Some ideas on how to approach velocity-based training

Earlier this month Martin wrote about using different training variable like time. Velocity-based training (VBT), i.e. how much time it takes to move a load, is a central part of our training at Notre Dame High School. It’s not just about the load you move, it’s about how you move it. Throughout my years of coaching, a number of different training concepts have come and gone. Some have stayed longer than others. Some I have tried, while others I’ve never believed in enough to implement in the first place. But VBT is one trend that has caught my attention and I believe in. I am not the premier expert in this area, but I hope I can introduce you to the concept of VBT, offer a starting point, and present firsthand four ideas on how I’ve used this concept successfully in both team and individual settings. Read more

Technical models, good technique, and finding your style

Around the throws world you hear people talking all the time about how this individual or that individual has “good technique.” What exactly does that mean? Read more

Proficiency through progressions

Some coaches like to do things by feel. I’m not that type of coach. I’m a system guy. I like order and organization. In the weight room that means having a plan. And when I’m teaching technique it means having progressions. To me using progressions is like having a system. Read more

Building a foundation for athletic development

We all have to learn to crawl before we walk, walk before we run, and run before we sprint. Too many times I have seen coaches just throw their athletes into heavy squats, heavy bench, heavy cleans without the athletes being able to handle their own body weight. Movements like pull ups, push ups, bench dips, body weight squats etc. are skipped or neglected to get to the heavy stuff. Read more

The challenge of training over the break

It’s that time of year where young athletes are about to go on vacation. Over the next few weeks, most high school and college athletes will be away from their coaches during the holidays. This can be challenging for the strength coach because athletes are traveling out of town, may not have transportation to a training facility, and may just flat out not be motivated to train over the break partly because their normal schedule is thrown off. For a number of years I have tried many different remedies to counter this break and make sure all the improvements that were made over the course of the fall and part of winter were not lost. Here are my ideas and opinions on how we got the job done. Read more

Creating and implementing template-based training

When becoming an athletic development coach there are many things you have to consider before developing a training plan for the athletes you are working with. These include the amount of athletes you are working with in each session, total number of teams you are working with, and how much time you have for each training session. There are so many things to think about, that it can often become overwhelming to start from scratch each time. This is where templates can come in handy. With useful templates, a coach help make sure they cover all the bases needed in a training session or week. Read more

Force summation through medicine ball training

If you listen to our podcast, you’ll know I love training with medicine balls. The reason I like it so much because a good medicine ball throw requires you to recruit and coordinate forces from the entire body. This is also known as the summation of forces: when all body parts act simultaneously in practice, the strongest and lowest body parts around the center of gravity move first, followed by the weaker, lighter, and faster extremities. This is also known as sequential acceleration and results in successive force summation.

» Related content: Watch Nick demonstrate and explain his favorite medicine ball routines in the HMMR Classroom Lesson 5.

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Training the legs better

Last month on the podcast, Martin and I discussed some of the various training methods we use to target leg strength. As this month’s HMMR Media site theme is “beyond the barbell” it made sense for us to dig a little deeper into the methods we use outside the weight room and what options are available to coaches in this regard. Read more

Where I Failed This Season

No coach at any level ranging from youth to professional ever wants to admit that he failed. However, in order to grow and get better I feel it is necessary. Over the past number of years at Notre Dame High School we have created a reputation of producing throwers year in and year out regardless of the talent we have inherited. It is our expectation that multiple shot putters will make the CIF finals, some will move onto Masters meet, and at least one will qualify for the state meet. And we meet that expectation. Recently we have had four years with at least four throwers over 50’10” in the same season. One season we even had six throwers over that mark. On the woman’s side we have had two girls over 49 feet in the shot as recently as two years ago. We have also had as many of 4 of the top 9 in the CIF finals and 3 of the top 12 in the Masters meet. Read more

Speed Over Tonnage: Is It Worth the Sacrifice?

If you watched Christian McCaffrey at the NFL combine, you couldn’t help but be impressed. He was fast, explosive and agile. But nevertheless he had some critics as his weightlifting numbers were not impressive. Interesting. I know for a fact that Stanford University has employed velocity-based training (VBT) methods with their football athletes in the past. To what extent McCaffrey used VBT I do not know, but whatever combination of methods he used it clearly got him results on the field. Maybe lifting all the weight possible like a weightlifter is not the end-all-be-all to being a top athlete. Read more