Way back in 2003 while I was training boxer "Jesse" James Leija we traveled to Melbourne, Australia as he prepared to fight for the World Championship belt held by Kostya Tszyu. Our training gym was an awesome place called "Underworld" where they made us more than welcome. Anyways, the owner Matt Trihey gave me his business card and the poem Invictus was printed on the back. I had never read it before and for some unknown reason after I did it really seemed to speak to me and to this day it continues to do so.
Now I have had one hell of a life and like most people I've suffered though hard times and at other times was on the top of the world. No matter what life has thrown at me I have always survived and come out on top.
I do not and I will never compromise my integrity nor my philosophy. I thank God for my unconquerable soul.
by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me unafraid,
It matters not how strait the gate,
how charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Rugby World Champion New Zealand All Blacks closed out a remarkable and historic season last weekend with a hard fought victory over Ireland. They finished undefeated!!! This is something never before achieved since the sport became professional, which increased the number of matches played in a season.
A special 'shout-out' and congratulations to Owen Franks and Ben Franks who train with me at PowerSport!! Well, in reality I go all the way to New Zealand to train them!!! Already got my plane ticket for my next journey there in January.
Was awesome to watch Ben score when he picked up the ball and powered his way over the try line...and when I say powered his way I mean just that...he POWERED HIS WAY!! There was no denying this beast of his ultimate goal and that was to score!!
Genna put up a great picture and nicknamed him "Franks the Tank"!! What do you think? Would you like to tackle this beast?
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
So tonight I am staying up way past my bedtime to watch the last Aotearoa test match of 2013 with the All Blacks facing the Wallabies from Dunedin, NZ. I'm excited to get a chance to watch Ben Franks play and be able to watch it live on YouTube!!! New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison has done an outstanding promo video that I want to share and if it doesn't get you up off the couch and ready to hit the gym....well then you may just be dead inside!!
There are several quotes from it that have really stuck with me but this one really has hit home because it describes so much of what I love to say about my own coaching and training, "This isn't Hollywood don't be blinded by the hype, as a matter of fact keep the icing brother, I want to eat the cake."
This is All Blacks Rugby!!!
Train Hard...Play Harder...NO EXCUSES
Took a little trip down to Corpus Christi to visit one of my dearest friends Pete Alaniz who is the proud owner of Titan Support. For those of you who don't know Titan is the manufacturer of the best powerlifting gear in the world!! In my travels around the world its their gear I see on the lifters.
Now, I've known Pete since 1984 when we use to stand in the living room at his parent's house to have his mom measure you for your lifting suit. Come back in 2-3 days and it was ready!! Now he's in a huge 12,000 square foot facility sitting on 2 acres and the service is still the same....WORLD CLASS. Sally and I toured the facility and watched as they made the wraps, suits, shirts, belts and so much more right there in house. Sally even got to design her own belt and then Pete gave me a gym bag to fill with all kinds of goodies!! Was like a kid in a candy store.
Via many emails and over lunch Pete and I talked about the wonderful history we share in our journey in the pursuit of Physical Strength and Power. We both feel blessed to have grown up in the 70's and 80's era of strength sports. We talked in depth about an opportunity I've been blessed with having been asked by Randall Strossen to write in Milo. I will be writing about my basic philosophy of strength and power development which is a fundamentally based system that emphasize hard and heavy training programs that focus on proper technique, common sense and knowledge. Pete and I both agree that too much of this has been lost or forgotten. Well I aim to bring it back!!
We also had a long talk on some of the gear I use to create some of the strongest and most powerful athletes in sports!! The gear is used to support the athlete and to insure we can push safely in our training and it is never used as a crutch or a way of dangerously overloading. Look for some future writings on my thoughts of the gear I feel is important for us to reach our goals.
You ever find yourself in need of anything to help in your pursuit of strength and power....don't hesitate to check out Titan Support Systems "Always the Originator. Never the Imitator." Make sure you tell them Big Ed sent you!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
picture is Matt, Pete,me and Isiah of Titan Support Systems
Peak performance in sports is a rare personal moment that remains etched in the athlete's consciousness. It serves as a reminder of the great intrinsic satisfaction that sports participation can provide. Peak experiences during an athlete's career are relatively rare but their intensity acts as a standard, or qualitative reference point, for subjectively evaluating future performance.
Characteristics of an athlete's peak experience: focused awareness; complete control of self and environment; transcendence of self.
