Stronger Athletes

Mystery Guest and the Word Is Spreading

April 19 "Son, looks to me like you're spending too much time on one subject." -Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas A&M, recounting what he told a player who received four F's and one D.

Mystery Guest: Kim Wood, Cincinnati Bengals

[Correct answers this week came from Coach Jonathan Gray, Assistant Strength Coach, Missouri Southern State College; Coach Jim Bryan, Winter Haven, FL; Coach Matt Bryzcki, Princeton University who writes, "BWAH! These are too easy." (We'll do better next week coach!); Fred Cantor, University of Maryland-Baltimore County; Aaron Vitt, Moberly, MO]

"In his 27th season with the Bengals, our mystery guest is the dean of NFL strength and conditioning coaches. A hard-driving coach who still maintains an easy rapport with his players, Coach Wood has set up strength and conditioning programs for a number of NFL teams.

Coach Wood is known nationwide for his outspoken stance against the use of steroids in strength training. His team’s training program was aggressively steroid-free long before official sanctions against the drugs became a nationwide norm.

Coach Wood has seen many of his athletes perform impressive feats in the weight room, but that’s not his goal.

"We train very hard, but we’re not training our people to be weight lifters or power lifters," Wood says. "We always keep the perspective that we’re working with these guys to be the best football players they can be."

An outstanding running back at the University of Wisconsin during his college days, Coach Wood has worked under all eight head coaches in his team’s history. He joined the club in 1975, Paul Brown’s final season as head coach, and has since coordinated strength training for Bill Johnson, Homer Rice, Forrest Gregg, Sam Wyche, Dave Shula, Bruce Coslet and Dick LeBeau.

PLAYING AND COACHING HISTORY — 1964-66: Played running back at Wisconsin. 1975-2001: Strength and conditioning coach, Cincinnati Bengals".

**Note** Much of this bio was taken from the Bengal's web site which can be found from the website.

Dear We Are Not Alone

As the word is spreading about our website and our purpose we are receiving a lot of e-mail from coaches who think we are from outer space. We include two recent e-mails we have received that appreciate our efforts. We share these with you to 1) Prove that we are not alone in our approach to a safe, productive, and efficient training style and 2) recognize the fact that people who keep open minds about issues can in fact "learn new tricks".

Dear Coach Rody,
Our staff thinks that you are doing a great job with the site, informative, yet non-threatening. It is my experience, that those employed in the strength field have good intentions yet little understanding. In my opinion, two factors jump to mind. The almighty dollar (recreational fitness) & ego (coaching industry) as well as the current hiring practice of strength coaches. You have individuals engrossed with self-promotion in order to enhance their career. I feel these people have painted themselves into a corner as far as philosophy and now can't back out because this is their niche to a better career--path to DI or pro level.

I teach a fitness/strength training course and find many students who proclaim themselves as gurus (wannabes). These students have little regard as to how and why to strength train. Instead of focusing attention on sound training principles and advice, the concern lies within what they can do to create an imaginary trait such as speed strength and market it to the masses. For lack of terminology, they are in search of the perfect program yet they haven't grasped the fundamentals. Therefore, nebulous terminology and myths abound.

We have had a few coaches visit in the last few weeks from high schools as well as DI programs home on spring break. It is interesting to note how these coaches were hired in their current position as strength coaches. No formal education and no practical experience. What other industry hires people into what I call middle management positions without those two criteria? I am not suggesting that these individuals can't get the job done, but because a person coaches or plays a sport doesn't make them an expert in strength training. We identify these individuals as commoners among the masses. Individuals who have had contact with athletics in some capacity but very little knowledge with strength training.

The typical individual joins the masses because surely so many people preaching the same training principles can't be wrong. How can we expect these individuals to identify the difference between creating athleticism and strength training? Everyday these individuals are being preyed upon that athletes can be created through sport specific training protocols. Now, enter an inflated ego into that equation. I remind my assistants that are job is to keep our athletes in the headlines and us out of the headlines.

So, keep fighting the good fight and don't back down in what you believe. Be open to suggestions but pick your pathway and stick with it. We have enjoyed the site and look forward to future postings.

Mike Lawrence
Missouri Southern State College

Coach Lawrence
First, thanks for your support. It is important for high school coaches to know that strength training at the next level is not monopolized by "Olympic Lifts". We agree with your thoughts about coaches who have the best of intentions in regards to training their athletes but lacking the education.

That is the state of high school athletics. Everyone knows that they need to have their athletes in the weight room to be competitive at the high school level. However, these coaches may not realize that just because they have a background in lifting from the athlete's perspective it may not apply to their role as the strength coach.

We hope to bridge that gap for the high school coach. Obviously most schools cannot afford to hire strictly strength coaches and the football, track or wrestling coach ends up championing the weight room cause. If these coaches can keep an open mind and admit that we can all learn something from somebody they can greatly improve their weight room time. This also frees up more time for coaching their sport, which they were hired to do.

Although we may disagree with their philosophy, BFS has met this need for high school coaches. They make the strength training element of the coaches life simple... in a box. Coaches are always better off seeking out various coaching strategies for their sports. The same is true for the weight room. Unlike the BFS system however, we would like for coaches to seek out safer training methods.

Thanks again for your support coach and we look forward to visiting with you in the future. -S.A.

Dear Coach Rody,
I have recently started your work, amidst my skepticism, and I love it. I can already feel an improvement. The lifts that I had gone stagnant on have new life and I love it. I am glad I gave it a run and I hope some day to use it in my program. Thanks Coach, good luck and God bless.

Keep Preachin', people tend to be stubborn in their wise old ways,

We are glad you like the workout and are happy that you are making improvements. Let us know if we can further assist you and how you are doing from time to time. We like to hear about how people are progressing in their training. Keep training hard.

[It took a lot of courage for Mike to try our program. My partner also went to school at Mike's college and we know that they are strong olympic lifting advocates. They do a great job and have super coaches but, nevertheless, would look crosswise at an athlete working on slow and controlled lifts. This is a great example of someone keeping an open mind and reaping the benefits.] -S.A.

Internship Opportunity

Coach Fred Cantor at the university of Maryland-Baltimore County has a paid internship available this fall. Those interested should send a resume, references and sample workouts that they have developed or used to Coach Cantor at UMBC, Athletic Dept, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore,Md 21250.

***No Liability is assumed for any information written on the website. No medical advice is given on exercise. This advice should be obtained from a licensed health-care practitioner. Before anyone begins any exercise program, always consult your doctor. The articles are written by coaches that are giving advice on a safe, productive, and efficient method of strength training.***

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