All Skate

While editing the Hang Snatch video for yesterday’s post (Supplemental Lifts – Hang Snatch) , I was hit by how many sports were represented in my sampling of raw footage.  I threw together another video showing and labeling these athletes and the sport(s) they represent at our school.

In addition, two of the athletes that have been “In the Spotlight” had great weekends competing.  Roy Bay (In the Spotlight- Roy Bay) won the 100m dash in a large invitational meet on Friday, and JT Hayes (In the Spotlight- JT Hayes) hit a 3 run home run in Friday’ victory.

all skate

I feel fortunate teaching and coaching at a school where all the coaches have “bought into” and believe in the benefits of the strength and conditioning program.

Questions or Comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Supplemental Lifts – The Hang Snatch

snatchAnother lift that we use to supplement our four Core Lifts (Bench, Squat, Clean, and Push) that make up our weekly (A Weekly (not weakly!) Workout) is the Hang Snatch.  The Hang Snatch is a variation of the Olympic Lift, Snatch, and is essentially the same lift except we start from the hang position as opposed to starting with the weight on the ground.  It is an explosive movement that is going to work many major muscle groups – hamstrings, glutes, gastrocnemius, quads, delts, and traps.

We talk about the hang snatch as being a combination of the hang clean and push press.  The starting position is identical to the hang clean, which is the fundamental athletic position.  The finish position is identical to the push press finish, which is the overhead support position.  We teach each position, and then ask our athletes to move explosively from one position to the next.

We use light to medium weight, typically doing 3 sets of 8 reps.  We stress that the lift should be smooth, explosive, almost an “elegant” type of movement.  If it gets too “herky jerky” and slow, we tell the athletes to use less weight.  If it looks bad – it is… use less weight.

Just as discussed in the Squat, and Push Press breakdown, the athlete will begin with a good athletic posture; good base with feet about shoulder width apart and toes pointed straight forward; stand tall with shoulders back and head forward. We use just a slightly wider grip than in the hang clean, with the hands a few inches outside the shoulders, with the bar hanging from straight arms.

To begin the lift, the bar should slide down your thighs as you bend at ankles, knees and hips and (slightly) at the waist. Chest should be tall with shoulders back. Descent of bar should stop at the top of the knees.  Shoulders should be directly over the hands at the bottom of the descent.

As soon as the bar gets to the bottom of the descent (top of knees) the athlete will explode, extending the ankles, knees, and hips. These three joints are linked, as they all will fire at the same time to produce a force great enough to move the load explosively towards the chin.  We tell the athletes to try to jump, drive their hips to the bar and explode the feet off the ground.

After this explosion or jump phase, the athlete will enter the pull phase, shrugging with the traps, and pulling the bar with your biceps and lats.  We tell the lifters to try to “bounce the weight off the ceiling“.  Just as in the hang clean the bar should remain close to the body during the shrug/ pull phase.  A common mistake is to swing the bar out in an arc away from the body.  The athlete will move the weight, in one continuous motion, through the shrug/ pull phase into the overhead support/ finish position “dipping” to catch the bar with bent legs, while fully extending their arms overhead.  At the top of the lift the bar will travel slightly back, with the lifters head moving forward through the “window” that is formed with their arms being the side of the window and bar the top.  To finish, the athlete will stand or squat back to a fully erect position.

We position our spotters as we do with the push press, at each end of the bar.  Because we are using lighter weight than when doing push press, the spotters should not have to assist the lifter moving the weight from the overhead support position, back down to the start position.

Below is a brief video of some of our student-athletes doing the hang snatch during class last week.  It is telestrated, with audio comments included.

As I have mentioned before, the Central College strength and conditioning site is a great source for training videos.  Below is their video of Hang Snatch technique

Questions or Comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

A Championship Softball Off-Season

pat softballThe Truman Softball Team, led by head coach Amy Broughton was Missouri State 5-A Champions in 2012 and have one of the top pitchers in the country (Paige Parker) and 6 other starters returning for the 2013 campaign. Rather than rest on their laurels, these players and their coach are attacking their off-season program. Nearly all are, or have been, in the advanced strength and conditioning class at our school. Coach Broughton has her squad stay after school 3 days a week where they supplement the in class lifting they do with a variety of interesting athletic activities and challenges. Her focus is developing faster, quicker, and more explosive athletes- the same qualities we all are looking to develop.

