If you build it, they will come

My post, Efficacy and Safety – Middle School Strength and Conditioning, seems to have struck a chord.   Many of you shared having similar discussions with administration, parents, fellow coaches, or students that revolved around a core of common issues, concerns, or questions… I have summed them up in these “buzzwords”

  • No interest in kids that young
  • Growth plates
  • Attention span
  • Readiness
  • Limb size
  • Injury risk
  • Classroom organization
  • Specialized equipment
  • Safety

The good news is that a comprehensive study has already been completed that deals with each of these issues, and puts to rest many of the myths surrounding strength training for younger students and athletes.   This is not my opinion, or my study, but was completed (actually three different studies) by the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association), which is generally recognized as THE expert in the field of strength and conditioning.

As I mentioned in that same post, our district (Independence School District) is adding a strength and conditioning class as a PE option for 7th and 8th grade students in the district.  We have just finished the enrollment process with this group of students and I can share with you that there is a HIGH interest in this class.

The decision was made that at each middle school we would add 2 sections for incoming 7th grade students, and 4 sections for incoming 8th grade students.  We are looking at keeping the class roster at 24 students per section, but are actually enrolling s few more to allow for some movement.   This means we will take around 48-60 7th grade students, and 96-120 8th grade students total for the new class

In one school alone (Bingham Middle School) we had nearly 200 incoming 7th grade students that wanted to take the class, and over 160 incoming 8th grade students sign up.  This means that in order to get down to a manageable class size, we had to trim about 2/3 off the 7th grade list and about 1/3 from the 8th grade list… or about 200 total students.

If you build it, they will come…

bridger1We also started a Strength and Conditioning “club” for the students at my current school (Bridger Middle School), which allows us to introduce some of the concepts we will be teaching in the class next year.  So far, over 80 students have attended (it is an after school club) at least one session, and over 60 have completed the initial instruction/ testing phase and are on a workout program. (we are using a 4 day a week program but modifying it to just 2 days per week).  They are doing GREAT!

If you build it, they will come… 

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Mirror Mirror

Often, just when I think that I am a pretty smart guy, I realize that there is always so much more to learn… and often picking up a single small thing that can make a huge difference.

I remember my first season on staff at the University of Central Missouri.  I was a grizzled veteran of 8 years of high school coaching… confident… had the world by the gonads.

I was visiting with my position group after a practice… my Linebackers on one knee, gathered around the feet of their “prophet”.   I was extolling them to “get their head up and look at me when I was talking!”

After practice, our head coach, Terry Noland, quietly took me aside and reminded me that when I talk to my position group, I should have them put their backs to the sun (which was setting) so they would not be looking directly into the sun when I was speaking to them.   Lesson learned… from that point on I made sure it was me looking into the sun, not my players.

Fast forward to many years later… so many years in fact that I had begun wearing prescription sunglasses to practice.  I was coaching my son’s team, and it was a similar situation.   Practice was over and I was speaking to the group… their backs to the sun (I had learned!)… with me looking into the sun… but this time I was explaining to the athletes about the importance of looking at their coach’s (or parent’s, or teacher’s) eye’s when they were talking to them.  “Make eye contact– it will show them you are really listening, you care about what they are saying, and want to learn!

After practice on the way to the car my son told me “You know, dad, when you have your sunglasses on, we can’t see your eyes… we can’t make eye contact with you”. Lesson learned… from that point on I always took off my sunglasses whenever I was having a discussion with one, or many of my players… or my son for that matter.

Continue fast forwarding to this year… 30+ years of coaching.  I was in the weight room teaching our core lifts like I had done many times in the past.  I use one rack for demonstration purposes and have the students arrange the other benches around the rack “amphitheater style” around their “guru”.   Only this time as I was introducing the lift, it was different… giggles… funny faces… not paying attention… distracted…

I thought, “Man, am I losing it… maybe this group just can’t do this”.

mirror mirror2It wasn’t until we were well into the period that realized what was happening… that behind this particular rack was a huge mirror.  In all the years I had taught Strength and Conditioning, this was the first time the demonstration rack had a mirror behind it.   Add that to the fact I was teaching middle school students, and it was a recipe for distraction… there is little that middle school students like more than seeing themselves in a mirror! The next period I changed the demonstration rack to one that was not in front of a mirror and it was back to normal… another lesson learned.

I continue to learn… and be humbled by the little things that at times escape me.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

It is all Relative

Today’s post picks up/ piggybacks on my post “Good Job!”

Rose Bowl FootballI often get asked, “What is the biggest difference in coaching middle school athletes compared to college athletes?

