Murray 2018Today we are ecstatic to announce our fifth presenter for The 2018 Seminar, University of Louisville’s Director of Sport Performance Teena Murray. Coach Murray been driving the profession forward by not only building one of the best performance departments in the country at U of L, but also with being a lecturer in their Exercise Science graduate program. This combination makes her a perfect fit for The Seminar, and a person I can’t wait to have on campus July 20th and 21st.  Let’s meet Teena Murray…

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.

TM: I’m a small town Canadian girl, who grew up on hockey. I played college basketball @ Laurier (Canada)- only because hockey wasn’t a varsity sport (yet)- and fell in love with the weight room. I was my own strength coach, and Muscle & Fitness was my bible, so clearly I didn’t know what I was doing! I quickly fell in love with all things human performance and haven’t stopped studying since then. During graduate school I pursued my strength & conditioning certification, and the rest is history. Now in my 22nd year in collegiate athletics, I’ve also spent time in pro and international hockey. I’ve had stops at Cornell & UCONN and I’m now in year 14 at Louisville. My niche is building leaders for high-performance, and I’m committed to developing the next generation of elite performance coaches.

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.

TM: At a macro level we have an identity problem associated with a failure to evolve. If our profession is to advance and gain the level of respect deserved, we must reorganize at a national level and clarify standards around education, certification, preparation, operation.

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?

TM: Be curious. Have a growth mindset. Make a commitment to life-long learning. Demand better mentorship. Put yourself in the right learning/growth environments, and create clear and consistent daily practices. It’s critical that we all become masters of the fundamentals, before creating our specific niche. Know the theory, use the literature, stay current.

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

TM: Our top priority as performance leaders is operationalizing excellence. I will share a proven and progressive approach for aligning systems, processes, people and outcomes. I will help you reverse engineer winning in your environment, maximizing your value and efficiency as a coach.

JD:Any closing thoughts Coach?

TM: I appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow as part of the CVASP experience.

Who is Teena Murray?

Teena Murray is entering her 13th year as Director of Sports Performance at the University of Louisville, where she has built a model program in collegiate athletics. Teena has also been an adjunct lecturer in the graduate program in Exercise Science at U of L since 2010.

Teena brings over 20 years of experience as an educator, researcher, and practitioner, having worked previously at the University of Connecticut and Cornell University. Beyond the collegiate ranks Teena has worked with several pro hockey (NHL) teams, the International Ice Hockey Federation, and from 2006-2010 was the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the U.S. Women’s Olympic Hockey Team that won a silver medal in Vancouver.

Teena holds a Masters degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and undergraduate degrees in Education and Kinesiology from Queen’s University (Canada) and Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada). She also holds a long list of industry certifications. She has published extensively, with her research centering on the performance profiling of elite athletes, and is a regular presenter at national events in the sports performance industry.

Seats for The 2018 Edition of The Seminar are Available Here!

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My Thoughts Monday #14: Katlyn Haycock, University of Michigan-The Goal Should Always Be Perfection

“Even if the perfection isn’t attained the outcome is decidedly better than just ‘good enough’”

This weeks edition of My Thoughts Monday is brought to us by Michigan’s Katlyn Haycock. Katlyn discusses with us Jon Bowers TED talk (check it out here: on perfection that hit home with her. In the talk there are multiple fantastic examples as to why aiming for perfection needs to be the goal at all times and Coach Haycock connects these examples and quotes with examples in athletics that coaches see regularly. This also drives straight into fears of failure and the all to dangerous “good enough” that has crippled team in the past. She finishes out with her interpretation of the definition provided on perfection and why she feels it’s important for athlete’s to understand it.

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Flashback Friday-Joel Jamieson, 2012: Managing the Training Process

If you have ever had questions about how to use different modes of athlete monitoring in your program to drive decisions then this is the talk you’ve been looking for!

“Some is good, more is probably better, and too much is bad. That’s really what it comes down to in the long run. The question is, how does that curve vary for each of us?”

In his second lecture provided at The Seminar, Joel Jamieson breaks down how he manages the training of his athletes. Joel’s starts out by sharing how and why he started looking at daily readiness, and how Val Nasedkin impacted that process. This whole system is based upon the adaptation reaction, which he breaks down, and how overtraining and allostatic load is the driving force behind his programming. Allostatic load is a very important concept to understand when looking at the handling stress we place upon athletes. Joel’s analogy of “the bank account” breaks this down simply and precisely and ties directly into the overtraining continuum.


