Medicine Ball Workout

At least once a month, on our training days outside of the weight room, we do a medicine ball workout.

Last week during the #ironchat (a strength and conditioning chat held on twitter Thursday evenings) I mentioned this workout. A few colleagues were asking about what we do (and video) so this is the expanded version… one drawback to the #chat format is depth of detail is at times difficult with 140 character limitation.

We workout in pairs, using one medicine ball per pair.   The athletes choose a ball between 5 and 10 pounds, dependent on their strength level.

I want the athletes to understand that this workout is NOT about doing a lot of weight, or even doing a lot of reps… we do that on other training days. The most “weight” anyone will be lifting (in addition to their body weight) is 10 pounds, and the most reps we do on any one drill are 10 reps.

This workout IS about:

  • Balance
  • Posture
  • Flexibility and
  • Doing all the “Little Things” right

We do 13 different drills in the workout, typically doing 10 reps for each drill. On drills that the athletes do 10 consecutive reps by themselves (not passing the ball between the partners) we ask the athlete not active to “coach” their partners…. letting them know if they are doing it well, and fixing any technique flaws that they see.  It is also another way of checking for understanding with your students.

Here are the 13 drills we do, the order that we complete the drills, and the “little things” …the coaching points… for each drill.

Lunge with a twist – Across basketball court

  • Sink hips
  • Keep shoulders back
  • Keep arms extended and parallel to the ground

Figure 8 – 20 passes

  • Back to back about 3 ft apart
  • Feet “in concrete” stationary – do not even pivot
  • Hand the ball (do not toss) with two hands to partner
  • Ball should make a figure 8 pattern, crossing between partners

Sit ups – 10 each

  • Feet 2-3 feet apart
  • Extend ball above head
  • Sit up with ball and body moving in the same plane
  • Toss ball to partner who extends ball above head, goes down and touches ball to ground, trying to keep ball and body in the same plane

Vertical Chest Pass – 10 each

  • Partner drops ball from about eye level
  • Partner on back extends arms
  • When ball touches hands, collapse arms to chest
  • Immediately “punch” ball as high as you can
  • No pause at top when ball touches hands or at the bottom at chest

Overhead Squat – 10 each

  • Low and Slow
  • Arms extended above head
  • Perfect squat technique – Head up, shoulders back, feet flat
  • Partner not active in the drill will “coach”

Front Squat – 10 each

  • Low and Slow
  • Arms extended an parallel with ground
  • Perfect squat technique – Head up, shoulders back, feet flat
  • Partner not active in the drill will “coach”

Squat Pass – 10 passes each

  • Both partners in perfect squat position through all 10 passes
  • Two handed pass to partner
  • Remain stable and balanced – arms only body part moving

Squat Jump – 10 each

  • Seat ball in chest
  • Lower to full squat position
  • Explode, maximum effort, feet off the floor
  • Reset base after each jump
  • Partner not active in the drill will “coach”

Overhead Pass – 10 each

  • No step or upper body sway
  • Extend ball above head with elbows by ears
  • Dip ball behind head and execute 2 handed pass to partner
  • Try to isolate triceps
  • Remain stable and balanced – forearms only body part moving

Slam Pass – 10 each

  • Step with slam ball into ground about 2/3 way to partner
  • 5 throws stepping with right foot, 5 with left

Squat Put – 10 each

  • Execute perfect full squat
  • From the squat position explode off ground – 2 hand push for height and distance
  • Keep shoulders back – Don’t bend at the waist

Squat Toss (Front) – 10 each

  •      Extend ball in front
  •      Arms parallel to ground
  •      From the squat position explode off ground – tossing ball for height and distance
  •      Keep shoulders back – Don’t bend at waist
  •      Throw the ball with your legs

Squat Toss (Back) – 10 each

  •        Back to partner
  •        Extend ball in front
  •        Arms parallel to ground
  •        On command – from the squat position explode off ground – tossing ball for height and distance
  •        Keep shoulders back – Don’t bend at waist
  •        Throw the ball with your legs

I would encourage you to check out the Twitter #ironchat on Thursday nights.  An explanation of how the Twitter chats (#chats) works can be found in this post… #TXHSFBCHAT… The Fastest 60 Minutes on the Internet

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Drill, Drill, Drill

The Internet…

You can have your own personal clinic every day.

Earlier this week an online call came from Lee Weber (CSIC and head football coach at Wamego High School, KS) asking coaches to send in their favorite drills so he can compile a “best of” Twitter #fbchat drill guide.

I have become a virtual colleague of coach Weber via Twitter and the various football coaching chats (see post #TXHSFBCHAT… the Fastest 60 Minutes on the Internet) that take place weekly online.

I immediately responded to his collaboration call, and in the process realized that, although I have written many posts regarding football drills, and detailed many of my favorites, they were spread over a time period of three years and nearly 400 posts… not the easiest navigation to find some good ball drills.

