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Weight, Coaching And Management

Mike Gittleson was the Director of Strength & Conditioning at the University of Michigan for 30 years and was a part of 15 Football Championships in that time. He explains, how it is important to make conscious decisions about every aspect of the athletes training down to the minute detail.  

Managing body weight is fundamental in athletics, I always believed it was a reflection of your mindset. Any athlete I coached heard me say, "Your weight is your attitude." When I weighed athletes in as a team it was a big deal.  Each player that stepped on the scale, the pounds that they weighed, represented his commitment to winning and if collectively the results were favorable there was a good chance we would be a pretty good football team.

With today's technology there are many types of scales to choose from, electronic scales that can measure body composition, digital scales with memories, scales that hook up to your computer and more. When I went about selecting my measuring instrument I wasn't interested in modern high tech machinery, my concernment was the message. I wanted a big scale that was tall with a huge dial and went up to 500 pounds or more that both the athlete, myself and others could gather around and look at together. The scale would be the first thing you saw when you entered the weight room. It didn't matter if you were weighing in or not, you would walk by this huge hefty object that would eventually tell a lot about you and how you have been approaching the game. 

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When an athlete sits down to eat and overeats, he may have tried as hard as possible in workouts, but he quit trying and has lousy effort while sitting at the table. If he skip meals it certainly doesn't help growth and hurts his and the teams progress. The term 'training table' by definition is "a mess hall, providing planned meals for athlete in training."  When you sit down to eat you are continuing your training at the table.

I wrote on the scale the 'the minimum' weight managementWhen an athlete is given time off from exercise as part of their preparation and asked to relax, hang out, stay off their feet, they still have the responsibility to do 'the minimum', that is weight management. Eating behavior is then everything because caloric expenditure has suddenly changed dramatically.


Weight Management

I called a friend in my scale quest who we appropiately called "Gary the Scale Guy", who's job was to fix and calibrate scales and told him what type of weighing instrument I was looking for. Gary searched around old factories in Detroit and found a rusty antique Toledo scale that needed refurbishing. When done the item was perfect. Not only was the scale large and heavy, it also went up to my requested 500 pounds, which was how much the scale itself weighed. The hulking measuring instrument seemed to shout out how important your weight was and accomplishing my goal of others being able to see what you weighed on the oversize dial. 

If you are a coach the message is this - it's about coaching and management. We communicate with our athletes in many unspoken ways, we hang motivational signs, dress in specific colors, have logos, we display pictures of our past, exhibit trophies of successes, post record boards, have specific rituals players must adhere to and on and on. These are all conduit in shaping our constitution.  All the things you do with the athlete are important and require forethought as they deliver a message. I am not recommending you do anything I did in regards to weighing athletes, I am only recommending you make conscious decisions about every aspect of their training down to the minute detail - if it is a measuring tool that you purchase ask yourself where will I place it, how will I use it and why? 

Quick Snap

To optimize speed and accuracy of motor behavior coaches prepare the athlete by teaching the type of movement that must be made and when it should be executed. Anticipating the movement time, in which a response should be performed is called 'temporal orienting', whereby efferent nerves carry impulses away from the central nervous system to effectors such as muscles that respond to the stimulus.

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Temporal orienting is part of coaching. Temporally informative cues allow athletes to predict when an imminent event will occur.  A coach teaches certain signals and signs to the athlete that something will occur shortly.  These valid clues increase the athletes reaction time, how does this happen?

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Temporal orienting or selectively preparing for the motor response recruits a region of the brain called the left intraparietal sulcus (IPS). The IPS principal function is visual attention. The IPS is involved in such things as directing eye movement and motility, such as reaching, grasping and the minds visuospatial working memory that is, your sense of 'whereness' and interpreting the intent of others. Co-activating the neuroimaging and neuromuscular portions of the brain makes for a quick athlete. 

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The cues a coach gives his athlete can reduce reaction time. The more exacting the mental imagery the better the reduction. When using an object like the Rogers Quick Snap Football, study game film and try to replicate the centers habits manipulating the ball before it is snapped. Replicate the angle of the ball and indicate exactly where on the ball you want the player to focus his attention. Make sure the athlete understands how important studying the football can change how he plays and quickly he moves. Get your intraparietal sulcus Strong.

Illinois Strength

Aaron Hillman, the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Illinois has a vast experience in strength and conditioning, he has coached at Ball State, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Bowling Green, Michigan and has had stints with the NFL. Aaron has numerous power racks in his facility, but understands the value of tools. Football is an aggressive sport and to participate at the highest level having a wide variety of exercise devices allows a coach to augment his athletes training. 

Not only does having a wide range of equipment allow an athlete to reach his potential, but there are always periods whereby a coach has to address the health of each individual. Athletes may need to reduce the load on the spine, thay may need to change training modalities to accommodate for casts on an appendage or may be undergoing rehabilitation for an injury. Having head and neck machines is important, as well in all programs to keep athletes safe and Get them Strong

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Neck Machine Illinois  

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Neck Fatigue And Balance

Neck muscle fatigue produces abnormal sensory input to the central nervous system and affects our postural control, we use our vision to overcome these effects. Dynamic visual acuity is the clearness of the visual perception of an image, when our ocular system is impaired visual acuity degrades during head movements. 

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Training on the Pendulum 5 Way Head and Neck Machine

In the January Journal of Physical Therapy Science, researchers found that neck muscle fatigue negatively impacts dynamic visual acuity.  The cervical spine is the hotbed of proprioception and when measured by joint position error, acuity is seen to diminish after fatigue.