In his second lecture provided at The Seminar, Joel Jamieson breaks down how he manages the training of his athletes. Joel’s starts out by sharing how and why he started looking at daily readiness, and how Val Nasedkin impacted that process. This whole system is based upon the adaptation reaction, which he breaks down, and how overtraining and allostatic load is the driving force behind his programming. Allostatic load is a very important concept to understand when looking at the handling stress we place upon athletes. Joel’s analogy of “the bank account” breaks this down simply and precisely and ties directly into the overtraining continuum.

After this breakdown, he leads right into an overview of how he manages the training process. The reason behind managing the process is to push them as far as they can go without running them into the ground.  This is all revolved around stress and its impact in performance. This stress isn’t just “training” it’s all stress in life, and how all the factors outside of training impact the results from training. Therefor finding out how much is right, and how much is too much is of upmost importance. He uses four tools to manage athletes: HRV, RPE, Training Load, and Performance Measures. He breaks down why he uses each, the importance of them, and how he implements the four.

Once these have been established he goes over his daily model. His model has 3 levels: rest, simulative, and developmental loads. Readiness indicators (he gives a list of 7) provide insight into the level he selects to make sure he’s building his athletes up not breaking them down. He shares specific examples of what these alterations could be in specific situations. All of this, obviously, is based upon what the actual plan is, both daily and weekly.  Joel shares with us multiple examples on how he evaluates and monitors weekly training in the forms of readiness monitoring, training load, and RPE. He finishes off by giving us visual examples of how he tracks each and guidelines that he follows when it comes program management.

To download your copy of this lecture follow the URL here

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Transitioning To Fewer Resources-Sean Brown

This is my first contribution to CVASP. Relatively new to the profession, I’ve wrestled with what I could possibly contribute of any substance. Many things have run through my mind, and constantly ringing in my ears is a statement often echoed by veteran performance coaches everywhere I’ve been thus far. It goes something along the lines of “early in my career, I thought I knew everything”. This is not a problem for me – and I don’t mean in a good way. On the contrary, I am acutely aware of how little I know. Perhaps I just haven’t been at this long enough, but right now I just don’t feel like many coaches want to hear what I have to say 9 months through my first year running my own program(s).

It occurs to me that the best thing I can contribute is a recount and maybe even a little advice regarding moving from a high major program with abundant resources to a program that does not compete at the same level in terms of funding and resources.

I am sure that some will chuckle at the notion. Certainly, many have worked years to achieve a position at a major institution, and some are still on the way, having worked their way up the proverbial ladder. I will be the first to explain to you how lucky I have been in my career thus far, but that is a conversation for another day. So, I am under no illusion that everyone will relate to this situation. However, given this profession’s turnover rate and the rising number of internship and GA positions all over the country, particularly at the larger programs, my hope is that somewhere there is a coach who will find themselves in a similar situation that can get something out of this.

With that said, here is what it has been like to move from a high powered athletic program to one fighting with less in their pockets:


All things considered I am doing pretty well in the facilities department. Sure, it’s not the same now as it was at a place like Texas, but so what? I have everything I need in our facility. The only major difference is that we share ours with Olympic Sports. Now, for many coaches this has been all they’ve ever known. Beginning my career at the DIII level I understand what it is like to be limited in time and space. However, it is different as an intern, volunteer or assistant than it is when actually running one of the programs that shares the weight room.

The most important thing I’ve learned regarding the shared space – and I will reference this several more times – invest in people (Full Disclosure – This, like many of my ideas, is stolen shamelessly from my former employer, friend and mentor, Daniel Roose).

Everyone is in the same boat, especially the strength coaches, attempting to get their sport coach to nail down a schedule so that they can understand their own training schedule and how it fits into the full weight room schedule. The ATCs also need to know and account for the training schedules of their respective sports. Facilities operations is at the behest of each head coach who views their program as the most important in the building. So, when change inevitably occurs just about every day, each one of these puzzle pieces has to move and adjust to make things work.

Quite simply, it is far easier and more pleasant to move this process along if you have spent the time to develop a relationship with those in the building. Admittedly I need to do a better job of this as well, but I have found that the more time I spend with others in the building, the easier it is to get what I need, especially when a curveball is thrown.


Equipment & Purchasing

This one doesn’t take a lot of explanation. Clearly the budget, especially for strength & conditioning, or in my case Men’s Basketball Strength & Conditioning, is going to be different depending on where you are. Moving from a high-major to anywhere other than that is going to put you in a different purchasing situation. However, my head coach doesn’t want to hear that he can’t have what I tell him we need. So, how to determine what is really needed?