Actually, there are more similarities than there are differences.  Just as my son (a 23 year old adult) responded with excitement to the words “You are doing a good job” (see post “Good Job!“), college athletes are just kids in bigger bodies

  • They are human beings…
  • They respond to the exact same type of motivation and praise that middle school athletes do…
  • They like to hear affirmation that they are doing a good job…
  • They actually need and want parameters and discipline…
  • They want to hear and meet your expectations…
  • They get excited to tears at a big win… and disappointed to tears at a tough loss…
  • They treat respect with respect…
  • They love playing the game… and it is still a game…
  • They laugh at funny jokes…
  • They worry about their grades…
  • They are concerned about their future…
  • They are proud of their accomplishments…
  • They like to hear their name…
  • They like to see their name in print…
  • They want to see their relatives in the stands…
  • They like seeing their picture in the paper…
  • They are resilient…
  • The rules are the same…
  • The fundamentals are the same…
  • Same equipment…
  • Same field…

It is all relative.

  • Football is Football
  • Kids are Kids
  • Coaching is Coaching 

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

“Good Job!”

My son phoned me the other night, excited to tell me that his supervisor had told him he was doing a “good job”.

good job

Now, my son is not a child but a grown man, yet the compliment still made him feel good about himself, the job he was doing, and motivated him to do more.

I thought, “How easy is that?”   Those simple words cost nothing, but potentially yields huge returns.

How easy it is to …

  • Let a student know that they “knocked it out of the park!”…
  • Let a colleague know that you value what they share…
  • Let a family member know that you love them…
  • Let a member of your staff know that they were instrumental to the team’s success…
  • Let a player on your team know that they gave a “championship effort”

Yes, your praise needs to be honest and heartfelt

Yes, you need to maintain high standards…

But even then, I am guessing that there are very few students, athletes, colleagues, or staff members that we could not find something positive to say.

Go ahead… make someone’s day!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Don’t Spend – Invest

spend-or-investWe all would like to have big time budgets… to be able to get the best equipment, uniforms, stadiums, travel expenses, etc.  Most of us do not have that luxury.   Great coaches do not use that as an excuse, or let it get in the way of having a quality program.  They realize that quality has little to do with budget.

Marketing/ Business leader Seth Godin had this to say about businesses and budgets last week in his post, “Sometimes you don’t need a budget

Here are some things you can do that don’t cost any money (but they certainly require effort):

  • Treat your employees with care and respect
  • Be consistent in your actions
  • Keep your promises
  • Grant others their dignity
  • Give credit
  • Take responsibility
  • When wrong, offer a heartfelt apology
  • Don’t be a jerk
  • Take the time to actually listen to people
  • Volunteer to handle the issue
  • Care

Many of these very same things apply to having a quality athletic program, with a less than optimal budget.   Some really basic, yet important things that you can do to improve your program don’t cost a thing… other than effort.

Coach James Vint of Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas echoed these sentiments in his excellent post, “Winning is a Process that ran last week.

“If you look at the most consistent programs at every level of football, you will find they share something in common. They all have a detailed process to develop their players.

A big part of the process is building relationships with players. Great coaches care about developing their student-athletes on and off the field. Because they care about their players, they are willing to set high standards for them on and off the field. They then hold them accountable to the standards.

You see, great coaches understand the correlation between character off the field and winning on the field. If you allow your players to be undisciplined off the field, it will result in mistakes on the field. One coach once told me, “never let discipline get in the way of winning.” What he meant was, let your best players do whatever they want. This is precisely the reason some talented teams do not consistently win. If your best athletes are above the law, you will lose the rest of the team. What this coach should have said was, “don’t let a lack of discipline get in the way of winning.” When players are not held accountable for their actions, they are not going to help your team be successful. They are going to fold up the tent when things get tough. If you hold them accountable early, you will not have big problems later.”

You don’t need to spend money… you can invest your time and energy into many things that don’t cost a cent, but will pay huge benefits to your program.

More posts along these lines:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Augmented Reality and Coaching

Most of us have heard of virtual reality… virtual reality replaces the real world with a computer generated simulated one.  By contrast, augmented reality (AR) is a live, copy, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. The app and platform Aurasma allows users to unlock digital content from the world around them through the use of a phone or tablet.

It is a little difficult to explain, but fairly easy to see in action.

Here is an example.

I have this picture of two students jumping rope.

pat jump rope

I have this video (.mov file) of the two students actually demonstrating the various jump rope drills.

Lets say I have a printed picture of the students jumping rope laying on my kitchen counter right now… which I actually do!

The app Aurasma can link the video file, overlaying it via phone or tablet onto the actual picture … augmenting the “real” picture sitting on my counter with the video.

