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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Phillip Allsen-Problems in Exercise Prescription

This semester I am taking a class entitled Problems in Exercise Prescription. It is a very interesting class and I must admit I have learned a lot. We have covered a broad spectrum of material including such topics as human anatomy, energy systems in the body, endurance training programs, beta oxidation, modified Russian strength programs, etc. We have actually covered a lot of material and it is fun to go and learn more. The class is designed to help people learn the proper way to set up training programs for Athletes. The class is taught by Phillip Allsen who has been a professor at BYU since my dad was in school. Ha! Oliver took this class last semester and my brother Niklas also took this class a couple of years ago. Even though I have learned a lot in the class, there are some things that are taught that I don't agree with and have my own ideas about. Oliver posted an article a couple of months ago about a problem he had with a certain lecture from this class. No matter what is being taught, it is always a joy to go to class just to listen to Dr. Allsen. This guy has some of the most funny sayings and quotes ever. It's also great because he shuts people down all the time with questions and his witty humor. Today in class I happened to write down some quotes that I liked and thought I would share.

"There are no dangerous lifts...only dangerous instructors."

"The road to success is paved with iron."

"Don't use too many exercises, strength training sessions should not last more than an hour."

"Think of training the TOTAL PACKAGE."

"If you spend too much time in the weight room, you will find the athlete will not have enough time and energy to do the work he needs."

"Would you go to a bald hairdresser to get your hair done? Would you go to a sick doctor to get a prescription? Would you go to an unfit trainer to get exercise training? Would you then go to a weak person to get strength advise from." ha ha

Dr. Allsen's Bio- http://hhp.byu.edu/about/member.php?id=2249

Monday, March 29, 2010

You might be an Olympic weightlifter or a Thrower if..…


Something I found on another post and saved. Don't know who I got this from, but I'm guilty as charged.
•You only know how to squat deep and going to only parallel is actually harder.
•You find power cages ‘restrictive’.
•You get pissed off when people ask how much you can bench press.
•You get really picky about a bar that doesn’t spin enough or is too stiff.
•You jerk more than you bench press.
•Power lifters are jealous of your flexibility.
•You constantly get asked if those are hickies on your neck and collar bone.
•You can instantly divide or multiply any number by 2.2.
•You can’t feel your thumbs.
•Your idea of a perfect gym is a platform, bar, bumpers and a squat rack.
•When a person tells you what they can bench you think about if you can Snatch or Jerk the weight.
•Anything over 3 reps sounds exhausting to you.
•Shopping for jeans is hell.
•You hook grip your steering wheel while driving.
•Chalk dust is on EVERYTHING you own.
•Your response to the question “What muscles does that work?” is… ”all of them.”
•Everyday is a ‘Leg’ day.
•You have jumping contests with friends.
•The answer is always more Front Squats.
•You don’t understand why people use gloves.
•Ironmind catalogs to you are Tiffany catalogs to women.
•You have a broomstick or pvc pipe that sits in your room.
•You rest in the squat position.
•You wish you could wear your weightlifting shoes everywhere because they are more comfortable then any other shoe you own.
Photos are Bob Bednarski (top), Joe Dube (bottom) World Champions in 1969.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Some Things That Bug Me Too (II)



A few weeks ago Leif posted a few things that bugged him. Lately I have had a few things come to mind. The title is not very original, but what the heck, it worked for Rocky I, II, III, IV, V, then…. , oh well.

-Computerized training programs. Punching in numbers and printing off programs is the antithesis of coaching. If it was that easy, we wouldn’t need coaches. Whatever happened to talking with athletes, asking them how they feel, observing them and prescribing a training program; or at least making adjustments in the program. Humans are not machines and the number of sets, reps, or amount of weight cannot be programmed weeks in advance. Any coach who passes out a computerized sheet of sets, reps, and the amount of weight to be used and expects it to be followed without variation is guilty of malpractice. Which leads to…….

