What coaches look for!

Hey everyone! I’m excited to write this blog today! What I’m going to talk about is something I preach to my athletes all the time! Being a coach, and knowing a lot of coaches I often find myself talking to other like minded individuals about what we are looking for in an athlete. After all my time talking to people and other coaches, this are the three traits that I look for in an elite athlete; flexibility, aggression and a driven mentality.

Flexibility 

This is such an overlooked aspect of training! There is a misconception people have think that certain people can’t be flexible, because they weren’t born with it. This is so wrong!!! Sure some people are going to be more pliable than other, but don’t judge your flexibility against someone else’s. The more flexible your can be the better athlete you are going to become. If you take a “none flexible” person and work on stretching and mobility, you will see over a time period that they will become more mobile and become a better athlete! There are lots of studies that prove that pliability is so important when determining how much force a muscle can create. 

Aggression – No Fear

No matter what the sport is, I want aggressive people. Someone who is willing to take risks, someone who is not afraid to roll down a dark alley! This couldn’t more true, especially in contact sports such as football, hockey and basketball. Let’s look at basketball, one of the best points guards in the NBA is Kyle Lowry. He has never been afraid to take the ball into the paint where there are guys way bigger than him. He gets hit all the time and had even gotten hurt going into the paint but, he continues to go in there because he knows it’s helps his team! I’ve seen a lot of athletes who are freaks in the weight room and on the track but when they get into thier completion the struggle because they are afraid of contact and getting hurt! YOU CANT BE!!!

Driven Mentality 

This is what separates the good from the great! Good athletes are just that, they train to get better and be good at there craft. Great athletes train to be the best of all time. One of the greatest NBA Player of all time Kobe Bryant, who just recently pass away had something he called “The Mamba Mentality” This was basically his process of out working everyone. I remember a story of the lakers drafting someone and this kid started working out in the gym at 5:30 in the morning, Kobe caught wind of this and started his day at the gym at 4:00am, just to prove the point that he would outwork everyone! This is truly what an elite person is, someone who is incapable of losing!!!

This is just my take. If you asked another coach the same question he/she would probably have a different answer for you. But the great ones I’ve been around or seen have these traits in common!! 

There is no off season, come into SST today and lets get faster stronger and out work the competition! Email Bskinner@sstcanada.com to book a free demo session.

Bulgar stuffed sweet peppers.

Bulgar Stuffed sweet peppers

These take a little bit of time to make,
but they are sooooo worth it! Hearty and delicious. Serve with a side salad and you are good to go!

Course Dinner
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup bulgar
  • 4 sweet red peppers
  • 4 cups Mushrooms
  • 2 cloves Fresh garlic
  • 2 Diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped sage
  • 1/4 cup Freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted almond slivers
  • 1 tbsp Salt and pepper or to taste

Instructions

  1. In large bowl, pour
    1 1/3 cups boiling water over bulgur; cover and let stand for 15 minutes.  Drain and press out moisture; return to dry
    bowl.

    Meanwhile, slice
    tops off red peppers leaving 2-inch high sides; core and scrape out seeds.  Dice tops and set aside.

    In food processor
    or by hand, finely chop mushrooms.  In
    large nonstick skillet, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat; fry diced
    peppers, mushrooms, onion, garlic, sage and ½ tsp each of the salt and pepper
    until liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes. 
    Add to bulgur along with cheese, toasted almonds and parsley; toss to
    combine.

    Spoon bulgur
    mixture into peppers, mounding if necessary. 
    Place peppers, stuffed side up, in a 8-inch square glass baking
    dish.  Drizzle with lemon juice and
    remaining oil; top with tomatoes. 
    Sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper.


    Cover with foil;
    bake in 350◦ oven until peppers are almost tender about 1 hour.  Uncover and bake until tips are crusty, about
    30 minutes.

Acceptance of a problem – Are you coachable?

I personally think that any athlete can come into the gym, pick up some weights and lift. That is truly not hard to do, if you are the least bit dedicated to your craft. Where I find the difference lies in traning an athlete is there ability to be coached and listen to the advice that they are given. There is a reason professional athletes have a training staff, because they not only need direction but they want to be told how to get better! There is one trait I can see in every great athlete…. the desire to be coached! Below you will find my key point on being coachable!