Here is Aurasma doing just that:

The Aurasma  app works with a tablet or phone in exactly the same way.  Here is a video showing the same trigger picture and video using a phone… you will also see in this video that you can “layer” overlays so that different commands “single tap” or “double tap” will perform different functions…. In this example a double tap will take the user to my blog post about these jump rope drills.

Cool technology… but how could you use it in coaching and teaching?

Here is a simple example… I printed pictures of the 4 Core lifts we do in class.  I put the pictures on a bulletin board in the weight room.  Lets say the students had a quick question regarding technique, spotting, or what muscle groups the lift worked.  They could pop over to the board, scan the picture using the Aurasma app and get a quick tutorial on the lift.

Some other possible uses – trigger image and overlay (video, image, or website) for each of these

  • One for each piece of equipment in your weight room…
  • One showing the muscle groups worked on each lift…
  • One detailing each station in a fitness circuit…
  • One showing complimentary auxiliary lifts for each core lift…
  • One showing medicine ball drills …
  • One showing resistance band drills…

Like any other use of technology, these things will not replace the teaching and coaching you do, but supplement (augment) it.

Later this week a step by step tutorial on using the Aurasma platform.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

“Passing” and “Catching” Information in a Connected Society

It is funny the circuitous route information sometimes takes getting from the “quarterback” to the “receiver”.

  • A couple of weeks ago, a startup education tech company, Dewsly (@dewsly), sent me a tweet about their platform, because I was a teacher and coach …
  • We began following each other on twitter…
  • The CEO of Dewsly, Anthony Noll (@anthonynoll) and I began following each other on twitter…
  • I created a Dewsly account and began investigating their platform…
  • Anthony Noll began following this blog (YouCanDoMore.net)…
  • I wrote a post about technology and teaching/ coaching (Technology and Your Career) a couple of days later…
  • Anthony Noll tweeted the following… “@youcandomore1 took a look at your site and love it. i wish content like that was around when i was an athlete. lets talk sometime!” 
  • I wrote a post on my blog,  “Flipped Coaching Tips and Resources
  • The tweet referencing the post got favorited and retweeted many times…. Including by @dewsly and @anthonynoll
  • Another follower of @dewsly and a user of their platform (dewsly.com), Lauren Taylor (@LTaylorELA) read the retweet from @dewsly and we started following each other on twitter…
  • I joined the Dewsly group, Teaching Tips, where teachers can easily share information and content…
  • I shared a link to my post on Flipped Coaching Tips and Resources with the Dewsly group, Teaching Tips 
  • In the Dewsly forum, Teaching Tips, Lauren Taylor shared information regarding a new technology called Aurasma, which is an Augmented Reality app and platform…


Without Twitter I would not have know about Dewsly… without Dewsly I would not have been connected to Lauren Taylor… without joining the Teaching Tips group, I would not have read about Aurasma via Lauren Taylor’s link…. and this is a tool that  I WILL use in my teaching and coaching.

Tomorrow I am going to write about, and demonstrate some uses for this app and platform, Aurasma…. in the words of my wife… “Prepare to have your mind blown!”

The point of post today’s post is to show how relatively easy it is, in today’s connected society, to be both a quarterback and “pass” some information…. or be a “receiver” and “catch” what is thrown your direction.

Go ahead… throw and catch!

Thanks to…

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Efficacy and Safety – Middle School Strength Training

Next year our district, the Independence School District, is taking some pretty bold steps that I believe have the potential to generate some huge positive effects in our community and school district.

The first step is aligning the middle schools and high schools that are currently in our district.  Next year, Bridger Middle School will become a 6th grade center; Bingham Middle School will be comprised of students living in the Chrisman HS attendance zone, and Pioneer Ridge Middle School comprised of students living the Truman HS attendance zone.  Nowlin Middle School will continue to feed Van Horn High School, as it currently does.  The hopes are that aligning our schools will improve and ease student transition to high school in all areas: academics, athletics, music, forensics, etc.

The second step is adding to and enhancing the middle school physical education curriculum.  We currently have one option for middle school PE – a lone Physical Education class.  Next year there will be three options for 7th and 8th graders:

  • Strength Training and Conditioning
  • Personal Fitness and Wellness
  • Physical Education

The Physical Education class will essentially be the same class we are teaching now.  The Personal Fitness and Wellness class will focus on aerobic fitness, flexibility, pilates, yoga, etc.  Of course the offering I am most excited about as a teacher and coach is the Strength Training and Conditioning course.

This course curriculum will be aligned with the corresponding high school Strength Training and Conditioning course.  Our district has also committed to outfitting each schools weight rooms with equipment needed to safely, effectively and efficiently teach and train our students.

