Archive | December, 2010

Reactive Non-Linear Acceleration Drills

30 Dec

Other than track and field events are there any sports that involve acceleration in only one direction? If you use your brain for a half a second you’ll realize the answer is no. So why do so many of us train our athletes to accelerate and react like sprinters? Sure good acceleration mechanics are universal but acceleration in the field of play is multi-directional, chaotic and reactive and should be trained in such a manner.

Dave Rak and I threw together an advanced ball drop drill this past week to work on multi-directional acceleration and reactivity. For those of you who don’t know what a traditional ball drop drill is, here is a video explaining it.

This is a great example of a basic acceleration drill to teach good acceleration mechanics. After this drill has been mastered though, it has limited carry over to sport.  We need to be able to accelerate while changing directions and react to the flow of the game around us. To advance this drill Dave and I combined the Lateral Shuffle or 1-2 Stick Drill and the Traditional Ball Drop Drill. This involves a quick lateral shuffle around a set of cones immediately followed by a linear ball drop. Performing the drill in this manner allows for a change of direction component. To further advance the drill Dave and I no longer dropped the ball straight ahead. We began tossing the ball in various directions to force the athlete performing this drill to react to the ball and accelerate in multiple planes. Check out the video below.

Remember this is a more advanced acceleration drill. Basic starting and sprinting mechanics should be taught before incorporating this drill. The progression should be as follows: linear acceleration > multi-directional acceleration >reactive multi-directional acceleration.

Smitty from The Diesel Crew has a really cool progression for reactivity that I got to try out first hand at one of his seminars. Smitty has his athletes perform ball drop drills to train both audible and visual reactivity . I really liked these drills. You can check them out in the video below.


Goal Solutions, Not Resolutions

23 Dec

‎”New Year’s resolutions are for losers. Just live the life you want and reach goals all the time. End of story.” – Jim Wendler


Better Than The Average Corny Motivational Poster



I just saw this quote on Facebook when I sat down to write this article and it could not have been more perfect. I hate the idea of “New Years Resolutions.” Declaring your half-assed intent to change to your friends during a New Years Eve toast is worthless. Studies show only 12% of New Years resolutions are ever achieved. More often than not these shallow vows to change are not followed up with action and are forgotten altogether.

After all this pessimism I’ll confess I do believe goal setting is necessary for success. Why though, do so many of us wait till December 31st to set our goals. We should be setting goals all of the time. Daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, yearly goals whatever you need to do to achieve what you want. However, if you are setting your year-long goals on December 31st I want to show you the right way to do it.

Don’t make a bullshit statement like “I’m going to lose weight” or “I will stop smoking.” These are non-specific and hold no power for change. Sit down and think for more than a half a second.  Make a specific outcome goal that can be measured and set a finite amount of time to get it done. For example “I will lose 25 lbs by April 31st.” Find something that you really want to do and commit fully. Realize there will be sacrifices and sometimes the path to your ultimate goal is really going to suck but it is something you will have to deal with. Ask yourself what your willing to sacrifice and be honest.

Now that you have a goal you need a plan. Making a steadfast commitment to reaching goals is somewhere to start. Daily perseverance and well thought out plan for change is what makes a difference. Making a plan requires coordinated behaviors that will bring you to your outcome. Think about what is required to reach your goal. Does your behavior need to change? Your environment? What is your weakest link? Make a list of everything that is holding you back from your goal. Pick your weakest link and attack it first. You may need to set mini-goals along the way. For example if your goals is weight loss but you eat like crap and don’t workout then you need to set some process goals in order to lose that fat. You may want to set a goal of eating two clean meals a day and consistently going to the gym twice a week to start. After you can consistently perform this behavior up the ante and reevaluate your list of weaknesses. Follow this process until you reach your goals.

Plans are necessary but attitude and commitment make the difference. The book Today Matters was given to me as a gift from Mike Boyle. I can truly say that this book was a real life changer. Author John Maxwell provides a complete guide life fulfillment through his 12 principles of success, and they really work! The two principles that stood out the most to me for goal setting is attitude and commitment.

To reach your goals you must set the correct attitude. John Wooden said “Attitude will not take care to itself you must attend to it daily” This is couldn’t be more true. Everyday when you wake up set a positive attitude and commit to completing a behavior that will bring you closer to reaching your goals. Your commitment to your goals requires prioritizing ones life and following through with tenacity. Everyday there must be a consistent effort. If you re-approach small goals everyday then outcome will seem less daunting, it is nothing more than a matter of consistency. “ Nothing is easier than saying words. Nothing is harder than living them day after day”. – Arthur Gordon


A Couple Cool Core Exercises

20 Dec

Another busy week for me at the facility. This has meant less blogging. I have to get better at this and write more blogs ahead of time. I’m gonna go ahead and hold myself to posting 3 times a week from here on out. In addition to this last night I had an epic tailgate/night at the Patriots game as we eeked out yet another a win against the Green Bay Packers. The Pats are 12-2, Tom Brady is unstoppable so in celebration it’s time to cue up the Giselle  dance party!

Whewww! Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. Now lets get to the core exercises.

Here are a couple core exercises I’ve been doing lately that I really like.

Feet Elevated Bodysaw with 12″ Box and Slide board

I think this anti-extension variation is a superior progression to the Bodysaw with the feet elevated in the TRX Suspension Trainer. The friction of the box on the slide board makes the exercise more challenging than the TRX without all of the side to side instability of the TRX. Props to Ben Bruno for filming check out his Bodysaw variations here.

Suitcase/Waiter Carry Combo

The combination waiter carry and suitcase carry provides a great challenge to cross-body stability. The overhead carry provides a challenge to shoulder  and oblique stability while the suitcase carry challenges the stability of the opposite side hip and obliques. We know from Anatomy Trains that fascial lines link the hips and shoulders contralaterally. It makes sense to me then to train the core following functional fascial patterns.

2010 AAU Big Iron Christmas Challenge

13 Dec


This past weekend I competed in my second ever powerlifting event with my friend and co-worker/boss Steve Bunker. We headed down to the Holiday Inn in Rockland, Massachusetts early Sunday morning to get weighed in. Mind you this was the morning after the MBSC Holiday Party so we had to be good boys and go to bed early and not drink the night before. Ahh, the sacrifices we make for strength. Luckily, I was easily making weight at  198 so I pigged out on all the great food. I weighed in at 87.5 kilos which equals out to 192.5 lbs for all you mathematically impaired. Steve or “Bunk” as I will refer to him form here on out competed in the Masters division as he can still bring it over 50 years old. Bunk back squatted, benched and dead lifted qualifying him for the full power competition. I chose only to compete in the push/pull portion as I had not been training the back squat. After meeting some other friendly and certainly interesting competitors the meet got under way at 9:30 AM.

Continue reading

Laying The Groundwork

10 Dec

To build any major structure a foundation needs to be laid. Holes dug, concrete poured, frame built, time needs to be spent on all of these jobs before the siding is up and the interior of the house is fashioned. The same basic premise can be followed when becoming a coach in the strength and conditioning field. Your time building your foundation in this field is everything. A solid base for professional growth requires underpinning knowledge in kinesiology as well as some extensive hands on experience in the gym. Personally, I am still constructing my strength and conditioning skyscraper but I’ve got the blueprints to the build.

Continue reading