The CVASP Podcast Episode 28: 2016 Presenter Bob Alejo, Director of Strength and Conditioning NC State University-What is Sport Science?

In this edition of The Podcast I sit down and discuss with 2016 Presenter and NC State Director of Strength and Conditioning Bob Alejo what sport science is. This discussion is based on a post he made on Facebook that you can find below. Coach Alejo and I discuss the role of the strength coach, what exactly a sport scientists are to him, the role of “big data” in sport today, where the art fits in with all this science, and the role of the strength coach in the athlete centered model.

INTRODUCING 2016 SEMINAR PRESENTER: BUDDY MORRIS- STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING COACH , ARIZONA CARDINALS

BuddyToday we are ecstatic to introduce our 8th and final presenter for The 2016 Seminar, Arizona Cardinals Strength and Conditioning Coach, Buddy Morris.

Buddy Morris just completed his second season as the Cardinals strength and conditioning coach after being hired on 3/4/14. Previously with the Cleveland Browns from 2002-04 where he worked with current Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, Morris returned to the NFL in 2014 after working at the collegiate level for 19 years.

A native of South Park, PA, Morris has an extensive background in strength and conditioning dating back to his first job at his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, where he began his coaching career in 1980 in the first of his three stints with the Panthers. He worked under head coach Jackie Sherrill from 1980-89 and aided in the development of future NFL Hall of Famers Dan Marino, Rickey Jackson, Chris Doleman and Russ Grimm. During that period, Morris helped train 13 first round NFL draft picks and 15 first-team All-Americans.

Morris specializes in workouts that focus on strength training, speed development, conditioning, agility training and flexibility.

After working as the wellness director for the Horizon Hospital System in Sharon, PA from 1989-97, Morris returned to Pittsburgh and worked from 1997-2001. During his second tenure at Pitt, the Panthers made three bowl appearances: the 1997 Liberty Bowl, the 2000 Insight.com Bowl and the 2001 Tangerine Bowl. Morris also developed the moniker for the Panthers strength and conditioning program, “The Pitt Iron Works.” In 2009, Muscle & Fitness Magazine name Morris’ gym one of the 10 toughest in America.

Morris then joined Butch Davis and the Cleveland Browns for three seasons before working at the University of Buffalo in 2006 as its Director of Sports Performance. After one season in Buffalo, he went back for his third stint at Pitt under head coach Dave Wannstedt where he worked from 2007-10. The Panthers made the 2008 Sun Bowl and the 2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl during that period.

Following his third stop at Pitt, Morris and his family opened a private gym in Buffalo called the New York Sports Center where he worked with athletes at all levels through personal training, group fitness classes and injury rehabilitation.

Morris worked with Roger Kingdom, the Cardinals assistant strength & conditioning coach and 1984 and 1988 Olympic gold medalist in 110-meter hurdles. He also helped develop NFL Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin and Pro Bowl guard Ruben Brown while both were at Pitt.

He graduated from Pittsburgh in 1980 after lettering for four years (1977-80) in track and field. Morris is married to Monica and he has two daughters, Kara and Claire, and two stepsons, Fred and Troy.

 

JD: If you could, please give our readers a little background information about you, what your niche in the world of athletics is, accomplishments, how you got there, education, any products you have available and/or notable publications.

Buddy 2BM: 1980-1990 University of Pittsburgh, 1st Strength Coach hired there. (one of first full time strength coaches hired at university level)
1990-1997 Director of Wellness and Sports Performance, Horizon Hospital System
1997-2001 University of Pittsburgh Head Strength Coach
2001-2004 Cleveland Browns, Head Strength Coach
2006-2007 University of Buffalo, Head of Physical Performance
2007-2011 University of Pittsburgh, Head of Physical Preparation
2013 University of Buffalo, Head of Physical Preparation
2014-Present Arizona Cardinals, Head of Physical Preparation

Book: Physical Preparation for American Football (co-author Ryan Williams)
Video Series on Joel Jamieson’s site 8 weeks out (created with Ryan Williams)

JD: Discuss with us the mistakes you see made by strength and conditioning coaches in the United States and around the world, and what you feel should be done differently/how to correct these issues.

BM: Don’t do shit just to do it:
• Foot/Speed Ladders
• Training in sand
• Functional movement screens
• Following a belief that Olympic lifting is the only way to develop power/high force outputs.
• Strength is the only important biomotor ability (chasing numbers instead of proper technical skill and movement patterns) – they don’t attempt to groove proper movement patterns.
• Sympathetic dominant “max out” days – constant sympathetic over-reaching.
• Theme days in the weightroom.
• Gimmicks.

JD: What advice would you give a coach to improve knowledge in the lines of continuing education, meaning could you point our readers in a direction to find the scientific and practical information to improve the methods they use to improve performance?

BM: Study/Read/Coach with: Bondarchuk, Issurin, Francis, Zatsiorsky, Bompa/Buzzichelli, Ultimate Athlete Concepts, 8 weeks Out-Joel Jamieson, Derek Hansen, Movement Miyagi-Shawn Myszka, Martin Bingisser, Dan Pfaff/Altis Mentorship, Louie Simmons, Ryan Flaherty, Kelly Starrett, Mark Bell/Super Training Gym, Boo Schexnayder, Mike Young.