Here are a couple of world class athlete's take on peak experience.
from Tennis great Billy Jean King
"It's a perfect combination of violent action taking place in an atmosphere of total tranquility. When it happens I want to stop the tennis match and grab the microphone and yell...'this is what's it all about'...because it is!! It's not the big prize I'm going to win at the end of the match or anything else. It's just having done something that's totally pure and having experienced the perfect emotion. I'm always sad that I can't communicate that feeling right at the moment it's happening. I can only hope people realize what's going on."
from Russian Weightlifting great Yuri Vlasco
"At the peak of tremendous and victorious effort, while the blood is pounding in your head, all suddenly becomes quiet within you. Everything seems clearer and whiter than ever before, as if great spotlights had been turned on. At that moment you have the conviction that you contain all of the power in the world, that you are capable of everything, that you have wings. There is no more precious moment in life than this....the white moment and you will work very hard for years just to taste it again."
A few weeks ago Spencer was released by the Lions and came home. Anyone who has played sports knows that this is a difficult thing to deal with and if you're not prepared for it can be downright devastating. However, Spencer didn't sulk, whine, or make excuses he just went right back to training and preparing for his next opportunity and today that opportunity came. He left yesterday for a try-out with the Minnesota Vikings and just called me a little while ago to tell me that he was signed to a contract!!
I am very proud and happy for him because he truly worked hard to put himself in the best possible situation by showing up in shape and ready to rock!! It has been great for me too in how he keeps telling me how that the conditioning I have him do is far superior to anything he has ever done in college or in the NFL. He talked to his coaches about my conditioning model for him and they were quite impressed. As a coach who is always in the background you have got to like that!!
I preach to my athletes that you must always be prepared because you never know when your opportunity will come. You get so few opportunities in sports to impress your coaches and the fact is you may only get ONE opportunity....you have to make the best of it!!
Are you prepared to make the best of your opportunity when it comes?
Train Hard...Play Harder...NO EXCUSES.
Spencer after driving up to Houston from San Antonio for a training session. I hear all to often the excuse about how far it is
or how long of a drive it is to my gym here on the Northwest side of Houston...
YOU WANT TO BE THE BEST THEN YOU MUST TRAIN WITH THE BEST SO YOU WILL BE PREPARED FOR YOUR OPPORTUNITY!!
Yesterday I received a wonderful gift from my friend Pete Alaniz of Titan Support. A new lifting belt to help me in my quest to regain my strength and size lost because of the incompetent doctor in San Antonio and also because Ben Franks of the New Zealand All Blacks made a big order for the team...so partly my thank-you!! Now this is no ordinary belt as when Pete was telling me he was sending it to me I was told to "think outside the box" just didn't think that far outside of it. I opened the box and there was a beautiful Bison and South Texas Rattlesnake hide belt with a gold buckle!! This thing screams out...TEXAS BELT!!
If there is a product or company I write about or promote you can damn sure expect it to be a quality company with superior products and support. Just like what you get when you train at PowerSport Strength and Conditioning. I'll tell you that Titan is all of that and more!! I've known Pete, the owner, since 1984 when the entire operation was in his mother's living room now he has a complete manufacturing center in Corpus Christi, Texas!! For those who don't know Titan Support is the original powerlifting gear manufacture and the best! Always the Originator, Never the Imitator is their logo and they live up to it everyday.
Thanks for everything Pete and Titan Support
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Ed Cosner has been one of the most influential people in my life. Behind my father, who played 12 seasons in the NBA, he has taught me the ins and outs of what it takes to be a competitor. Without Ed I would NOT have been near prepared enough for college and the same has carried forward to the NFL. When I had realized that the NFL was a realistic opportunity I immediately sought out Ed for what to do and how to do it. He has consistently given me workouts that just don’t compare to how any of other guys are training for the NFL. His no nonsense approach to strength/power training combined with some of the most brutal conditioning/speed workouts are second to none. This was evident to me during OTA's and its no wonder that the gains made in training actually show up on the football field. I know I am ready for the Detroit Lions training camp.
I love Ed and what he has done for me throughout the 5 years that I have known him. Everything I am and will become and the knowledge gained is all owed to Big Ed. What makes him so rare is that he is personable and has been through every situation you can think of. In times of doubt and panic he calmed me and in times of happiness Ed was there to celebrate along side me. I could write a novel on how great Ed is but to truly understand you have to experience it.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association's Midwest Regional Conference is right here in Houston this Friday and Saturday. I was honored when asked to present...now I'm downright excited!!! However I am not really all that comfortable speaking in public but it's something I am working on as I continue to present and look forward to more opportunities in the future to share my love of training. If I was standing on the weightroom floor I'd be good but standing on a stage in front of my peers...damn scary!! I'll be looking in the audience for my friend and colleague Raymond Tucker to keep me focused and on topic.