Here is a compilation of articles I have written about drills including philosophy, terminology and diagrams… hopefully a little easier for you to navigate.

step-over-dummy-0811Please consider sending one of your favorite drills to Coach Weber (gcwarrior@gmail.com) for inclusion in his drill guide. As you can see from my drills, they were all learned from colleagues in our profession that were willing to share.

The coaching profession benefits when we collaborate.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

A Master Craftsman

Another (quick) toolbox analogy…

As I have chronicled, my son and daughter-in-law have been involved in a project (50/50) over the past year.

During that span of time they have borrowed numerous tools…

  • Drill bits…
  • Jig saw…
  • Extension cords…
  • Socket set…
  • Saw blades…

No problem… I have accumulated (as most do) many tools in my toolbox throughout the years.

I have to admit it was with a degree of hubris that I brandished my overflowing toolbox and tubs of nuts, bolts, and hardware at the work site.

Hubris, that is, until, a former player of mine (a REALLY good former player of mine) volunteered to help with the project.   This man is a professional… he works construction… he is a master craftsman.

He came and in one evening did work that it would have taken us days to finish.

He had more tools on his tool belt than I have in my toolbox.   He had all the right tools…. specialty tools for this specific job… and all the tricks of the trade that he had accumulated over the years.

As a young, hungry, coach, you are always on the lookout to borrow tools that will help you do your job better… to be a better coach.

But even the old grizzled coach can learn from a professional… can find a new tool or trick that might help … as long as you don’t allow your pride (or habits) to get in the way.

Here are links to tools that have helped me be a more efficient, more organized, better prepared coach over the years. Young coach or veteran, I hope you find something of interest.

stringout

Thanks to Joe Grubb for the inspiration behind this post… and thanks to him for helping at the 50/50 project.

The ties that bind Joe, and the special group of men from my UCM days, is a story for another day.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Case for Middle School Strength and Conditioning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My closing thoughts:

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

IMG_6526

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

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Learning How to Compete

With the 2014 season under our belts, everyone is now headed into, or already deep into their off-season programs.

One of the best things that we ever did as part of our off-season program was to incorporate weekly, team competitions in our workouts. This was not an original idea of mine, but we did add some unique elements to the concept.

The first thing we did each year was to divide our returning squad members (anyone who was planning on being part of our upcoming season) into 11 teams. We selected the teams by appointing 11 seniors as captains and holding a draft, with each captain selecting their squad. The draft was only open to these 11 seniors, so no one else knew the discussions about, or order in which squad members were picked.   This draft became a much-anticipated event, with the seniors putting a lot of thought into their selections.

After the teams were picked and posted, we revealed (sort of) the competitions for each week. I say “sort of” because we did not let them know exactly what they would be doing, the rules, or criteria for winning until that weeks contest. For instance, the name for one of our contest was “War Games”… which was a tug of war tournament between all of the teams… but up until that week there was all kinds of speculation as to what the competition might be!

 

tugWe incorporated many aspects of “team” and character into our weekly competitions… trying to get our players to compete in many areas that would make them a better student-athlete… they were not limited to just strength and conditioning. Here are some things we had the teams compete for:

  • Best attendance for the week (school)
  • Best attendance for the week (weight room)
  • Tug of war
  • Last Man Standing (holding a 25 lb plate at arms length)
  • Most Breaks (increasing their estimated 1RM) in a week
  • Best attendance at a girl’s basketball game
  • 2 Men Enter (try to pull the flag in the sock of the opponent in a 5 yd x 5 yd square)
  • Highest Average Pound for Pound Ratio
  • Highest Average Power Quotient
  • Most team members that finished the squad reading assignment (That First Season, by John Eisenberg)
  • Obstacle Course (included carrying a 45 pound plate, flipping tractor tire, driving sled, and sprinting)
  • Highest average GPA for that quarter

Each week the team would get points for their finishing rank (1st=1 point, 2nd=2 points, etc) and at the end of our winter/ spring strength and conditioning sessions, the team with the fewest points was crowned the winner. Each member of the winning team received one helmet reward decal prior to the first game of the following season.

The contests were always fun and spirited, and each week we saw new leaders emerge… and they were not always the “official” captains. Players would encourage, hold each other accountable, and be held accountable for these wide array of items.   It was always interesting, too, to see how the captains picked their respective teams each year… knowing the strengths that were needed to succeed in this competition.

This concept had positive effects on a number of levels. There is definitely a team building/ bonding aspect to it. Our athletes got used to holding teammates accountable, and being held accountable. It helped develop and expose leaders and teach leadership. These competitions also helped our student-athletes learn how to compete, and emphasized a number of character related qualities with them.

As an added bonus, our administration loved it because we were measuring and talking about things like attendance, academics, and reading with our athletes.

As I mentioned, this was not an original idea (like most good things that we did) but was one that we added to each year to help make our off-season program a little more competitive and fun.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Your Toolbox

My father was many things (US Marine, WWII vet of the Pacific Campaign) but a skilled carpenter, handyman, craftsmen he was NOT. Although he never scrimped on material, his attempts at various projects were usually laughable, amateurish, and cobbled together…. not masterpieces in any sense of the word.

