Going Until “Failure”

joyTypically on our “Heavy” day lift (Monday-Bench, Tuesday-Squat, Wednesday-Push, Friday-Clean) we go until “failure” – meaning we go until we can’t do any more reps using correct technique and/or without spotter help.  Going to “failure” is probably not a very good term to use, because it implies that the athletes themselves have failed.   It puts a negative thought into their head before they even step under the bar.  I prefer that the athletes focus on “breaking” (Breaking…. It’s a Good Thing!),  rather than failure.

When an athlete does a particular exercise until failure, they personally have not failed, it is just that particular muscle group has “failed“… is exhausted… cannot do another rep.  I think that it is important that the athlete understand that this is a good thing; that IT (not being able to continue) is not, nor are they, a failure.   Without pushing this threshold they would not get appreciably stronger.

Author Seth Godin discussed the idea of welcoming difficulties in his post, “Just the good parts,” last week:

“You don’t get to just do the good parts. Of course. In fact, you probably wouldn’t have chosen this path if it was guaranteed to work every time.

The implication of this might surprise you, though: when the tough parts come along, the rejection and the slog and the unfair bad breaks, it makes sense to welcome them. Instead of cursing or fearing the down moments, understand that they mean you’ve chosen reality, not some unsustainable fantasy. It means that you’re doing worthwhile, difficult work, not merely amusing yourself.

The very thing you’re seeking only exists because of the whole. We can’t deny the difficult parts, we have no choice but to embrace them.”

Training… daily, hard,  intense, consistent, physical, training… is tough… is reality.  It means you’re doing worthwhile, difficult work, not merely amusing yourself.    You have to do the hard stuff, not just the good parts,  to be great.  Embrace the difficult parts.

Questions and Comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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How Do You “Skin the Cat” ?

  • “There is more than one way to skin a cat”
  • “There are only so many hours in a day”

Those two concepts are often diametrically opposed when coaching, and in particular when implementing a strength and conditioning program.

powers“There is more than one way to skin a cat” – or get a good workout! There are literally thousands of workout programs out there, and information about them all easily accessed.  Free weights, machine weights, dumbbell, kettlebell,  crossfit, sets, reps, cycles, plyometric,  Insanity, dynamic, Olympic, Core, P90X, this list of options go on and on.   And they are all good, all have benefits, you can get good results from them all.   If you had an endless amount of time (or at least 6-8 hours!) to teach and workout during the day, you could really explore and utilize many of these concepts and equipment.

But…..

“There are only so many hours in a day”.  At least with my athletes that is the case.  The are all in school, many are 2 or 3 sport athletes, some have jobs, they have hobbies,  they are in AP classes, they have to study, they have to sleep, they are involved in clubs and other school activities, they attend church and are involved in our community, and they have their families and social life.

So with those two opposing concepts, the trick becomes deciding what type of program to implement.   Here are the reasons we have implemented this training program (A Weekly (not weakly!) Workout Program) at our school.

  • I believe in it – our athletes believe in it
  • Lineage – The roots of this program, sets, reps, percentages, can be traced back to the work Hall of Fame Strength Coach Boyd Epley has pioneered
  • Individualized – Every athletes workout card is tailored to and based on their strength level
  • Efficient – Using the Workout Card (The Workout Card – Motivation and Efficiency) the athlete does not have to constantly consult a percentage chart.  The amount that they should lift is already calculated and printed on the card for every set/ rep.  They can finish the entire Core Lift part of the workout in 45-60 minutes.
  • Whole Body Workout – Most of the major muscle groups are worked daily
  • Combination of Power (Bench, Squat) and Explosive (Clean, Push) Lifts
  • All sports benefit from the workout.  It is not strictly a “football workout”. (In The Spotlight – Roy Bay)
  • Both Men and Women athletes benefit from the workout. (Training Women Athletes)
  • Flexible – 3 or 4 day a week lifting program (Problem Solving)
  • Flexible Cycles – Each card has a 3 x 8, and 5 x 5, and a 3 x 3 cycle printed on it. (Sets, Reps, and Cycles)
  • Flexible  By changing the supplemental lifts (Supplemental Lifts) you can keep the workout fresh, and tailor it to specific sport or athletes needs.
  • Motivation – Athletes see clearly from the workout card (The Workout Card – Motivation and Efficiency) where they started, and what their current results are.  Each day they enter the weight room with a goal of “breaking” (Breaking, it’s a good thing) on one of their Core lifts.
  • Easy for a Coach (me) to manage – We have over 300 athletes come through the weight room a day.  As coaches, there are only so many hours in the day for us as well.