I have been a proud member of the NSCA since 1989 and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) since 1996. I will be presenting on Sandbag Training and NO I am not talking about the pretty sandbags that are balanced with handles...I am talking about heavy, awkward to pick up, grab the damn thing and create a handle with your grip or hug it and get it from point A to point B or pick it up and load it on a tall box or just hug it and start squatting!!
Guess if you want to find out why and how I use them in my training programs you will just have to show up and find out!! I will be presenting on Saturday at 2:30-4:00. Afterwards you can find me at the USA vs Ireland Rugby game at Dynamo Stadium.
Well the NY Jets screwed my man Spencer around but as he always does Spencer didn't give up and continued to train and he landed on his feet.....in DETROIT!! Last Tuesday he went up for a try out and was signed that day. I spoke to Lions' assistant strength and conditioning coach Ted Rath about him and Ted had nothing but great things to say. Got a chance after he signed to talk to Spencer about everything as well.
Congratulations and Good Luck you have damn sure earned your opportunity!! Sure am proud of you.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
"No citizen has a right to just be an amateur in the matter of physical training; what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable"
Greek Philosopher Socrates (469-399 BC)
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
picture is copyright protected and property of Ed Cosner and may not be reproduced without written permission.
A couple of weekends ago I attended a Hammer Strength Clinic here in Houston at Klein High School (which ain't all that far from my gym). As always it was a great clinic with awesome speakers and in the audience coaches that care enough to give up a Saturday to get better and in turn make their athletes better!! Back when I first joined the NSCA we had several State Clinics that were awesome. Small and very personable where you could not only listen to the speaker but interact with them as well. My first one a very long time ago I was talking to some of the greatest strength coaches around and around noon we broke for lunch and since I was not at their level of coaching(YET) I assumed that I would be going to lunch alone when Mike Clark of Texas A&M looked at me and said "hey...you coming?!" To me THAT is what is missing from the NSCA but they are working hard to improve but I'll tell you right now....it is going to be hard to beat a HAMMER STRENGTH CLINIC.
They had several great speakers but the highlight of the cinic was having a couple very good and successful coaches speaking. What a treat to have Kevin Yoxall of Auburn University!! He gave a great talk on structure of a training program with quite a bit of information as I filled up a couple of sheets of paper while listening. I also realized that I have always been doing things the right was in terms of my coaching programs. I had a chance to talk to him for a few hours and found that we have traveled parallel lives right here in Texas though powerlifting all the was back to 1983 and in coaching. He referred several times in his talk to strength & power athletes which is what I specialize in developing here at PowerSport Strength and Conditioning!! Texas State's Blake Cundif and University of Houston's Antwan Floyd both gave riveting talks that I throughly enjoyed and got plenty of information from.
Guess there is something to be said about hard work and passion as a way to achieve you dreams...tell me again what excuse you have to not achieveing your dreams!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES.
A couple of years ago at a NSCA Conference Coach Boyd Epley, the Founder of the NSCA, stopped in front of me and told me "way to look the part Coach"!! Ben Franks tells me that it is how he saw me as well when I visited the Crusaders training camp in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2006. When we talk training and sometimes get to train together and he mentions how important it is to him and others that I don't just "talk the talk" but I "walk the walk"!! However with that said during a Sports Management class at UTSA we had a speaker that was a "higher up manager" at a chain of fitness centers and when I was introduced to her the first thing she remarked was calling me a "meathead". Now that term doesn't bother me as it's been said so many times to describe me but it did bother my professor Dr. Taylor who explained to her that I was not in any way a meathead!! (Thanks Dr. Taylor) At that point I realized that while my physical presence is a selling point to my training philosophy I will also have to constantly battle the image that if you're big, strong and muscular then you must not be smart!! That is the further thing from the truth.
Bottom line...if you want your athletes to believe in your training then you better be banging out some training and looking the part!!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
picture is 170 kg snatch grip high pulls at Olympic Gym in San Antonio, TX
Throughout my coaching career I've preached that nothing matters in in training if it doesn't show up on the sports field. That's why I believe the way I do about perfect technique in ALL aspects of the training. This weekend during the Hurricanes game against the Blues Ben Franks once again proved that the training we are doing WORKS!!! Nice to get more proof that the training is doing it's job. I believe it is always a "team" effort, with that I mean the support team, coaching staff and the athlete. Hurricanes' Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Dave "Davie" Gray, myself and Ben stay in constant contact to insure that this is happens.
