Zac Brouillette is HMMR Media’s newest writer. He recently joined the Innovative Athletic Performance Institute in Florida as the Director of Speed, Strength, and Conditioning. Prior to that he worked as the Director of Sports Performance at Ohio University. But, most importantly, he was a hammer thrower in college. Now he is taking that background and applying it to athletes in a multitude of sports. To start out with, I thought it would be helpful to have Zac answer a few questions to learn about his background, his viewpoint, and his experiences.
About Zac Brouillette
Zac Brouillette currently serves as the Director of Speed, Strength, and Conditioning at the Innovative Athletic Performance Institute (IAP) in Ocala, Florida. He previously worked at the Director of Sports Performance at Ohio University and as an assistant strength coach at Iowa State University. As an athlete, Brouilette was a member of both the track and football teams at Iowa State, where he set the school record in the hammer throw.
As many of you know, I have recently decided to leave Ohio University and have accepted a full-time position in the private training sector. This was a very difficult decision, but one that I feel will help me continue to grow and develop while sharpening my tools as a strength and conditioning professional. The organization I will be going to work for is the Innovative Athletic Performance Institute in Ocala, Florida. This is not just another private training facility, it is an all encompassing high performance training facility that will feature elite medical care and elite performance training under one roof.
It’s that time of the year where summer training programs are winding down and Strength and Conditioning Coaches throughout the country are looking back at their summer training session and hopefully critiquing areas that worked well and other exercises, drills, etc, that didn’t work so well. When recently working on a recap of my summer training programs I thought of a catchy little 3 word phrase that represents what I try and do at the end of any long training block. These 3 words are ACCEPT, ADAPT, APPLY.
Developmental athletes and their coaches are continually searching for new approaches in training that will help them actualize their potentials. Endless reviews of training formats used by current world class athletes reveal time tested approaches on running workouts, weight training inventories, and skill technique drills. A recent emphasis has been placed on another type of training known as “plyometrics”or jump training. This method takes advantage of deficiencies that we have in trying to develop parameters such as muscle endurance, muscle development, and neuromuscular development.
Most people don’t know it, but I used to be a chubby kid. Like a 28% body fat, husky-jean wearing chubby kid. I used to be that kid that wore his t-shirt in the pool (like I was fooling anyone…) and a big highlight of my summer was defending my championship in the big splash contest at the local pool. Then, one random day in 7th grade P.E., we had the local performance academy guys bring some weights to our school and as cheesy as it sounds, my life was changed forever. I instantly fell in love with lifting weights and I used this new love of strength training to combat my bad diet for a few years, but it wasn’t until my last couple years in high school that I really dove into nutrition and began to see my body really change. My first day of college football in August 2004, I weighed in at 204lbs and 7.6% body fat. To this day, I still maintain a body fat between 8-12% at a body weight of 240-250lbs.
Today I will continue my second post in a series of blog posts related to Coach Dan Pfaff and his unique training methods. I have recently watched many of his presentations and clinic files and have paired that with the knowledge I gained while using Coach Pfaff’s training style in my collegiate throwing career as an All-Big 12 Hammer Thrower and Shot Putter, to write articles reflecting training tools I feel could be beneficial to the strength and conditioning community.
As most people reading this know, I work full-time as a collegiate strength and conditioning coach at Division I Ohio University. I have the luxury of working with hundreds of male and female athlete’s on a daily basis with one common goal: Increased athletic performance. For me, one of the hardest parts of my job is trying to educate coaches and athletes that simply coming in and lifting weights is not a guarantee you will be a better athlete. Gaining strength can help improve your overall athleticism, but it likely won’t do much to enhance your sport specific skill set. One of my biggest pet-peeves is when an athlete with sub-par sport specific skills devotes all of their off-season down time to the weight room and is never seen on the field, court, or arena working to improve the sport specific skill areas they clearly lack.
I recently purchased a couple Dan Pfaff seminars online and wanted to narrate some of his training ideas into a series of blog posts. If you have read any of my prior blog posts you know Coach Pfaff had a strong influence on my training program as a thrower in college while I was training under throws coach John Dagata at Iowa State (Coach Dagata is now the Jumps coach at Oklahoma). While training under some of Coach Pfaff’s principles, I saw my speed, strength, and explosive power reach levels I would have never dreamed of achieving a few years earlier. As a drug-free collegiate athlete I possessed a 38.5? standing vertical jump, a 10’9” standing broad jump and a sub 4.7s laser 40yd dash at 255lbs and 9-11% body fat. Near the end of my senior year I could dunk a 16lb shot put from a stand still with ease. All of these feats were achieved after approximately 24 months of rigorous training following many of Coach Pfaff’s principles, as implemented by Coach John Dagata.
One of the biggest challenges strength and conditioning professionals face is how to organize their training blocks. These “blocks” are often referred to as Macro cycles, Meso cycles, and Micro cycles, but if you are like me, when you see or hear those terms you have to pull out the NSCA text-book to get a quick refresher of what exactly these terms represent again. For the sake of simplicity, I refer to them as the Annual Block, the Specific Block, the Weekly Block, and the Daily Block.
The following information will layout the yearly training program we implement with the Ohio Men’s Basketball team. We rank training variables by order of importance from 1-5, with 1 being of little importance, and 5 being very important. Each time of the year has different demands and we train for them accordingly.