JD: If you could give a brief description of what our attendees can expect from you at The Seminar?

BM: I plan on creating and explaining a global glimpse of our “system” that expands yearly here.

JD: Any closing thoughts Coach?

BM: All young physical preparation coaches need to learn how to “coach” on the floor before concerning themselves with the task of writing training programs. We all need to understand that we are “stress managers” and each athlete has their own unique adaptive response to training stimuli. There exists 7 (8) systems that adapt to stress in the human body and no one system works independent of the others. Those systems (cardiac, cardiopulmonary, detoxification, hormonal, metabolic, neuromuscular, CNS and immune) do not all recover at the same time. Do not over train/overstress the slowest system to adapt. Even adaptation is a skill.

Grab your seat for The 2016 Seminar here: http://cvasps.com/the-seminar/2016-seminar/

INTRODUCING 2016 SEMINAR PRESENTER: RANDY BALLARD-INTERIM DIRECTOR OF SPORTS MEDICINE/DIRECTOR OF INTEGRATED PERFORMANCE, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

ballardToday we are beyond excited to introduce the 7th presenter for The 2016 Seminar, Randy Ballard.  Randy was named Interim Director of Sports Medicine in December 2015 and Director of Integrated Performance in September 2015. He will oversee the collaborative efforts of I-Perform, which includes representation from the Sports Medicine, Strength & Conditioning and Sports Nutrition units to promote an integrated athletic department that provides student-athletes and teams with programming and resources for optimal performance, athletic development and global wellness.

Ballard is in his 13th season at Illinois, having worked as an athletics trainer for the volleyball, cross country and track and field teams. A 1999 graduate of Kansas State University, Ballard earned his master’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Texas in 2001.

The Concordia, Kan., native is no stranger to working with world-class athletes. Ballard has worked as an athletic trainer several times for the USA Track & Field teams. Most recently, he served as an athletic trainer for USA Track and Field at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

The previous year, Ballard was an athletic trainer for the 2007 U.S. Track & Field World Championships team in Osaka, Japan. He also served as the Head Athletic Trainer at the 2006 Cross Country World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

He has also served as therapist for numerous Olympians and world champions including Perdita Felicien, Bershawn Jackson, and Lauren Williams.

Randy has a great interest and expertise in manual therapies and the rehabilitation aspects of the athletic training world. Having learned from numerous well-renowned therapists, Ballard brings a well-rounded skill set to the athletic training room. Along with being integral in the the therapy and rehabilitation aspects of sports medicine, Ballard helped develop the physical competency testing that the volleyball team uses to help assess and develop their training programming. Randy has also presented at several professional and coaching conferences on therapy, testing and rehabilitation topics.

Prior to Illinois, Ballard spent three seasons as a student athletic trainer for the Kansas State athletic program before moving to Texas. In Austin, Ballard worked primarily with the Longhorn football and men’s track and field programs.

JD: If you could, please give our readers a little background information about you, what your niche in the world of athletics is, accomplishments, how you got there, education, any products you have available and/or notable publications.

RB: I’m currently the Director of Integrated Performance and the Interim Director of Sports Medicine at the University of Illinois.  I’ve been here 14 years and have been blessed to be allowed the freedom to adapt, evolve and pursue my passions as a professional.  I came here straight out of graduate school and in that time I’ve evolved tremendously.  The biggest key in this evolution is that I’ve been blessed to have been exposed to some tremendous mentors who have helped challenge and shape me as a professional and as a person.  I often say that I’m nothing more than a pot of chili in which there are a lot of ideas, philosophies, and tools that have been added in over the years by chefs better than me.  I just continue to let that chili simmer and see where it takes me.

JD: Discuss with us the mistakes you see made by strength and conditioning coaches in the United States and around the world, and what you feel should be done differently/how to correct these issues.

RB:  I think one of the biggest mistakes that any professional can make is trying to live life on an island.  To be successful, it takes a collaborative team.  Unfortunately, over the last 40 years of college athletics, too many time there have been turf wars, egos, silos, and dissident between strength & conditioning, sports medicine, sports coaches, etc.  This only hurts the athletes and makes life miserable in the trenches.  We all have to view those around us as resources and work to collaborate and educate to be successful.

JD: What advice would you give a coach to improve knowledge in the lines of continuing education, meaning could you point our readers in a direction to find the scientific and practical information to improve the methods they use to improve performance?

RB: Right now there is a big push to pursue scientific literature and evidence based practice in performance fields and I’m all for that.  However, as I reflect on things, and clearly see how important my interaction and education from mentors and colleagues has been to me, we can’t lose sight of those relationships.  I think the biggest piece of advice would be to pursue wisdom.  Wisdom comes from experience and knowledge so find those people who have greater experience and knowledge than you and build a relationship and start learning.  I would also say, tell that mentor to be frank with you and give you honest feedback as that is crucially important as well.

JD: If you could give a brief description of what our attendees can expect from you at The Seminar?

RB: I think attendees can expect to hear a perspective that isn’t set in the sports medicine or strength & conditioning wheelhouse.  It will be a talk that centers on the need for this collaboration, the need to drive education in our coaches and our athletes, and the need to do business differently in the 21st  Currently, we have too many people trying to solve 21st century problems with 1985 models and solutions.