All of our situations are different.  What works for me, may not work for you.  But it is important to know WHY you are doing what your are doing regarding your strength and conditioning program.  Doing something just because the University of Alabama does it is not reason enough.

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

Thanks for your questions and comments!

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

“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

Recruiting – Make a “WOW” Highlight Video

I have a pretty good perspective on this topic.  As a college coach at the University of Central Missouri and William Jewell College, I was recruiting in the era of VHS tapes.  I had to literally go from school to school and pick up videotapes (game and highlights) of athletes or leave a postage paid packet for them to mail the video to our office.  Players and coaches at that time had to physically sit with two VHS recorders and manually punch a button to record from one to another to make a highlight video.

My son played and was recruited during the era that video was computer based and DVD’s were used to record games and highlights.  Most schools used a system like DSV or other similar editing systems.  To make his highlight video, he had to schedule times to sit with his high school coach at a computer to record highlights from the original computer game files.  Every athlete wanting to make a highlight DVD had to go through this process! This was only slightly better than the VHS to VHS method, but easier to copy and send after an original was made.

hudl-1440x900Now as a high school coach using the web based program Hudl , things have really changed for the better.  It is now easier than ever for an athlete, parent, or coach to make a highlight video from your own computer and send it instantly via email to any recruiting coach or school that requests it.

 

Using improved technology, putting together a great highlight video can help get your foot in the door and your name on the colleges list.  Here are my suggestions for marketing yourself and making your highlight video.

  1. Do it yourself, don’t pay a service.  As I said, it is now easier than ever to do this using Hudl.
  2. Use your schools videotape, not a handheld video your mom or dad took of your Pop Warner games.
  3. Your highlight video should be 15-20 plays, not 50-100.  Pick your VERY best plays – what I call WOW Plays; plays that make the coach watching say to himself WOW, I need to see more of this guy”. If they are NOT outstanding, but just average play after average play, he will pass.
  4. Pick plays that highlight your athletic ability  – that exhibit the remarkable (the Purple Cow) qualities that you have. This advice is not just for “skilled” positions.  If you are a lineman, pick some plays that show you running, changing direction, and exhibiting flexibility.
  5. No music or fancy fades between plays.  The coach has a limited amount of time and doesn’t want to be entertained, but wants to evaluate you.  An arrow or circle around you at the beginning of the play is OK – it will help the coach find you quickly.  Hudl has a cool feature that makes it easy to do this and can be seen here:  Hudl Highlight Tutorial
  6. Put one or two complete games on after your highlight.  In addition to your highlight video, a college coach will also want to see a complete game of you.    It should go without saying to select your best, games.  If it is against good competition, then that is even better.  The recruiting coach will be familiar with the better football programs in your area.
  7. Make it easy on yourself and start this at the beginning of the season.  After each game, pick 5-10 of your best plays and mark them.  Hudl makes it very easy to do this.  At the end of the season, you can then go through the 50-100 plays you already have marked and pick your 15-20 best plays of the season.  Figure out what your two best games, against the best competition were, and your recruiting packet will be ready to send to interested coaches.  If you wait until the season is over to begin this process, you may not have these ready when a college coach asks for them.
  8. Make sure you have all the correct information (phone, email, address, academic information) on Hudl.  This helps the college coach who has a limited amount of time and needs to evaluate thousands of prospects.  He will have all of your information AND your video right at his fingertips, and that will increase the likelihood of him following up with you and your family.

Market yourself – Make a WOW highlight video using the tools at your disposal.  Ask your coach if you need help, or drop me an email or leave a comment.