-Giving every athlete the same program. At the beginning level there is some justification for this as everyone needs to master some basics and build a certain foundational level. You have to master addition, subtraction, long division, and multiplication before you can do Calculus. Or so I’m told. (I’ve made it this far without Calculus.) After that, giving everyone the same program is as much malpractice as a doctor giving all of his patients the same prescription regardless of diagnosis. Each athlete has their own set of strengths, weaknesses, individual history and characteristics. What is so hard about talking with your athletes a little about their goals and experiences? Especially if you claim to be a professional.

-Half racks and squat cages with platforms attached. What’s the point?

They may look impressive to na├»ve recruits , but they take up much more room than their functions would dictate. I am not against Power racks, but I think they should have holes all the way over head to allow sufficient height for over head lockouts and partial presses. And I think there should also be holes all the way down allowing for partial pulls and functional isometric work. Platforms should be separate and unencumbered allowing space for doing full Snatches and for the often overlooked combination of cleans and overhead lifts such as push jerks, push presses, or Clean and Jerks. Which reminds me…..

-Paucity of overhead work. I think it is a mistake to focus on cleans only without incorporating overhead work too. I think the most effective and functional, yes I mean really functional, (not pressing 30 lb. dumbbells on a stability ball) exercise is lifting a bar from the floor to overhead. We don’t do enough of that anymore in my opinion. Doing so all but insures adequate flexibility, muscular balance, and coordination.

-Bare, sterile weight rooms. I think every weight room needs to have some history, character, and information on it’s walls. Record boards of some type are great. Pictures of past achievers or current high level performers are very motivational and aesthetic . Bulletin boards with articles from current journals and magazines are a great way to spread information on nutrition, exercise technique, and motivate athletes.

-Anything that is supposed to be new, revolutionary, or secret. I have been around the training business for close to 40 years now and I have yet to see anything that has never been done before in the way of training methods. Kettle bells, Indian Clubs, Stretch bands, Chains,…..Old becomes new after awhile. There are no secrets and the human body still responds to training the same way it has for centuries. Which brings me to…….

-Young guys who don’t take the time to learn the history of their sport or profession. One of the differences between a job and a profession is that a professional knows the history and foundational knowledge of their profession. I really think you need to have a respect for those who have gone before and paved the way. Be a professional and know your roots.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Jud Logan- Hammer Strength


As Leif posted a Bondarchuk interview, here is a post that Jud Logan posted on "The Ring" website a few years ago about the Bondarchuk influence on his training. I thought it was interesting and helpful and saved it. Jud, as most of you know is one of our most successful American Hammer athletes. Like most American Hammer throwers, he picked up the hammer in college and learned from experience, seeking input from the best sources he could find. He relied on strength a great deal to offset technical deficiencies as he learned. He is now a very successful coach who develops American throwers. He is well-known for taking walk-ons and molding All-Americans. He integrates strength workouts with throwing very successfully. Below is his post:

"Bondarchuk once gave me these numbers for 80+ meter success-
Snatch 300
Clean 400
F. Squat 500
B. Squat 600
I think the F. Squat would give most people trouble in this ratio.