For me, a bare-bones look at our facilities, personnel and desired training methodology helped to reveal need vs want. Are there things that I would enjoy having and could employ frequently to help our players? Sure. Do I absolutely need them to do my job? No. But what can we get?

Again, we come back to investing in people. The more time I have spent with our Director of Operations, Associate AD, ATC, and finance department, the clearer the picture has become of when and where I have some space and leverage to purchase. Early on this was difficult because we just hadn’t spent enough time together. As trust is built, so is an understanding between myself and others involved regarding what I need to do my job and how we can help each other to make it work.


Surely each coaching staff is different, but the biggest change for me is how the rest of the pieces of a staff fill out at a smaller institution.

For instance, our ATC is one of the longest tenured members of the department. He is an Associate AD and is the Head ATC, overseeing every other sport and their respective ATC, as well as administrative level operations. He remains as the Men’s Basketball trainer in addition to his other responsibilities. Like everybody else in the building, he is spread pretty thin. I’m not the only one who needs to be able to talk to him during the day.

The more time I spend with him, the better things go. The more we have gotten to know each other, the better we have gotten at communicating effectively and accomplishing our common goals. Some of this occurs naturally over time, but much of it is a concerted effort to get to him when he is available and discuss things, even if it’s a quick meeting. In our case, we are located in different parts of the building (because my desk is in the basketball office and not the weight room), so it is vital that at some point we take the time to find the other and talk. Sometimes there is much to discuss, sometimes not. Either way, the ATC relationship is critical and requires effort, which may have to be more regimented at a smaller institution due to the increased time demands of both parties.


When I was at Texas we prepared our weight room (and our interns) every day and night with the understanding that “you never know who will walk through the door”. It could be a high-profile recruit, a player’s parent, or the Athletic Director that randomly walks in. At all times we prepared such that we were represented well in our appearance and behavior, and at various times this situation arose and everything was okay because we had prepared. But, it was a rare occurrence.

However, it was our facility. We shared the weight room with the women’s basketball team and that was it. Because of our scheduling, just about all of the time we were not even in the building at the same time as the women. So, while we prepared for anybody to come through at any moment, it was largely our world. Our facility was across a highway from the rest of campus. Nobody came there unless they meant to, and in that event we likely knew about it.

At Rice, our Athletic Director runs on the treadmill in our weight room just about every day. I’m serious. Just think – are you prepared (and have you prepared) to do your job with the Athletic Director literally in the room with you?

This is my reality. Our administration is smaller. Fewer people cover all the normal responsibilities of any other athletic department. Their offices are just down the hall from mine. If we play the music loudly in the weight room, they can hear it. They know my name and my responsibilities. There is no hiding, and I think this is a positive. It has forced me to evaluate every word I say and every move I make. Because our weight room is shared, I am frequently not the only team lifting. Sometimes there are a few other athletes, sometimes there’s an entire team. Sometimes another team may bring a recruit through. Such is life for the majority of coaches across the country, but depending on your school, you may have varying levels of transparency.

I’m not going to pretend that I don’t ever get upset with my athletes. Sometimes I raise my voice to get a point across or when I feel like one of my guys could use some extra fire. But things change when so many members of the administration can actually hear what you are saying. It has helped me to assess the manner in which I address my athletes at all times. One thing I learned is that I’m more likely to be offensive when we are having a great day, not the other way around. What can I say? I get excited. Where I am now though it is imperative that I be mindful of who is in the room and who might be listening – and that’s a good thing.


Job Responsibilities

I used to be one member of a large team. From the nutrition staff to sport scientists, basketball team managers and graduate assistants, there were hands everywhere to get the job done. Moreover, on the strength and conditioning side alone, I was an assistant under someone’s direction, and we also had two interns. All in all, plenty of people around to get things done.

Things are a little different now. First and foremost the important concept is that even though we are smaller, the expectations for a college basketball program remain the same, or at least they do where I am. I played and have worked at the high school and DIII level where resources are limited, but clearly the expectation is different, alleviating some of the challenge. *Please do not take this to mean that at the high school or DIII level coaches do not expect quality work and winning effort. That is not my intention. I’m simply speaking of the expectations of time and energy allocation of the strength & conditioning coach, which is more thinly spread at the high school and DIII levels. So, while we don’t have the same number of people, the same level of quality is expected. Great, I love attacking challenges. Here’s the difference:

I assist in all operations of the program. In many ways I feel like an assistant to our Director of Operations. He is the hardest working person in our program and most of the time we are helping each other to get something done. This also includes our video coordinator. We simply don’t have the number of GAs, managers and interns around to accomplish everything that you do at a major program. Don’t get me wrong, we have a few that are able to pitch in when they can, but it’s simply different. Most importantly, it’s a two way street. Because I don’t have any direct assistance, I need help… a lot. By investing my time and energy in helping our operations staff, I get the same thing in return when I need help.