Told Ben that this combination works: my training + Davie's conditioning + Ben's work ethic & passion = one of the greatest rugby props in the world!!
So here is another example of the training working. During the start of the game Ben had a good hard tackle, one of many but more impressive is him chasing down Frank Halai of the Blues who is arguably one of the quickest wingers in rugby (playing both 15's and 7's)!! This happened at the end of the first half when most props are ready to head in the locker room.
There are no shortcuts or magic bullets and it won't happen over night. It will only happen with SIMPLE...HARD...BASIC TRAINING!! NO FANCY BULL#*$T...JUST HARD WORK!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES!!
Well the weekend has come and gone and left Sally and myself completely wiped out!! The games were another huge success. It's crazy as I look back at the transformation of these games I took over as Athletic Director in 2004 and see that not only has the number of athletes increased but the distances and heights thrown have gone off the charts. All I have to do is go back though the NASGA site where the database goes way back and look...it's amazing. Every time I go and throw in a game, no matter where it is I am proudly promoting the San Antonio Highland Games working on making it a premier game in the US and the World. We've had competitors come from all over the US, Canada, Switzerland, and Japan!! We've had kids as young as 14 out there...guys as old as our hero Dean Ross who is over 70 and still kicking ass!!! We've got men and women out there putting on a show while throwing in 9 different events over 6-8 hours of competition. We've had Field Records shattered and National and World Records broken.
While these athletes are out there working hard, I have a support staff working even harder to make sure this "organized chaos" looks like it's all going according to plan. First is my sweetheart and love of my life Sally who is my official scorer as well as my problem solver and my do anything I need, even if I don't ask so nicely!! Helping her is her awesome sister Sandra, David Anderson and her friend Christina. It's not easy keeping the scorer tent operations going smoothly as they go back over the score sheets from the judges trying to read the writing and wondering if the judge had the pen in between their teeth when they wrote the scores in!!! Then they log all of the distances/heights and placing on the master sheet all the while they've got athletes coming up to ask what their scores are (which is a thorn in my side to put it nicely). Next is my awesome association president Jenny May-Dennis. I'm telling you there is not enough room here to list all of the hard work and thankless hours this lady puts in to make these games the success they have become!! I can't forget Lisa McQuade who makes sure I have all the volunteers I need to run my area and Terrah Shaw who is always checking on us to make sure we have all we need....like my daily COKE!!! There are so many that make up the San Antonio Highland Games association that work tirelessly behind the scenes to put on this event!!! We were rewarded with the largest crowd we've ever had.....CLAP...CLAP...CLAP as I give a standing ovation to all that make these games possible.
I don't want to forget the companies that help athletics out as well!!! OZ Highland Farms who keeps my judges and me fed (that's really important). Larry Brock's Tacky, Professional Highland Games World Champion Matt Vincent, IronMind and Titan Support who I get my awards from and they always include extras for the athletes.
See you all next year as I celebrate my 10th year as Athletic Director. April 5 & 6, 2014
Well it is that time of year for the San Antonio Highland Games. Head out to the Helotes Fairgrounds and cheer on these athletes. We've got some of the best men and women in the world getting after it.
Saturday will have Masters World Champion and former NFL player Mike Baab, Masters World Champion and oldest Professional Highland Games competitor Mike Dickens, Masters World Champion Dean Ross at the age of 70+ still on the field competing!!! Anthony Lordi traveling from Switzerland to compete as well as many others in the Masters Class. The Women's class will have Brittney Boswell fresh off competing in her first Women's World Championship last weekend.
Sunday will have the Amateur Classes doing battle to see who's the best!! There are 3 levels of amateur then our Novice Class which is the beginner class.
These athletes will compete in 7-9 events depending on their level.
It is always a fun and exciting time for the whole family!! Come on out and cheer them on and visit the entire festival with fun, food, music, and shopping.
Check out this video of Mike Dickens throwing!! Think you're STRONG...Think you're POWERFUL....come give the Highland Games a try!!!
Some time ago I posted a picture and a blog about our in-season strength training and while most of the responses I recieved were great I had a few of the normal BS comments like; just how strong do you have to be, I don't need to be that strong to be successful, he didn't squat deep enough and a couple more. Watch the video from 3 News in New Zealand of Ben's try score against the Highlanders and tell me again that you don't you need to be strong or that you are strong enough already. Ben's score starts at the :15 second mark and watch him destroy the Highlander trying to tackle him at at :20 second mark. Pure Strength and Power!!! So now ask yourself does your training stand up to this test??
