Slippery Rock Strength Clinic Rundown
This past weekend, I traveled to Slippery Rock University to speak at the 3rd Annual Pennsylvania Strength Clinic. The clinic was organized by Tony Tridico (Titusville) and the on-site organizer was Dr. Jonathan Anning (Slippery Rock).
The entire clinic was designed around the premise of how to build a solid strength and conditioning program and each speaker presented with this in mind…
Tony’s presentation focused on the Athletic Needs Analysis. This presentation set the stage for the day, laying a foundation showing the new strength coaches in attendance how to go about setting up a strength and conditioning program, especially for addressing the needs of a variety of sports and a diverse range of skill levels.
Highlight of the Speech: Tony’s presentation covered a huge topic. Needs Analysis could be an 8-hour clinic in itself, but he did a great job in covering a wide range of information for the audience. The one thing that particularly caught my eye was a small section he included on Injury Prevention.
I am working on getting the exact statistics for you, but Tony had a table that included a comparison of different types of injuries throughout many different sports. What jumped out at me was the high incidence of hand and wrist injuries in each sport.
Of the various sports included, Baseball and Softball led them with 24% and 25% of the hand and wrist injuries. This might surprise some people since, the injury that usually springs to mind in Baseball is arm trouble, but Hand and Wrist was the leader. Also, the Hand / Wrist injuries were just as high as knee injuries in many sports, including Football.
What this means is that as strength coaches, not only must we remember to include Grip Strength training for our athletes in order to help them be as strong as possible in the weight room and in their sport, but that they can also benefit by becoming more resilient to injuries with proper Grip Training. We can work towards bullet-proofing our athletes as a preventive measure against injuries, plus if their lower arms and hands are strong, and they do take on some form of an injury, they should also be able to bounce back quicker and return to 100% faster.
Tony also covered the Olympic lifts in his hands-on session and the crowd seemed to have enjoyed it quite a bit. Tony did a great job of showing the breakdowns for the Clean and Jerk so that the attendees could start implementing some of the pulls and squats with their athletes.
Jeremy Hoy is from Finish First Sports. He showed in his presentation that to have a successful program, you do not have to have a huge facility. I believe Jeremy said that his gym measures about 40′ by 40′ for a total of 1600 square feet. He said he has to be innovative and think outside the box about how he can maximize his space and benefit his athletes as much as possible. Jeremy trains athletes from the elementary school level all the way up to members of the Pittsburgh Penguins, so I’d say he’s figured out how to get as much out of his facility as possible.
In continuing with the Needs Analysis and Program Design theme, Jeremy presented a very good quote, and I unfortunately failed to write down the person who said it…
“There is no best method for all athletes at all times. There are only best methods for specific individual athletes at specific times under specific circumstances.”
In other words, Strength Coaches should not concern themselves with finding a magic bullet for their diverse strength programs. Instead, they should focus on targeting the needs of their athletes, addressing those needs and be ready to shift focuses as needed and as changes develop.
I also found out that Hockey players’ backs are TORN the Hell Up, from the postures they play in, and all the bumps they take during games, which makes perfect sense, but having never played the sport myself, I never considered it.
Finally, in Jeremy’s hands-on session on rope training, I thought he made a great point when he said he does NOT employ the constant moderate-intensity battling techniques that are commonly done with ropes. Instead, he ONLY uses violent and explosive movements to help generate power. This is particularly AWESOME because Jeremy’s ropes are about 3 inches thick, making them naturally very heavy, PLUS some sections are wrapped in duct tape, making throwing these things around explosively even more impressive.
Dr. Lyneil Mitchell
Have you ever sat in a class, seminar, or clinic, and thought the speaker was talking directly to you?
That is how I felt as Dr. Mitchell went down through his powerful presentation. It was like he hid in the bushes and watched me train, eat, drink, and sleep for the last seven years and took notes that he could use to build his PowerPoint. This presentation was really a wake-up call for me in many ways.
Dr. Mitchell covered a variety of topics in the 50 minutes he had to speak. Here are a few points I wrote down which Mitchell expanded upon with outstanding detail:
- People get dental check-ups, why not routine joint and posture check-ups with physical therapists?