In the workout that I am highlighting today, Coach Broughton’s emphasis was on Flexibility, Balance, and PostureYes Posture!

Coach Broughton took a cue from the University of Alabama’s softball program, after reading an article entitled “Stand Up Performance” discussing this facet of the Crimson Tide’s program. Here is a brief snippet from the article:

Most people know University of Alabama softball for its big bats, speed on the bases, and continuous winning seasons. While our lifting program helps produce those monster hits and our conditioning program helps keep the players’ feet churning, what a lot of people don’t know is that our focus on posture is also a major contributor to the team’s success.

Softball is about power and speed through precise movements, but if the body cannot maintain good posture throughout those movements, power and speed suffer. If a batter has some deficiencies in her posture, she will not get full force behind her swing. If a pitcher has poor posture, her pitches will not be as strong. Gray Cook said it best in his book Athletic Body in Balance: “Most athletes work around energy leaks instead of through them.”

The entire article can be found at this link – Stand Up Performance

The following video will show examples of each of these drills Coach Broughton had her athletes do for this workout.

  • High to Low Hurdles (6×3)
  • Thera-band side step (10)
  • Thera-band duck walk (10)
  • Thera-band in-and-out (10)
  • Thera-band toe pull (10)
  • Thera-band kick back (10)
  • Regular Jacks (25)
  • Scissor Jacks (25)
  • Seal Jacks (25)
  • Pop Squats – on coaches count (10)
  • Glue-Ham Drop (10)
  • Side Lift (10)
  • Kick Back (10)
  • Around the World (10)
  • Side Pulse (10)
  • Back Pulse (10)
  • Straight Leg Around the World (10)
  • Supine Run (10 each side)

I am very fortunate to be colleagues of many fine coaches at our school; I learn something daily from them. Coach Broughton is a great “teaching” coach, and an excellent example of a lifetime learner (Lifetime Learning) . In addition to using information from the University of Alabama’s Softball program, she incorporates many of Auburn University’s drills into her off-season program.

If you would like any additional information regarding the Truman Softball program, or what Coach Broughton is doing with her group in the off-season, just comment or email and I will connect you.

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

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

In the Spotlight – J.T. Hayes

hayesAs part of the “In the Spotlight” series, I have tried to highlight athletes in our program that have excelled in their sport(s) in part due to their dedication in the weight room.   I have also tried to select athletes that may participate in a sport not typically thought of as one that would benefit from a strength and conditioning program.  The strength and conditioning program that I have shared (A Weekly (not weakly!) Workout), and detailed in this blog, is designed to make ALL athletes faster, quicker, and more explosive.

Today In the Spotlight is a senior two sport athletes at Truman High School, J.T. Hayes.  J.T. is a 3-year starter on both the football and baseball teams.  As QB on the football team, his senior season was cut short due to a Lisfranc foot injury in the third game of the 2012 campaign.  Up until that point, he had rushed for 182 yards and 2 TD’s in 36 carries (over 5 yd per carry average) and completed 24 of 39 passes for 240 yards and 1 TD.  This was against some good football programs in the Kansas City Metro Area – Blue Springs South, Liberty North, and Park Hill South.

In baseball, J.T. has earned the following awards:

  • 2nd Team All-Conference 2011
  • 1st Team All-Conference 3rd Base 2012
  • 2nd Team All -Conference Pitcher 2012
  • 1st Team All – Area 3rd Base 2012
  • 1st Team All –State Utility 2012
  • 1st Team All-Metro 3rd Base 2012
  • Examiner Player of the Year 2012

J.T. is a tireless worker both on the field and in the weight room.  His training over the past three years, particularly in the winter months between his two competitive seasons, has been outstanding.  We are expecting a great senior baseball season in 2013.

