seems that parents are spending their money on that and not taking advantage of great opportunities for their sons to learn the lessons that this game teaches from men like Darin Slack. I know he’s not the only one out there and that there are others who do it as well, but my point is that it seems to be getting tougher and tougher on those camps that have lasting value for a young man.

The entire theme of his QB manual at Baldwin Wallace University revolves around the theme of Servant Leadership.  Here is the first slide from his 200 slide QB manual.

 servant leadership

Hard Work + Confidence + Humility = Champions for Life

You can get more good stuff, including excellent ideas on the use of technology in coaching by following Coach Grabowski’s Twitter feed @CoachKGrabowski

You can get a daily dose of good stuff by reading Seth Godin’s blog.

Questions or Comments are always welcome!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

A Championship Softball Off-Season

pat softballThe Truman Softball Team, led by head coach Amy Broughton was Missouri State 5-A Champions in 2012 and have one of the top pitchers in the country (Paige Parker) and 6 other starters returning for the 2013 campaign. Rather than rest on their laurels, these players and their coach are attacking their off-season program. Nearly all are, or have been, in the advanced strength and conditioning class at our school. Coach Broughton has her squad stay after school 3 days a week where they supplement the in class lifting they do with a variety of interesting athletic activities and challenges. Her focus is developing faster, quicker, and more explosive athletes- the same qualities we all are looking to develop.

In the workout that I am highlighting today, Coach Broughton’s emphasis was on Flexibility, Balance, and PostureYes Posture!

Coach Broughton took a cue from the University of Alabama’s softball program, after reading an article entitled “Stand Up Performance” discussing this facet of the Crimson Tide’s program. Here is a brief snippet from the article:

Most people know University of Alabama softball for its big bats, speed on the bases, and continuous winning seasons. While our lifting program helps produce those monster hits and our conditioning program helps keep the players’ feet churning, what a lot of people don’t know is that our focus on posture is also a major contributor to the team’s success.

Softball is about power and speed through precise movements, but if the body cannot maintain good posture throughout those movements, power and speed suffer. If a batter has some deficiencies in her posture, she will not get full force behind her swing. If a pitcher has poor posture, her pitches will not be as strong. Gray Cook said it best in his book Athletic Body in Balance: “Most athletes work around energy leaks instead of through them.”

The entire article can be found at this link – Stand Up Performance

The following video will show examples of each of these drills Coach Broughton had her athletes do for this workout.

  • High to Low Hurdles (6×3)
  • Thera-band side step (10)
  • Thera-band duck walk (10)
  • Thera-band in-and-out (10)
  • Thera-band toe pull (10)
  • Thera-band kick back (10)
  • Regular Jacks (25)
  • Scissor Jacks (25)
  • Seal Jacks (25)
  • Pop Squats – on coaches count (10)
  • Glue-Ham Drop (10)
  • Side Lift (10)
  • Kick Back (10)
  • Around the World (10)
  • Side Pulse (10)
  • Back Pulse (10)
  • Straight Leg Around the World (10)
  • Supine Run (10 each side)

I am very fortunate to be colleagues of many fine coaches at our school; I learn something daily from them. Coach Broughton is a great “teaching” coach, and an excellent example of a lifetime learner (Lifetime Learning) . In addition to using information from the University of Alabama’s Softball program, she incorporates many of Auburn University’s drills into her off-season program.

If you would like any additional information regarding the Truman Softball program, or what Coach Broughton is doing with her group in the off-season, just comment or email and I will connect you.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Try to See The “Forest” and The “Trees”

We have all heard the idiom “You can’t see the forest for the trees

Yesterday I took out an old file that had some workout cards (The Workout Card – Motivation and Efficiency) dating back to one of the first times we tested our current junior and senior student-athletes. It was interesting to see where this group started before beginning our program (A Weekly (not weakly!) Workout).  It was equally interesting, fun actually, giving those original cards back to those athletes and watching their reactions!  I think often the athletes forget, or don’t realize how far they have come because the strength gains are usually small and incremental.  We talk about the breaking slope (The Breaking Slope) often, and how those small increases over time add up to really big strength gains.  Yesterday it became crystal clear when I gave them their old cards.