JD: Any closing thoughts Randy?

RB: I’m really excited for the opportunity to come out and be a part of what you have put together.  I see this as another great learning opportunity to listen, dialogue, ask questions and grow as a professional.  I’m looking forward to speaking, but more importantly to sharing and learning.

 

INTRODUCING 2016 SEMINAR PRESENTER: CARL VALLE-DIRECTOR OF INNOVATION,InsideTracker

carl-valleWith great excitement we introduce our sixth presenter for The 2016 Seminar, Sprint Coach Carl Valle.  He is a USATF Level II sprints and hurdles coach and is completing his level III this year after helping athletes reach All-American and Olympic level status. Valle has coached high school, college, junior college, and post college track and field since 1997.  In 2014 he left the public sector and started SpikesOnly (www.spikesonly.com), resource for elite performance in the sprints events. He is currently the director of innovation at InsideTracker (www.insidetracker.com), the blood analysis company that has supported countless professional and Olympic athletes, as well as the every day person reaching their potential.

Carl Valle has spent over a decade with sports technology and has consulted with over a 100 companies since 2006 helping nearly every corner of performance ranging from testing to recovery.

Valle started his career with swimming and track and field for ten years before focusing on track and technology. His primary focus is Regeneration in sport, and lives in the metrowest area near Boston and escapes to Florida in the winter when possible.

JD: If you could, please give our readers a little background information about you, what your niche in the world of athletics is, accomplishments, how you got there, education, any products you have available and/or notable publications.

Carl Valle ImmortalityCV: Thanks Jay for the opportunity. My niche is speed development, but I consider myself one part coach, one part data scientist, and one part researcher. I don’t have much of an athletic background as I was above average in High School but not a monster talent. I competed in Olympic sports like Track and Swimming, and had the brutal reminder of speed and genetics influence when I failed to get the Presidential Fitness Test because of the 50 yard dash until my senior year! After high school I went to the University of South Florida and did an internship with the Tampa Bay Rays and coached high school, college, and post college track and field. I have had flashes of brilliance, and have many failures from not trusting mentors and focusing too much on misinformation.

Accomplishments from graduation to now must be given to the athletes and fellow coaches. One of my favorite success stories was my friend who coached the high school I was at and lowered the 4×100 relay school record. He moved from North Carolina to get better at coaching by working with me, and now has helped my athletes outside of track become professional in other sports. One of my favorite experiences was helping a swimmer who lived on my street become an All-American, but credit must be given to parents and everyone involved. The more I coach the more I realize our job is to remove potential roadblocks, not drive the car to goals and dreams. Sending people to the Olympics is intellectually rewarding, but seeing athletes at an airport and get hugs, was something I never knew would mean so much.

A niche of mine is technology. I still I am a lousy programmer and spent 13 years in the public sector coaching high school and college for peanuts and it was worth every minute of it.  I took huge risks by training unconventionally or even following a mentors program religiously, and that was a true learning experience of what works and what doesn’t.  I have more cutting edge technology at my fingertips than any professional sports team in North America – as I have the luxury and burden of trying everything in advance when it’s in alpha mode.  My job is to make it work, make it work faster, and make it work for coaches.

My blogs are all over the net, but my Kinetics Manual is perhaps my most useful summary of my work. It was a great project as my former assistant coach, that helped me publish the resource, is now at a major D1 Track Program and he single handedly helped make a summer internship into something everyone else can learn at any level. I will update it as it has a lot of needed changes and this will be publicly available again for anyone as a download on SpikesOnly.com

JD: Discuss with us the mistakes you see made by strength and conditioning coaches in the United States and around the world, and what you feel should be done differently/how to correct these issues.

insidetradkerCV: I make the same mistakes if not more mistakes than anyone period. Failure is just pruning the bonsai tree or removing marble from “David”. I am both a risk taker and detailed oriented so I will see exactly my mistakes. Before one can spot mistakes of a profession, they need to know what is right and sound with their own training. I am halfway there now I believe. My success rate is typical, but when I get a hard working athlete and I don’t screw up, state records in high school, college school records, and even national records have happened. I have also seen stagnation and missed opportunities, and when dreams die it haunts me. To this day any athlete that I feel could have been faster without me is the reason why I wake up early to find answers. I was one of those athletes that didn’t reach their potential and this to me is why I am skeptical and motivated.

I think many people don’t realize they make mistakes because athletes will find a way to succeed. Most coaches don’t remember what it was like to train hard over years and burn people out, from something that is basically a game (sport). If an athlete isn’t looking forward to playing the sport they love, something is wrong. I see three primary things that need to change soon. Most of my energy is making the process fun, rewarding, and educational. Fun is gone and likely the biggest mistake we make now as everyone things data and science solves all the problems. I have three points that I feel coaches must consider:

  1. Integrity – Making it in sports performance is a great opportunity professionally but no shortcuts with how one gets there should be made. Nobody is perfect, but we see a lot of smoke and mirrors and that is simply not acceptable. Sometimes it’s easier to make claims with voodoo science then say “I don’t know the guy is a freak” but now I just give an honest answer. I have trusted many people and let down athletes because information was simply a cover for great recruiting or bending rules.
  1. Injuries- At the end of the day we are responsible for athletes and are a primary route of care and protection. I should have put this at the top as every athlete has a body that can’t be seen as a vehicle of experimentation or pushed too far. Sport eventually ends and the rest of one’s life is too long to be greedy or careless. Injuries happen but we need to be better here.
  1. Innovation – Creativity and unconventional approaches are important to smoke out outdated ideas but sometimes it’s good to be vanilla. A careful balance between pushing the envelope and staying patient with the tried and true methods is what usually works best. Innovation is looking at what works and improving on it, not just bucking trends.