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.

 

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Brain Games

I am not a big time distance runner, but started doing 5K’s as a part of my rehab after having my hip replaced last year.  I have completed five 5K’s in the last year, but yesterday I did my first 4 Mile run.  A 5K is 3.2 miles, so yesterdays race was a mere .8 miles more.  But what a difference mentally!

I have written extensively about having a positive attitude and believing You Can Do More, and still yesterday I found my own brain trying to play tricks, play games with me.  At the 1.5-mile mark, when running a 5K, I am always thinking the positive thought, “OK, already half way finished.”  Yesterday, at the same 1.5 mile mark, in a race only slightly longer, I caught myself thinking the negative, “Oh man, not EVEN half way finished.

lizard-brainI am not completely sure why the human brain does this, all I know is that it does.  In unsure, unfamiliar situation, the brain always seems to revert to the negative.  I am pretty sure it has to do with the “Lizard Brain”, the “fight or flight reflex“, fear of failure, etc.  The important thing, I think, is that as coaches and athletes we are aware that it is there… always lurking.

So how to handle it?  I have had great success using mental visualization with my athletes, and that is a topic for a future post.  I think the more we can prepare our athletes and ourselves, when entering new, uncharted territory, the better we will handle it.  Scripting situations during practice so that when those same situations arise in contests, they are not unfamiliar and not so “scary”, is one way.   Even just having a conversation with your athletes about possible contingencies that could arise during a training session or contest can help as well.

Bottom line – as best you can prepare physically AND mentally for when you enter uncharted territory.  You Can Do More … your brain WILL lie to you as it did to me yesterday.  Be ready for it – Don’t Believe It!

Any questions or comments?  They are always welcome – I WILL respond!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Chain of Accountability, Chain of Praise

Like most good coaches, much of what I do was “borrowed” from other coaches – workouts, plays, drills, techniques, trigger terms, etc.  The piece that I am sharing today IS an original philosophical document that I have used in my programs since the 1990’s

This document and philosophy really guides how I (we) speak to players, parents, and the media in regards to our program.   Each “Chain” (as in “chain of command“) deals with a different set of circumstances, but both rely on the underlying principal that we (coaches) are adults and professionals and the players are really just kids.

ChainsThe first “Chain” in the document is the “Chain of Accountability”, which guides our thinking after or during some adversity, such as a loss, poor practice or scrimmage.  I believe that the first person that needs to take responsibility, to be accountable, after a loss is the head coach, followed in turn by the coordinators and position coaches. .  It is far too easy for a coach to say, “Well, those darn kids just didn’t play well tonight”.  In these situations I would much rather use phrases like “As a head coach, I needed to do a better job of preparing our athletes for this contest” or “As Defensive Coordinator, it is my job to make sure we put our athletes in a position to stop the opposing offense, and tonight I did not do a very good job of that.”  Ultimately everyone (including the athlete) IS responsible and accountable– I just think as professionals and adults it is part of our job to deflect criticism from those below us on the chain, whether it is another coach or our players.

The converse of the “Chain of Accountability” is the “Chain of Praise”, which guides our thinking and comments when something positive happens in our program like a win or when a team accolade is awarded.  In this case, the first people that need to be praised are the athletes, our players.  Again as adults, I think the coaches in this situation need to be confident enough in our own work that we shower praise on those below us on the chain, whether it is another coach or our players.  Instead of taking credit myself for the victory, I would prefer phrases like “Our athletes really played well tonight and executed the game plan that our assistant coaches worked hard to implement this week”  or “Our running back coach really spent a lot of time working on ball security this week, and it was really reflected tonight in the turnover margin

The bottom line, our players are kids, often with fragile egos and an undeveloped maturity level.  As adult, professional coaches, we should be able to shoulder more of the burden during tough times, and need less uplifting during the good times.

Comments or questions are always welcome!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

“I’m Starting on My Team, Why Do More?”

seth godinLet me share this one more time.  Every day I read Seth Godin’s blog.  His blog would be categorized as a marketing/ business type blog – not directly athletic or sports related at all.  Nevertheless, I find it interesting and useful daily.  Often I find it directly applicable to coaching, and athletics.  Today was one of those days.  Here is the text of today’s post:

“I’m making money, why do more?”