- Postural muscles are trained and re-trained by habit
- Imbalanced tension ratios between antagonistic muscle groups lead to injury
- Anyone who works at a desk should squeeze their shoulder blades together 5X per hour
- Proximal Stability (core) assists with Distal Mobility (appendages)
- The body reacts with over-inflammation at onset of injury – this is when NSAIDS are most important
Perhaps the biggest point that Dr. Mitchell made that I took as a MAJOR TAKE-AWAY was posture. After 20 years of slouching in school, college, and at work, my posture sucks, and I need to work on it. In fact, in the week leading up to the seminar, I was experiencing nearly daily headaches and neck pain. Following his speech, I began forcing myself into better posture and I immediately felt a dulling of my headaches and by the end of the weekend they were gone!
In speaking with Lyneil at lunch, we got on the subject of Grip Training, and we brainstormed some very interesting training techniques, especially for the Two Hands Pinch, with which I will be experimenting and sharing with my guys at The Grip Authority soon.
My presentation was called, How to Implement Grip Strength Training,” with a subtitle of “Why I am so messed up in the head.” I spoke on Grip Strength, its importance and how to implement it. I focused specifically on How to Implement Grip Strength Training for athletes, not just in relationship to Grip Sport. Also, as the subtitle points out, I covered much about myself, my training, why I love training, and how my training has changed over the years. I covered all of this as a way to support the idea that Strength Training Programs, especially when dealing with a diverse range of athletes, must change over time.
Hopefully, the audience appreciated some of the humor I put out there. Sometimes what I believe sounds like classic humor, sounds like meaningless drivel for others, so hopefully I was somewhat on the mark. The audience was very interactive, asking and answering questions throughout, so that was great.
Some additional points from my presentation:
- Why Grip Strength is EVERYTHING from the elbow down
- Why just training Flexion in a Grip Training program is a BAD IDEA
- How Tension Production is a skill that must be continually developed
- How to Bullet-proof the lower arms
- The Difference Between Isolation and Integration
- 6 Different Paradigms for Implementing Grip Strength Training
- Quick Wins for Grip Strength Even on a Limited Budget
Jerry’s always great, and I am not just saying that because he drove me to the clinic. I always learn cool stuff from them.
For instance, I am asked at least once a month by readers here at the site where to get empty beer kegs for strength training, and I often give the same three responses: (1) Retired / Damaged Kegs from Beer Distributors, (2) The Stainless Steel Section at Scrap/Junk Yards, (3) Keep the Keg You Get for Your Next Party. Well, Jerry introduced me to another way I never thought of. He goes to Campus Police Stations and asks them if they have confiscated any beer kegs from under-age drinking parties, and that is how he has gotten a lot of his kegs.
Jerry showed us his Special Needs Section. Jerry keeps extra room at the bottom of his training documentation sheet for special needs certain athletes might need.
Jerry also explained why he believes Hips and Ankles Save Knees . Jerry’s presentation’s main them was injury prevention and he went into great detail on how he trains the hips and ankles to be strong and stable in order to prevent knee injuries. His injury rates are outstanding, so it seems to be paying off big time!
Jerry also covered some of his Core / Torso Training methods, which I fully intend to steal and implement, right away. BWAH HA HA! (strokes mustache)
Lorelei took the group through a battery of band stretches. I wanted to get down on the floor and work out some of the tightness I was building up from sitting down all day, but unfortunately I had to set up for my hands-on session throughout the time she was covering her drills, so I missed out BIG TIME. Many of the strength coaches in attendance remarked about how good they felt after doing the stretches.
I did get a chance to watch some of Lorelei’s stretches though, and I can say that many of them would have been very difficult for me to perform in my current state of rigidity.
All told, this was a great clinic. The speakers were excellent, and for being a one-day clinic, I think I learned quite a bit. I really liked how it was all built around the common theme of Program Design. Any new Strength Coach, at ANY level of sports would have benefited.
Next seminar for me is in June at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA. Below is the information, if you are interested in attending:
Juniata College Pennsylvania State Strength & Conditioning Clinic
Who: Various Strength and Conditioning Professionals
When: June 17 & 18, 2011
Where: Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA
Why: If you are a Strength Coach and need Continued Education Units, then this is a great value. 1.9 CEU’s for just $245.
How: Go here to sign up => Juniata Strength & Conditioning Conference
SEE YOU THERE!
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