Speed and Strength Articles

Chop Wood Carry Water

I had the opportunity to read the book “Chop Wood Carry Water: How To Fall In Love With The Process Of Becoming Great” by Joshua Medcalf last week. I’m recommending it to parents, players, and coaches alike. This day in age we often get caught up in competition, comparison and forget about the process and the practice of our journey. Not only the journey in our craft (sports and work) but in the journey of life. The book’s own synopsis will paint a clear picture to what you’ll discover:

“Guided by “Akira-sensei,” John comes to realize the greatest adversity on his journey will be the challenge of defeating the man in the mirror.”

“This powerful story of one boy’s journey to achieve his lifelong goal of becoming a samurai warrior brings the Train to be CLUTCH curriculum to life in a powerful and memorable way.”

Here are some of the points that are discussed within the book:

  • Under pressure you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training
  • Why it’s impossible to cheat the person in the mirror
  • Greatness isn’t sexy it is dirty, hard work
  • Everyone wants to be great until it’s time to do what greatness requires
  • How to overcome the anxiety that stems from artificial maturity
  • Why consistency and faithfulness matters more than talent or resources
  • How to develop a heart posture of gratitude
  • Why the process is more important than the goal
  • Why comparison is the thief of all joy
  • How to develop TRUE mental toughness
  • Why thinking like an entrepreneur will help you thrive in our rapidly changing world

When I read this book, I thought to myself that I wish I had read this when I was younger and fully grasped and practiced these concepts. Our society, me included, has fallen to the modern day “quick-fixes”, “results now” mentality. It simply doesn’t work for the long term and at one point or another we’ll fall flat on our faces. We can point to thousands of different things that are responsible for this shift in mentality but that don’t necessarily fix the problem. We’re all responsible for ourselves, first and foremost. Taking a long, hard look at ourselves and how we approach school, sports, work and life and then determining whether or not we’re practicing growth mindset or results mindset will make a world of difference. Take the time to read this 100 page book and begin transition to a better, more effective approach to life!

Alex Conti
Alex Conti

Director of Sports Performance Alex has grown up locally and is a graduate of Olentangy Liberty and played for Blast FC out of Westerville. In 2010 Alex graduated from Otterbein University with a degree in Exercise Science. During his time at Otterbein, Alex was a member of the men's soccer team that competed in the OAC conference. In the fall of 2010 Alex was selected to be the University of Notre Dame's strength and conditioning intern. From his time there he received valuable experience and knowledge coaching several different teams including: Men's and women's basketball, hockey, baseball, softball, men's and women's swimming and diving, women's lacrosse, women's soccer and women's cross country. While at SuperKick Alex has worked with several local high school and club teams including: Olentangy boys & girls soccer, Olentangy Orange boys soccer, Olentangy Libery boys & girls soccer, Olentangy girls basketball, Olentangy Liberty field hockey, Olentangy Liberty girls lacrosse, Bishop Watterson boys soccer and U12-U18 CEFC club teams. In addition, Alex has worked with several individual athletes across many sports including: soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, basketball, football, gymnastics, track and field and hockey. Alex also directs the Skill and Speed program.

Posted by Administrator on Fri, 28 Apr 2017
tags:

You Need a Recovery Plan

Have you ever had the feeling that your body is tired, sore and without energy? Maybe you were coming off a difficult week of practices and games. Perhaps you are at the tail end of your season and you’re starting to feel the effects and stresses it’s caused on your body. Nearly every serious athlete or individual invested in their fitness has experienced this. The question you have to ask yourself is “are you getting the adequate rest that your body needs and are you taking the necessary steps to help your body recover?”

One of the most overlooked aspects of a training regime is rest and recovery. When we train our bodies, whether it’s a team practice, weight lifting or conditioning, we are breaking down our bodies in one form or another. Rest and recovery is what builds our bodies back up. There’s a common saying “break to build”. Training correlates to breaking and rest/recovery correlates to building.

It’s important for parents and athletes to understand this. In the strength and conditioning/fitness world we are seeing an increase in injuries due to overtraining and not taking sufficient steps to take care of the body. Below are some things that should be incorporated into every athlete’s lifestyle for rest and recovery:

  1. Static stretching: These are your “old school” reach and hold stretches that improve flexibility and joint range of motion. It’s important to note that these stretches are most beneficial AFTER exercise and competition. In fact, studies have proven that static stretching can hinder an athlete’s performance by diminishing muscular power and elasticity.

  2. Hydration: Athletes and active individuals should be consuming fluids throughout the entire day. Water and Gatorade are great ways to keep you hydrated and ready to go for the day’s training sessions. A good rule of thumb is to monitor urine color. If your urine is clear then your body is hydrated. Did you know??? If your urine is even the slightest bit yellow, your muscular power could be decreased as much as 10%!

  3. Diet: Without the proper amount of nutrients your body won’t recover and build back up. While nutritionists and dieticians are the only ones who can give explicit advice and prescribe diets, a good place to find useful information is the USDA’s website (http://www.mypyramid.org/plan.php)

  4. Sleep: Our body regenerates and renews itself through sleep. Athletes should be getting a minimum 8 hours of sleep per night!

