Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Posture + Positioning = Performance

Here's a great article I came across recently:

Fix Your Posture to Maximize Muscle - Bill Hartman PT CSCS, Men's Health Magazine

How can we,  as coaches, use this knowledge to help improve our athletes performance?
Evaluate your athletes for posture and positioning and how it will affect their performance
  1. Take pictures of the athlete in shorts from the front, back and  both sides.
  2. Perform evaluation as the attached article indicates for each athlete and their potential  issues.

Why is posture Important??
  1. The article in Men's Health lists many basic issues relating to posture that we all should be concerned about.
  2. The athlete should be concerned beyond the basic issues the article lists and focus on perfect posture for prevention of injuries as well!
Consider the following benefits of good posture:
  1.  Proper muscle integration occurs since bones and joints are in proper alignment!!
  2.  Reduction in joint wear and tear!
  3.  Decreased stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together!
  4.  Prevents the spine from being fixed in abnormal positions!
  5.  Less energy is expended because the muscles are being used more efficiently!
  6.  Prevents Strain!
  7.  Prevents Backache and Muscular Pain!
Power of Performance is greatly enhanced by the athlete with good posture
  1. Body weight is positioned over the feet at all times allowing for maximum power into the ground.
  2. Weight is over the feet at all times allowing for better hip rotation and consequently better and more precise lateral movement.  Note: Both the above are critical for skilled performance movements, and even more important for the non - gifted
Band strength and stretching for prevention and correction of posture problems
  1. Band neck exercises for forward head - flexion-extension -side to  side - rotation spiral - head chin forward and back  Note: This should help strength and flexibility for better posture of the head ( a 12-15 lb weight) which can greatly affect your movement, efficiency and safety
  2. Band Exercises for elevated shoulder - very common - single arm shrugs  Note: Concentrate on the traps and the serratus muscles
  3. Band Exercises for rounded shoulders - retraction and reverse retraction - lat rows middle and low Note: One of the most common posture issues with those who bench too much and incorrectly form bad posture.
  4. Band Exercises for Hunch Back - Deadlift Note: the previous exercises help with this issue as well
  5.  Band exercises for anterior pelvic tilt-glute bridges  Note: great way to strengthen the lower posterior chain
  6. Band exercises for pigeon toes, and duck toes - squats or deadlifts from toes in - toes out - toes straight ahead
See my band exercise videos at www.youtube.com/user/coachbilljacobs
Coaching Points for Posture + Positioning  for Performance
  1. Posture is one of the most neglected areas of strength training - "emphasis to the extreme will get the dream" Note: Talking about it will not do it.  Buddy Morris, a well known Strength Coach, once said that for every bad habit, it takes 5000 good reps to change the habit
  2. Posture pics are worth a thousand words.  Use your cell phone camera to make the point as you move through the weight room coaching them up!Note: Pics Benching - Pics Pulling ( one of the worst things we all do)
  3. Posture maintained with movement is what we need to focus on for the athlete Note: Functional posture is the key to great movement
  4. Posture or any bad habit needs to be over-emphasized in all ways possible.  Don't tell them what NOT to do.  Tell them how and why to do it right!  Note: Constant Reminders during drills, during exercise, during walking, during sitting will eventually sink in! Great coaching creates great habits!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Part 2 - Getting Started: New Program, New Home
By Mickey Marotti – Asst. AD for Football Sports Performance at The Ohio State University

