We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bo…

x…

We need a bigger Box… as in Plyo Box.

You thought I was going to say Boat… we need that too… more on the Bigger Boat later.

Here is a film showing two of our Strength and Conditioning classes… one 7th grade and one 8th grade (we have a total of 5 sections of 8th graders and 3 sections of 7th graders) doing a box jump routine.

We have done this routine 4-5 times this year. The first time we did it, we maybe had 1-2 athletes in each class that could make it up on the “Big Box”.

This time, the final time this year, we had more that could make it up on the box than couldn’t in each class… probably 40-50 total that could do it!

We see the same results in improved Vertical Leap, 40 yard dash and Pro Agility times… not to mention strength levels in our four core lifts of Bench, Squat, Push Press and Hang Clean.

Attribute it to increased strength, or improved confidence, familiarity with the drill, or class cohesion/ competition, maturation…. whatever your belief, the results speak for themselves.

And that is the thing that I have learned teaching Strength and Conditioning at our (Bingham) Middle School…

Whatever you believe and know to be true regarding the advantages of a good Strength and Conditioning program at the high school (or collegiate) level, the same benefits are realized in this age group.

Improvements in…

  • Team Cohesion
  • Strength
  • Confidence
  • Explosion
  • Speed
  • Quickness
  • Training Habits
  • Competing
  • Overcoming adversity

And about that bigger boat…

Just as last year, (We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat) the number of students requesting this class is up… approaching 400 students listing Strength and Conditioning as their first PE choice, with only 200 slots available.

Nearly 400 students requesting Strength and Conditioning with the knowledge that it is a tough, strenuous class… with the knowledge that they will be required to (or rather”get to”) train 3-4 days a week.

It is even more evidence that this age group is the exact right time to begin a strength and conditioning program.

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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You Can Do This

My last post was about “doing your best”…

And how, even when you have done your best, “there might be just a little more to give”…

And how that relates to my tag line… You Can Do More.

A little bit about that tag line…

There is a BIG difference between “You Can Do More!” and “you could have done more!

One is an entreat, a plea to ignore what your brain and body are telling you and push on and persevere.

The other is an admonishment for not doing your best and results in guilt and diminished performance.

The mantra “You Can Do More” really is a double edge sword that needs to be wielded carefully.  I do believe an important part of our job as coaches is to get our athletes to do more than what they believe (or their brain is telling them) they can.

I also believe that is an equally important job to acknowledge, praise, and rejoice when our athletes are successful, have given great effort, and have done all that we asked.  They sometimes need to hear your loud positivevoice” in their head to drown out their own (and other) negative “voices” that are often so pervasive.

hard thingsWith young athletes, it is equally important that they first learn that “You Can Do This”… “this” being whatever tasks are before them… hard and challenging tasks… physically… mentally… or both… Initially, when first learning how to compete you don’t have to implore your athletes to “do more”…. just meeting the challenge you have given them is the first step… even if it is just a baby step…

“You Can Do This”

“You Got This”

“You Can Beat This”

Once they get used to being able to meet these challenges head on, and begin to have the confidence that “You Can Do THIS”…. once they get used to COMPETING… once they trust what you are telling them, then it is a simple progression to You Can Do More!

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

Related Posts:

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

THE Conundrum

Think about this conundrum

coaching puzzleIf, as a coach, you tell a player that doing (X) will make them perform better (X could be anything… fill in the variable)

And they consistently choose not to do (X)

Then either:

A) they do not believe or trust that what you are saying is true…

OR

B) performing better is really not that important to them

As a coach it is probably a good idea to try to figure out the answer to this question, if reaching this player is important.

If the answer is A) then what can you do to improve the trust factor in that player/ coach relationship?

If the answer is B) then what can you do to make that player’s performance more important to him or her?

Most any coach can reach the high achievers… the ones that are easily motivated… the low hanging fruit.

The really good coach tries to reach ALL of their players… even those tough, hard to reach ones… the ones high up in the tree.

You will not reach them all, but in making a great effort you will reach MORE.

As Vince Lombardi said…

“Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.”

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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.

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.

 

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

The Impact of $4

This semester I started a weekly award … the “Bingham Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Week”. Each week I pick one boy and one girl athlete (students in my class) based on a different set of criteria (some subjective, some objective) such as “best technique”, “highest pound for pound ratio”, “highest power quotient”, or “best teammate”.