Clearly more than just the three paragraphs exist, but I see many coaches wanting to skip steps in career advancing and that’s why elite athletes are still making errors in training that you see in high school.

JD: What advice would you give a coach to improve knowledge in the lines of continuing education, meaning could you point our readers in a direction to find the scientific and practical information to improve the methods they use to improve performance?

CV: Continuing Education is to me the reason why I have had some breakthroughs. Experience matters of course, but honestly many coaches repeat the mistakes of the past because coaches of the past either don’t share or have been asked to share.

The key element with applied sciences is the right research being pushed and the right coaches being leaders in studies from the PHD world.

  1. Read the research directly, even my own writings should be taken with a grain of salt. Everything looks like it works when elite athletes are attached to the articles.
  1. Apply some of the right research and record the impact with your athletes. It’s ok to adopt other people’s information but always think about tailoring the suggestions. I have learned more in the last 5 years than the first because I looked at what I wrote down versus spinning my wheels.
  1. Visit and train with other coaches in training camps or during the offseason if possible. Seeing first hand or “witnessing” greatness can change your life. I visited nearly every major sprint coach in person in the 1990’s and know who is a genius and who is an amazing recruiter or talent poacher. Talk is cheap, visit and observe carefully how athletes are developing.
  1. Conferences and seminars can’t be ignored. Networking should be about learning synapse, not kissing people’s “rings” to get the better job. There is no better place than the job you are at in my opinion, so attend workshops that are about exchanges not working a head coach at a bar.
  1. Books are interesting, but most of the wrong people are reading the wrong stuff. We have people that are 24 and are at colleges looking at business leadership books and this is a problem. Sure money matters, but if your snatches and cleans look like drunk sailors playing around focus on coaching. It is true that just doing a good job isn’t enough, but if you stay hungry and work hard things typically work out.

20-30 Learning – Focus on pure sport science and coaching

30-40 Earning – A transition to career and personal leadership

40-50 Burning – A focus on living a life that is rewarding fits here

JD: If you could give a brief description of what our attendees can expect from you at the Seminar?

CV: My presentation is basically Regeneration Lab 2016. Many remember the website 10-12 years ago and it was a little raw and very observational versus structured. Now that sport science is a focal point in modern competition instead of an afterthought, expect serious case studies of what works and what doesn’t with recovery modalities. I have been very critical of the literature, as some techniques don’t work at all, some work better than first believed, and some just need better designs to replicate the approaches progressive teams are doing.

One example is the Martin Buchheit article on spa like thermotherapy and HRV indices between athletes who competed/trained hard and those that didn’t. The results were of course mixed but it was a great example that the situational context drives the recovery.

The presentation will be just a real display of athletes ranging from college soccer to elite track to understand that all of recovery stuff we see is likely not very usable and share the cream of the research that does help move the needle. It’s a big responsibility to set a standard beyond summarizing research that we all have, and you will see some amazing experiences I was lucky to be involved with. Also, every attendee will get a copy of the latest Kinetics Manual in print, something that is exclusive to the CVASPS community.

JD: Any closing thoughts Carl?

CV: The CVASPS is the best community in the US in my opinion for performance coaches. If you are young coach and want to get better and want a path to success – come. If you are a coach who feels like they are on an island and need chicken soup to a tired soul – come. If you are involved with high performance sport and tired of PowerPoints that scream infomercials and vague nonsense – come. The CVASPS is closing the hole BSMPG left after Art Horne went to the Atlanta Hawks and does it in a way that feels like family. Again, the CVASPS was something that I wanted to do for years and was one of the best experiences in my career.

INTRODUCING 2016 SEMINAR PRESENTER: BOB ALEJO-DIRECTOR OF STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY

Alejo 1With great excitement we introduce our fifth presenter for The 2016 Seminar, North Carolina State University’s Assistant Athletic Directory/Director of Strength and Conditioning, Bob Alejo.  Coach Alejo oversees all of the strength and conditioning efforts of the department, and coordinates the day-to-day efforts of the men’s basketball team.  Prior to joining the Wolfpack staff in April, Alejo served as the Director of Strength and Conditioning for the Oakland A’s, a position he also held from 1993-2001. In that role, he was responsible for all aspects of the organization’s year-round physical preparation at both the major league and minor league levels.  Prior to rejoining the A’s, Alejo was the Director of Strength and Conditioning at UC Santa Barbara from 2005-2008. During that time he was also a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team as strength and conditioning coach for the Gold medal-winning men’s beach volleyball team of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser.  From 1984-1993, Alejo served as strength and conditioning coach at UCLA where he worked with 23 men’s and women’s teams, including the men’s basketball team while current Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried was an assistant coach. During his tenure in Westwood, the Bruins racked up 25 national championships and produced more than 100 All-Americans.  Prior to joining the Bruins’ staff, Alejo served as strength and conditioning coach for football at his alma mater, Chico State. He earned his B.A. in physical education from Chico State in 1982 and is a member of the Wildcats’ Athletic Hall of Fame after a successful baseball career.  An accomplished lecturer and author, Alejo is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (through the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Certification Commission) and holds the advanced NSCA Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach distinction. He has also been elected to three halls of fame: Chico State Athletics, Chico State Baseball (inaugural inductee) and the Chico Professional Baseball “Legends of the Diamond.”

