27 October, 2002

New Coach Seeks Information

"This is a business of breaking hearts." -John Gagliardi, Head Football Coach at St. John's University on putting together the travel list each week
I am the head football coach at Andover HS in Andover, MN. We opened our HS this fall and were just able to get our weightroom running about three weeks ago. The coach that was originally hired used the HIT program before and ordered all Hammer Strength and Nautilus equipment. Since my background was not in this type of program, I am looking for as much assistance as possible.

I am hoping to get information on lifting cycles and protocols. Please point me in the right direction with any information you might have.

Rich Wilkie
Andover High School Football

First, congratulations on the new job. Secondly, it shows an amazing amount of maturity on your part in being willing to learn.

We would love to be of any assistance we could in this situation. Being in Minnesota is your first advantage. You should contact any of the following people and get a first hand look at what they are doing in their weight rooms. I believe Coach Carlson is the strength coach at Chaska High School and his brother Luke is at Blaine High School. Either way I know both of those school train with HIT. Shakopee, Coon Rapids, Buffalo and Richfield also use HIT. Coach Kyle Inforzato is at Richfield, I believe, and would be very helpful. Coach Wetzal with the Vikings would also be a great guy to visit with as he runs a HIT style program at the pro-level.

I am aware of 2 videos that I have seen on sale through Championship Video that were produced by Ken Mannie and another by University of Detroit Mercy Strength Coach Jim Kielbaso. They would be excellent resources to use. Matt Bryzcki's book "A Practical Approach to Strength Training" is a great resource especially as an introduction to the philosophy.

We offer a training manual and video that would at the very least give you something tangible to use with your kids. In a nutshell we encourage coaches to teach their athletes to train to muscular failure in 1 set of each exercise. We emphasize lowering the weight slowly and under control with continued movement throughout the lift. We discourage the use of any momentum as we feel it 1) takes the stress off of the working muscle and 2) could be dangerous.

Depending on who you talk to various movements will be recommended. There of course is no "right" number or certain movements that should be used. We recommend a protocol that hits all of the muscle groups while also being time efficient.

I am of course not doing justice to the philosophy or the what's and why's but this should give you an idea. Look around for strength clinics this winter and spring. We came up to the Strength and Science Seminar last February at Blaine High School. Scott Savor, who is now the strength coach at Mercy-Detroit (I think) hosted that clinic.

We are thinking about hosting a clinic an Kansas City this Spring. My point being that you could find great information at something of that sort. A word of caution. Now that you are open to learning about this philosophy of training, do not let others discourage you from learning as much as you can about it. I coach football too. I used BFS for years with my teams. I just feel that I've found a safer, better way that I am comfortable with. Other football coaches think I'm crazy but it's their loss as far as I'm concerned.

Coach, please feel free to write back with any other questions. There is a lot of information out there on HIT training for football and athletics. You can start with our past articles or the resources I mentioned earlier. Contact those schools in your area and go check out what they are doing.

Good Luck,

Sam Knopik

08 October, 2002

Stronger Athletes: Future Strength Coach

"Football players should not do the Olympic lifts. The safety issue is not with the lifts however; the problem is with the generation of coaches who grew up in the Arthur Jones/Nautilus era. These coaches have neither the time nor the coaching ability to teach 85 players the Olympic lifts. These coaches have never learned how to stand on their own two feet, pick a weight off the ground and put it over their head." -Lincoln Brigham, a Olympic Lifting advocate, making a wonderful observation about the relationship between effective coaching and picking up a weight with both feet on the ground then putting it over their head.
A young man from Kansas recently wrote to us asking for help in a class project. Looking at coaching through his eyes has reawakened our own desires to be great coaches.

Dear Coach Rody,
I am a student at Chase High School in Chase, Kansas. I read about you on your web page, and it sounds like you know what you are talking about. We are doing a English assignment and I picked football. So I was supposed to interview a coach and I picked you.

I have a few questions that I would like to ask you.

*What would you have to say to young kids coming into High School football that aren't quite as strong as they could be?

If he is an incoming freshman, I would tell him that he should get on a productive strength training program so that he would have an opportunity to be competitive as a Varsity player. The program must be approved by his doctor. Also, I would tell him to develop the skills of the position he would like to play to become as efficient as possible and this will help him to be competitive as an underclassman until the necessary strength can be developed. Good technique at his position is crucial to be an effective player.
* What is the importance of weight lifting while playing football?

Strength training will prevent injuries. This is the number one reason why an athlete should lift weights. Next, increases in strength will enable the player to become more powerful and explosive in the skills at his position.
* What age should Kids start to lift?

The coach, parents, and the athletes doctor/trainer need to be comfortable with the age to begin lifting. Certainly when starting any weight training program, one needs to lift lighter for a higher amount of repetitions in order to develop efficient neuromuscular pathways in performing the exercises. Perfect form is crucial so the athlete will not get injured.
* Should High School kids use any type of weight gainer or muscle mass supplements?

I do not think it is necessary to take any supplementation other than vitamins and minerals if they do not have a balance diet. Getting with their trainer/doctor for the type of vitamin and minerals would be suggested. Most supplements that you find in the health food stores are not necessary and are a waste of money. There is no miracle pill that can replace smart training. What I mean by smart is knowing how to lift, how frequent you should train, etc...
* What would you tell a High School Grad that wants to be a coach?

Coaching is a great and very rewarding profession. A good coach will teach his athletes about hard work, how to work with others effectively, and about other aspects of life in general.

Best wishes and good luck on your paper! -Coach Rody
Well I would personally like to think you for you time and I hope you write back with some answers. And keep up the good work on you web page.

Nick W.

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