Here’s the other major difference: We just began conference play. I am micro-dosing our athletes in season which is fantastic (and a different article altogether). Even with a lift every day I would still estimate that about 80-90% of my time is currently occupied by nutrition.

We don’t have a training table (strictly speaking), so I am responsible for as much of our nutrition as our budget allows, which in my case is a fair amount. I actually love this. I get to be as hands on as possible with what my players are eating (or at least what I can reasonably control within the rules). I also have the benefit of working with some very intelligent and driven athletes who have been very receptive to basic nutrition education and continue to expand their knowledge of how to properly care for their body. However, I was completely unaware that it would take over my life the way it has.

Our snacks, meals, recovery shakes, etc. all obviously get stepped up a notch when travel comes into play, and our conference schedule has us traveling on Wednesdays to play on Thursdays, and then directly to our next site for a Saturday game and a return flight on Sunday. That’s a lot of travel meals and snacks to consider.

Compounding the challenge is the fact that we fly commercial. At a Power 5 or some of the larger mid-major programs, charter flights are a game changer (as anyone who has experienced it can attest). No longer do I have the ability to simply pack up whatever I need and throw it under a plane. I need to get creative and figure out how to find water and proper nutrition on the road, not just for one night, but for multiple days at a time. I have found that, as obvious as it sounds, the more planning I do ahead of time, the better. Also (say it with me), invest in people. The developed relationships with the rest of my staff go a long way in acquiring whatever I need whether we are at home or on the road.


Hopefully this is obvious, but your athletes are going to be different. Don’t walk in with any assumptions. I made more mistakes than I can count based on assumptions about what my athletes could do or couldn’t do, as well as my understanding of their daily life. Each school is different, each program is different. This is simple. Spend as much time as you possibly can with your players before you lay out your plans. Ask them questions. Learn about them. Their training history, injury history, personal lives, etc.

For instance, the finals week on the academic calendar may not be when the players actually take finals. No way to learn that without talking to them.

I don’t know much, but I do know that ultimately there are challenges no matter where you go. I have been incredibly lucky to land in some great spots with fantastic people around me to help address any and everything to help the program. For me, that’s what this comes down to, no matter where you are – invest in the people. The most important time I have spent since arriving at Rice is not the time programming, booking catering or stocking water. It’s the time spent with people, and not just because they can help me when I need it, but more importantly because if you ask me, that’s why we do this – for the relationships we build with players, coaches, administrators, ATCs, etc. that last a lifetime.

This is where I am as I come close to finishing my first year at Rice. If this helps just one coach out there then I’ll take it as a win. As a closing, there is a lot of talk in Strength & Conditioning about helping one another, and I did just write an entire article based around the idea of investing in people. As such, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I’m making it my mission to be one of the guys that actually answers the call/email.


Who is Sean Brown?

12716084Sean Brown is in his first year as Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Rice Men’s Basketball team. He comes to Rice from The University of Texas at Austin, where he spent the last two years working directly with Men’s Basketball.

In his current role, Brown is responsible for all year-round strength & conditioning aspects of the Men’s Basketball and Men’s Golf programs at Rice.

Prior to Rice, in 2016-17 he served as an Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach at The University of Texas at Austin, working directly with Men’s Basketball under the guidance of Director of Basketball Performance, Daniel Roose. Brown was hired into that role after serving as a Men’s Basketball Strength & Conditioning Intern during the 2015-16 season.

He also has held volunteer/internship positions with Southwestern University where he worked with football, volleyball, basketball, swim & dive and soccer, as well as University of Texas Athletic Performance.

Brown is a Strength & Conditioning Coach Certified through the Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches Association, as well as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength & Conditioning Association. He earned his B.A. in English from The University of Mary Washington in 2009, and an M.Ed. in Kinesiology – Sport Sciences & Nutrition from The University of Texas at Austin in 2016.

A native of Fairfax, VA, Brown lives in Houston with his wife, Kate.

Enjoy the content?

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The Community is an extension of The Seminar providing EXCLUSIVE content from some of the best practitioners in the world! Follow the link below to check it out! 

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Chris KorfistToday I am excited to announce our fourth presenter for The 2018 Seminar, Chris Korfist. Chris has been a guest on the podcast and a regular contributor to on Along with his coaching duties, Chris has been educating coaches though his yearly event Track Football Consortium in Illinois, and his website Slow Guy Speed School. Tie in his unique approach to getting athlete’s faster and his work as an educator as a teacher and we couldn’t be more excited to add Chris to the docket.  With out further delay, let’s meet Chris…

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.