The first day on the job was a little weird. The previous staff was all at work in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center preparing for their upcoming bowl game with U of Florida. I hadn’t officially taken the weight room over, so I was in a “media room” with some other new members of the football staff. I tried to get familiar with everything that comes with a new job. Meeting with Human Resources,  Athletic Directors,  operations and facilities people and figuring  out phone numbers, copy machines, long distance codes, reimbursement policies, were all in my daily job responsibilities. I was also finalizing our new Ohio State Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches manual. I used the existing one I had developed at Florida and just made all the changes that I needed to based on the new situation at Ohio State.
    The first thing I did was to try and put together a staff. The previous strength staff had three full time football assistants. We were going to add an NCAA permitted fourth assistant. All of the assistant positions were strictly to work with football and no other sport. This was the first time in my career that assistants did not have to work with other sports. This is definitely a huge benefit. I was thinking of my staff set up. I wanted an Assistant Director or Associate Strength Coach that had Head Strength Coaching experience.
   The first hire I made was actually not a Strength Coach, it was a Sports Nutritionist. I thought it was extremely imperative to have a full time nutritionist working with our football team. I had worked with a nutritionist at Florida and Notre Dame. I had actually started the nutrition program at Notre Dame when I was there as the Director of Strength and Conditioning. I put together a job proposal and responsibility list for our Athletic Director, Gene Smith. I itemized all of the duties and responsibilities for the football nutritionist. Obviously this was important to Coach Meyer as well. We do a great deal with our nutritionist. Training table meals, Breakfast Club, educational meetings, pre-practice fueling station, hydration station, body fat composition, cooking class, pre-game meal planning, supplementation, grocery store tours, as well as preseason meal planning are some of the duties that our nutritionist  has. Gene Smith was extremely supportive. I had several meetings with our administration regarding this matter. We found a way to hire Sarah Wick, a Sports Dietician (also is a registered dietician) that was currently working through our university sports medicine department. The athletic department would then “contract out” these nutritionists for our student athletes. I was asking to take our football sports nutrition program to the “next level “. Sarah would be with football the entire time. Being around the team and developing relationships is very important for the nutritionist.
I also wanted to have a staff with familiarity of our football program philosophy and that I had worked with in the past. Our methodology and philosophy is a little unconventional so it was extremely important to get someone with our experience. A couple of assistants that were on staff at the time of my hiring came very highly recommended. Both were ex-Buckeyes, both played in the NFL, both had experience training athletes. Jeff Uhlenhake was actually an athlete when I was here as a GA back in 1987-88, so I had known Jeff for a long time. Anthony Schlegel was relatively newer in the profession, with a boat load of energy and excitement. I had talked to both of them about possibly being a part of the staff, but I had not officially hired them, probably because I wanted to hire an Assistant Director first. This position was extremely important because of some of the other job responsibilities I was going to have.
I had talked to a few guys that I had worked with in the past and ended up hiring Rick Court, who was at San Diego State as the Head Football Strength Coach. I had never worked with Rick, but knew him well. He had worked with Aaron Hillmann for 5 or 6 years at Bowling Green. Aaron Hillmann had been a long-time assistant with me at Cincinnati and Notre Dame, so the requirement of understanding our training methods and coaching philosophy was achieved. Rick was also the Head Strength Coach at Toledo prior to San Diego State. He was very familiar with our training philosophy and how we do things. This was a very important hire for us at Ohio State. Coach Meyer and I lean heavily on this position. I had talked about hiring Coach Court in the past, but the timing was not right. We were very excited to have a guy that was going to step down from a Head Strength Coach position to come be an assistant. That right there is the power of The Ohio State University. It also showed me that Coach Court did not have an ego and was not insecure. Too many times in this profession, coaches have huge egos and they think it is all about them, and they are the reason for success. No,  they are not. They are merely just a piece of the puzzle. Rick Court, no brainer.
With Rick Court, Associate Strength Coach for football hired, I now had to put together the rest of the staff. As stated previously,  I wanted someone that I had actually worked with in the past. Someone who knew me, knew my style, my temperament, my strengths and weaknesses, someone who knew what I expected and probably most important, someone who wanted to work with me again.  Once again,  I talked to a few people concerning this position and then hired  Kenny Parker, who had played his college football at Florida, was a student football coach at Florida, worked as an assistant strength coach with me at Florida, and was most recently the DL Coach, Head Strength Coach, and player development person at Murray State. He had high school coaching experience, college coaching experience, and also (like Rick) had been a Head Strength Coach. Once again, the perfect assistant for what I was looking for. Probably the most important attribute about Kenny is that he is a great person. No drama, no ego, team player, willing to do “ANY’ job, understands long hours, gets “it”, great family guy, lots of juice and energy, has personality, and extremely loyal. Kenny Parker, no brainer.