I will show my age....but Paul Harvey use to say, "And now the Rest of the STORY"
1) First off, Coach B, after learning my weight room numbers,replied this is way strong enough to throw well over 80 meters. So the jist was, the 3-4-5-6 ratio was the high end of where "I" needed to be. Not something he was pontificating for his throwers to achieve 80+.
2) Glenn is right on by stating for the most part- evryone that has thrown 80 or better is very capable of those numbers- some lower (Sedyk), some pretty much right at (Koji/ Deal) and many exceeding (Myself, Tibor, Astapkovich, Abduvialiev, Haber, Kiss, Flax and many more.
3) Many great throwers made up for so called weight room short comings with other things they brought to the table- Nikulin (3.50 SLJ) Yuri Tamm (130k close grip Snatch) Koji and remarkable jumps and sprint times and most importantly years of high volumewith exacting Technique.
4) The strength aspect of my talk with Coach B was maybe 10 minutes of 2 hours- the rest revolved around Training Complexes- What balls and when- how far to throw in practice and many of things that he talks about in "Transfer of Training"- Which I own 2 copies, one for me with highlights and scribbles and one that I lend out to other coaches on my staff working with sprinters, jumpers and the like.
5) We talked about the hammer as a "system"- and pushing the ball with the right side and no left shoulder to seperate the axis or create the drag technique. He was very gracious.
6) I later flew to New Zealand to hear Bondarchuk again- this time with Yuri Sedyk in tow and had many training opportunities with Yuri. What I learned was that although he and Litivinov were only seperated by centimeters- they were way differnt in nervous system and styles- that day Sedyk trained at between 75-79 meters with the 16 with maybe one or two at 80- he replied that it was not uncommon for Litvinov to train at or near the World record with the 16 but his level of consistency caused many left sector fouls and stop and start throws. With Yuri- every throw of every ball looked the same.
So when I post numbers or ratios- it is NOT the lost secret to throwing far- I am just sharing info that helped me as an athlete a long the way. The same way Dave McKenzie and Peter Farmer worked with me to learn 4 turns. Countless hours with lance and Stewart Togher to perfect what body allowed me to do. Al Schoterman (1972 Olympian) whobelieved in me and kept me going after college when my Pr was only 64 meters. Harold Connoly, who was never to busy to "take a look" at film and give me input. But the bottom line for me was lifting after throwing was a reward I looked forward to- I embraced the weight room and it gave me attitude and confidence. I liked being strong and took pride in that aspect of training- I have much respect for those who throw farther than I did and most of them "weaker" and technically more proficient."
Good stuff.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Interview With Bondarchuk

I read this recently online and thought I would share....

Dr. Anatoly Bondarchuk is renowned as an athlete (1972 Olympic champion and European champion in the hammer throw as well as a former world record holder), and his coaching credentials are virtually unprecedented in the world of athletics. He holds a doctorate of pedagogical science from the University of Kiev, and his research into technique and high-performance training methods formed the basis for many of the common techniques and practices used by the world’s top athletes today. Dr. Bondarchuk developed the USSR National Team throws program from 1976–1992 from which he produced numerous world and Olympic champions in the hammer, discus, and shot put. He has authored eleven books and 195 articles in his areas of expertise. A common focus of these documents is training to maintain performance and technique. Since 1992, Dr. Bondarchuk has been coaching for Portugal and Kuwait.

I had the opportunity to speak with him last weekend. My interview with him follows.



YJ: Having been in the western hemisphere for a while now, what do you see as the biggest differences between sports science here and in the Eastern Bloc/Soviet Union?

AB: The system in the east is better because coaches there are much more qualified in their training. They also share ideas with each other and communicate with the various researchers. In the west, everyone seems to be secretive, and there is very little movement from research to practice. Westerners also focus far too much on general strength and have no viable periodization schemes.

YJ: How do you distinguish between general exercises and the different grades of specialized exercises?

AB: General exercises have little relevance to the sporting action. Specialized preparatory exercises use the same muscles that are involved in a particular sporting action. Specialized developmental exercises include single joint actions that duplicate one portion of the sporting action. They also mirror the velocity and range of motion seen in the competitive movement. Competitive exercises are those that fully mimic the competitive movement in more difficult conditions and easier ones.

YJ: There is much debate about how to classify an athlete as high level or elite. What is the definition of a high level athlete, and how does one recognize this in an athlete?

AB: Part of this is intuition on the part of an experienced coach. After coaching many athletes, a wise coach will recognize this graduation. In a general sense, those athletes who have shown to improve at a rapid pace over a certain amount of time are considered high level. This would generally take no less than five years of training.