JD: If you could, please give our readers a little background information about yourself, what your niche in the world of athletics is, accomplishments, how you got there, education, any products you have available and/or notable publications.

Alejo 3BA: I have been the Assistant AD/Director of Strength and Conditioning over all sports at NC State since May 2011, whose main sport responsibility is men’s basketball; I also work with the sprinters on the track team. I arrived after my second tour of duty with the Oakland A’s 2009-11 (first was 1993-2001; I was in the real-life Moneyball story with plenty of tales. A rags to riches story for sure) where I was responsible for all aspects of the organization’s year-round physical preparation at both the major league and minor league levels. I was also the Director of Strength and Conditioning at UC Santa Barbara from 2005-2008. It was at Santa Barbara where I met Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, and began training them for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Another bottom-up story- an average team that eventually won the World Championships in 2007 and the Gold in 2008, and #2 seed into the 2012 London Games. I was a member of both Olympic Teams. From 1984-1993 I was assistant/associate and then head conditioning coach of Olympic sports (I believe we were the first school in NCAA history to do that) at UCLA. 25 National Champions and 100 All Americans during that time. My niche, as I evaluate it, is programming/periodization and therefore planned development.

JD: Discuss with us the mistakes you see made by strength and conditioning coaches in the United States and around the world, and what you feel should be done differently/how to correct these issues.

Alejo 2BA: #1 mistake by far is hastening the training process; taking the express elevator to the top floor without a proper foundation. Strength is the basis for all activity albeit relative to the sport’s strength requirement, NOT power cleans, snatches, depth jumps, Catapult or force plates. Especially in beginners/freshman. The literature and evidence are clear- you will make more speed and power gains and achieve greater numbers by initial strength work than teaching the top-down power clean, multi-response plyometrics or tracking heart rates or player loads of weak athletes! Ready to debate any time. Athletes hit off batting tees before facing 90MPH fastballs, learn 5yd passes before kicking bending 30yd volleys Why are we so compelled to get to the power clean or velocity based training before our athletes are ready?!

JD: What advice would you give a coach to improve knowledge in the lines of continuing education, meaning could you point our readers in a direction to find the scientific and practical information to improve the methods they use to improve performance?

BA: Read scientific literature AND contact the authors, find out what others are doing AND find out why. To me, the question “Why?” seems to be the most confounding question to practitioners.

JD: If you could give a brief description of what our attendees can expect from you at The Seminar?

BA: My topic will be “Now vs Then.”  I’ll discuss my journey from college to MLB and back to college.  We’ll go over the pro’s and con’s of what I did then, and what I do now.  How each stop influenced what I do today, things that have stood the test of time, things that have been adjusted, and why they have been.

JD: Any closing thoughts Coach?

BA: Network (and not only with strength coaches) and be open to everything.

 

 

 

INTRODUCING 2016 SEMINAR PRESENTER: DEREK HANSEN

dhansen_photoToday we have the great pleasure to introduce our third presenter for The 2016 Seminar, Derek Hansen.  Derek is a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist that has been working with athletes in speed, strength and power sports since 1988. Originally working with Track and Field athletes, Derek expanded his services to assist athletes in all sports with an emphasis on speed development. He has since worked with some of the top performers in the world as a coach and a consultant – including Olympic medallists, world record holders, Canadian National team athletes, professional sports organizations and professional athletes from numerous sports. Locally, Derek has produced some of the top sprinters in British Columbia and continues to work with some of the fastest athletes in various sports.

JD: If you could, please give our readers a little background information about you, what your niche in the world of athletics is, accomplishments, how you got there, education, any products you have available and/or notable publications..

DH: I really began my career as a sprints and jumps coach for Track and Field when I was a grad student. From there, I expanded my knowledge of speed development to athletes from other sports. I was fortunate to learn along the way in my career from great coaches such as Al Vermeil and Charlie Francis, formulating an approach to athlete development that has been quite successful. Other off-shoots from those relationships were forays into extensive use of electrical stimulation for performance and recovery, as well as unique approaches to hamstring injury prevention and rehabilitation. My consulting work with professional sports teams in the NFL, NBA and MLS, as well as NCAA Division 1 programs, has yielded extremely positive results, particularly from a strategic planning approach to overall athlete performance and recovery.

Most of my information and products can be found at my web site at www.strengthpowerspeed.com. We try to provide high quality information for people working in the field, with a number of experienced contributors offering their thoughts on various topics related to performance, recovery and health. I’m currently working on a plyometrics book for Human Kinetics Publishing that should be completed later this year. I am also working on a book and course curriculum on the subject of speed development that I hope to have completed for 2017.