CK: I’m a High School Track and Strength coach. I also own Slow Guy Speed School which is a facility that trains athletes to be run faster and be more explosive. The combination gives me experience in both the private and public settings. I also Co-own Track and Football Consortium which is a biennial consortium. Topics include optimal training for speed and consideration for the multi-sport athlete. I also co-own Reflexive Performance Reset with Cal Dietz and JL Holdsworth.

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.

CK: I think too many coaches are focused on “Bigger, Faster and Stronger” and only really focus on bigger and stronger.If we are all performance coaches and working on our helping our athletes win games we all know that speed is a main factor in almost every sport. But when we go to train our athletes, most never run and use the weight room as a possible method of getting faster. We tried to make one of the most complex movement patterns that a human can form can perform and reduce it down to let’s just lift more weights. The elements of the coordination of the movements, the stability of the movements and the direction of the force and power are never truly addressed. If you truly want to get your athletes faster whether it’s acceleration or top end speed, they need to run. And you need to understand what it takes to get them to run faster.

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?

CK: I think self-reflection is a great Pathway to improve your knowledge. Every coach has a different scenario, environment and circumstances. getting advice from someone who has a completely different world may only off for a small amount of knowledge that they can apply to their situation. Don’t be afraid to get rid of what doesn’t work for you despite that “common Knowledge” that it may work for most others. Address your puzzle and work to solve it. If you’re on this website and attending conferences, you probably have a lot more knowledge than most people. To become an expert, learn how to apply the knowledge in your environment. Learn how to hone the skills you already have.

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

CK: We will look at speed, acceleration and agility from some different viewpoints that are traditional strength coach won’t look at.

Who is Chris Korfist?

Chris Korfist has been getting of people faster for the last 25 years. Whether the athlete is a middle school or professional athlete, Chris has experience helping all age groups of athletes. His website, Slow Speed Guy offers video assessment for individuals or teams as well as online workouts. He is also the Director of Reflexive Performance which is a process that gets athletes nervous system ready to performance at a peak state through a sequence of manual therapy. Course are available throughout the year. He is also the co-owner of Track Football Consortium which is one of the leading sprint/strength clinics in the nation. They are currently held bi-annually in Chicago.

(Bio taken from

Seats for The 2018 Edition of The Seminar are Available Here!

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Then you should check out The Community!

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My Thoughts Monday #13-Jake Jensen, Considerations for Athlete Tracking

“When you quantify something like sports, you have to understand that the statistical measure of how that quantifiable number relates to the sport needs to be done by someone who understands statistical measures.”

This week’s My Thoughts Monday brings the return of The Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Eisbaren Hockey Club, Berlin, Germany, Jake Jensen.  Jake shares with us his thoughts on implementing GPS technology as a means of injury prevention. The first point he touches upon is the cost/benefit of the technology. This leads him into discussing what are the costs involved with using the technology. This isn’t just limited to financial investments, but also man time hours required to collect and interrupt the data, along with all the set up required to actually use the devices. The accuracy of the technology is the next topic that Jake discusses, including research done on this, recent improvements in the tech, and not only how it relates to the devices, but also how that relates to the entire team vs positions vs each individual athlete. Lastly, he discusses what the numbers are and who should actually interrupt the data to get the most out of the tech.

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Flashback Friday-Mike Robertson,2012-Corrective Exercise Fact vs. Fiction

“Too often, people assume stability is strength, and that’s not necessarily the case. A lot of times stability is just being able to put your body in the right position to demonstrate strength. So being able to control motion is a lot different than being able to produce it.”

IFAST’s Mike Robertson breaks down the what’s, why’s, and how’s to corrective exercises and how they fit into his programming. This presentation starts with Mike sharing with us his definition of corrective exercises which is: “Corrective Exercise is a holistic approach where an assessment is used to determine specific weaknesses and/or limitations of the athlete. This assessment drives the programming process, where a systematic and progressive approach is used to reduce the likelihood of injury and improve performance.” Within this definition Mike has highlighted specific words that drive his training program. This definition brings Mike to discuss a continuum. The continuum runs from injured to performance, but where Mike says the corrective work can be most effective, it’s with people who have plateaued.

Corrective exercise has three big rocks, those rocks are: mobility, stability, and strength. Mobility is the base of Mike’s pyramid due to the fact that when you improve mobility, your stability tends to improve. So, once you have enough mobility, Mike works on stability with his athletes, and that leads to traditional strength work.