  5. Myofascial release (foam rolling): Something that has become more popular over recent years and something I’m a huge supporter of. You can purchase a roller at a sporting goods store or online at any sports/gym equipment retailer. The purpose of rolling is to help promote blood flow to our body’s tissues, release muscular tension and help relieve soreness. Foam rolling is much like a massage but can be done on your own. If you’re unsure on how to use a foam roller, do not worry! Many rollers come with an informational DVD or instructions on how to use it on the different muscles of the body.

When looking back and re-evaluating your most recent season it’s important that you take all things into consideration. Rest and recovery is a huge part of the training process. Make sure that you take the necessary steps to help yourself become a better athlete and increase your success for next season!

Alex Conti
Alex Conti

Director of Sports Performance Alex has grown up locally and is a graduate of Olentangy Liberty and played for Blast FC out of Westerville. In 2010 Alex graduated from Otterbein University with a degree in Exercise Science. During his time at Otterbein, Alex was a member of the men's soccer team that competed in the OAC conference. In the fall of 2010 Alex was selected to be the University of Notre Dame's strength and conditioning intern. From his time there he received valuable experience and knowledge coaching several different teams including: Men's and women's basketball, hockey, baseball, softball, men's and women's swimming and diving, women's lacrosse, women's soccer and women's cross country. While at SuperKick Alex has worked with several local high school and club teams including: Olentangy boys & girls soccer, Olentangy Orange boys soccer, Olentangy Libery boys & girls soccer, Olentangy girls basketball, Olentangy Liberty field hockey, Olentangy Liberty girls lacrosse, Bishop Watterson boys soccer and U12-U18 CEFC club teams. In addition, Alex has worked with several individual athletes across many sports including: soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, basketball, football, gymnastics, track and field and hockey. Alex also directs the Skill and Speed program.

Posted by Administrator on Mon, 27 Mar 2017
tags:

Be Real With Yourself

Over my coaching career I’ve heard a lot of players tell me about their goals and resolutions. I’ve also had a lot of parents tell me about their goals and resolutions, for their kids. I can confidently tell you that less than 10% of those people I’ve heard from actually go through with it and accomplish what they set out to do. The problem is that most set these goals very haphazardly. They have an idea of what they’d like to accomplish but when it comes down to it they don’t have the conviction to accomplish what they set out to do or develop a sound plan. Both go hand in hand. If you fully believe and understand your “why” to accomplishing a goal then you’ll have the recognition that a sound plan needs to be put in place.

Most commonly I’ll hear someone say something like “I want to get stronger”. This is great but very broad and won’t help you get anywhere. The first level of goal setting, which should be automatic for everyone when setting a goal, is making it S.M.A.R.T.

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

This article isn’t about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. That should already be standard common knowledge. If not, let me know and I’ll write an article about it in the future. Back to the point, “I want to get stronger” would essentially morph into the S.M.A.R.T . goal of “I want to put 50 pounds on my back squat in the next 6 months”.

OK, great but how much are you willing to commit to that? What are you willing to do to make that happen? This is where the coach comes in and discusses the necessary process to make that goal happen. The coach will tell the athlete what he or she’s day to day, week to week, month to month schedule would look like. There will be a very honest discussion of what your discipline level is like and whether or not your goal is realistic to your level of commitment.

Are you willing to get to the gym every day of the week? Are you willing to squat heavy 3 times per week? Are you willing to spend 3 days per week, several hours per day working strictly on mobility and technique which can be very boring?

This includes days that you might not feel great, feel sick, have to travel and have a lot of homework. Despite all these challenges, are you willing to hold fast and stick to the plan no matter what? And after asking yourself all these questions, you ask yourself the most important one: “What are you willing to give up to make this happen?” Are you willing to give up time with friends, free time to relax, play video games, see movies, go to bed late, sleep in, etc.?

If you can’t honestly say you’re ok with giving up those things then you need to consider that it might not be something that you truly want. Or you need to adjust that goal so that it falls in line with your level of discipline. Perhaps instead of increasing your back squat by 50 pounds in 6 months it’s, increasing your back squat by 50 pounds in 1 year or increasing it by 25 pounds in 6 months.

Be real with yourself. Understand your commitments, time and discipline. Adjust your goals as necessary and be willing to change and adapt. Remember that any big goal or daunting task is going to be, at one point or another, uncomfortable. That’s what it’s all about. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Go get ‘em!