With Rick Court and Kenny Parker hired, I now had two positions left. Anytime you have to put a staff together, chemistry and the right fit are very important. I wanted different personalities as well. I did not want 5 strength coaches with the exact same personality. Not a good practice. With 105-115 members of a college football team, players will react better with different coaches. I think it just makes sense to have a “melting pot” of people in regards to their personality.
The one thing you understand about Ohio State when you work here is it’s a very prideful school. The Buckeyes always look out for the current Buckeyes. Every member of the teams of the past, has a special love for their University. This is true with a lot of schools. But with Ohio State there is something a little different. Can’t really explain it. You just have to experience it for yourself. So that being said, I hired two ex-Buckeye football players, that so happened to work as Strength Coaches with the previous staff; Jeff Uhlenhake and Anthony Schlegel. I had known Jeff for many years. He was one of the players that I trained when I was a GA strength coach back in the 80’s. I followed Jeff’s NFL career and his coaching career throughout the years.  When he was hired a few years back as an Assistant Strength Coach at OSU, we had reconnected. He has a great deal of experience playing and coaching. His obvious expertise was the offensive line. I also understand that if you have a tough, mean, prideful, offensive line with the needed talent you have a chance to have a good offense. Talking to Jeff and knowing his personality and knowledge it was important for us to have Jeff as part of the staff. He has a calming demeanor, but stern. This is a good contrast to Rick Court and Kenny Parker. All three different. Jeff made it clear to me that he would do any job to remain a part of the Ohio State family. Done, Hired , no brainer!
The last person I hired was Anthony Schlegel. Anthony played linebacker at Ohio State a decade earlier. He had originally started his career at the Air Force Academy. I had remembered his story back when he transferred.  I also remembered Anthony when he played at Air Force.  Notre Dame played Air Force back in 2002. Anthony had come highly recommended from Luke Fickell who had coached him and worked for Luke when he was interim Head Coach in 2011. After talking with Anthony a few times about the position, I knew he was a perfect fit for the staff. His energy, enthusiasm, and passion for strength training and Ohio State were overwhelming. He also was highly involved in FCA activities.  As a college strength coach, you spend a great deal of time with the athletes, probably more than anyone else in their lives. We, as coaches, assume the role of teacher, motivator, cultivator, and role model. Someone for them to look up to, to help lead them, to teach them, to assist them in all endeavors. Anthony having a spiritual element to his resume was indeed a huge benefit. His energy reminded me of myself 15-20 years ago. He has a very similar personality to me. The only difference was that I am 15 or so years older and “wiser than him. I like the way I coach. Now I have someone on staff whoe coached like me, but a little different.He also has some expertise in being a linebacker, and a linebacker at The Ohio State University.  No Brainer !!
Understanding the chemistry and the complete alignment of a staff and what it is going to take to work well together, has taken a number of years. The leader must not have an ego, nor should he or she have an agenda. They must be secure with who they are and have the confidence in their talents and knowledge. They should always be on the offensive in terms of learning and finding the best ways to train and develop their athletes. They must FULLY understand the mission of a strength program. They must fully understand that it will take different personalities and different ranges of experience and knowledge. The all must be qualified and certified. They must all be in this profession for the right reasons. They must all understand the mission of the football program. Our strength staff must understand that we will “support” the football program in any way needed. We may have to do tasks that may not be typically associated with training, but they are typically associated with developing and being part of a successful organization.
The strength staff was put together with a plan and with certain criteria. Head coaching experience, training familiarity, ex player, position expertise, good people, no agendas, team player, willingness to grind and learn, love and respect of the head football coach and/or university. All of these criteria were thought of and desired. Another big issue for me was not to have any drama on our staff.  No personality conflicts and no egos!! 
Our staff has over 27 years of head strength coaching experience at the collegiate level. 3 national championships, nine conference championships , 12 years of NFL playing experience, 2 years of NFL coaching experience, 5 years of on the field college coaching experience, over 20 years of participating in college athletics, trained numerous NFL 1st rounders, and has a total of 12 children and more on the way !!! So we have do have a family atmosphere within our staff and I can say that this staff is truly one of the best strength and conditioning staffs in the country.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Getting Started: New Program, New Home