  1. Acceptance of a Problem – The only way to truly fix something, is to first admit that it is broken. You as an athlete are training because you are trying to get better. Don’t act like you have everything accomplished already!
  2. Reaction to Criticism – When your being coached, there is nothing worse than arguing when your doing something wrong! If you don’t agree with something, that is fine but there is a certain way to ask the question of why is this or that being done.
  3. Changing of Mindset – The biggest tool any athlete has is their brain! If it is used in the right way. You need to allow coaching to happen, take the criticism and ask yourself questions! This is the true definition of an athlete, someone that can process information about their body, good or bad! Having a clear mindset of always understand why your doing something and how to do it is so undervalued!
  4. Performance – The reason why you are being coached is so that you get better at your craft. One of key points of being coachable is using the tools that we have given you to become a better athlete. Most importantly not going back to your ‘old ways’ before you made changes.
  5. Desire – Training at a high level is not easy. Especially if you are constantly trying to get better, it is an uphill battle that never stop! If you are an elite competitor you will never hit the peak of your game, because you will always want more. The only way this is possible is with high level coaching and letting people help you!

Having a coach is just like having a mechanic you trust, you’re always going to listen to their advice even if it is something that you don’t want to hear! People who are afraid of criticism never make it to the top, because they think they are the best and they simply aren’t! Elite people get better at what people say they are deficient in and make that a strength! If you can take one thing from reading this blog; just listen to the people who are trying to help you! Even if you don’t agree, it will make you a better person and athlete!

If you want to be Coached by Coach Jamie, CLICK HERE to sign up for his upcoming Big man camp!

Not feeling on top of your game?

A human body produces vitamin D as a response to sun exposure. A person can also boost their vitamin D intake through certain foods or supplements.Vitamin D is essential for several reasons, including maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It may also protect against a range of diseases and conditions, such as type 1 diabetes.

Despite its name, vitamin D is not a vitamin, but a prohormone, or precursor of a hormone. Vitamins are nutrients that the body cannot create, and so a person must consume them in the diet. However, the body can produce vitamin D however in places with less sun exposure all year round we should be consuming enough through diet or supplements to ensure we don’t have a deficiency.

Vitamin D play a few vital roles in the body;

Bones; It’s well-documented that vitamin D is essential for the proper absorption of calcium, and it’s been shown to greatly reduce fracture risk in two ways. First, it helps with the formation of stronger bones; second, Vitamin D helps improve balance and prevent falls by enhancing muscle contraction.

Mood; When it comes to being happy, the scientific evidence is clear, lower vitamin D levels have long been associated with a higher incidence of depression. Interestingly, when vitamin D3 supplements were compared to anti-depressants in a 2014 study, the positive effect of vitamin D3 on mood was comparable to the effects of the anti-depressants. When a new immigrant from a sunny country arrives to canada, often Dr.s will recommend they take a supplement to make up for the difference in climate.

Muscles; One of the byproducts of vitamin D’s breakdown, called 1,25(OH)2D, enters muscle cells and affects the nucleus. Once there, the vitamin D metabolite enhances the cell’s contraction ability. Since muscles work by contraction and relaxation, a muscle’s ability to contract is essential to its strength and response to outside forces. Vitamin D, then, makes muscles stronger in a very direct way.

Lungs; As many studies indicate, vitamin D plays a role in keeping our lungs healthy due to vitamin D possessing a range of anti-inflammatory properties – with greater concentrations of vitamin D resulting in greater lung health benefits.

Heart; Research has demonstrated an inverse relationship between vitamin D levels in the blood and high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension). In other words, the lower the vitamin D, the higher the blood pressure. The excess strain and resulting damage from high blood pressure causes the coronary arteries serving the heart to slowly narrow and harden, greatly increasing the risk of a heart attack.

Kidneys; Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it helps to regulate kidney function and plays a very beneficial role in treating kidney disease.

Weight Loss; When you don’t have enough vitamin D, you feel hungry all the time, no matter how much you eat. That is because low levels of vitamin D interfere with the effectiveness of leptin, the appetite hormone that tells you when you are full. When vitamin D is replenished and back to normal levels, leptin’s actions are restored, thus creating feelings of satiety and aiding in weight loss.

Cognitive Function; In the past few years, many studies have linked shortage of vitamin D with cognitive impairment in older men and women. Research has demonstrated that vitamin D has a variety of neuroprotective roles, including helping to rid the brain of beta-amyloid, an abnormal protein that is believed to be a major cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, an international study (the largest to date) shows that seniors with very low levels of vitamin D are at twice the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Deficiency; Although the body can create vitamin D, a deficiency can occur for many reasons.

