I remember doing a guest lecture for a class at Springfield College in 2005 and remember a student asking an endless amount of questions. I could sense his passion and enthusiasm that day when he asked those questions and knew that this young man was going to be successful in our industry.
I remember meeting Adam Feit that day and never forgetting his name. I was fortunate enough to follow his career from a far and keep in touch with him over the years. I remember him going to Arizona State, and then Louisville, then to Eastern Michigan and eventually to the NFL with the Carolina Panthers. I remember him marrying Mary Kate – who I was fortunate enough to work with as a high school athlete and as a college athlete at Holy Cross. And then I remember him going into the private sector with Reach Your Potential Training in New Jersey. He has been able to connect with every athlete that he is encountered and goes about doing everything he can to make them better. He is relentless in his pursuit of excellence and you can see that in just about everything he puts together.
That’s why I was so excited to hear about his and Bobby Smith’s DVD, The Coaches Guide to Jump Training. I knew it was going to be a hit and that he would leave no stone un-turned. This video series breaks down jump training further than any other system I have seen and shows you A TON of exercises. The way that Adman and Bobby break down their jump training is outstanding. They go over teaching progressions, common mistakes, programming and anything else that you can think of when it comes to jump training.
Everybody would like to jump higher and farther but the primary purpose of jump training for athletic development should be to reduce the chance of injury. Adam and Bobby do a great job breaking down landing mechanics (both double leg and single leg) and show a variety of different movements that you can use to help your on field performance.
Like anything Adam does, this is a high quality product from a high quality individual. I will definitely be stealing some things from here. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this video series as you will not be disappointed from the content.
At George Washington University we value the coach-athlete relationship. In order to reach peak performance both parties are responsible. As strength coaches, our job is to motivate, educate, plan and provide structure to our athletes performance enhancement.
Below is a list of standards (in order of importance) that our athletes must understand, agree and adhere to during training.
1. Coachable: Athletes must accept coaching at all times. As strength coaches, it is our job to identify technique flaws, low effort or bad attitudes. Athletes should never wear earmuffs. They must listen and absorb what we are communicating.
2. Effort: Plain and simple, maximum effort maximizes results. When training a group their effort level shouldn’t waver. It’s not an easy thing to do but it is tremendously important for the long-term development of your athletes.
3. Championship Culture: The weight room is were high amplitude energy and positive attitudes reside. Athletes that radiate negativity or low energy put a damper on things. Fill the weight room with an elite culture: smiles, cheers, clapping, and words of encouragement all build this. “Champions behave like Champions before they’re Champions. They have a winning standard of performance before they are winners.” – Bill Walsh
4. Nutrition: Athletes must understand that they can’t out train bad nutrition. If your athletes want to go 0 to 60 in record time they better feed the machine with high quality fuel. They must train themselves at the table before training in the weigh room. If not, they are spinning their wheels. They are applying effort to the gas pedal but their poor nutrition is the e-brake holding them back.
5. Sleep: In order to train hard you must recover harder. Sleep is one of the oldest and most effective recovery modes there is. Best part is it’s FREE! Make sure you are getting your zzzz’s so you can gain those lift lbs.
6. Technique: “Quality not Quantity” should ring through the ears of every athlete. No matter the lift, it needs to be executed with precision. Poor technique can delay strength development. More importantly, athletes can get injured! Take pride in your reps, they are your billboard as a coach.
7. Supplemental Training: We should never turn away an athlete wanting to complete extra work. Why? Who do you know that failed a test or class doing extra credit? Working hard and smart is a proven recipe for success. But performing extra work may be counterproductive to your training focus. For example: A max strength phase has been installed. On active recovery days your athlete runs 5 miles. The physiological impact of aerobic training erases the max strength work. Athletes wanting to complete extra work should seek the advice of their strength coach. We are the experts; they must use us.
8. Training Frequency: “We are what we repeatably do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Improvement is a byproduct of many sets, reps and sessions. Athletes must train consistently and follow the plan we have outlined. Make sure your athletes complete “make ups” if a conflict arises that prevents them from attending scheduled sessions. Lapses in training only slow momentum.
9. Trust: Athletes must trust the training program. Any skepticism will skew the outcome. Coaches must educate their athletes so they believe in the process. As coaches, we can get them where they need to be. The athlete must trust our direction. Explaining WHY is the best way to establish trust.
10. Have Fun: In my experience, athletes that have a blast in the weight room always improve. Athletes should be excited and find enjoyment in their development. If they aren’t, look in the mirror. Attitude and energy reflect leadership. The weight room should be an energy bunker. They should enjoy entering it with the mindset of preparing to win a championship. Encourage them to put on a smile and go to work!
Train Hard. Fuel Smart. Work Your Plan!
Matt Johnson is the Director of Strength and Conditioning at George Washington University
One of the three foundations of Coach Matt Johnson’s strength and conditioning philosophy is sport specificity – maximizing athletes’ movement and capabilities within their individual sport. Coach Johnson’s three-pronged philosophy – a “melting pot” formed from wide-ranging, high-level experiences in the strength and conditioning, sports performance and fitness realms – boils down into one simple goal – to make “technically proficient athletes.”
“If an athlete can move efficiently in the weight room under load, then they’re going to move efficiently on the basketball court, soccer field or lacrosse field,” said Coach Johnson.
