The University of Texas hosted their annual Athletic Performance Clinic January 14. Top strength coaches and leaders in athletics speak at this clinic every year, and I love the opportunity to learn from them. (What were you doing Friday night in Austin? I was online, doing more research about the speakers to learn about their experiences, philosophy, and athletes.)
The speakers included coaches of Olympians, collegiate, high school, and professional athletes.
Snippets of what I learned:
Tim Pelot, Senior Strength & Conditioning Coach of the United States Olympic Committee
- You must have systems when training groups, but remember they are individuals.
- Give your athletes energy and support them! They are expending physical energy, cognitive energy, attending sports medicine needs, etc. They need your support.
- Take the temperature of the room and be adaptable.
It was really great to hear someone who has spend thousands of hours coaching, and who is so adept at thinking on his feet.
Tanna Burge, Assistant Athletic Director, Sports Performance, Texas A&M University
Like Tim, Tanna reminds us we don’t coach just teams and groups, but rather individuals.
- Be intentional, and be there. Ask how they are, mean it, and listen.
- If we skip these things, we miss opportunity to positively impact athletes.
- Beyond the big business of athletics is life. Especially for young college athletes, this is their life!
Tanna gave us a great reminder that athletes aren’t obsessed with the process of lifting and training like some of us coaches are. They do what they have to but don’t think about it all day. Meet them where they are.
Coach McKeefery has served as a strength and conditioning coach for many organizations including The University of Tennessee, Cincinnati Bengals, and Kansas City Royals.
I’ve heard Coach McKeefery speak, I keep up with his social media updates, and always look forward to hearing what’s in his head. He has so much accumulated knowledge and experience, I could hardly take notes fast enough.
- Regarding players running late who must work extra because of their tardiness: “There is a consequence. You have to be ok with that. That’s life.”
- "Be the person in the room who can get the athlete to his goals.”
- “When Donnie [Maib, Head Athletic Performance coach for Olympic Sports at University of Texas] and I talk, it’s more about what we’re reading than anything else.” I LOVE this!
Loren Landow, owner/director of Landow Performance
Coach Landow’s presentation was packed full of technical insight and coaching cues. He also has accumulated thousands of hours of coaching skills from his work with high school, collegiate, professional, and Olympic athletes. Most of what I learned from his presentation was really how to refine how I program and cue training. One of my favorite things he explained was of an athletes tool box, or how well they move. “The more coordinated they are, the better. The more skills in the toolbox,” for example.
Al Vermeil, President of Vermeil Sports and Fitness
Al Vermeil is a legend in the strength and conditioning world. He has worked in the NFL, NBA, and MLB. He has done work with powerhouse teams such as The Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago White Sox, US Army Rangers, University of Alabama, Stanford University Sports Medicine, and too many more to name.
I could listen to Coach Vermeil speak for days and still be beginning to learn from him. Coach Vermeil thoroughly discussed the foundation of power in sports, jump technique, speed development and much more. I will be reviewing his notes for a while. The most humorous part of his speech, when he asked, “How long do I have left? Three minutes? …oooh…”
Donnie Maib, Head Athletic Performance coach for Olympic Sports at University of Texas
Donnie took participants to the UT weight room, outfitted by Sorinex Exercise Equipment, for a mobility and recovery session. Like many of the other coaches stressed, Coach Maib reminded us we are dealing with individual athletes. We need to evaluate each athlete’s movement, identify issues, and address them. This demo of mobility exercises and tools was very useful.
The clinic finished with a reception in the beautiful Stark Center, a museum of physical culture and sport. If you are even remotely interested in sports, competition, bodybuilding, or athletics, you need to check this place out. Drs. Jan and Terry Todd have done an amazing job creating the Stark Center from the ground up. It is in the north end zone of the UT Stadium.
As a bonus, I ran into Coach Ed Cosner, who runs PowerSport Strength and Conditioning. I visit his facility when I am in Houston. (You can read about my last visit to his place here). It is always great to run into friends, especially ones I learn so much from!
I am already looking forward to next year's clinic!