Middle School Strength and Conditioning Posts

In the past few days, I have received several requests for information regarding our middle school strength and conditioning program… including its implementation, structure and curriculum.

BinghamStrengthI decided to amalgamate all of the posts into this single, hopefully easier to navigate, post. I have tried to put them in (somewhat) chronological order.

These links will also direct you to the “nuts and bolts” of our program, including philosophy, the workout card, lifting technique, videos, etc.

Here is a link to a Flipboard Magazine I put together with all of the posts :

Flipboard – Middle School Strength and Conditioning

If you have any questions, just shoot me an email… I will respond!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

A year ago I wrote a post (If you build it, they will come) about a decision our school district (the Independence School District) made to add a strength and conditioning physical education class at the middle school level.

At the time there was much buzz, excitement, and some trepidation among the students, faculty and administration.

As I wrote about in this, more recent post, (The Case for Middle School Strength and Conditioning) the first year of the Strength and Conditioning class has been a huge success in our building.

Now, with enrollment beginning for next year, the real test is upon us. Has the class generated enough “buzz” with the current students to sustain or increase interest and enrollment for next year?

The numbers are in…

The good news

We had nearly 400 students (7th and 8th graders next year) request this class for the 2015-16 school year.

Every current 7th grader who is taking the class (56) requested it again for next year!

The challenge

Our current class structure limited the enrollment to 150 students in the class… six classes with 25 students each.

With a couple of adjustments, we were able to increase that number to 200.

I currently teach all of the Strength and Conditioning class at our school, and have six sections. We have a seven period day, and I have a plan period, so our number this year was capped at 150 students.

Next year our building is going to an eight period day (we are getting rid of our “home room” period), which will allow me to teach seven classes of Strength and Conditioning. In addition, another instructor will be teaching the class during my plan period, which will put our cap next year at 200 students (eight periods x 25 students per class).

We still have a somewhat daunting task ahead… trimming nearly half of the students who put the Strength and Conditioning class as their #1 request for Physical Education.

We feel like it is a good problem to have, and one that demonstrates our district is headed in the right direction with this class offering.

IMG_6962If your district is not offering this class, my experience this year leads me to believe you are missing the boat… this age group is physically and mentally ready to excel in a class of this type.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have regarding this class (setup, curriculum, equipment, lessons, etc) or related to any other posts on this blog… I will respond!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Recruiting Links

This post is specifically for my enrichment class regarding the recruiting process.

As I mentioned in class today, these are the two links that will give you access to all the information we discussed regarding the path to being a recruited student-athlete.

college recruiting ebookFlipboard Magazine- Wanted and Rewarded eBook

Flipboard Magazine – Recruiting Level of Interest Pyramid

If you have any questions, stop by and see me at school.

Please share with your parents as well.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Lessons from the Masters – The Nace Brothers Band

A long one… I had a lot to say… read on

Like most people, I have a few things that I am really passionate about. Besides family and friends, here are my top three:

  • I love teaching and coaching
  • I enjoy sailing and time on the water
  • I am in awe of musicians who create and perform live music.

The first one (teaching and coaching) of course occupies the majority of my time. During most remaining hours of the day, I usually can be found with family and friends

  • On the water, or
  • Taking in some live music, or
  • Killing two birds with one stone and enjoying live music somewhere on the water!

This leads to the second of four posts in the series, “Lessons from the Masters”.   As I previously discussed regarding this series, I believe there is much to be learned from experts… masters… outside of our discipline of teaching and coaching

In the first post of this series, “Lessons from the Masters-The Blue Angels”, I talked about mental training and mental discipline.

In this post, “Lessons from the Masters-The Nace Brothers”, it is about hard work, quality and consistency, and doing the “little things” that are needed to be great. It is a lesson that the Nace Brothers Band has been teaching for over 30 years.

A quick history…

My wife and I first started following the Nace Brothers Band in 1986 when I was an assistant coach at the University of Central Missouri, in Warrensburg, Missouri. Warrensburg is the hometown of the two actual brothers, and the heart of the band, David and Jimmy Nace. David is the drummer and the lead vocal, and Jimmy is lead guitar and writes most of the music they play. Keyboard (and accordion) player T.J. Erhardt and Bass guitar player Paul Greenlease round out the group. Their music can be categorized as Americana or Roots music.

But this post really isn’t about the type of music they play.

bbb12They are each expert musicians… masters of their craft… and together they form a team that has experienced sustained, lasting success.   The Nace Brothers Band has been playing together for over 30 years… enjoying regional success in the Kansas City, Fayetteville, Indianapolis, and Key West markets to name just a few.

But this post really isn’t about how they are great musicians.

Their fans are loyal…. nearly “cult” like. They literally travel across the country to listen to the band. At every performance, from Kansas City, Missouri to Key West, Florida, you can look around the audience and observe many in the audience singing along with the band.

But this post really isn’t about their rabid fans.

This post is about what we can learn from this band.