By Mickey Marotti – Asst. AD for Football Sports Performance at The Ohio State University

It is a very exciting time when you get a chance to start up a strength and conditioning/ football program with a new football coach and staff. A great deal of thought for both the strength program and football program goes into it prior to the initial startup. In early December of 2011, I got a chance to accompany long-time friend and coach, Urban Meyer to Columbus, Ohio and work as Asst. AD for Football Sports Performance at The Ohio State University.

We had previously worked together at Notre Dame and Florida. From early on our philosophy and methodology to strength training and coaching in general were very similar. We believed in tough, hard-disciplined work with energy, passion and excitement. We believed that challenging the student-athlete mentally was just as important as challenging them physically. Our ultimate goal was to help create a work ethic like none other. We wanted to set the culture as giving relentless effort as a player and really understanding what it means to “Go Hard” when in the weight room or on the practice field.

I had the opportunity to help Coach Meyer and his staff develop The University of Florida into one of the best programs in the country. We were privileged to win 2 National Championships, 2 SEC Championships, a Sugar Bowl Championship and win 21 games in a row at one point. We began our time at Florida really focusing on improving as a player, being accountable, and really teaching and bringing a hard training, hard practicing mentality to Gainesville. That being said, it was very exciting to start up again, but this time in Columbus, Ohio.

The ironic thing about Ohio State, it is where I began my strength training career 25 years ago. I was a graduate assistant from 1987-1988. I worked for Steve Bliss, Head Strength Coach and Earl Bruce, Head Football Coach. I actually met Coach Meyer while he was a football GA at the same time, so not only was it exciting to venture back to where I started coaching, but to come to OSU and start up a program.

From the time I accepted the job, until the first day I arrived, I spent all of my time jotting down notes and thoughts regarding what I would do at OSU and what we had done at Florida. Of the things we did, what exactly would we bring to Columbus? I did a SWOT analysis of Florida, from the time I arrived in Gainesville, to the time I left. A SWOT analysis looks at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the program. I believe that this is very important to look back at the things we did and analyze everything. Some people say that if you do not learn from history, you are condemned to repeat it. The good, the bad, the wish I would ofs, the wish I could ofs, the glad we dids , and the glad we didn’ts. Throughout the years what areas of coaching and training were we excited about, and what areas were we not so excited about?

I then started to formulate a general plan of attack for the Ohio State program. Although my job title was different, Asst AD of Football Sports Performance, I was still going to set up and formulate the strength and conditioning plan. My responsibilities were dramatically increased and I had to really be organized going forward. Some of my responsibilities are to help Coach Meyer with the performance areas of the football program. We have a performance team that is comprised of athletic trainers, nutritionists, equipment personnel, academic advisors, personal development staff, and operations. I help direct these areas in terms of how the head coach wants information and also how we can make all the areas more improved.

I also started to look back into my files and certain research. I just wanted to be on top of everything. I wanted the t’s to be crossed and the i’s to be dotted. Over the years as a coach, you collect a great deal of STUFF. Some of that stuff is very valuable, some not so much. I like to look back at each year of setting a program up and see what we did. I also like to look at each situation and look to justify why, what, & how we did things. Every situation is different, every academic calendar a little different, every school has different expectations, so I thought it was a good idea to look back.