JD: Discuss with us the mistakes you see made by strength and conditioning coaches in the United States and around the world, and what you feel should be done differently/how to correct these issues.

DH: For the most part, I think coaches are trying to do too much. Performance is not dictated by volume of work. It is determined by the quality of work performed during each training session. This is particularly important for the development of alactic qualities including strength, power and speed. However, we have been conditioned – perhaps as a function of human nature – to attribute fatigue and suffering as a desirable outcome for every training session. Head coaches always want to see people moving continuously with visible fatigue present all of the time. When I speak to strength coaches about speed development, I emphasize the need for optimal recovery times between repetitions. Recovery determines performance. If you are not recovered, you will not perform to the best of your abilities. More is not better. More quality is better.

JD: What advice would you give a coach to improve knowledge in the lines of continuing education, meaning could you point our readers in a direction to find the scientific and practical information to improve the methods they use to improve performance?

DH: My best advice to younger coaches that are seeking knowledge is to get out and form relationships with peers and mentors. It is one thing to read an article or book, or watch a webinar. It is quite something else to form a relationship with someone knowledgeable that you speak with on a regular basis on training philosophy and personal development. I can’t pinpoint one book or course that has changed my life or my outlook on training. But I can certainly remember conversations or personal experiences with certain mentors that have really had an impact on my philosophy and development as a coach and person. The articles and conference presentations should spark your interest to ask more questions and prompt you to reach out to that person so that you can learn more about a particular subject.

The second piece of advice I have is to observe the response of your athletes to your training inputs. I am probably my best and worst critic of everything I prescribe. I believe this makes me a better coach. If athletes are not improving, it falls back on me. How can I change the circumstances to yield a positive result? Why is one particular athlete not responding as well as other athletes that I have helped? Every interaction with an athlete should be perceived as a potential learning experience – an opportunity to improve yourself.

JD: If you could give a brief description of what our attendees can expect from you at The Seminar?

DH: I always try to bring an approach that is based around common sense. Is science important? Of course it is. But even science and research can be presented as impractical at times. In the end, I can really only convey what has worked for me under various circumstances. We can support some of these successes with scientific research. In some cases, there may not be any published research to support our methods. This is not because our methods are not grounded in science. It may simply be the case that nobody has embarked on research on that method. But I still believe we need to document and report our anecdotal successes. Others can try our methods and if they are met with success, I believe we can build a case for greater exploration and research into these areas.

Good training methods need not to be always validated by science. Otherwise, we would do a lot of sitting around and waiting, and training innovation would never take place. In my presentation, I am always trying to connect with the audience on common sense approaches that we can all agree upon. When people leave my presentation, I want them to feel that I have made their jobs easier and provide them with a more refined approach that will yield results. It should never be about making things more complicated. There may be a very complex rationale behind our methods, but the application of those methods should be as simple as possible.

JD: Any closing thoughts?

DH: I am really looking forward to connecting with people at the conference. My goal at these types of events is to present my ideas and then compare them against other practitioners’ experiences. My ideas are not static. I am constantly refining my approach and interacting with others helps me to constantly improve the way I do things. Collectively, I believe we can arrive at better approaches to athlete performance and health.

INTRODUCING 2016 SEMINAR PRESENTER: MIKE CURITS-HEAD STRENGTH COACH, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA BASKETBALL

Mike 1With great excitement we introduce our second presenter for The 2016 Seminar, University of Virginia’s Head Strength Coach, Mike Curtis. Mike Curtis is in his seventh year as head strength and conditioning coach for men’s basketball at Virginia. He was named to the position on May 11, 2009. Before accepting the position at UVa, Curtis was the director of strength and conditioning for the Michigan athletics department. At Michigan, Curtis supervised and managed the training efforts of more than 20 athletic teams, five assistant coaches and two training facilities. He was primarily responsible for the implementation of performance training programs for men’s and women’s basketball.

Curtis, a former basketball player at Virginia, was the head strength and conditioning coach for the Memphis Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association for six years (2002-08) before assuming his responsibilities at Michigan.

He also served as the basketball strength and conditioning coach at South Carolina for one year (2001-02) and was the director of strength and conditioning for Olympic sports at Dayton for one year (2000-01).

Curtis, who is from Richmond, Va., earned a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine from Virginia in 1998 and a master’s degree in exercise physiology from UVa in 2000. He lettered four times as a member of the Cavaliers’ men’s basketball team and was a team co-captain for the 1997-98 season.

Curtis also serves as the head strength and conditioning coach for the Virginia women’s basketball team.

JD: If you could, please give our readers a little background information about you, what your niche in the world of athletics is, accomplishments, how you got there, education, any products you have available and/or notable publications.