YJ: What are the virtues of maximal work as opposed to sub-maximal work?

AB: Both have their place in the yearly scheme. However, maximal work can be overdone. It should only account for about 10 percent of the total volume of work. Therefore, it should be used wisely. Both sub-maximal and maximal work can be involved in the same workout. Their order of performance can also be flip-flopped.

YJ: Can you give examples of exercises that have positive transfers on one another and those that have negative transfers?

AB: One example is the hammer throw. It uses lighter and heavier implements that have a positive transfer on each other. On the other hand, any isometric exercises have a negative transfer on the rest of training.

YJ: As you know, steroid use is credited for much of the Soviet success. How do you respond to this assertion?

AB: Ironically, steroid use started in the United States in the 1950s with many bodybuilders. It then seeped into the athletic world. It didn’t pervade Europe and Asia until the early 1970s. Those in the west had better knowledge of steroids and were using them at least as much as the rest of the world. It’s also important to note that steroids help add 5–6 meters to a throw but no more. As time went on, we found different supplements to be more valuable than steroids.

YJ: What supplements did you find valuable?

AB: We found that using the whole complex of vitamin B could help add 3–4 meters to a throw.

YJ: Where do you think that sports will find answers for improved performances in the future?

AB: We must find ways to improve technique and also develop more exercises to enhance special strength. Specialized strength is the means to getting more out of our work.

YJ: With this in mind, how much work do you think is being done in the area of technique analysis and the development of special strength?

AB: Although it is of utmost importance, nearly nothing is being done in the United States.

YJ: Thank for your time, Dr Bondarchuk.


more links of articles about Bondarchuk-
http://www.elitefts.com/documents/bondarchuk.htm
http://www.athleticscoaching.ca/UserFiles/File/Sport%20Science/Theory%20&%20Methodology/Throwing%20Events/Throwing%20Events%20%28General%29/Miller%20Bondarchuk%20Interview%202.pdf
http://www.scysa.net/filecabinet/bulgarian_leg_training_secrets.pdf

Friday, March 19, 2010

Funny/Interesting Article

I read this on elitefts.com and thought I would share...it kind of made me laugh

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/7_signs.htm

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

NCAA'S- Weight Throw



I just recently got back from the NCAA champs in Arkansas. The indoor championship meet is always fun to go to not only to compete but also to watch. There were some amazing performances at the championships including Ashton Eaton breaking the
world record in the heptathalon and Hampton's Francena McCorory breaking the american record in the 400m. It was fun to watch all of the throwing events and it was great to see such great throwers do their stuff in person. Watching the men's shot competition was hard for me because I wanted to be in it so badly. But I will compete at nationals outdoors in the shot put...trust me. Ryan Whiting is a man among boys. It was crazy to see him with the comp. by 7'. Miriam's and Walter's performances were equally impressive. As for me, I was pleased with my performance. As some people know, I am not a hammer thrower and don't really care much for the weight as well. I only practiced the weight 3 times this indoor season and those 3 times were the week leading to nationals. In fact, I was actually kind of depressed that I even had to go and compete in the weight at the nationals. I basically went into the competition with the mindset that I was going to have fun and be happy with whatever happens. I was relaxed and tried to just do my best with what I had. I was very fortunate to pr on my first throw of the competition and throw over 70' for the first time in a competition. I even tried to 3 turn for the first time ever on my last 3 throws, but that didn't work out too well :). After the competition was over I heard a lot of the guys talk about how excited they were for hammer season to start, and I was laughing in my head because I was thinking to my self how I couldn't wait for discus season to start...lol. But what I've learned from this indoor season is that I throw farther in the weight without any practice and that Mc Donald's is a great pre-meet meal. So for all of you young aspiring weight throwers, I would recommend that you don't practice the weight and eat lots of Big Mac's!! The outdoor season starts soon, and I can't wait! I posted some pictures from the meet and my pr throw.






Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cuban Weightlifting

This is a clip showing the Cuban National team training. Bare bones training hall and stark enviroment. Pretty impressive seeing the intensity and effort. It's amazing what such a small and economically depressed country can accomplish. Below the video is a commentary by Ivan Rojas, an American coach who posted this on YouTube.



"The Cuban System is called Strategic Direction and its parts are: diagnosis, evaluation and forecast(prediction)of the athlete's potential. The whole Cuban sports system focuses in the Olympic games and take the 4 year gap between games to make a Cycle, so the big cycle is 4 years. Their goals for sport varies. In weightlifting the goal is to get Gold @ Pan Am level. 1st to 3rd place @ worlds and 1st to 5th place @ the Olympics. In the youtube interview the reporter asks the head coach about the preparation for the Pan AMs in Chicago 2009. The coach gives a list of lifters, a little of their background and mentions that they were taking new lifters. The reporter asks a very interesting question when he asks a report and predictions on the FIRST YEAR OF THE CYCLE (the reporter is clearly well informed of the sports system) and the coach says that it's difficult to make predictions with new athletes on the first year of the cycle."
A closed system like this can allow for such long range planning and control. If an athlete can't keep the pace, they are replaced with one who can. It is my opinion that while our American system certainly can benefit from long range planning, there has to be more adjustments and accomodations made as ours is a much more open system, meaning that we cannot control the external factors as well.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Best Time For A Big Throw


Congratulations Leif. As reported on the BYU Athletics site:
BYU junior Leif Arrhenius crushed his personal record in the weight throw, earning All-American honors with a fourth-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships on Saturday.

Arrhenius, who came into the meet seeded thirteenth, measured a throw of 21.56 meters, a solid improvement over his previous seasonal best of 20.91 meters set two weeks ago at the Mountain West Conference Championships. It’s the second-consecutive All-American honors in the indoor weight throw and third such honor overall for the native of Orem, Utah, improving on last season’s eleventh-place finish in the same event. Arrhenius is also the two-time defending MWC champion in the weight throw and shot put.
-Ollie Whaley

video

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

BYU: A Different Breed of Throwers

By Oliver Whaley

Most of us throwers here at BYU have a very unique situation in comparison to other college throwers in that we have all served 2 year missions for the LDS (Mormon) church. Which makes us 2 years older than other throwers at the end of our college careers. This has brought a lot of scrutiny as many people think it gives us an unfair advantage. Whether unfair or not is not the basis of my post today. I just want to give some insight into what it is like competing at the college level as a Mormon athlete.

First off, I just want to express my gratitude for being able to compete after serving a mission. The NCAA has allowed us to take off two years and still come back and pick up our eligibility where we left off. I love track and I love competing, but my faith is far more important to me than either of those things. So if it was put to choice, either to serve a mission or to throw. I would choose to serve, but I am grateful I can do both.

In a lot of respects, the Mormon culture is far different from any other. It puts great emphasis on church, faith, service, education, and family. Its very common for young LDS men to serve missions, return home, get married, and start families while still in school. And anyone who is married and has started a family knows it brings a lot of added responsibility and use of time. Most LDS athletes and most of us throwers here at BYU have to balance church service, athletics, family, school, providing financially, and just dealing with the basic stresses of life. We know its a choice we have made to do these things, so when it comes to throwing and lifting, we all just try to do the best we can with what time we have.

For me, this year has been very tough, but rewarding too. I got married last year and my wife and I decided we were ready to start our family (were having a baby boy due June 26th). So this past summer I worked three jobs to put money away and kept one job for this school year. Its an early morning custodial job at BYU (right now sleep is the only time I can afford to give up). I normally work from 5 am to 8:30 am, but the transmission on our vehicle went out awhile back and we had to have it completely repaired. So I have been putting in an extra hour every morning working 4 am to 8:30 am. After work I go to school, I was taking 15 credits but couldn't handle it so I dropped a class and now have 12. I throw 5 days a week and lift 4 days, but I keep the volume low as I don't get as much recovery time (on a good night I get six and a half hours if I fall asleep by 9:30). Mix in competition, travel, a pregnant wife lol, homework, tests, church callings, paperwork, everything else, and it can all be very stressful lol.

