Tag Archives: learning

Reading List

26 Jan

Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve been tackling  recently:




Great piece of work by University of Minnesota strength coach Cal Dietz. This isn’t a book about a ‘training program’. Although Dietz includes tons of specific workouts and training cycles that he uses with his athletes, the core of the book is the fundamental principle of training all 3 distinct phases of muscle contraction. TONS of great info, easy to read, and easy to apply.




I got my Speed manual and DVD in the mail this week. I was able to finish the manual the day I got it, not because it’s short on info, but because its to the point and easy to read. Lots of progressions, templates, and drills to work with. Even if you know nothing about speed development this is a great place to start. Joe D, Mike Guadango, and Smitty came through again. If you missed my interview with Guadango you can check it out here: https://thestrengthcircle.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/mike-guadango-interview/




I have nightmares about Dr. Bondarchuk. This book haunts me. I’ve taken it upon myself to learn from the Russian manuals and I kind of hate myself for the challenge. I have to look up every other word and read every paragraph 3 or 4 times just to get a vague understanding of what the hell is being discussed. So far this is probably the most difficult of any of the Russian texts I’ve read. These guys are smarter than hell though, and I want to know what they know. I’m sure I’ll have to read this 2 or 3 times to really appreciate the information. And then there’s volume II…




This actually just came in the mail today so I haven’t really dug into it yet. It’s essentially a hyper-focused anatomy text book so I’m sure it won’t be a real page turner, but a lot of smart people have suggested it as one of the most valuable resources available. Not much else to say here.




Another one that I just cracked open. The other newell strength coaches and I will be reading this together, Oprah Winfrey book club style. I read the first chapter and it was enough to get me interested. The more success/self development type books you read the more you realize they all kind of say the same things. Hard work, consistency, belief, etc… It all boils down to the fact that success is SIMPLE but not EASY. There’s a big difference.


Go learn something.


Winning, and the Mind of a Child

26 Jul

We’ve been working with several local little league teams at the gym for the past few weeks. These kids range from about 9-12 years old, so the majority of what we do is just developing balance, coordination, and a capacity to move their own bodies. One thing I’ve noticed though is how all the coaches can’t wait to tell me about the tournaments the team just won, how many scoreless innings Timmy just threw, etc. The only thought going through my head the entire time is, “Who really gives a crap?”

Let’s take a step back and think about our own experiences as young athletes. Do you remember how many touchdowns you scored in Pop Warner? How many bases you stole for your little league team? How many tournament trophies you won with your AAU traveling team? Does any of it really matter 10 years down the road? No.

I’m a big fan of Brian Grasso’s philosophies on training young athletes. One of his major beliefs is that youth coaches need to be able to take a long-term approach to developing athletes. Maybe your team won 20 games this year, but how many kids on your team can do 10 perfect push ups? How many of them know how to RUN correctly? From what I’ve seen over the past month these numbers are staggeringly low.

We need to prepare young athletes for the FUTURE, not the present. It is our job as sport and strength coaches to make sure these kids are learning life long physical skills, not just quick fixes that might help them win next week’s championship. Encourage improvement, and let that be the motivating factor for kids instead of overall success. Allow them to learn, think creatively, and above everything else…HAVE FUN.

Can we please stop acting like the Little League World Series actually means anything?


10 Jun

Push yourself to learn something new every single day. This might sound like a daunting task to some people, but “something” could be as simple as one idea or even one sentence that sticks in your mind and teaches you something new. It doesn’t sound like very much, but try it for a month straight and all of a sudden you just learned 30 new things. Try it for two months, that’s 60 new ideas. Things start to add up quickly. For a great analogy that reinforces this point, check out this article on EliteFTS.com:  http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/training-articles/the-red-drop-theory-and-talking-to-nine-year-olds/

Think about your job. You didn’t wake up one day, say “I want to be _______,” and then go get that job right away. You spent years in school learning about how the job works, hopefully put in hours of your own time, and now that you have that job you probably still spend time keeping up with new information and trying to stay ahead of the curve.

The same principle applies with training. You can’t wake up one morning and decide, “I want to lose weight,” or “I want to get stronger” and expect these things to happen without investing your time both in and out of the gym. I’m not asking you to become the next Louie Simmons and be a walking encyclopedia of training information. I’m asking you to learn one thing, anything, each day that will help you get closer to your goal.

Ron Burgundy owned many leather bound books, and he was the best news anchor in America.

After we closed up the gym last night, Kyle and I spent a few minutes talking in the parking lot. One thing he told me that stuck in my mind was that every person who lives in a house worth $500,000 or more has a library. No, it’s not because they like to show off their vast collection of leather bound books. It’s because they were hungry to learn. They wanted to be the best at what they did so they went out and got those books and read every damn one of them.

Learn or get left behind.



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