Skin type; Darker skin reduces the body’s ability to absorb the ultraviolet radiation B (UVB) rays from the sun. Absorbing sunlight is essential for the skin to produce vitamin D.

Sunscreen; A sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 can reduce the body’s ability to synthesize the vitamin by 95% or more. Covering the skin with clothing can inhibit vitamin D production also.

Geographical location; People who live in northern latitudes or areas of high pollution, work night shifts, or are homebound should aim to consume vitamin D from food sources whenever possible.

Breastfeeding; Infants who exclusively breastfeed need a vitamin D supplement, especially if they have dark skin or have minimal sun exposure. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that all breastfed infants receive 400 international units (IU) per day of oral vitamin D.

Although people can take vitamin D supplements, it is best to obtain any vitamins or minerals through natural sources wherever possible.Getting sufficient sunlight is the best way to help the body produce enough vitamin D. Plentiful food sources of vitamin D include:

fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, egg yolks, cheese, beef liver, mushrooms, fortified milk

Dosage should be discussed with your doctor however sensible sun exposure on bare skin for 5–10 minutes, 2–3 times per week, allows most people to produce sufficient vitamin D. However, vitamin D breaks down quite quickly, meaning that stores can run low, especially in winter.

If someone is taking supplements, they should choose their brand carefully, as the FDA do not monitor the safety or purity of supplements.

Even though there are a selection of vitamin D supplements available, It is the total diet and eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and good health. It is better to eat a diet with a variety of nutrients than to concentrate on one nutrient as the key to good health.

Email Bskinner@sstcanada.com to schedule a Nutrition session with SST to make sure you are on the healthiest path possible!

What do you need to gain mass?

Here at SST a lot of athletes come into our facility wanting to put on size and gain strength and ask for our advice to help get them there. While what we do in the gym is a HUGE part of helping them achieve this goal, what we preach to our athletes is that what they do with the 23 other hours they aren’t in our facility are just as if not more important if they want to gain size and strength.


The most common misconception with ‘bulking’ or the pursuit gaining muscle mass is that you can just go on the see-food diet (eat any food in sight) and you will put on mass. While this is true if you are in a caloric surplus (eating more calories than you are burning), it doesn’t mean you are going to the athletic size we want you to gain. You should have a professional help you to calculate your caloric needs to identify #1 if you are eating enough for your activity level and if so if we need to add more calories to your current regime to help you gain some healthy muscle mass. This is ESSENTIAL if speed and/or power is important for an athlete’s sport as if we are looking to put on size, we need to be cognisant of how this may affect their speed. We want to gain size and strength the right way to promote speed development, keeping our body fat levels in a good range for us to perform for our sport.


For this to happen you need to be eating adequate protein. A good rule of thumb is that you should be eating AT LEAST 1 gram of protein per pound of body mass and it is best to space this protein out throughout the day to keep us on the positive side of protein synthesis/degradation. While individual needs will vary for sport and training period this is a good rule of thumb to follow. Another way to think of this is to try and eat 40 grams of protein per meal, or the equivalent amount of two decks of cards of a high-quality protein source, as protein is the key macronutrient for muscle building. If we are wanting to put on size and to make sure we are eating enough, another simple trick we can use is to try and eat 3 meals before 3pm, and 5 meals before 9pm. If you follow these simple rules of thumb it should go a long way in helping you put on some healthy mass.


We also focus on our athletes avoiding highly processed foods and protein sources. The more nutrition we can get from unprocessed, home-prepared meals the better. Focusing on eating lots of vegetables (hitting all colours of the rainbow), adequate carbohydrates for specific goals and activity level, healthy unsaturated fat sources such as fatty-fish, olive oil, avocados, almonds, etc. and protein sources that used to run, swim, or fly is a great place to start. We need to know where our next meal is coming from, and if we are prepared and have meals ready-to-go then we are less likely to hit the drive-thru window. While supplements have their place in athlete nutrition, forming this foundation is key for preparing our athletes for the demands of their sport and our training programs and to create life-long healthy relationship with food.