Alex Conti
Alex Conti

Director of Sports Performance Alex has grown up locally and is a graduate of Olentangy Liberty and played for Blast FC out of Westerville. In 2010 Alex graduated from Otterbein University with a degree in Exercise Science. During his time at Otterbein, Alex was a member of the men's soccer team that competed in the OAC conference. In the fall of 2010 Alex was selected to be the University of Notre Dame's strength and conditioning intern. From his time there he received valuable experience and knowledge coaching several different teams including: Men's and women's basketball, hockey, baseball, softball, men's and women's swimming and diving, women's lacrosse, women's soccer and women's cross country. While at SuperKick Alex has worked with several local high school and club teams including: Olentangy boys & girls soccer, Olentangy Orange boys soccer, Olentangy Libery boys & girls soccer, Olentangy girls basketball, Olentangy Liberty field hockey, Olentangy Liberty girls lacrosse, Bishop Watterson boys soccer and U12-U18 CEFC club teams. In addition, Alex has worked with several individual athletes across many sports including: soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, basketball, football, gymnastics, track and field and hockey. Alex also directs the Skill and Speed program.

Posted by Administrator on Mon, 27 Feb 2017
tags:

So, You Want to be a Leader?

It’s been a long-standing notion that great leaders of the past and present instill a sense of accountability within their peers. But, what does that mean? Accountability is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions”. When I read the definition the words “obligation” and “willingness” are highlighted in my mind...

Last fall I read a book titled Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. It’s by far one of the most influential books I have ever read and has already become the number one book I recommend and gift to others. Within the book, Jocko and Leif write about the modern-day buzz word “accountability” and you can find YouTube videos of Jocko being interviewed explaining his notion of the word. His perspective and outlook is the best I’ve heard. There are two options:

  1. A leader can create a plan and order you to execute it or,
  2. A leader can tell you to create your own plan, collaborate with leaders, peers and subordinates and then execute it.

Which one of those options sounds better? Number one treats you as a robot. Number two treats you as a human being. When you allow your peers to create their own plan, their willingness to execute it will be greater than “following orders”. They’ll take pride in the process it took to devise that plan and their level of enthusiasm for making that plan succeed will multiplied. Let us circle back to the beginning and focus on the two words I highlighted: “obligation” and “willingness”. Which word sounds better now? As leaders, we guide and teach our peers the necessary skills to be successful. However, we also need allow a natural discovery of the sport or job and each of its little nuances. They need to be able to devise their own plans, solve problems and then execute a strategy to be successful. There’s a term in coaching called “joy-sticking” which essentially means that the coach is doing everything for the athlete. Telling them where to go, what to do, how to do it. This mentality cripples an individual’s ability to be a self-sufficient, problem solver who can communicate and collaborate with others.

The most hard-working, enthusiastic and top performing teams I have worked with have always accepted the fact that answers will not always be spoon fed to them. They are “willing” to discover answers on their own, research and develop plans with others and then execute. Through that process, they attain success because they are fully invested in it.

So, if you want to be a leader. Don’t ask how yourself “How can I get my peers, teammates to do what I want them to do so we achieve success?” Trust them and then ask yourself “Am I giving my peers, teammates the opportunity to invest and be a part of process of achieving our goal?”

Alex Conti
Alex Conti

Director of Sports Performance Alex has grown up locally and is a graduate of Olentangy Liberty and played for Blast FC out of Westerville. In 2010 Alex graduated from Otterbein University with a degree in Exercise Science. During his time at Otterbein, Alex was a member of the men's soccer team that competed in the OAC conference. In the fall of 2010 Alex was selected to be the University of Notre Dame's strength and conditioning intern. From his time there he received valuable experience and knowledge coaching several different teams including: Men's and women's basketball, hockey, baseball, softball, men's and women's swimming and diving, women's lacrosse, women's soccer and women's cross country. While at SuperKick Alex has worked with several local high school and club teams including: Olentangy boys & girls soccer, Olentangy Orange boys soccer, Olentangy Libery boys & girls soccer, Olentangy girls basketball, Olentangy Liberty field hockey, Olentangy Liberty girls lacrosse, Bishop Watterson boys soccer and U12-U18 CEFC club teams. In addition, Alex has worked with several individual athletes across many sports including: soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, basketball, football, gymnastics, track and field and hockey. Alex also directs the Skill and Speed program.

Posted by Administrator on Mon, 30 Jan 2017
tags:

Pro - Agility Drill

By Alex Conti, Head Sports Performance & Fitness Coach

The pro-agility drill is used to help increase change of direction, acceleration and deceleration. It's become a staple of training in the strength and conditioning world for those looking to increase their agility. Too often do coaches and scouts focus on speed tests such as the 40 yard dash. Very rarely will a soccer player have to sprint 40 yards in a straight line. They must be able to generate speed quickly and also change direction on a dime. To neglect a drill like this which mirrors game like physical demands would be foolish. If you are serious about increasing your athletic potential to translate to the game of soccer, make sure you incorporate the pro-agility drill into your program.

Pro - Agility Demo Play Video
  • Start out facing the middle cone

  • Sprint to the right hand cone, across to the left hand cone and finish back in the center

  • Make sure to start your sprint both directions

  • Focus on quick turns and always face the cone when changing direction (to work both right and left sides of your body)

  • Bend your knees, drop your hips and lower your center of gravity when changing direction

  • Make sure to "chop" your feet when changing direction

Posted by Administrator on Fri, 21 Aug 2015
tags:

LATEST NEWS

Soccer Camps

Join Our Email Newsletter →