Monday, August 30, 2010

FPT Newsletter - September 1st, 2010

August Featured Athlete - Hannah Locke 

Hannah "Why is Green taking my picture?" Locke
Hannah started training at FPT in April to improve her basketball game and has been a regular fixture on Tuesdays and Thursdays ever since! At the start of her training, she posted the following numbers during testing. 

Vertical Jump - 14 inches
Broad Jump - 61 inches
Push Ups - 8 reps  

After 5 months of dedicated training, she just recently posted the following improvements...

Vertical Jump - 15.5 inches
Broad Jump - 67 inches
Push Ups -12 reps 

In addition to making these great improvements and being an extremely hard worker, Hannah has been a great "junior coach", never hesitating to demonstrate an exercise for me or help other athletes who are working out at the same time. 


The "List"  
Rob Parker (Baylor School) - 6th & 7th in shot and discuss at USATF Junior Nationals!
Erica Tuck (Fury Gold) - Committed to play softball at Tenn. Tech!
Fury 95 - 7th place at ASA U14 Nationals!
Fury 96 - 9th place at ASA U15 Nationals!
Kalyn Helton (Red Bank HS)- Committed to play volleyball at UT-Knoxville! 
Shelby Willard (Central HS) - 20lbs Squat PR over last year!

Gunshow of the Month
"I am Kim - hear me roar!"

Training Pic of the Month
Shelby Willard High Steppin'

Bonus Pic!
It took 2 years but we broke our first med ball!

Video of the Month
Check out the Old Timers doing Kettlebell swings!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Eric Cressey on Steven Strasburg & his injury!

Great article on why pitchers need to take care of themselves, rest, and lift in the off season! If you a pitcher you should definitely read this article!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Softball Pitcher Training Files: Don't #1

I have a confession to make - I have become a bit of a softball pitching performance geek in the past year. I used to get really into speed training with my athletes but that has gotten to be fairly routine for me. I can teach a kid to run better/faster without too much thought or trouble. However, there is something oddly fascinating to me about training softball pitchers. Perhaps it is the unusual throwing motion involved or the heavy workloads they endure in order to master their craft or their often kooky personalities. Realistically, it's probably a combination of all three. Simply put, training a softball pitcher (as with a baseball pitcher) requires a lot more thought and effort on the part of a trainer and is infinitely more interesting and challenging. There is so much you can do to help and also hurt a softball pitcher's performance.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of information out there on the special training needs of softball pitchers. Believe me - I have looked. This article series will feature my philosophy on training pitchers that I have developed through a quite a bit of research and the practical observations/experiences that I have made training some of the top high school pitchers in the Chattanooga/North Georgia area as well as countless younger pitchers in my training business. My primary goal is to help improve the general state of performance training for softball pitchers going forward. Enjoy!


...think that Olympic lifts are the ultimate training tool for developing explosive strength and power in pitchers. They can have their place in a well designed and properly supervised training program. However, I can't think of any of the pitchers that I deal with that have programs that satisfy these two critical criteria. I don't have a problem with Olympic lifts at all but rather the high school coaches who continue to have their pitchers perform these lifts with poor technique and/or supervision. It is simply a question risk vs. reward to me.

Ever seen a kid snap a bone in their wrist while catching a clean? I have.

Ever had to help fix a kid that blew their shoulder up doing snatches incorrectly? I have.

Ever seen a kid strain their erectors (low back) doing jerks incorrectly? I have.

If you consider these examples (and there are others reasons that I shy away from Olympics lifts for pitchers that I will deal with in future posts), it isn't hard to see why picking different exercises for pitchers might be a good idea. One bad rep on any of these lifts could shelve a pitcher for a month or two or permanently alter their career.What high school or select softball team can afford that? I know many who can't because they win based on the performance (and ultimately the health) of their pitcher, who is often their stud and main weapon. I have often pondered the risk vs. reward idea when it comes to the Olympic lifts in my programs for pitchers and I haven't been able to justify them in over 5 years. Bottom line - unless you can teach and supervise them correctly, you should probably omit them from your training program altogether.

Here is a list of viable substitutions for Olympic lifts that I have used successfully in many of my training programs for pitchers. They should be fairly easy to implement into the average high school weight program.

Bodyweight Jumps of all types - done correctly they have a huge training effect!
Box Jumps w/ Bodyweight, Box Jumps w/ Belts &Vests
DB Squat Jumps & Lunge Jumps
Maximal & Repetitive Hurdle Jumps
Jump Shrugs (a hang clean w/o the "catch")

Full Disclosure - I used to compete in Olympic weightlifting and have been certified by the USAW to teach the lifts so I have some good perspective on this issue.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brain Food - 8/18/2010

I got backed up a bit in the past week but I am back on the attack...

Got sleep?

Click here for a great blog post on improving sleep quality. As someone who struggles to get good quality sleep himself, this article has lots of great tips on how to maximize snooze time.

Beware the fitness infomercial - they are the devil!

This is a snarky video posted by Consumer Reports on the viability of the Ab Coaster machine and how wonderful it is as an ab "developer". Spoiler - IT SUCKS! You can pretty much lump in any other infomercial fitness product (except P90X) into this category.