As coaches, we are probably guilty of this as well.  We often get so caught up in the minutia of the day-to-day dealings of being a teacher and a coach, that we forget or don’t see all the really positive ways we impact young peoples lives.  Sometimes we forget how far our senior athletes have come, physically, mentally, and emotionally, because we just see that small, daily, incremental growth.  We don’t have the “before and after chart” that makes it easier to see the really big gains those young men or women have made while in your program.

You make a difference. 

I made the chart below comparing the 1RM’s from their initial testing in 2010 to their current (2013) strength level.  I also calculated the percentage increase for each lift for each student, and the total.  You can click on either of the links below to view or download a larger version – or just click on the image to get the PDF version.

2013 increases

The individual total increases ranged from a low of 37% (still a very good increase) to the highest percentage increase of 173%.  The largest percentage increase on any single lift was one student’s Push Press max that went from 80 lbs to 240 lbs – an increase of 200%!

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

If you get a chance to go to the PrepsKC.com site and “Like” my article from yesterday, it would be appreciated!

Tomorrow I will be highlighting our Softball Coach, Amy Temples, and her off-season program.

Questions and Comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Becoming a “Stronger” Coach in the Off-Season

As coaches, we stress to our athletes the importance of the off-season to make individual and team improvements.  We have a fairly large block of time (several months) and we teach if they use that time well, they will see great gains.

The off-season is also an important time for growth as a coach. While I was at the University of Central Missouri, our staff would schedule a learning trip each spring to visit colleagues on other College or NFL staffs.  In order to efficiently use our time on these junkets, I always wanted to have some very specific topics to investigate, rather than just going and “talking football”.

Each winter, our staff completed the following three-step process; End of Season Self-Scout, an End of Season Efficiency Analysis and The “Lowlight” Analysis.  Completing these tasks gave us the data on what we needed to focus on during the off-season, which ultimately made us better, more efficient coaches.

End of Season Self-Scout

During the season, as each game was played, we broke down every defensive scrimmage play by down, distance, field zone, first level (DL) stunt, second level stunt and coverage.  At the end of the season we compiled all of the data to determine if we had any glaring tendencies based on down and distance or field zone.

End of Season Efficiency Analysis
def statsUsing the same breakdown data, we analyzed how efficient we were in each area.  We calculated average yard per play for each down (1-4) and distance (S,M,L,XL) combination.  We did the same for every front, stunt, and coverage we ran, as well.  From this we could calculate, for instance, the percentage of times we were successful on first down (under 4 yards) and what front, stunt, coverage combinations we were using.  We could readily see which of our fronts (and stunts and coverages) we were having the most success with, and which ones there may be problems with.

 

The “Lowlight” Analysis

The third annual analysis entailed examining all of our “bust” plays.  We made a “cutup” of every running play that gained over 10 yards and another for passing plays that gained over 15 yards.  In the era of Hudl and web based video editing this can be accomplished in a snap.  When we first started this process at the University of Central Missouri, we were literally “cutting up” 16mm film and splicing together all of these clips.  It was quite a process and involved about a weeks work just making the film.

Once the video was compiled, we would go through and analyze every play to determine what was the main cause (or causes) for the play to “bust”.  We assigned causes to general categories such as alignment, assignment, missed tackle, bad call (by me), poor angle, pad level, lack of effort, etc..  The tallied results gave us an immediate area of emphasis going into the next season.  We also analyzed the “bust” video based on front, stunt, coverage, and down and distance.

At the end of this three-step process, we usually had a pretty clear picture of our priorities for the upcoming spring (or fall) practices.  It also gave us as individual coaches, areas of improvement we needed to make going into the next season.  Along with the physical and mental improvements we are asking our athletes to make in the off-season, we also expected concurrent improvements in our coaching and teaching methods.

Thanks to PrepsKC.com for featuring this post in their Coach’s Corner column today!

Any Questions – Just Comment or Email!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

“Sasquatch” Workout

As I have mentioned before, between our strength and conditioning classes during school, and our various off-season programs after school, we have over 300 students a day come through our weight room.  I have also shared that most of the classes and students I have are great.  There are though, without a doubt, varying degrees of intensity and focus (in reference to Coach Courville’s Evaluation of Performance Chart) among the students that train during the day.

sasquatchWe have filmed several training sessions over the last couple of weeks in our strength and conditioning classes.  As I go back and review the video that I have taken, this difference in focus and intensity becomes apparent.  Although I have the camera “rolling” (iPhone with Hudl app) pretty much non-stop, it seems the same students show up on the video each time.  It is easy to “catch them” doing things right, because they consistently come with a good attitude, and train with good intensity – and it shows up on the video.  It also is apparent that we have some “Sasquatch” workouts going on; there are claims that these students have been spotted working out, but they are elusive and its tough to capture video evidence of their workout.