Mike 2MC: My background – Much of my life has been here in the state of Virginia. I actually grew up in Richmond, moved on to the University of Virginia to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in sports medicine and exercise physiology while also managing life as a student-athlete. After completing my master’s degree my professional journey took me to Dayton, OH, Columbia, SC, Memphis, TN, Ann Arbor, MI and now back to Charlottesville. During that journey I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and learn from some really great mentors and friends. A short list of them includes Erik Helland, Mike Gattone, Al Vermeil, Tony Decker, Jerry West, Darryl Eto, Gary Gray, and Charlie Weingroff,
In regards to my niche in the world of athletics I would guess most people would say that my niche is specific to physical preparation for basketball given that I have primarily trained basketball athletes the past 16 years. I spent 6 years working in the NBA before deciding that the collegiate environment was ultimately more fulfilling based on my passion for the process of developing athletes physically as well as emotionally. I have also worked with a fair amount of Olympic sports with significant experience in soccer during my stints with the University of Dayton, University of Michigan, and my graduate assistantship with UVA.

Accomplishments? My greatest accomplishment to this point has been becoming a father. I doubt I will ever experience any thing professionally or personally that will trump that. In regards to coaching and athletics I don’t know that I have any personal accomplishments per se. I would say that I have been fortunate enough to have shared in the many accomplishments of the athletes I have been privileged to train. The teams I have worked with have made NBA playoffs, won ACC regular season and conference championships, reached NCAA sweet sixteen, produced NBA draft picks, national team members, and Olympic medalist. I have been humbled to have simply been a supporting piece for some of their successes.

JD: Discuss with us the mistakes you see made by strength and conditioning coaches in the United States and around the world, and what you feel should be done differently/how to correct these issues.

Mike 3MC: It’s hard to discuss mistakes at large in the profession when I feel that I have made so many mistakes along the way. I still continue to make them, fortunately they are a lot less frequent and of lesser magnitude. The one thing I will say is that mistakes are necessary for professional and personal growth if you are self-aware and have a growth mindset.

I do think that many strength and conditioning coaches lose sight of what the primary objective(s) is in regards to the terminal outcomes of the training processes. I believe our jobs are to develop or enhance the physical qualities that are necessary to more efficiently and effectively express skills in the sport in which they compete. With that being said, I see many coaches solely or predominantly focusing their philosophical approach and implementation on a singular paradigm, methodology, or means. When I was a younger coach I had a myopic view of training and my identity. I pretty much attempted to make all my athletes weightlifters and hoped that those methods would prepare them for their sport. I still see myopic approaches quite frequently unfortunately. I think too many people identify with a singular approach and in many ways that can limit their effectiveness as a coach. Dependent on the sport, the athlete, their genetic make-up, training history, and motivation a singular training approach may not elicit the best preparation or readiness to compete. Much like the government initiative in our inner city schools I try my best to subscribe to a pursuit of “No Athlete Left Behind”. My goal is to make sure that a trainable physical quality is never the rate-limiter to an athletes’ potential to earn minutes and find competitive success. Is the success rate 100%? Absolutely not, but I try to approach every day in such a way to pursue that particular objective.

I encourage all strength and conditioning professionals to be open-minded and study training models and disciplines outside of their comfort zones. I’m not saying you have drink every flavor of Kool-Aid and change who you are, but at least evaluate what may be useful in your tool box in the event you encounter an unexpected road block during the training process and need it. I like to challenge anyone who has been an intern or graduate assistant here to expand their experiences and knowledge beyond what they are exposed to in our environment. The end goal is to be a more complete strength and conditioning professional.

I will also comment on the importance of finding the balance between technology, data, and coaching intuition. I am a firm believer and user of technology and data to help drive our decision making in the overall training process but I think its important that coaches who wish to employ these tools must first have a general sense of what they are looking for and what questions they want answered. I believe your intuition and experiential knowledge as a coach should initially set up your training goals, process and execution. The technology and data should primarily validate your practices and/or direct you towards more effective means. Too often I think people collect data to collect data and it ultimately can distract good coaches from being good coaches.

JD: What advice would you give a coach to improve knowledge in the lines of continuing education, meaning could you point our readers in a direction to find the scientific and practical information to improve the methods they use to improve performance?

Mike 4MC: Obviously attending seminars like CVASPS are great places to network and discuss all things training with really intelligent people.
Even more obvious would be reading as much current and past training related literature as digestible. It’s of great importance to understand the theory, principles, definitions, and facts behind what we are probably going to hear in the most dense and high quality presentations. The only way to practically apply that information is to have some idea of what the content is. You can’t practically apply anything Cal Dietz, Landon Evans, or Jim Snider talks about unless you can have some foundational understanding of what they are saying. That can be difficult at times if you haven’t done some homework.

I believe Siff, Yessis, Harre, Bondarchuk, Issurin, etc among others are good authors to build your library. Fortunately many of their texts are available onsite at your seminar.

I would also suggest reading books that are outside the realm of strength and conditioning like management, leadership, or motivational materials. I have found them to be especially helpful in developing the training environment/culture, communication, and relationships. We can’t forget there is a blend of art and science to what we do as coaches and the aforementioned components are critical to creating a scenario where athletes can, in Charlie Weingroff’s words “absorb and adapt” to the stressors the world and we impose on them on a daily basis. It’s not always physiological mechanisms that drive adaptation to stress, it’s also psychological mechanisms and the training environment and mental coping skills play a significant role. I’ve seen some really smart strength and conditioning coaches under-achieve because they failed in creating a good training environment and developing a connection/trust with the athletes they work with.

JD: If you could give a brief description of what our attendees can expect from you at The Seminar?

