Evolution of Strength Training – A Personal Perspective – 51 Years of Experiences (Part One)

I will take a personal approach to the evolution of strength training using my experiences as an athlete and coach who has been involved in strength training since 1963. When I began weight training in 1963, it was not commonly accepted as a method of training, in fact most coaches discouraged weight training. There were concerns that you would become “muscle bound,” tight, that it would slow you down, or it would interfere with you coordination. It was considered acceptable to do hard manual labor to develop muscle, but weight training was frowned upon. With all these thoughts in mind at the end of my junior year in high school we had a guest speaker come to my high school to speak to all the athletes. The speaker was Lynn Hoyem, a backup center for the Dallas Cowboys, who spoke to us about the benefits of weight training. He had gained 50 pounds of lean mass through weight training. He gave us advice as to how to start a program, explained some of the basic physiology of muscle growth and strength gain. He offered tips on how to gain weight, as most of us were football players who were trying to gain weight. It was a very impressive presentation that was very different from we were being told at the time. I knew that if I were going to have any chance of playing college football, my sport of choice at the time, I would have to get stronger and bigger. Read more

The Bowerman Influence

Bill Bowerman had a huge influence on my decision to be a track coach. In the winter of 1968; my senior year in college at Fresno Sate Bowerman came to speak as the featured speaker at the first ever Fresno Sate Track & Field Clinic, he was brought to Fresno by Red Estes, assistant track coach at Fresno State (later to be head coach) who had competed at the University of Oregon under Bowerman. What can I say; Bowerman was Bowerman, passionate, direct to the point, outspoken and strong in his beliefs. Read more

Developing Athletes Introduction

This is the introduction to the book I am working on titled “Developing Athletes.” I thought I would share this with you now as I finally begin writing again after a long interruption. I plan on sharing excerpts as I write. I hope that if you were interested you would send me ideas, input and perspectives that you have on this subject. Other ideas and perspectives will help me make it a better book. Read more

D Day

I guess you would be living in a bubble if you did not know that is the 70th anniversary of D Day. For my generation, the baby boomers, this occasion has special meaning. The people who were our role models, teachers and coaches were men and women who served in WW II. Read more

Vern Gambetta

Give Credit Where Credit is Do – Do The Right Thing

Do the right thing. If you use someone else’s ideas give them credit, giving credit to others does not weaken or diminish your status, in fact it strengthens it. In today’s world with the proliferation of information it is even more necessary. There is no excuse for not knowing, if you think you have an original idea do a Google search and see if someone else has used it. That is not unreasonable. Read more

Where did we lose our way?

6a00e5521cccd0883401a3fd0e236f970b-320wiIn doing research for my new book I have been looking at the decline of physical education in the schools and the effects this has had on the process of developing athletes. When I started teaching in 1969 this was the model program, a famous physical educator and coach Stan LeProtti developed it. This is a boy’s gym class from La Sierra High School Carmichael California circa 1960’s. These are not the athletes this is a gym class! No cup stacking, no heart rate monitors, no machines just education that was physical. It was demanding and competitive, there were five levels of achievement signified by the color trunks that the students earned. Read more

Old Stuff

Yesterday I was going through some old files (Actual paper – Quite analog!) of workouts and training ideas. As systematic as I try to be I could not help asking myself why I had gone away from some of the things I saw there. I was also struck with the thought that some of the stuff that had not worked then would be perfect for a situation I am working with now. Read more

Failure – A viable option?

I find it interesting how popular failure has become. Experts are writing books about how important failure is. There are blog post and comments galore. Hate to say I told so, but I discovered how important failure was over fifty years ago. I was a thirteen-year-old ninth grader and I failed miserably in school. A grade of C was a good grade, heck I could not even take PE maybe my only chance to get above a C because of Osgood Slaughters disease in my knees. Many people wanted to define me as a failure but thank God my parents did not, nor did I. My failure in Math and English drove me. I needed to figure out a way. Read more

Dear Coach

The following are two letters to coaches. They are not actual letters rather they are composites of letters. The first letter is from 1970 to me in my first year coaching, the second letter is from 2013 that a colleague shared with me. Compare and contrast the content and tone of the letters. Read more

Fifty Years Latter

mlkYou would have to live in a cave to not be aware that today is the fiftieth anniversary of the march on Washington. As I reflect back on the last fifty years I am amazed at the progress that we have made as a nation in terms of racial equality. Although we have progressed far as a nation now is the time to take some time to reflect on where we have been, where we are and where we are going. All the attention on the march on Washington can serve as a good contextual framework for all of us to be more accountable as citizens and for us to hold our political leaders accountable. Read more