In all seriousness, the use of video in our strength and conditioning program has been a great tool.  If you have an iPhone and use Hudl, I highly recommend downloading the Hudl app.  The video capture is easy and uploading it is seamless.  Once it us uploaded, the editing, telestrating, and viewing functions work exactly like you are used to.

Comments and Questions are always welcome – Join in on the discussion!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Running an Effective Drill

ucmoIn my first season as a coach at the University of Central Missouri, during one of our first staff meetings, our Head Coach, Terry Noland gave us some advice.  His instructions regarding how to effectively run a drill were not only good advice to a young coach with eight years experience (me), but lasting concepts that have served me well for over thirty years.

  1. Have a name for the drill – that way when you run it successive times, you don’t need to spend as much time explaining it.
  2. Teach the athletes what technique(s) you are trying to improve with the drill.
  3. Have the drill set up prior to the athletes arriving at your station.
  4. Have an organized progression as to how the athletes move through the drill – for example “the first person in line will be the ball carrier.  You will go from being the ball carrier, to tackler, to the end of the line.
  5. Don’t be a part of the drill – Coach!
  6. Give the athletes specific instructions regarding the speed of the drill – Is it full speed, ½ speed, or walk through.
  7. Give the athletes a specific start point for the drill.
  8. Give the athletes a specific end point for the drill.

These are simple concepts that make for effective daily teaching.

Comments and Questions are always welcome!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Recruiting – Gauging Their Level of Interest

As a high school coach, and as a parent, the question is often asked during the recruiting process – “How interested is (school X) in me (or my son or daughter)?”.  I also have heard conversations along the line of “Did you hear that Johnny Joe is being recruited by LSU?”  How can you gauge the level of recruiting interest from a particular school, and how can you tell if Johnny Joe is indeed being recruited by LSU?

level of interest

This pyramid represents various actions that a college or university might take during the recruiting process – from the very basic at the bottom, to the ultimate sign of interest at the top.  Although it is not hard and fast, from my experience it is a fairly accurate gauge regarding the level of recruiting interest.  From my experience, too, the actions normally follow sequentially in this progression.  For example, a college probably will not set up an official visit for you if they have not evaluated your video.

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.

 

You can download these versions of the pyramid here:

Here is a step by step breakdown of each level:

You receive a letter from the college – Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but receiving a letter from a college or university does not mean you are being recruited.  It means you are on their list, which is a start, and is a good thing.  But colleges literally send out thousands of letters to potential recruits in the beginning of the process.  These letters can start arriving as soon as your sophomore year in school, and are usually based on your high school coaches recommendation.

College coach requests video – Normally in the Spring, college coaches will begin putting together their recruiting lists for the next season.  They will either physically visit your high school campus and talk with your head coach, or correspond via email or phone.  It used to be pretty much the norm that college coaches would visit in person in the spring because they had to physically pick up actual video tapes.  With the advent of Hudl and other online video services, college coaches now have the ability to get this information electronically in an instant.

College Coach visits you at school  During the Fall, after an initial evaluation has been completed, college coaches will start making the rounds and begin their in person visits with the prospective student athletes at school.  Typically, coaches will only do a face to face visit with players they believe have a chance of being a scholarship athlete in their program.   It is an indication of a higher level of interest, but still not a true indication of their final intent.  During this visit, really an initial “job interview” they will continue to gather information such as your academic interests, family background, and other schools you may have an interest in.  They will also give you the “eyeball” test to see if you really are 6’4” and 225 lbs, or actually 5’11” and 195 lbs !

Coach sends you a text.  If a coach begins developing a relationship with you by sending a text or email, that again is an indication of a higher level of interest.  Keep in mind, too, that both of those methods are fairly impersonal, and can be done “en masse” as well.

Coach calls you – When a college coach takes the time to actually call you and talk on the phone, it is an indication of a fairly high level of interest.  It is something that has to be done individually and is unique to you.  You can not do it in a group, or copy and paste like you can with email or text.  Things are getting serious at this level.