He’ll oversee a GW Strength and Conditioning Department that will not only work to maximize the performance of student-athletes from all 27 varsity athletics programs, but also serve as a trendsetter in the industry. “We want to place GW on the forefront, be highly regarded and thought of as forward-thinking in utilizing new-age methodology and technology,” said Coach Johnson, who recently served as a keynote presenter at the Stronger Team Huddle basketball strength and conditioning educational summit at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
While possessing a varied background, Coach Johnson has carved his niche in basketball, a sport he played as an undergraduate at NCAA Division III Marywood University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science in 2007. He went on to complete his master’s degree in kinesiology at Bridgewater (Mass.) State College in 2009 before working with the basketball, hockey and lacrosse programs at Division I Boston College and Bryant University. Johnson holds numerous gold standard strength and conditioning certifications such as the NSCA CSCS, NSCA CPT, USA Weightlifting Club Coach, USA Track and Field Level 1 and NASM PES.
Most recently the Strength and Conditioning Coach for Montrose Christian School’s nationally prominent basketball program, Coach Johnson trained former Mustang and current GW men’s basketball student-athlete Kevin Larsen, and is also familiar with Patricio Garino and Miguel Cartagena from Montverde (Fla.) Academy, regular opponents of Montrose.
While his and his staff’s primary goal is to maximize performance enhancement in GW’s student-athletes, Coach Johnson maintains perspective when it comes to his goal as an educator. “I’m building bodies, but also building minds. I want to be a positive mentor, to teach and lead our student-athletes to be successful inside and outside the lines. I am invested in every athlete I train – seeing them accomplish their goals means the world to me because I know how much it meant to me when I was in their position.”
Today’s guest post is from a former athlete of mine that has become a strength and conditioning coach. It’s pretty cool seeing former athletes and interns grow and expand in their knowledge and ability and Sean puts together a nice little post here on Mobility.
Mobility and flexibility are essential to an athlete’s ability to perform and stay healthy but it’s kind of a tricky issue. As someone with a fairly large affinity for PRI, I’m keenly aware of some muscles that shouldn’t be stretched (Ex. Hamstrings). Now I am sure there are instances when these muscles need some stretching but I very rarely do it for my guys.
I always see guys with mobility/flexibility issues. Crappy ankle dorsiflexion, hips more cranky than Scrooge and limited thoracic mobility are commonplace in my weight room. For the purpose of this article, let’s examine the hips, specifically the hip flexors.
The hip flexors/psoas are tight on most every athlete I deal with. This tells me a whole gamut of things. L. AIC patterns, PEC patterns and rib flares are all things that I start thinking about but let’s just talk basics. The psoas are tight and we need them to not be, so how do we make this happen? Stretch ‘em! Well it’s not quite that easy.
Say we prescribe a 30 second stretch on each side for the psoas. What does that do? Well it gains us a new range of motion BUT you have not changed your tissue. Research shows that the minimum amount of time for you to achieve real tissue change is two minutes. This isn’t to say that stretching for 30 seconds does nothing; however it’s going to take far longer doing that way. So my first recommendation here is to stretch the areas that need it for two minutes at a time.
OK, so now you’ve stretched each psoas for two minutes each and you now have tissue change on both sides. You now have this brand new range of motion in your hips. Congratulations! Now what are you going to do with it? The next teaching point comes from the brain.
Your brain, over time, develops movement patterns. It learns how to move. Yay for you that you have a new range of motion, but once you get up and start moving, your brain is still going to go back to the movement patterns it knows. You need to tell the brain that this new range is acceptable.
You need to own the new range. So after you stretch, you have to include some stability exercises in order to own this new range. For the psoas, I like to include dead bugs directly after stretching.
We now have a new range and some neuromuscular facilitation in this area. Now we’re moving towards real change. Staying with the psoas example, I now want to be able to move through this new range. The psoas, when tight is going to restrict hip extension. Now that I have a freed up psoas, I want to move in and out of hip extension to further enhance the movement pattern. The glutes will now work more effectively and your brain is going to start understanding the new limits of your movement. For this aspect, I like to do glute bridges.
The last point I want to make is that we need to make sure we are encompassing all aspects of the joint so that they can all work in conjunction to generate the most possible change. The last area I target is the hamstrings. I want the hammys to be strong so they can anchor the pelvis down from the rear. This is going to provide some resistance for the psoas’ natural inclination to tighten up. For this, I do a 90/90 hemi-bridge while squeezing a medicine ball to activate the adductors which will further anchor the pelvis down.
At the end of the day, everything that you do is going to produce some level of adaptation but it is very important to know that when you’re trying to improve mobility/flexibility, there is a heck of a lot more that is going on than simply just a need to stretch the muscle.
Sean Light is a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Performance Exercise Specialist (PES) specializing in injury prevention and performance training for professional level baseball players.
Currently, Light works as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Light holds a Bachelor’s Degree as well as a Master’s Degree in Sports Performance and Injury prevention. He is a Level 2 certified Strength & Conditioning Coach in the Functional Movement Systems (FMS). He also holds certifications in Pelvic Restoration, Myokinematic Restoration and Postural Respiration through the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI).
Light is a 2010 graduate of Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut where he was a three year letter winner as a member of the Bobcat Division 1 college basketball team. While at Quinnipiac, Light helped record the most wins in school history as well as advance to the Northeast Conference Conference Tournament Championship Game and the NIT and CIT postseason tournament.
Previously, Light has spent time working with the New York Yankees and the Quinnipiac University Strength and Conditioning Department.