Mobility, the bottom of the pyramid, is then defined versus flexibility. Two terms that are commonly confused. Mike shares a few examples of mobility work he’s done in the past with specific individuals including Dave Tate, and an aspiring pro strong man. The joint by joint approach is what drove those evaluations, and Mike breaks down what that is, how he looks at it, and how to improve/train it. The three that he covers the most in depth are the ankle, hip, thoracic spine, and shoulder.

Once you have the mobility you need to be able to own those positions, so training stability follows. Mike gives examples of specific clients who had stability issues. He discusses how those issues were problematic in performance and training, and what that led to in training. This includes differentiating between active and passive stability, and how the diaphragm plays a huge role in setting up the athlete to improve stability. The joints that are supposed to be stable are touched up next. These include: the foot, knee, lumbar spine, and scapulae. He also touches upon the unilateral/bilateral war and where he sees both of these types of exercises.

The third level in the pyramid is strength, and Mike breaks down what strength training means to him and how it ties mobility and stability together. The whole idea is that once you move well we, as coaches, need to load the athletes and focus on getting stronger.
Mike finishes off with a Q and A with questions including what are his evaluations, what “phases” look like in his programming when it comes to corrective exercises, and challenges with the sports culture when it comes to their preparation and “fixing” issues.

To download a copy follow the link here:

Mike Robertson: Corrective Exercise: Fact vs Fiction(DIGITAL)

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The Not So Confusing Guide To Sports Science-Max Schmarzo

SBS LogoAt times, the term “sports science” feels so vague and ambiguous, that regardless of what organized attempts you make to integrate sports science, you will always fall short in capturing the whole picture. As a matter of fact, that is 100% correct. Regardless of what you do, what you think you do, or what you want to do, you will never be able to fully understand a single individual, let alone every individual on all 27 teams… Sounds like an uphill battle, right?

Well, the good thing about sports science is that it is a failure driven process. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying through their teeth. Unlike what might be the initial hopes and dreams of someone looking to get into or take on sports science, it will never be a utopia-like, rainbow filled process that will elucidate all of your problems. However, the exciting aspect of sports science is that right there! We don’t know, which means what we are currently doing without the use of sports science is also unknown. So, instead of not asking questions and thinking we are right, we might as well start looking for answers and accept the bumps along the way.

Another somewhat redeeming quality about sports science is that unlike most binary solutions (yes or no), there is partial credit. Regardless of the money you have to spend or the logo on your shirt, sports science can be integrated across the board. One might ask “Well jee-wiz Mr., that sounds too good to be true”. Well, believe it or not, it is true. Not to get too in depth in this topic (trust met, this could be a book), the nice thing about the sports science world is that we have researchers doing all of the hard work and all we have to do as integrators, is understand what those researchers are saying. You see, unlike big business data scientist, we have banks of “true research”. We don’t have to run high-level statistics across ungodly sized data sets to understand what might happen… We have science. Because of this, we get a little bit of a head start compared to other fields. Instead of firing off shots in the dark, we at least get to have the lights on with one eye open.

Now, before I go any further, I just want to make it clear that trying counts. No matter who you are or how smart you are, if you are trying to use sports science in any fashion to better yourself and athletes, I applaud you.

The Three Major Keys

This paper is not supposed to be a full guide to sports science. Hell, if you do have one, feel free to send it my way. I don’t think one can truly exist, but I am always up to be proven wrong (not hard, just ask my girlfriend).

Getting back on topic, I wanted to highlight three critical aspects of sports science. Yes, there are other aspects I am not going to cover, but these in my opinion are three, easy to grasp and apply concepts.

#1 Actionable Insights

The common integration of sports science is through the utilization of objective feedback to provide actionable insights. There is where the whole tech world has really helped out. We are now able to quantify way more than we ever have been able to in the past and because of this, we now have a whole slew of new information at our fingertips. This objective feedback provides information that can be immediately acted upon (actionable insights).