Offer Official Visit – This indicates a very high level of interest.  This is only referring to an “Officialvisit – one where the college or university is paying for you (and your parents) to travel and visit their campus.  Colleges normally will have you (and your parents) spend the night, feed you, pay travel expenses, give you tickets to games, etc.  All this is legal (to a point) and what most colleges will do regarding Official visits.  While you are on campus, their evaluation of you will continue, as yours of them should as well.  Normally colleges will not spend the time, money, or energy bringing a prospect on campus for an Official visit if they are not planning to invest some scholarship aid in that athlete.

Home Visit – Typically, prior to you and your family coming on an Official visit, the recruiting coach, head coach, or both will try to schedule a visit in your home with you and your family.  If the head coach is taking the time out of his schedule to come to your home and talk to you and your family (selling himself and his program) they are VERY interested in you.

Scholarship Offer – Of course, this indicates nearly the highest level of interest.  Often, but not always, this offer is made during the Official visit.  Remember, on any level other than FBS, this offer may range anywhere from a small partial scholarship to a “full ride”.  It is very important to remember, too, that this verbal offer is NOT binding until the LOI (Letter of Intent) is signed, typically on the National Signing Date.  You can verbally “commit” at this time (or any time) but that is not binding as well.  Up until the LOI is signed, a college can pull their offer of financial assistance, and the student-athlete can change their mind as well.  Both the offer and “verbal commitment” are non-binding.

LOI – Congratulations!  You made it to the top!  This is a binding, legal document between the college or university and you.  You will also sign a one-year athletic scholarship agreement with the college or university.  The LOI must be accompanied by an offer of athletic financial assistance.  An NCAA school cannot have you sign a LOI if you are “walking on”.  At this point, it is important to note that the financial assistance offer is for one year, and can be renewed each year.  If an NCAA school says they are offering you a “4 year scholarship” that is not completely honest.  Typically, they will honor the agreement for 4-5 years, but they are not bound to that amount.

college recruiting ebookThis is a LOT of information to digest at one time… I know.  I did want to get it into your hands this springs as the process begins anew.  As a general rule of thumb, the more effort the coach or college is expending during the process (a phone call as opposed to a text message) the more interested they are in you.

 

At some point I will break down the major steps into individual posts and spend a little more time with each.  And as with all of my previous recruiting posts, this is an excerpt from an eBook I have written about the recruiting process – “Wanted…. and Rewarded”

Questions or Comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

In the Spotlight – J.T. Hayes

hayesAs part of the “In the Spotlight” series, I have tried to highlight athletes in our program that have excelled in their sport(s) in part due to their dedication in the weight room.   I have also tried to select athletes that may participate in a sport not typically thought of as one that would benefit from a strength and conditioning program.  The strength and conditioning program that I have shared (A Weekly (not weakly!) Workout), and detailed in this blog, is designed to make ALL athletes faster, quicker, and more explosive.

Today In the Spotlight is a senior two sport athletes at Truman High School, J.T. Hayes.  J.T. is a 3-year starter on both the football and baseball teams.  As QB on the football team, his senior season was cut short due to a Lisfranc foot injury in the third game of the 2012 campaign.  Up until that point, he had rushed for 182 yards and 2 TD’s in 36 carries (over 5 yd per carry average) and completed 24 of 39 passes for 240 yards and 1 TD.  This was against some good football programs in the Kansas City Metro Area – Blue Springs South, Liberty North, and Park Hill South.

In baseball, J.T. has earned the following awards:

  • 2nd Team All-Conference 2011
  • 1st Team All-Conference 3rd Base 2012
  • 2nd Team All -Conference Pitcher 2012
  • 1st Team All – Area 3rd Base 2012
  • 1st Team All –State Utility 2012
  • 1st Team All-Metro 3rd Base 2012
  • Examiner Player of the Year 2012

J.T. is a tireless worker both on the field and in the weight room.  His training over the past three years, particularly in the winter months between his two competitive seasons, has been outstanding.  We are expecting a great senior baseball season in 2013.

Below is J.T.’s most recent workout card.  Some of his estimated 1RM’s were adjusted down after the surgery to repair his Lisfranc injury.  You can click on the card to download the full size version.

jt hayes

Below is a brief video showing J.T. training, utilizing the 4 “Core Lifts“, and also the “change up” combination lift Clean to Front Squat to Push Press

Questions and comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com