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES (it's a way of living your life not just a saying)
And some thoughts on Strength Training for Basketball. Today Sally and I went over to Memorial Park to do a little running!! That's right after all I've been though with my infections and surgeries the last year+, I've finally been cleared to do a little running to strengthen up my Achilles (or lack of) and heart. I have to say that it went better than I had expected!!
When we had finished I saw one of my favorite NBA players from long ago. Think I scared the crap out of him when I got out of the car to say hello!! Clyde "The Glide" Drexler I met him and a couple of other Portland Trail Blazers way back during the 1989-90 NBA Championships while I was training David Greenwood, a member of the Detroit Pistons, who would go on to beat the Blazers!! I was blessed 10 years later to coach 2 of those Blazers' players Jerome Kersey and Terry Porter.
Well during the conversation of guys we both knew we spoke on the importance of strength training in basketball...WHAT YOU SAY!! A player from that era who understands the importance of strength in basketball?? Well he does and spoke to me about the program that was at University of Houston where he played his college ball. Clyde has his degree in Kinesiology so we speak the same language and he told me the importance of "putting up" some shots after strength work to get the muscle memory back and how crappy the first shots (sometimes all of them) would be!! I told him that I learned that from David Greenwood way back when I met him in 1987 and it's always stuck with me.
So I began to think of the path of acceptance of proper strength training for basketball. When I first met David Greenwood at the gym and on the track where he approached me about training him. He explained that when he played at UCLA John Wooden forbid the players from weight training that it would make them "muscle bound". Of course this was back in the late 70's so....I thought about when I was with the Spurs and was stretching Jaren Jackson who played at Georgetown and his old coach John Thompson, who was doing the TV broadcast remarked how much flexibility work we were doing. I asked him how much they concentrated on strength and flexibility during his tenure at Georgetown and his answer suprised the hell out of me...NONE he says!! WOW I said!! How about during the 1999 NBA Championships Jeremy Schaap from ESPN comes over to me as I'm sitting before practice watching the media frenzy that is the NBA Finals and he sticks his microphone and camera in my face and begins to tell me how NY Knicks Coach Jeff VanGundy says too many basketball players are spending too much time in the weightroom and not enough time working on fundamental skills of course I answer...."You've got to be kidding me...what a dumbass!!" I then do my schpeal about the importance of strength training as well as the importance of skill work but I look at Jeremy and say...."what do I know I'm just the assistant, let's see what my boss says" and Brungy says the exact same thing!! Of course you never saw that interview because Spurs Head Coach Greg "Pop" Popovich saw myself and Brungy being interviewed and sent Media Director Tom James over to cut that interview off...haha!! He asked us what was going on over there and I told him....and being Pop he quickly forbid either of us to talk to any media!!! I complained it was my one shot at greatness and he stole it from me!! Of course I can't say what he told me in response!! ;-) I also told Clyde about how I once asked Houston Rockets Head Coach Rudy Tomjanovich what he thought of strength training in basketball as I was having some difficulties at UTSA getting guys to believe in what I was doing and he told me that if they didn't believe in strength training that they would never see his level and he then introduced me to Robert Barr his Strength Coach. That has always stayed with me as well.
Bottom line....there are some old NBA players out there that were instrumental in paving the way for the acceptance of Strength Training in Basketball. I've been around long enough to see the transformation. Unfortunately, now most NBA basketball strength programs are a joke having lost sight of the real purpose of why they are there. Maybe we'll explore that next!!
My thanks to guys like Clyde Drexler, David Greenwood, Karl "The Mailman" Malone, and Kobe Bryant to name a few. If not for them I would not have had the experience of a lifetime as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach in the NBA!!
Train Hard...Play Harder...NO EXCUSES
Today started as most of my days...in the weightroom!! The players have seen me the past couple days and they've introduced themselves and talked to me, a couple of them were with the Crusaders and remember me from my visit for training camp in 2006. I was officially introduced and welcomed and allowed to sit in on team meetings. We headed to the rugby pitch and the training session started off with one my favorite parts of a rugby match...the scrum!! I watched from the best advantage points I could, took video and pictures so I can study the body positions, strength/power requirements and very importantly the physical breakdown of the scrum so I can best design training programs for this important part of a rugby match. Was even more fun when I was put on the scrum machine as the boys worked hard. Being right over the front row looking down from my advantage point was an education for sure!! During lunch Ben and I talked about other the roles that the prop plays during rugby games but also the common injuries that happen as well. It's important to understand the common injuries associated with not only the sport but the different positions. I have some great ideas rattling around in my head for sure!!!
Hurricanes working on the scrum. I am fascinated by the biomechanics here.