My dad literally had one small toolbox that contained:

toolbox

  • 1 phillips head screwdriver, 1 flat head
  • 1 pair of pliers
  • 1 pair of vice grips (his “go-to” tool)
  • 1 regular (small) hammer, 1 ball peen hammer
  • 1 hand saw for wood, 1 hack saw for metal

And little else.

So while he often courageously attempted ambitious projects, with little or no instructions, and only a meager set of tools at his disposal, the results usually came up far short of his expectations.

When I told a lifelong friend (who knew my father and witnessed his “handiwork”) that I had just finished installing built in cabinets and closets in our bedroom, adding a sliding factory door, and laying hardwood floor in our loft, he looked at me and asked “since when did you become so handy?”

Here is the difference between my father and me… I am not smarter, nor do I use better materials. The main difference is that I have more tools in my toolbox, and availability to better instructions.

I have two large cases full of tools… sets of wrenches, power tools, tools for measuring, cutting, fastening, etc. I also have access to great instructions for any project I tackle via the Internet.

As coaches we all have similar “material” (our squad) but some of us have more tools at our disposal. A craftsman has to have the correct tools to create a masterpiece.

What tools do you have in your coaching “toolbox”?  Here are some that have helped me be a more efficient and effective coach:

All told, the links listed above have been downloaded over 10,000 times by coaches all over the world. I am not suggesting these are all or the best tools out there… but plenty of tools ARE out there… and fairly easy to find.

Create a masterpiece!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Winning

Winning is hard and a measure of success…. at any level and against any opponent….

There are programs that make it look easy, week in and week out. Winning is hard for them as well. The “ease” typically is a product that stems from years of hard work and consistently great teaching and coaching…. often performed at every level of the program in a community … from youth sports to the varsity level.

We all know these programs…. you are probably thinking about a couple of them right now.

There are programs in the metro area that are trying to “turn” their programs around… some have been trying to figure it out for years… with some excellent coaches… Winning for these programs is unbelievably hard.

We all know these programs…. you are probably thinking about a couple of them right now.

And two weeks into the 2014 season there are programs that have been among the elite in the city that are currently winless… and struggling.

We all know these programs…. you are probably thinking about a couple of them right now.

To the consistent winners… Enjoy the wins… they are all hard fought and special.

To the programs trying to change directions… keep plugging away… continue to work hard, and find small victories.

To the coaches leading top programs that are currently struggling… know that you are the same coach that recently led your team to great seasons, playoff wins, and championships… you didn’t become a “bad” coach in the last two weeks.

To everyone… keep up the good fight… ours is an awesome job, with awesome responsibilities.

aptos

Related posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

This is easy…

No, it really isn’t.

Whenever athletes of mine whine, grouse or complain that a particular workout, technique or drill is hard, my comment is always,

“Why would we ever want you to do something that was easy?”

Business author Seth Godin echoed this in his recent post:

Fast, easy, guaranteed

…pick none.

That’s the work that’s worth doing.

And by the way, the athlete was “whining” was really just wanting affirmation that yes, this is hard, and yes, I did it and, aren’t I pretty awesome for doing this thing that is so hard?

Related Posts:

Hard-work

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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

Championship Off-Season

In a post Super Bowl press conference, Russell Wilson was asked when he knew the 2013-14 Seahawk team was going to be special.  He said he knew it early on because they had a “Championship Off-Season

off-season

Most of us are now well into our off-season programs.   Can you tell if your team is going to be special in 2014?  Are you having a championship off-season?

I can think back to all of the “special” squads that I have coached… and we had an inkling … normally about this time of the year… that the team was destined for good things.

What were the indications? What were the qualities that set these teams apart during the off-season?

Often, I think, it was a combination of things… both tangible and intangible.

Attendance. – Although attendance is critical, there was a difference between groups that “just showed up” and those that showed up with a purpose.   There was an intensity in the air with the great teams that you could feel… it was palpable, and contagious.

Team Bonding and Team Building – There is a huge difference between what I call “trust fall” team building and True Team BuildingThe teams that really bonded would work, eat, sweat, and puke together.

Leadership – The biggest difference that I could put my finger on is teams that had an “organically grown” group of leaders, as opposed to teams whose leadership was voted or appointed, were typically better… there was greater accountability.

Fun – With some of my best groups, the harder you worked them, the more fun they had.  It was like a daily challenge that “we could not break them”… it was very similar to the Short Work of a Long Road scene from the movie, Cool Hand Luke.

So, how would you rate your team at this juncture?  Are they a “special” team?  Are you having a “Championship Off-Season”?  Are you “feeling it”?  If not, is there anything that you can do to change the trajectory your team is on?

One thing that I am certain of… if you have too many conversations like the one below, it is probably not a good sign!

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

Thanks to PrepsKC, the home of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association for running this post today on their site.  If you get a chance to visit (and “Like” my post) you will find many good stories.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com