Here is a little example

Lets say I am getting ready for a fight and I need to lose 10 pounds over the next two weeks. The scale will provide me with immediate objective feedback as to where I stand in regards to my goal and will help guide what actions I take next. Lets take it one step further and say I don’t just want to lose weight, but I want to maintain my muscle mass and focus on fat loss. Now, I can use a DEXA to get objective feedback see exactly how my diet is affecting my body composition. Lets say I also want to make sure I am still powerful during this 2 week cut. Well, I can use daily force plate and barbell speeds to help objectively see how my power is changing. But…. What if I want to see my hormonal system and how it is responding to the increase in external stressor? I can throw on my Omegawave and get immediate feedback that will help decide how I should progress. You see, thanks to the research of many great scientists, we don’t have to guess as to what is important and how it can be measured, they already did all that stuff. All we have to do is use this information to provide insights that will help the training process

Now, you might be thinking, “That’s cool and all, but I don’t have money for all of that equipment”. Now, this is where sports science is cool, because there is typically a “next best”. Look at the previous paragraph and think about tools you have that can be substituted for the more expensive items. For example, instead of an Omegawave, maybe you get a phone app with HRV and keep track of their sleep hours and some subjective measures (irritability and arousal). Maybe for the power output, you just measure vertical jump height (how high they can touch on the wall).  I think you get the point. The idea is, do what you can with what you have.

Before we move on to the next section, it is critical to mention that you should understand what you are going to do with the data you are collecting. This probably should have been mentioned earlier, but collecting data just for the hell of it is a good way to get nothing done fast. You should have a clear understanding of what you are trying to measure, why it is important to you and what you are going to do with the feedback you receive from it. If you miss one of these steps, the data just becomes that one impulse buy of a t-shirt that sits in the bottom of your dresser never to be seen again.

#2 Temporal Analysis

Temporal analysis is basically the older brother of actionable insights. For the most part, the same metrics will be used. This makes this whole sports science thing a little easier when you don’t have to keep collecting new data. The concept behind temporal analysis is that not all data you collect may have meaning right away. For example, you if want to see changes in max strength and test their max strength with a mid thigh isometric pull the day after their first workout, that data point might not mean much at the moment. However, if you collect this data bi-weekly to weekly, now you start to get an understanding of what the heck is actually going on. With temporal analysis, you typically look for trends in the data. For example, if you stress an athlete really hard for four weeks, you might expect their max strength to actually dip a little over this time period. However, when you pull back some of the volume you might start to see the infamous “supercompensation” and an increase in max strength. Typically, most injury red flagging is done using temporal analysis. You can see objective changes between specific critical tests over time and can determine whether or not what you are doing is increasing or decreasing these variables that you have determined to coincide with risk of injury. It seems pretty straightforward, but travelers beware, dangers lay ahead.

You see, we are human, which means we are biased. Unlike robots, we have emotions and like to think we are solving things to make us feel good (I do this all the time, which is why I know its an easy trap to fall into). Its called conformation bias…

Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses

I stole that from Wikipedia

Whether we are aware of it or not, we typically have preconceived notion about our training. These notions or biases are what can taint the process of data analysis. We may see a trend one-way and then immediately assume it occurred because of one thing or another. We try and retroactively justify certain changes in the data points. Now, this is not to say subjective analysis should not be done, because naturally it has to occur. However, being unaware of our own biases can ruin what we are looking for. There is a fine line we have to walk when looking at data through a subjective lens. It’s not a bad thing, but it can be.

Temporal Analysis Example

This is a quick little example of how temporal analysis differs from actionable insights. Below are two figures from the same graph, from the same athlete. Figure one shows the bar speed of two different loads over five days of measurement. Figure two is the same graph, but extended out to 20 days




Figure 1. Maximal bar speed (x-axis) of two different loads over the period of five days


Figure 1. Maximal bar speed (x-axis) of two different loads over the period of twenty days

One can quickly see that the temporal analysis over five days doesn’t give us much information to act upon. However, when we look at the same data, but over a twenty-day period, trends can be easily noted.

#3 Data Enrichment

Data enrichment is a long-term process that doesn’t just take weeks, but maybe years. Data enrichment is the process of giving more context and depth to the data you have been collecting. It helps you truly get a better idea of what is going on.  However, you have to be patient. Data enrichment is basically the grandfather of data analysis. It is the old wise man that has seen more days than you can fathom. It encompasses all of your previous analytical actions and interventions. At much grander scale than just the individual, it helps you understand what works and what doesn’t work. Think of it like an old recipe past down from your great-grandparents. That recipe has been tested, modified and critiqued more times than you care to imagine. Through enrichment, we can start to better understand not only the data, but also our own process of collection, intervention and reflection.

