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.
So one of my favorite football players I've ever trained signed a free agent contract with the New York Jets!! A HUGE congratulations to DE Spencer Nealy who went from preferred walk on at Texas A&M to scholarship athlete to now the NFL!! This kid works hard and believes in himself and that you can defiantly see in the way he played at A&M and the way he'll play with the Jets.
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!!
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!!
There is a picture of me training from before my injury on my Facebook page that for some reason started to get some attention today and it made me stop and think about the importance of "looking the part" of a Strength and Power Development Coach. I've always believed that it helps me "sell my training" when I look like my training works. Maybe it's not right but it's a simple fact that before I ever talk to an athlete about my training philosophy, education, or certifications they are looking at me thinking if my training is right for them or not and whether I look like it's working or not....the way you look says a lot!!
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
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