  • The Value of Hard Work
  • Quality and Consistency
  • Attention to Detail

The Value of Hard Work

dave06Unlike many in this profession, these guys perform 3-4 times a week, four to five hours a night, 51 weeks of the year… and have been doing it for over 30 years!   On their “off” days they are typically practicing, writing music, or in the studio recording.

They are anything but complacent… the Band has a ever-changing set list… they learn and perform new songs, master new instruments and experiment with new arrangements. I am not a musician but that cannot be the easy way to do things. No two shows are ever alike other than their quality and consistency.

Quality and Consistency

My wife and I calculated that, conservatively, we have seen nearly 500 performances of the Nace Brothers Band, so,  admittedly, I am biased. I can honestly say, though,  that we have never witnessed a bad performance… in fact never even an average performance… consistently… five hundred good to great performances over the years.

I have seen the Brothers play in all types of venues, for all types and sizes of crowds… from a handful of people in a strip mall bar and grill in Lee’s Summit (a rarity), to a crowd of thousands at the Bike Blues and Barbecue main stage in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They give the same quality, high-energy performance for every crowd at every venue. They are professionals.

And here is the kicker… They have never cancelled a performance.   30 years, 3-4 times a week, 51 weeks a year. It is Joe DiMaggio-esque (56 game hitting streak) or Cal Ripken-like (2,632 consecutive games played) or akin to John Wooden’s nine consecutive NCAA basketball championships. David Nace told me that there have been a couple times when he was losing his voice that the other members had to pick up the vocal slack during the performance, but they continued.

Attention to Detail.

jimmy10Last week I attended a Nace Brothers Band performance. It was easy to see that for each member of the band, every note was important… they squeezed every sound… every nuance out of every note… every note on every song. They were enjoying what they were doing, sure… but they were also “in the zone”… intent on playing perfect. The result was that each song was great… and the whole show was amazing… once again.

The sports analogies are everywhere. If your athletes are doing all of the little things that you ask them to do, perfectly… like taking a 6” step at 45° instead of a 9” step at 90°… then the majority of your plays are probably great plays, and enough great plays and your team probably had amazing success.

Is “every note” important to you and your players?

Are you and your players consistent on the level of Cal Ripken?

Do you allow your players (or do you) ever take the easy way?

Meet me May 30th at Knuckleheads in Kansas City, Missouri,  if you want to see some great music (The Nace Brothers Band) at a great venue!

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Lessons From the Masters: The Blue Angels

We have a big old schoolhouse chalkboard on the wall right by our door. Whenever I get an inspiration for a post, I scribble the idea on the board… if the idea hits me away from home, it gets entered on my phone and transferred to the chalkboard when I get home.

chalkboardI like the chalkboard… it is very tactile and very visual… plus it is fun to draw up plays and defenses “old school” style when fellow coaches visit!

The other day I was looking at the board… it really is unavoidable since it just about smacks you in the face when you enter our home… plus I can see it from where I normally sit and type these posts.

I noticed there was a common thread running through about 3 or 4 of the ideas that had made it to “The Board”… the commonality was what we as coaches can learn from “experts” in fields outside our discipline.

So this post will be the first in a series of “Lessons from the Masters”.

The National Geographic channel has some interesting programming… especially interesting for an old history teacher and coach. Recently they had a special on the Blue Angels, the US Navy’s precision aerobatic team. The pilots on the Blue Angel flight team are elite… the best of the best… masters of their craft. Over 500 navy pilots a year apply for the squad and only 6 are chosen.

The show itself focused on the training of the Blue Angel team… both physical and mental preparation. The part that intrigued me was their pre-show (pre-game) ritual of “Chair Flying”.   I have written about mental visualization several times (Mental Visualization, The Highest Quality Mental Reps, Inside Russell Wilson’s Brain) but these pilots take it to a new level.   Blue Angels’ Captain Greg McWherter, has this to say about their mental practice….

“We’re a very structured organization, as you can imagine. We do the same thing every practice and on a show day. Two hours prior to flying, we get geared up and drive into work together. When we get to work, we go into our briefing room and close the doors for almost an hour before we brief and we don’t let anyone upset that. No family, no press, no friends. And we do that just so we can get focused as a team. Once we start the briefing, we have a set pattern. I lead the briefing, talking about the weather, and we’ll sit in our chairs and close our eyes. We’ll put our right hands out like we’re gripping the controls stick, our left hands out like we’ve got our throttle and we’ll “chair fly” through the maneuvers just like we’re flying the plane. And from an outsider looking in, it looks like we’re doing a séance.”

Here is a  brief video of their mental visualization technique.

My takeaway… this is yet more proof of the value of mental visualization… a verification that this technique works. It is a technique that these men are quite literally betting their lives on. Mental visualization helps them perform precision maneuvers that at times put their wingtips within eighteen inches from each other while flying at 700 miles per hour.

blue angelsDo you talk to your athletes about how to prepare mentally for a contest? Do you spend time teaching mental visualization techniques? How much time do you spend with your athletes on the different mental components of the game?

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com