Leif is also married and has had to deal with both the paper work and financial issues of getting his wife US citizenship. Danny, one of our shot putters is married and has a one year old son. He is finishing school and works at Domino's and coaches track at Spanish Fork High. Blaine, one of our javelin throwers is also married. Sean, another javelin thrower is not married but has to work part-time to pay for school. And we have a few other throwers with similar situations.

Two years ago, a former thrower here at BYU named Dustin Lawrenson missed the birth of his first child while on a trip to Arizona. Our flight home was delayed and while we were waiting in the airport his wife went into labor. The flight was later canceled and we had to stay an extra night. Dustin was able to get on a later flight, but still missed the birth. He decided to forgo his last year of eligibility.

Lol I'm not relating these situations to get sympathy for us Mormon throwers, but just to show the unique situation that most Mormon athletes face on top of competing in athletics.

As far as missions are concerned, I can agree that it does make us older and probably more physically mature than other throwers. But athletically I don't think it gives us an edge in terms of training and throwing far. I served my mission in the U.S. I tried to stay fit, but throwing was non-existent for 2 years (I didn't start throwing the hammer until I got home as a 21 year old). Missionary work entails a very vigorous schedule and doesn't leave much time for anything else. In the morning I got up a little earlier than our scheduled time of 6:30 am to exercise. I brought some heavy bands with me and was sometimes lucky to pick up a home-gym bench set and weights from someone that no longer used them and wanted it off their porch lol. Leif served in Taiwan and Danny went to Mexico and neither had access to weights. Most of the others served in the states.

All in all, serving missions and living the lifestyle we choose as Mormon athletes creates a unique situation for us throwers here at BYU in comparison to other college throwers. We may be older and probably more physically mature with age, but I think in the end, most of us put ourselves at a disadvantage rather than at an advantage.

But what it comes down to is we just love to throw and are grateful we can still compete and enjoy the student athlete experience after serving missions and while balancing other priorities, and we just try to do the best that we can.

Danny 59'9" Shotput
video

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Makes a Great Coach?




What makes a great coach? Results!! While we could list all the attributes such as knowledge of the sport, leadership skills,…etc. the answer is really quite simple. It reminds me of an experience my daughter had as freshman thrower at BYU. She was working on the discus one afternoon when throwing legend LJ Silvester came by and watched for awhile. As the session finished he asked her, “What is the most important thing for a thrower to remember”? She thought for minute, wanting to say the “right thing.” Having read much of what he has written and published on the subject of throwing; she answered meekly “rhythm?” He laughed and said “throw far”; a simple answer that requires a lot of thought to understand. As a great American weightlifting coach, Joe Mills, used to say, “I can explain weightlifting in 5 minutes, but it will take you 5 years to understand.”
After 29 years of experience, I have to conclude that coaching is much more art than science. While a good coach is always trying to learn more, the only real measure of a coach is not what he or she knows, but what they can get their athletes to do. Preparation is certainly an important aspect of coaching, but most of all a coach needs to know and care about his athletes. Developing a “program” is certainly an essential beginning point, but the success comes in adapting the program to individual characteristics and circumstances. The best coaches are not those who promote a co-dependent relationship but who develop athletes who can coach themselves. Former Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant, quoting a Chinese general, said “ A great leader is someone who can get people to do great things, and when they are done they say, We did it ourselves.” As another great leader said, “We teach people correct principals and let them govern themselves.”
Throwing greats Al Oerter and Hal Connolly both mentioned that a simple towel was one of their most influential coaches.
They put it out on the field as a marker and tried to surpass it. When they did, they moved the towel and until they could surpass it again. While they doubtless also benefited from feedback from others, the bottom line is they learned what worked for them and became very independent and self-reliant athletes. When an athlete can succeed without a coach, that is coaching at the highest level.
A friend of mine and a master teacher, Mike Burgener, coaching pull technique.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Old Man Still Has It...