MC: I believe attendees can expect an open and honest discussion of the theory and application of what it is that we are trying do with technology, intuition, culture, and sound training principles to prepare our athletes for sport. There are days where I wonder if we are on the right path and I’ll discuss where I feel we are lost or made mistakes and where we have done things well. Hopefully I can give attendees something to take back with them and utilize on Monday morning either practically or organizationally. Hopefully attendees will also provide me some things to take back to improve our training system as well.

Introducing 2016 Seminar Presenter: Sam Coad-Performance Manager, University of Oklahoma Football

2016 Presenter Sam Coad

2016 Presenter Sam Coad

We are beyond excited to introduce our first presenter for The 2016 Seminar, University of Oklahoma’s Football Performance Manager Mr. Sam Coad. Currently he is responsible for assessing and enhancing student-athlete readiness, performance and recovery as part of the comprehensive sports performance program, as well working as a strength and conditioning coach with the current strength staff. His previous experience includes serving as a strength and conditioning coach and sports scientist at the University of Michigan (Football) and the Brisbane Lions Australian Rules Football Club. 

Coad has also previously worked as a teaching fellow in the sports and exercise science program at Bond University, having previously received his bachelor of sport sciences degree from the same university, graduating with honors. He is a PhD candidate at Bond, researching the neuroimmunological, physiological and biochemical responses of elite contact sports athletes to training and competition and has six publications in international peer reviewed journals.

JD: If you could, please give our readers a little background information about yourself, what your niche in the world of athletics is, accomplishments, how you got there, education, any products you have available, and/or notable publications.

SC: My name is Sam Coad, Australian born, strength and conditioning coach and sport scientist. I have been working in the USA in NCAA football since mid-way through 2014, first with the Michigan Wolverines, and now with the Oklahoma Sooners. My current job is as performance manager of the Oklahoma Sooners football team and have had the privilege of working for Coach Jerry Schmidt and Coach Bob Stoops. Prior to moving to the USA, I worked with professional Australian Rules Football and Rugby athletes as a strength and conditioning coach and sports scientist. I have been lucky enough to have had some great mentors and work with some great sports scientists and coaches along my brief journey, all of whom have helped propel my own career.
I’m currently in the final stages of completing my PhD in high performance science, with a focus on neuroimmunological recovery in elite Australian Rules football athletes. I have four current publications resulting for this PhD. In total I have 6 publications in peer-reviewed journals and get to work with a great research group based out of Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia. Finally I’m an accredited CSCS and ASCA strength and conditioning coach.

JD: Discuss with us the mistakes you see made by strength and conditioning coaches in the United States and around the world, and what you feel should be done differently/how to correct these issues.

SC: One major mistake coaches and scientists often make is when implementing recovery interventions with athletes. Recovery has become increasing fashionable with many different interventions – cryotherapies, compression, mobility work, massage, monitoring methods, etc. However the mistake being made is demanding athletes to adhere to recovery guidelines that suit coaches rather than the athletes. In my opinion the best forms of recovery stems from enhancing an athlete’s psychological state after competition. By this I’m suggesting while the interventions for recovery are important to physiological restoration (and most certainly shouldn’t be ignored), enhancing an athletes perception of wellbeing is just as, if not more, important than the intervention.

Recovery programs which dictate an athlete must do “intervention A” for 30 minutes every week because “the coach said it works”, may be less effective then providing athletes with a variety of options they can use at different times of the season. If an athlete does not enjoy the recovery process, it may not be of physiological benefit; it may in fact be another stress to the athlete. So as coaches we need to find ways to make recovery something that athletes enjoy being involved in. Whether it’s by changing the environment or the intervention, successfully recovery has to be something athletes are enjoying.

JD: What advice would you give a coach to improve knowledge in the lines of continuing education, meaning could you point our readers in a direction to find the scientific and practical information to improve the methods they use to improve performance?

SC: I’m a believer in reading and listening to the opinions and thoughts/lessons of others; even if you don’t agree with everything that is being taught or said, there is always a chance their knowledge/ideas/thoughts will help fuel your own learning. I think a broader approach to learning is the best, as often the results of others can be the catalyst for your own personal development.

JD: If you could give a brief description of what our attendees can expect from you at The Seminar?

SC: My presentation will focus on methods to go about implementing “sports science” into a “strength and conditioning” program, without completely changing the program.

JD: Any closing thoughts?

SC: I’m really excited and honored to be speaking at this year’s seminar, hoping to share some thoughts and experiences I have gained in my brief career, and looking forward to being a part of a great learning experience.

The CVASP Podcast Ep 11: Injury Prevention with Michigan Tech’s Matt Thome

Michigan Tech’s Matt Thome discusses the relationship between the theory of dynamic correspondence and injury prevention in athletes. This is a follow up discussion from his article on the topic that can be found here:

http://cvasps.com/dynamic-correspondence-as-a-means-of-injury-prevention-a-guest-post-by-matt-thome-of-michigan-tech/

The CVASP Podcast Ep 9: Ryan Horn, Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University’s Director of Athletic Performance sits down to discuss monitoring and building a monitoring program. We discuss his journey and how it progressed from each of the three institutions he has been at, the growing pains that came along the way, and what it has done to assist and change his programming.

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