I also spent a lot of time reading and investigating various coaching and training, motivation, leadership, team chemistry, anything that dealt with building a team. Although you never get away from your general philosophy of doing things, you just want to make sure that you’re on the right track. From time to time, new research findings can definitely influence some of the training. I also talked to as many colleagues as I could. Just the freshness of seeing and hearing what others are doing will help justify what you are going to do. The bottom line is results. As long as positive results are happening then you are on the right track.

I also kind of did a self-evaluation or more so “self-check”. Where I was as a person, coach, and teacher? What things I could do to improve myself in all areas? I then started to formulate the plan, first in my thoughts, and then I would jot some stuff down on paper.

All the areas of the strength program were going to be dissected and evaluated. Find out where we were, and what was the best case scenario for facilities, equipment, staffing, travel, support staff, etc.

To be continued, more from Mickey Marotti coming soon.  
All Rights Reserved – Reproducing any part of this document is prohibited without consent from its author.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Protect against MRSA

MRSA - The Silent Killer
 I have attached some e-mail articles for you regarding this 'superbug'.   These articles give you some idea of the extent that this and staph infections can be of serious consequences.  I hope you will read these and make your athletes and students aware of the related information so they are able to protect themselves from this potential killer.  MRSA is all to often not talked about as a problem, because of the fear factor.   Make your students, athletes and parents aware of the signs and symptoms.  This can go to a full blown issue within hours.  Education is the key!

Professional Sports Prepare Game Plans for MRSA Superbug - bleacherreport 2/21/10
MRSA has sidelined careers, even caused death - ESPN 3/16/2007
The Deadly Bug Stalking Athletes, Men's Journal - 4/17/2009
'Superbug' MRSA Worries Doctors, Athletes - ABC 1/13/2005
Symptoms of MRSA Infection & Symptoms of Staph - Staph Infection Resources
Staph and Community Acquired MRSA Infections In Athletes - about.com 10/29/2008
Prevention Information & Advice for Athletes - Center for Disease Control
Click picture for more information on Sani Sport - one solution for sanitizing 
         For more information please call Bill Jacobs 513-277-1938 or email bill@coachbilljacobs.com 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mid-Season Blog - Skill Set Bogged Down?!

Goals should be established for each issue, then re-state the FUNDAMENTALS involved.
            -SET GOALS –catching the ball
            - SET OBJECTIVES –to establish habitual technically executed catches
            -SET ACCOUNTABILITY-improper technique (catch or no catch has consequences) 
            -DOMINATE THROUGH FUNDAMENTALS-Example I just heard one of the TV analysts, an ex-player, say that there is nothing you can do if a player cannot catch the ball!
Training the eyes is a VERY important skill, one more often neglected than not!
 Skills for catching rely heavily on the eye skills that can and should be habitual. This can be taught!


GOAL- LEARNING the fundamentals of the CATCH
1.     Objective -100 BALLS CAUGHT with proper technique PER DAY
2.     Consequences of drop or poor technique  ADDS 10 PROPERLY EXECUTED CATCHES


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Neck Training - Part 1

       I.  Set up  –Healthy Neck
A. Neck Harness
B. Low Anchor Point
C.  Bands - 2 Light - 1 Monster Mini (This is a good starting point) Adjust to age and experience of  the user!
          II.   Basic Starting Point – Healthy Neck - Start with 1 set of 10 good reps 
        A.Facing anchor point of bands - start with flexion - move to extension
           1. Start with chin to adam's apple - then move towards sky - start with contracting muscles
           2. Chin to chest - move to sky - start with contracting muscles 
                B.Facing away from anchor point - – Start at extension and move to flexion
                    1. Chin to sky, move to adams apple - contract muscles hard - hold and repeat
                    2. Chin to the sky and contract to the chest - hold and repeat 
1.       Proper posture - use military key points - scapulas pulled back - no space between them - toes slightly turned out - heels together - pressure into inside of heels
2.       Contract and attack the neck musles - force of contraction is more important than just whipping around weight  - bands help to keep constant resistance 
3.       Total body ground base involvement - all muscles at work