Below is J.T.’s most recent workout card.  Some of his estimated 1RM’s were adjusted down after the surgery to repair his Lisfranc injury.  You can click on the card to download the full size version.

jt hayes

Below is a brief video showing J.T. training, utilizing the 4 “Core Lifts“, and also the “change up” combination lift Clean to Front Squat to Push Press

Questions and comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Editable Evaluation of Performance Chart

I am always looking for good tools and good ideas that will help make me a better coach and teacher.   In a post I made about three weeks ago (Evaluation of Performance Chart)  I shared a document from a coach I follow on Twitter, Tony Courville  (@TonyCourville) .  His Evaluation of Performance Chart is excellent – so excellent in fact that I converted it to a Word Document so I could use it myself, and share it with you as well.  You can click on either the pic below, or on this link to download the Word Document : Editable Evaluation of Performance Chart

word evaluation chart

The document should be easy to customize, so you can add, delete, edit… do whatever you choose to make it useful to you and your program.  It is a series of grouped Text Boxes in a Word document.  You can drop in your own logo, edit the school name, and change the font or any verbiage that you want make it your own.

You can read about how Coach Courville uses this chart with this athletes at this previous post – Evaluation of Performance Chart.  Thanks again to Coach Courville for sharing this excellent tool.  You can also get some great daily training inspiration by following his Twitter feed!
Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!

Questions or comments are always welcome!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Spotter/ Lifter Teamwork

I believe it is important to continually teach and emphasize important concepts in your program, whether it is a fundamental, philosophy, an offensive or defensive concept, or something regarding training.


spottingThis week we spent additional time discussing the role of the spotter in our strength and conditioning program.  A good spotter will perform several functions working with their partner(s) and all are important.   I think the more that a spotter and lifter work together, the more efficient and better they perform.  The spotter will become familiar with the lifter, the amount of weight they can do, how to tell if they are in trouble, and where their “sticking points” are with each lift.  The spotter/lifter team also becomes more efficient at changing the weight on the bar between sets.  We tell our student-athletes that they should be like a NASCAR pit crew getting the plates on and off between sets.

A primary role that we discuss daily is safety.  The spotter needs to be alert and in position to help keep the lifter safe.  We stress that often the lifter is in a vulnerable position with the weight and bar above their head, face or torso.  If the spotter is not diligent and vigilant, it only takes a second for an accident to happen.   Often while reviewing film of the lifters technique, we critique the spotter as well.  As is always the case “the eye in the sky does not lie”.  It is easy to see if a spotter is daydreaming or in incorrect position while looking at videotape.

The second role a spotter will have is assisting the lifter through any reps in a set that they cannot finish on their own.  We typically have our athletes go to failure on each heavy day lift, so assistance is often needed.  As you all know, on some lifts this is easier than others.  While spotting Bench Press, it is fairly easy for the spotter to assist the lifter during a rep by lightly applying just enough upward pressure to keep the bar moving in a positive direction.  When benching, if the lifter cannot perform ANY more reps on their own, we often have the spotter and lifter position the weight at the beginning position and have the lifter perform “negative reps” to complete a set.  During Squat reps it is also possible for a good spotter to assist the lifter during any reps they cannot perform on their own.  They should be in a position to “fork lift” the athlete completing the lift, helping keep the shoulders back and the weight moving in a positive direction.  It is possible, but more difficult to assist the lifter during Push Press reps, but we do have the spotters (positioned at each end of the bar) catch the weight after each rep and help lower it back down to the starting position.   Probably the most difficult lift to assist the lifter past the point of failure is the Clean.  Typically we position the spotter behind the lifter in the rack just to insure that if the lifter misses, the weight goes forward onto the catch bars and not back onto the athlete.

Finally, another very important role we ask our spotters to fulfill is communication.  We ask our athletes to “coach each other up” while spotting.  Knowledge of technique is imperative in order to do this.  If they know the technique and coaching points and can communicate it to others, chances are they will understand and do the technique better themselves.

We all need to be “speaking the same language”.  On each lift, the spotter(s) should know and be able to communicate coaching points for that lift.  For instance, if an athlete is completing Squat reps, they should know and be able to communicate our checklist if any points are being missed:

  • √ Base
  • √ Spread your chest
  • √ Athletic Posture
  • √ Eyes on the Red
  • √ Heels flat
  • √ Hips below the knees

Below is a short video showing pretty good spotting technique for each of the Core Lifts.

By enhancing the spotter/ lifter working relationship, both the safety and performance of your athletes will improve.

As always, comments and questions are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Combination Lifts

combo liftNormally, as part of our weekly workout routine (A Weekly (not weakly!) Workout) Tuesday is Heavy Squat, Medium Push, and Light Hang Clean day.  As mentioned in a previous post, about once a month we like to throw the student-athletes a “changeup”(Throwing a Changeup)  and vary from this normal routine.