NSCA logoAs soon as the decision was made, some teachers (yes, some PE teachers) and some coaches (yes, some athletic team coaches) were questioning the efficacy of strength training with 7th and 8th grades boys and girls.   The NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association), THE authority on strength training and conditioning, published the first position statement paper on youth resistance training in 1985 and revised this statement in 1996. A more recent 2009 report was based on an even more comprehensive analysis of the pertinent scientific evidence regarding the anatomical, physiological, and psychosocial effects of youth resistance training.

Potential-Youth-Training-pic-2I am highlighting some of their findings in case you find yourself in the position of having to justify a strength training and conditioning program for your younger students and athletes. The terms youth and young athletes are broadly defined in this report to include both children (up to age 12) and adolescents (ages 12-18).

Their conclusions:

  • A properly designed and supervised resistance training program is relatively safe for youth.
  • A properly designed and supervised resistance training program can enhance the muscular strength and power of youth.
  • A properly designed and supervised resistance training program can improve the cardiovascular risk profile of youth.
  • A properly designed and supervised resistance training program can improve motor skill performance and may contribute to enhanced sports performance of youth.
  • A properly designed and supervised resistance training program can increase a young athlete’s resistance to sports- related injuries.
  • A properly designed and supervised resistance training program can help improve the psychosocial well-being of youth.
  • A properly designed and supervised resistance training program can help promote and develop exercise habits during childhood and adolescence.

Some of the NSCA recommendations – I have provided links to posts of mine dealing with these issues:

I am looking forward to implementing this type of program with our Middle School students in the Independence School District!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com


I really enjoyed reading the PrepsKC profile of Van Horn head coach, Jeff Tolbert… especially this part:

Tolbert said he has taken a lot from his former head coaches both on and off the field but one man’s influence stands out.  “The top of that list is Harold Wambsgans,” Tolbert said. “I learned about how to be not just a good coach but to be a man. I admire him as much as anyone I’ve ever been around and I’ve been around some good coaches.”

As a young coach, I remember hearing coach Wambs (then at Shawnee Mission West) speak at a clinic and thinking to myself, “I want to be like him”.  A couple of years later, one of my best LB’s at the University of Central Missouri had played for Wambsgans at West.   Reading Coach Tolbert’s profile reminded me just how connected we all are in this profession.

spaceship of the imaginationYears ago, in 1980, Astronomer Carl Sagan had a show on PBS called Cosmos.  It was a great show, and I enjoyed it so much that I taped the entire series on 14 VHS tapes (VHS tapes – not a DVR) and kept them until about a year ago!

In one episode, Sagan explains how humanity is all connected…. we are all made of “starstuff”… elements that were created when stars in the universe go supernova and explode.

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”

And he was not speaking metaphorically… this is how the “heavy” elements in our universe are created.

I think it is very much the same in coaching… in us, we all have a little bit of the “stars” that preceded us…. Coach Tolbert has some of Coach Wambs “starstuff” in him, as do I… Fred Merrell, Terry Noland, Mike Foster, Roy Witke, Bill Feldkamp …. and many more have contributed their “starstuff” to me and countless other coaches.

Whose coaching “starstuff” has helped make you the coach and person you are today?

What “starstuff” are you passing on… what stuff of yours will be around 50 years from now?

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

Related Posts:

Thanks to PrepsKC, the home of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association for running this post on their site today.  I hope you can take some time to visit PrepsKC, and “Like” this post!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

What will your verse be?

Last night during the Academy Awards, the most recent iPad Air ad (which originally aired during the NFC playoffs), titled Your Verse, ran a couple of times.

The commercial features the audio of a speech by Robin Williams from the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society.  The movie won the 1989 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for three others, including Best Picture.  And, as you probably know, the film was about a high school English teacher.

  • An iPad Air commercial during the 2013 Academy Awards…
  • That originally ran during an NFL playoff game…
  • Which was pulled from a 1989 Academy Award winning film…
  • About a high school teacher…
  • Who was quoting a Walt Whitman poem

I love the verse and sentiment of the ad…

“That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse….

That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse….

What will your verse be?”

As teachers and coaches we have an awesome job, that carries with it awesome responsibility.   What will your verse be?  What verses will your students and athletes write?

On a side note, my wife, Jamie, and I had a “friendly” competition picking the Oscar winners.  I know next to nothing about the film industry, but picked the first 7 winners, including Mr. Hublo for Best Animated Short, and Helium for Best Short Film Live Action…

Her Tweet during the ceremony ‪@youcandomore1 #competeateverything ‪

I ended up winning, picking 16 of the 23 winners, doubling her paltry 8 winning picks…

Her Tweet today @youcandomore1 #gloating.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com