Hey let's waste food and money - AWESOME!

I included this article solely for the fact that it bugs me that many people throw out food based on an arbitrary number printed on a package despite it being well known that it is completely arbitrary! To compound this silliness, the numbers are often influenced by government standards. If you follow the industry, the government is not the most reliable source for health and wellness information. If you think it is, you need to get out from under the rock you live under.

Run fattie run! Seriously?!?!

This video, which features Mike Golic "passing" the 300 yd shuttle test that the Redskins' Albert Haynesworth failed three times, is funny to me because it illustrates the circus that surrounded the whole event. I was really surprised at the continuous media coverage of it all - that test is not THAT hard people. I will admit that as a closeted 'Skins fan, Ol' Albert came out looking the fool on this one though. Final strength coach geek thought: Golic didn't really pass it - he kept missing lines! Haha

Some random nutrition tips...

I included this article because of Tip #15, which deals with an interesting idea about following a cheat day with a fast day. I am going to try it one of these days myself. Reader forewarned - some off color language is used in the article.

Coordination in young athletes

This guest blog post by Brian Grasso on Eric Cressey's site was interesting to me because it deals with an under appreciated and poorly understood aspect of performance training for young athletes. Dear youth coaches - it's not always about running, crappy push ups, and sit ups!

Does aspartame cause Parkinson's?

This is an interesting article about the possible link between aspartame (think diet sodas) and Parkinson's disease, using Michael Fox's story as its vehicle. It has a bit of witch hunt/conspiracy theory feel to it but it is definitely interesting.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

FPT is getting a new home!

Here are some pictures of the progress on FPT's new home, which is scheduled to open sometime in the fall!
Week 1 - Demolition!

Brain Food #3 - 8/11/10

Can you do a real "push up"?

Click here for a great video from Eric Cressey on what a correct push up should look like. Trust me - it's way harder than it looks!

Bodyweight as a pitching velocity predictor?

This article, from Eric Cressey again, talks about the correlation he has observed between bodyweight and pitching velocity. His basic premise is that when pitchers maintain their bodyweight (lean body weight not fat weight) they are more consistent in the high end of their velocity range. When they don't (i.e. eating poorly), their velocity falls off and becomes inconsistent. Another great reason to re-tool your eating habits!

Rugby sucks - physiologically speaking that is...

Very cool article describing the typical fitness demands of a high level rugby player - put "rugby fitness" in a whole new perspective for me. Good thing I am pushing the prowler so much these days!

How to tell if an exercise sucks...BODY BLADES RULE!

This article breaks down how to rate a particular exercise for inclusion into your program. This author has a particularly fondness for the Body Blade I think...haha

Organic Meat?

I have never heard of Paul Apple before but he does a great job of breaking down the relative merits of eating "organic" meat. I know, I know - that sounds like an oxymoron but he goes into great detail on what "organic meat" actually is and all of the cost/benefits of the various choices you have. He also talks about organic milk, cheese, and eggs, which are by extension "meat products". Good stuff all around.

Who really has the JUICE?

This article is from the T-Nation archives and discusses the idea that African-Americans are better suited for athletics than other races, particularly sprints, jumps and sports that emphasize these skills (Football & Basketball). The authors back up this often controversial idea with lots of research. I was actually surprised that I had never seen this article before since it was published in 1998!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Brain Food - 8/3/10

What do the "traps" do after all?

The traps are traditionally thought of as the "shrug" muscles (elevators of the shoulder). However, recent studies have shown that these traditional views don't correlate to how the traps really function during shoulder movement, which show the traps assisting in lateral and rotational movements of the shoulder girdle/joint. As Coach Nick points out, this article is really dense with advanced anatomical terms and descriptions so be forewarned!

“An exercise is not deemed functional by the way it looks but by what it produces.”

This is a good article on why powerlifting (squat, deadlift, bench) should be used to train athletes. While I don't think athletes' training programs should dominated by the powerlifting style, there is alot to be said for being strong. #4 is perhaps the best brief description of the value of deadlifting for the athlete that I have read yet. This is why I use deadlift as my preferred lift for my advanced kids instead of the squat.

"Toning" Shoes - Does that sound suspect to anyone?

Another prolific blogger I follow, Bret Contreras, found this article from A.C.E. shredding the idea that toning shoes actually do anything at all. Shame on Joe Montana!

A Critical Review of the "Reverse Hyper" Exercise by Mike Robertson

This article does a great job discussing the practical application (and potential misapplications) of the Reverse Hyper.

Runners Beware?

Some great points from Mike Robertson on why running may be bad for your health (well some people anyways)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Summer Awards at FPT

Jackie Baird - Summer Deadlift Champion (265lbs)

Kalyn Helton - 1st FPT athlete to touch 10 ft

Danielle Moore - Summer "Stud" Award (Red Bank H.S.) 

Allie Jennings - Summer "Stud" Award (Signal Moutain H.S.)

August's Featured Athlete at FPT

This month's honor goes to Kara Headrick - a freshman at S.E. Whitfield.
To read more about her - Click Here