Experiments in studying neck muscle fatigue, not only produce significantly altered effects of balance, but perceived altered affects, as well. In the May 2014 Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, scientists discovered fatigue is more than a general convention and that particular neck muscle groups have varying effects on stability.

Since neck muscle fatigue has been shown to alter an individual's balance in a similar way to subjects who suffer from neck pain or people that have suffered a neck injury, it is essential that an athlete trains the entire system, which includes the muscles of the head neck and jaw. Coaches must make it clear to the athlete that neck muscle strength affects performance and athletic trainers must be cognizant that returning muscle strength to normal values post injury is not only an important part of the rehabilitative process, but is imperative

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To perform optimally during athletics Get the entire system Strong.

Seton Hall Strength Training

When studying film you learn many things about the game. Jason Nehring Strength and Conditioning Coach at Seton Hall saw something on the opponents film he felt the basketball coaches may not address. It was an important reason why the Seton Hall players train their head and neck. Jason made sure all his players saw what could transpire in a game or practice.  Understanding the values of each movement an athlete does in their exercise regime adds to their effort, overall skill, as well as their safety. IMG959412

Training On And Off The Pendulum Seated Squat

Not having an imbalance of muscular strength between an individuals right and left limb is important. Playing ones sport often causes asymmetric changes as the season progresses. This can be due to repetitive movements, bumps and bruises from contact or an injury that has not had time to properly heal. Training one leg at a time during a season and especially following one is imperative in balancing leg strength.


Training one leg at a time on the Pendulum Seated Squat




The stationary lunge is best performed immediately after training the same leg on the Pendulum Seated Squat. The key to the movement is that as the athlete lowers himself the front shin should not move and remain exactly perpendicular to the ground. Any movement of the shin is unacceptable during the exercise. The slightest movement allows the leg to lose musculature tension.


At the bottom of the movement the athlete must pause with the knee one inch off the ground for a full second with no movement of the tibia. The exercise continues until the athlete can no longer rise or maintain his balance. 

Indiana State Strength And Conditioning Clinic

Indiana State University 

Strength & Conditioning Clinic

Terre Haute, IN

March 7th, 2015

Cost: $75 for Coaches, Athletic Trainers, Personal Trainers, Etc.
$50 for Undergraduate or Graduate Students
Cost Includes Lunch & Clinic T-Shirt

NSCA Certification Executive Council approved 0.6 CEU(s) for CSCS and NSCA-CPT

CSCCa Education Board approved for 2.75 CEU(s) for SCCC

 Rogers GetStrong

8:00-8:55: Check-In / Registration

8:55-9:00: Introductions - Luke HarrisAssistant Strength & Conditioning Coach, Indiana State University

9:00-9:55: Off-Season Programming  - Jeff Friday, Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach, Cincinnati Bengals

10:00-10:55: In-Season Programming - Doug Davis, Senior Associate Director of Sports Performance, Purdue University

11:00-11:55: Lunch Provided

11:40-12:35: Training Modifications for Injured Players - Aaron Hillmann, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Illinois University

1:40-2:35: Conditioning Concepts for Program Design - Jim ArthurAssistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, Chicago Bears

12:40-1:35: Training the System - Mike Gittleson30 Years as Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, University of Michigan

2:40-3:35: Sports Nutrition - Annie HoganDirector of Performance Nutrition, Baylor University

Strength And Conditioning Clinic

The Mississippi State University Strength and Conditioning Staff would like to invite you and your colleagues to our 6th Annual Strength and Conditioning Clinic to be held February 28, 2015. 

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This clinic is designed to increase your knowledge in the field of strength and conditioning and to benefit you for future experiences with your athletes. We hope you can make it and look forward to seeing you this year!

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Guest speakers for the clinic will include the following:

Rick Court, Director of Strength & Conditioning, Mississippi State University

Anthony Piroli, Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach, Mississippi State University

Kelly White, Sports Nutritionist & Dietician, Mississippi State University

John Sisk, Director of Strength & Conditioning, Georgia Tech University

Scott Holsopple, Director of Strength & Conditioning, Georgia State University

Mike Gittleson, Former Director of Strength & Conditioning, University of Michigan

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Miami University Synchronized Skating

MacKenzie Cutter is a Strength and Conditioning Coach at Miami of Ohio University, she runs a comprehensive strength and conditioning program for each of the University's teams that she is responsible for. The Miami University Synchronized Skating team has been our Nations best, they have won National Collegiate Championships in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. Neck training is a part of their program.

In the 1970s, colleges began introducing strength training into their athletic programs to enhance performance, as well as reduce injuries. Women, in general had a strong fear of becoming too muscular. Educators worked to dispel those fears and strength and conditioning programs are now commonplace throughout athletics. Yet wrongly conceived beliefs still linger today when it comes to training the muscles associated with the cervical spine. Neck training for the female, which increases the stiffness of the musculature rather than the size, is important not only to protect each athlete by reducing sub-concusive forces but perfect their balance and skill.

As great as these Miami synchronized skaters are, falls and collisions occur, protecting each athlete is paramount. 







Training The Hands To Get Strong

Hand-grip strength has been identified as one limiting factor for manual lifting and carrying loads. An object's weight, the actual surface material being lifted and visual cues have a great deal to do with the digital forces we apply when we are lifting it. Lifting and carrying loads is the essence of strength training. For an athlete to reach his potential he or she must Get their hands Strong

All our fingers can contribute to the total force we can emit when grasping an object even the grip span affects the outcome. Training with different grip tools, varying widths as well as concentrating on individual and pairs of digits maximizes hand strength, which is reflected in total body strength.

Below the athlete begins the exercise using a 'ball grip wrist roller.'  When the exercise is completed he uses different finger combinations on the Rogers Rope Pull to strengthen each digit.






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