For each winner, I blow up a picture of them lifting and put it in a poster frame attached to each door entering the weight room.   I also tweet a picture of each athlete standing by his or her poster. At the end of the week I give the posters to the athletes to keep.IMG_6755

It has become a very popular addition to the class. There is always a buzz on the day the new “Athlete of the Week” poster is unveiled…

  • “who got it this week?”
  • “can you let me in the weight room to see?”
  • “what was it based on?”
  • “what will the criteria be for this next week?”

You would think that I was awarding the Heisman Trophy. You can see the pride on their faces, and admiration from their classmates. The best part is when I am able to give them their poster at the end of the week to take home.

I get the posters printed at Staples. I actually got the idea from my wife who saw it on Pinterest and passed it on to me. They are called “engineer prints” and are 3’ x 2’ black and white prints that cost less than $4.

The process is simple… take a high quality jpeg, convert it to a PDF and upload it to their site… or just take the file on a thumb drive and have them print it while you wait.

But this post isn’t a plug for Staples, or about “engineer prints”.

It is about the impact that $4 can make in your program.

We don’t all have unlimited budgets… many of us are really trying to do more with less… actually on more of a “shoestring” budget than the unlimited variety.

There are many things that can be done… many great ideas out there… that don’t cost a dime (or under $4) than can have a huge impact with your students and with your program.

The thing about the Athlete of the Week posters isn’t how much or how little they cost… it is about stopping everything and making a statement and recognizing someone for doing something right… doing something well.

And the recognition isn’t just a one-time shot…

  • They get recognition when their poster gets “unveiled”,
  • They get recognition when I tweet the picture of them and their poster,
  • They get recognition each day when their classmates see their poster as they enter and leave the weight room
  • They get recognition when I “award” them their poster at the end of the week to take home.

It is just another way of saying “Good Job!” to a student and at the same time reinforcing a component or concept that you feel is important.

Every week I think to myself, “this is the best $4 I have ever spent! 

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

It is Never Easy

The other day I invited classroom teachers from my school (Bingham Middle School, Independence School District) to come down and visit my students as they worked out.

Actually, I had the students invite their teachers to come down to the weight room… sometimes a scary place for a classroom teacher… lots of noise, metal clanging, occasional shouts, etc… I told my students it was…

National Invite Your Classroom Teachers to the Weight Room to See How Hard You Work on Heavy Squat Day in Strength and Conditioning Class”, day.

OK, I made the day up, but…. we did get a few teachers to venture down to the weight room.

My purpose… I wanted their classroom teachers to see how hard these students work … daily… in this class… and I wanted them (their teachers) to see their students in a different light, and a different setting than they were used to seeing them.

One colleague who came down watched in amazement as the students worked out… and did the little things that they do daily… and do pretty much on their own.

  • Reading their workout cards
  • Calculating the weight needed to be put on the bar
  • Disciplined behavior
  • Putting the weight on the bar
  • Adjusting the rack
  • Spotting
  • Encouraging
  • Laughing
  • Working
  • Transitioning from one lift to the next
  • On task
  • Coaching one another
  • Seriously training!

These are 8th graders.

He asked “How long did it take to get them to this point?

IMG_6514It is an excellent question. At this point in the year, into the 4th quarter… the class is very low maintenance…. I am sure it appears that it is an easy class to teach… and at this point of the year, it is!   I spend very little of my day, and very little of my time each hour babysitting, redirecting, disciplining, or managing behavior. I get to spend the majority of my time teaching, coaching, and motivating.

But as you know, it does not happen all at once, or by magic. The heavy lifting (pun intended) of the class is front-loaded. I spend a great deal of time in the first 6-8 weeks on every small detail including…

After that first couple of months, it just becomes reinforcing the good stuff… fine-tuning a few things each day by constant assessment of where they are with their technique, knowledge and strength level.

At this point of the year, the class is a well-oiled machine.

It is just like the football program that makes reeling off winning seasons, conference championships, and playoff appearances look easy.

It is not easy… it is not ever easy… It is a result of hours, months and years of hard work… concentrating on every bit of minutia… every detail in the program.

Being a good teacher is hard work… being a good coach is hard work

But it is so very worth it.

If you have not had the chance, I hope can read my post from last week, The Case for Middle School Strength and Conditioning. If your District offers this class, kudos… if not, this may persuade you to hop on a soapbox. 

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