Today in our Advanced Strength and Conditioning class we did a combination lift, Hang Clean to Front Squat to Push Press.  In essence we combined all the lifts we normally do on a Tuesday into one motion.  More detailed descriptions of these individual lifts can be found on previous posts

Whenever possible I like giving the student-athletes an exact weight to do on each set/ rep, rather than saying something like “do a weight you can handle relatively easy”. We determined the weight they would workout with by using the following process.  The student determined by looking at their card, what their lowest estimated 1RM was on the following lifts – Squat, Push Press, or Clean.  They then went to the “Light Day” sets/ reps/ weights for that lift.  If their lowest 1RM was Squat, they used Friday’s weight, Push Press Monday, Clean Tuesday.  These are the weights they used in completing the workout in class today.

On the sample card below, Lexi Hart’s estimated 1RM (the “Now” column) for Push is 165 lbs, Clean 130 lbs, and Squat 160 lbs.

Hart Card

Clean is her lowest 1RM, so she goes to her “Light” clean day (Tuesday) and uses the weights shown there for her 5 x 5 Clean to Front Squat to Push Press workout which would be:

  1. 5 x 80 lbs
  2. 5 x 85 lbs
  3. 5 x 90 lbs
  4. 5 x 95 lbs
  5. 5 x 105 lbs

Below is a brief video showing some of our student-athletes completing today’s combination lift workout.

This workout is taxing, but efficient.  In his most recent column for PrepsKC, Dr. Daniel Lorenz talks about the benefit of these combination lifts for multi-sport athletes:

“Secondly, workouts can be kept shorter for the kids by doing combination lifts. For example, an athlete can do a hang clean to front squat to a press, or a squat to press. These are extremely fatiguing movements, but because it’s multi-joint and gets both upper and lower body, an athlete can do 4-5 sets of this and be done. Numerous combinations exist and are only limited by creativity of the coaches. “

The rest of Dr.Lorenz’s excellent article can be found here :Training the Multi Sport Athlete

Questions or comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Coach=Teacher

In 3 posts this week I commented on what I was NOTNot A big time distance runner, Not A literary critic, Not A scientist.  So this is what I AM

teacher

I have always been very proud to say that I am part of the greatest profession in the world.  I am a teacher and a coach.  These two skills (jobs) are linked together – to be a great coach, you must be a great teacher.   I have seen many bad coaches that were also bad teachers, and many good teachers that could not find their way around a practice field or court.  But I firmly believe that in order to be a great coach, you need to be a great teacher as well.  So what qualities make a great teacher and coach?  In no particular order, here are my thoughts on the matter.

  1. Great Knowledge of your subject matter – Without this you will be limited on what you can teach your student-athletes; if you are a fraud you eventually will be found out.  As I mentioned in an earlier post (Lifetime Learning),  continued learning is important as well
  2. Great Communicator – Your communication skills allow you to share your knowledge of the subject matter with your student-athletes.  Without this skill you are simply a repository of knowledge.
  3. Great Motivator – It is your job to push your student-athletes beyond their comfort zone – often getting them to do things that are physically and mentally difficult.  A good motivator will figure out what your individual student-athletes “hot buttons” are and when to push them.
  4. Great Empathy – Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective.;  it is walking a mile in their shoes.  You have to be able to “connect” with your athletes, and I think having empathy helps with this. You aren’t best friends with them, but do understand them.
  5. Great Work Ethic– Coaching and teaching involve hours beyond the time spent on the field or classroom.  Great teachers and coaches understand this process, this grind (Grit and “The Grind”) and embrace it.
  6. Great Energy Level – I have never seen a great teacher/ coach that was boring.  Great teachers are enthusiastic and their enthusiasm is contagious, spilling over to other coaches and players.
  7. Great Organization – Beyond the actual teaching or coaching, the job can be massive – hundreds of players on a squad, with reams of paperwork needed for each one.  In order to efficiently use the limited time you have, in the classroom and on the field, being organized is a must.

I know this list is not definitive – I am surely leaving things out.

Every coach and teacher has his or her various strengths and weaknesses.  The key, I think, is to figure out your weak areas and develop a plan on how you can improve in those areas.  It is the same process with the same expectations you would have with your student-athletes.

Coach Yourself Up!

Questions or Comments are appreciated!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com