Here is a picture of my dad Anders Arrhenius doing deadlifts with 200kg and a video of him doing DB pullovers with 130 lbs. He is turning 63 years old this year. He is still very strong as you can see.

video

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Interesting discus article...

http://www.yellowdocuments.com/2969785-a-contrarian-approach-to-the-discus

interesting article written by Dan John...check it out

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Truly Strong Coach




Last post I told the story of our team attending a football camp at UNLV a few years ago. One component of the camp was a visit to the UNLV Athletic weight room and some instruction from the strength and conditioning coach. At that time the head S&C coach at UNLV was a guy named Mark Philippi. If you are into strength sports at all, that name should certainly ring a bell. Mark began his career as a great Powerlifter, then entered the world of Strongman competitions where he distinguished himself as one of the best in the world. He is now a very successful trainer in Las Vegas.
The camp schedule called for us to meet in the weight room in the evening after dinner. Because it was important to me, I made sure we got there first and our boys were seated on the floor in the first row.(crosslegged, Indian style lol) Coach Philippi began by explaining the basics of the Back Squat and Bench Press. With his powerlifting backround, he was very detailed in his explanations. Next he explained that there were some quick lifts that were also helpful. He called out one of his Grad Assts. Who he introduced as a Collegiate National Powerlifting Champ with deadlift of 650 lb. He was going to demonstrate a Power Snatch. There was 50 kg on the bar. While he did manage to get the bar from the floor to overhead, it was pretty awkward and really slow. It was obvious that he really didn’t grasp the finer points. One of my boys seated in the front snickered a little. Coach Philippi is a take charge guy and doesn’t tolerate wise guys. He called my player out saying, “Do you think something is funny?” My player honestly replied, “He doesn’t know how to do it, we have girls at our school who can do more than that.” I held my breath and mentally reviewed my CPR skills. I tried to think about what I was going to tell the boy’s mother and what I might say at the funeral. Mark had the next move and he said, “Maybe you would like to come up here and show us how?” Well, the young man walked up and performed 3 quick explosive snatches then a few overhead squats and set the bar down. I will never forget (and am still grateful for) Coach Philippi’s reaction. He didn’t get defensive or exercise a need to exert authority. He said, “Hey, that’s really good. Where did you learn to do that?” the player pointed towards me and said, “Our coach taught us!” Afterwards we had a long conversation about the Olympic style lifts. Coach Philippi explained that he wanted to use them more in his programs , but he didn’t have a real extensive backround in that area and wanted to learn more. We talked about a few technique basics and parted friends. He and his asst. were out on the field the next day encouraging our kids. Later that summer I gave a brief welcoming address at the NSCA Convention as it was held in Phoenix and I was the Arizona state director. Mark and his staff were there and we conversed some more. Needless to say, I have always been a Mark Philippi fan. He sets a great example of what a truly strong man is. He could have crushed a smart aleck high school kid and his small-town coach. Instead he chose to treat us with respect. He wasn’t afraid to admit that while he knew and had accomplished a great deal, there were some things he was still learning. He was still willing to learn and wasn’t too proud to be taught by anyone whom he thought could help. I have tried to be the same way.
When a man has confidence in himself, he doesn’t have to carry around a huge ego. I have met far too many “Strength Coaches” with far less accomplishments and much more attitude; Coaches who are afraid to show that they might not know everything or who feel the need to exercise authority and crush any differences of thought or opinion. It seems that the profession is full of these. I am grateful for the real coaches who are confident enough to value discussion and always ready to learn something new.