  • Because doing more than you need to makes it personal.
  • Because work that belongs to you, by choice, is the first step    to making art.
  • Because the choice to do more brings passion to your life and it makes you more alive.
  • Because if you don’t, someone else will, and in an ever more competitive world, doing less means losing.
  • Because you care.
  • Because we’re watching.
  • Because you can.

The initial question can easily be changed to apply to athletics and coaching:

“I’m starting on my team, why do more?”  or

“We’re winning games, why do more?” or

“I was All-Conference last year, why do more?

  • Because it makes your work personal
  • Because it brings passion to your life and makes you more alive
  • Because if you don’t you will eventually lose
  • Because you care
  • Because you can
  • You Can Do More!

icarusI would highly recommend Godin’s blog and his books, his most recent being the “Icarus Deception, How High Will You Fly?”  It aligns perfectly with concept of Doing More.

Tomorrow I will share some data regarding the Power Quotient and Vertical Leap.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Championship Habits

Every day I read Seth Godin’s blog.  Although he is not a “sports” person, and his blog is not aimed at athletes or coaches, I find his writing to be aligned with my thinking most of the time.  His blog, books, and lectures are just as applicable to athletes and coaches as they are to CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies.

Here is Godin’s post from yesterday:

Actually It Goes The Other Way

Wouldn’t it be great to be gifted? In fact…

It turns out that choices lead to habits.

Habits become talents.

Talents are labeled gifts.

You’re not born this way, you get this way.

Simple and to the point…

  • make good choices
  • develop good (championship) habits
  • become “gifted

In case you missed it – I have more related content here:

Thanks for stopping by… Any questions, just comment or email!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Breaking Slope

sample weekly workout

sample weekly workout

A quick refresher on how we have our student-athletes manage their workout cards, especially in regards to monitoring and increasing the workout load.  Whenever an athlete completes their heavy day lift they “break”.  Recall that in our weekly workout, each day we do one of our four “core lifts” heavy intensity, one medium, one light, and omit one lift.  “Breaking” means they are stronger than the estimated 1 rep max that is on their card.  They know they need to mark their card and I in turn change (increase) their workout load for that lift.  This is all detailed in a previous post, Breaking, it’s a Good Thing.

When a student-athlete firsts begins a workout regimen, these breaks come pretty consistently, often weekly for each of their four core lifts.  This is because they are learning and mastering the technique for the various lifts, which along with normal strength gains lends itself to these frequent breaks.

At some point in their training, these breaks typically slow down.  When this happens, especially with our more competitive athletes, frustration sometimes sets it.  At this time, and periodically during their training cycles I will explain to them that this is a normal part of their training, and does not mean they aren’t  working hard, making progress, or getting stronger.  I use this example:

I ask the class,  “If an athlete were to break, lets say on the bench press, every week for a year, how much would his bench press increase?”  The answer of course is ridiculous – Their bench would increase 520 pounds! (52 weeks in a year x 10 pounds for each break)  I explain, and they realize, that this type of increase, this type of breaking slope, is not sustainable.  For experienced athletes, when they reach a good strength level, and have developed good technique, it may take 2, 3 or 4 weeks to break.

The question then becomes “how do you know if you are making progress?”  The students need to focus and keep track of what they are doing on their last set of their heavy day lift.  The week after they break and their max (and workout) increases, they may only get 1 rep on their final set before failing.  The next week maybe 2 or 3, then possibly the next week they will get all 5 reps (or 8 or 3 depending on the cycle) on their last set and break.  By keeping track each week of how many reps they are getting before failure on their last set of their heavy day workout they can keep track of their progress, even if they are not breaking.

When the higher level athletes see that even breaking just once a month on a lift, they will be increasing their max 120 pounds over the course of a year, their frustration level goes down and they are more easily motivated.

Tomorrow we will break down the fourth and final Core Lift – The Hang Clean.

Any Questions?  Just comment or email!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com