Not too tough

The thing about integrating sports science is well, on the surface, its not very hard. However, as you know, technology can be tricky, but humans can be a pain. The thing about humans, we are not robots. We have opinions, feeling, and biases. Because of these lousy qualities that make us who we are, the integration part gets stuck in the mud at times. This is why sports science needs to a be a slow integrative process. The more aspects you add at once, the more duties people have to take on. The more duties someone has to take on, the more disruption you cause in their daily habits and the bigger the pain in the ass sports science can be. For this reason, optimization is a slow, step-by-step process. If you have ever gone on a diet, it’s the same pain. At first, you try really hard to make it work. But, the more work it becomes the more you want to stop doing it. For this exact reason, integration needs to a slow process that hinges on patience and communication. You don’t just get to do “science”. The human aspect is what really matters in this equation and until that is all settled, the data analysis is worth nothing.


Sports science is more than doable for any coach or athlete. It really comes down to what you want, what you have, and what you want to see. The more we act like it needs to be the perfect, harmonious interplay between all sciences and disciplines, the further we will ever get from making it work. We need to take our time, optimize what we can and have direction to what we are doing. The more you have distilled before you integrate and the better you know what you want out of the data, the easier this whole process will be.

Who is Max Schmarzo?

Max Schmarzo (MS, CSCS, ATC)-Max works as an Applied Sports Scientist at Stanford University. He is an author of two books, “Applied Principles of Optimal Power Development” and “Isometrics for Performance”, and also writes professionally for his website, Max is the Chief Science Officer of Exsurgo Technologies LLC, the developers of the G-Tech, with products such as the G-Flight. His areas of expertise are in human performance and technology integration. Follow him on Instagram @strong_by_science

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Flashback Friday Landon Evans 2012 Physical Preparation in the NCAA A Complementary Approach

“When I was young I wanted an algorithm. I wanted to be told exactly “they do this”, I was always trying to search for that. Most of the time, good training fixes that though…most of the time.”

If you ever had a question as to what it’s like to be a strength coach at an American College, you need to check out this talk.

Landon Evans gives a fantastic break down of everything they had going on at Illinois State. The presentation starts out with Landon giving us a step by step look into where he had been, who he had learned from at those stops, and what impact each of those stops had on how he handles athletes.

He starts out discussing what he’s working with when it comes to the limitations on S and C in the NCAA including: athletes, and what to expect because of school/life/practice/etc., and sport coaches and how their thought process and the S and C coaches thought process sometimes conflict with each other.

He then discusses the 5 domains of preparation. This includes the physical side that S and C is responsible for, and how it fits in with the other four. This also includes how we, as S and C coaches need to be educators when it comes to training, readiness, etc.

This leads right into the frame work of his program, and where all his programing starts from. The biodynamics and bioenergics of training. This is where he starts. Looking at power and capacity of each energy system. Then biodynamics and how it fits into dynamic correspondence.

Landon then touches upon the process from the ADA and how that mirrors how he handles his athletes. First is assessment, and Coach Evans breaks that down to include how they do this in different spectrums including their daily warm ups. This includes a discussion on staying in your lane and improving communication with your performance staff to help keep the betterment of the athlete the focal point.

He then touches upon “Special Work Capacity” by first defining it, leading into how it drives his program, and how track “does this all the time”, and how it can sync up with how team sports operate. This brings him right into how he evaluates his athletes in a nonspecific but objective way, but the problem is it does not give a clear indication of transfer. He then shares with us exactly how he tested his athlete’s basic biomotor abilities. This leads him to how this impacts the team environment and how individual needs fit into that.

He then takes the last 30 minutes and gives you his exact thought process of how he develops each block of training. From the micro to the meso Landon breaks down how this goes down. This includes how he looks at each individual workout.

Next, Landon discusses nutrition. This brings him into how he looks at “food logs” in a 21st century way. He then shares his “Level 1” presentation. This is to cover the basics to help these kids understand what they eat matters, and everything they do matters. This breakdown is very in depth and brings him to their five major concerns with athletes.

Download your copy of this fantastic lecture here:

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The Drew Reivew: Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

drew-review“What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere.” – A. Kleon

This book has been on my shelves since it was published in 2012 and I read it annually. Creativity is something every strength coach uses on a day-to-day basis and Steal Like An Artist is a great tool to remind you how to use that creativity. Kleon does a fantastic job of relaying simple ideas and allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions. Although at times the book can seem a little too “pie in the sky” to me, the general idea of creating something you can be proud of and sharing it with others is a principle I can always stand behind.

5a0b080b-dc08-49b9-8dce-d594ad8f03e0Steal Like An Artist is a short book (147 pages) and is only long enough for Kleon to discuss his “10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative.” There are a lot of illustrations that accompany the text which makes for an even faster read. At the end of the book Kleon gives steps for the reader to use to become more creative. I recommend this book for any strength coach looking to start using his/her creativity in everyday life not just in the weight room. This book also makes a great gift for a graduating athlete.


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