Also don’t forget to sleep! Hitting at least 8 hours of sleep per night is essential for muscle recovery and regeneration. It is important to make sure this is un-broken sleep as well as this is when our best muscle-building takes place. Making sure our sleep hygiene is in check can go a long way to help us get those 8 hours, such as avoiding screen time before bed and getting to bed at the same time every night to name a few. Also making sure we are adequately hydrated can help with sleep, but also everything else. Most of our athletes who come in aren’t drinking enough water and this affects not only their performance in sport, but everything else as well.
While this article only starts to scratch the surface on what things we should be doing when we are wanting to put pack on some healthy mass, it should go a long way into helping lay a strong foundation!

Email Bskinner@sscanada.com to schedule a complimentary demo session!

Know your stance!

There is an old adage, “if you start wrong, you’ll finish wrong.” This is the truth! In all sports not just football everything starts with your stance. Think about this without a proper stance a sprinter cannot get out of the blocks properly, without a proper stance a baseball player cannot hit for power. The same argument can be made for and OL having some sort of blocking responsibility, without a proper stance you are going to sacrifice speed and power off the LOS.

Here are a few tips that I will give you to have a better stance that will help you be more efficent getting off the ball, and strike you opponent with more speed and power!

Width of Base 

The width of your base is dependant on the frame work of your body. Someone who is really tall will have a wider base, than someone who is shorter, it’s just simple math. My basic rule of thumb is this, as long as you dont go more than 3 inches on either side of your shoulder structure, you are most likely in the green zone. This will allow you to be ‘wide’ enough to play with power, but also give you coil in your legs to change direction.

Angle of Feet

The angle of your feet in your stance is so darn important, this is the step most young kids dont understand. When you watch pop-warner and see young OL coaches teach “stance” they often tell thier kids to have thier feet pointing “north-south.” For the pop warner level this works, but when you get older and have to change direction with power this will not work. I like to use the hands of a clock as a coaching point for my guys. If we were coaching up a right handed stance, the Left foot our post foot would be tunred to abotu 10:30. Our right foot would be turned out a little more at about 2:00. Have your feet turned out ever so slightly will open your hips up, and it will allow you to play lower and with more power and speed.

Upper Body Posture

The posture in our upper body is just as important as that in our feet and legs. You want to be rigged through the core, but lose at the shoudlers. You chest needs to be up, with your head ever so slightly back. This upper body posture is so imporant because it will allow you to have an airplane take off effect, giving you thrust and power up and through your opponent!

At the beginning of the blog we had a picture of Quenton Nelson; arguably the best OL in the NFL right now and his pre snap set up has all three of the features that I just talked about! There is a reason why the NFL guys set up like this! Come to the Big Man Camp, and I will teach you why!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE BIG MAN CAMP!

Did DK Metcalf stunt his growth?

I am just watching the NFC Wild card game and DK Metcalf’s record day. 

Metcalf is a 6’4 220 lb chiseled wr whose father had him start lifting at the age of 6!!  Yes you read that correctly.  6 years old and lifting weights…did it stunt his growth…NO!  In fact research shows that 77% of people who lift weights at a young age are the tallest in their family

2.  Young athletes who train with weights are hurt much less then kids who don’t lift weights

3. Strength training is safe for kids as long as it is personalized and supervised

4. Strength training wil increase a young athletes mobility

5. Will strength training guarantee you a scholarship or play pro….no but I can assure you if you don’t you will have much less of an opportunity!

Now be like DK Metcalf and squat 100bs at the age of 6!!

If you want to get jacked try my 8 week speed /strength football program

DAWGMODE!

Coach Larry Jusdanis

SST BURLINGTON

To read more on this subject … CLICK HERE!

To sign up for our upcoming winter speed and skills camp (peewee and Bantam ages) CLICK HERE!

7 Tips For Achieving Your New Years Resolutions.

Most people set resolutions and most people unfortunately don’t achieve them. So, we thought we could help with that. Failure has nothing to do with willpower or lack of effort. It has to do with things that you can readily change in how you approach resolutions.

  1. Set intentions instead of “musts.”. Resolutions tend to come with a “have to,” and we naturally rebel against that type of thinking. That way an intention is an aim or direction in which we are moving and therefore we have steps to take instead of being push forward.
  2. Connect with your “why.” When we have an intention that is a deep desire and we can identify and stay connected to that WHY, it makes for meaningful and achievable resolutions that create happiness in our lives. This may be anything from losing weight to quitting smoking, I few don’t see why, then it’s easier to abandon the goal.
  3. Get out of your own way. Just setting an intention isn’t enough if deep down you don’t think you can accomplish it in the first place, according to John Duffy, Ph.D, clinical psychologist, “Perhaps the biggest misconception is that a good intention can overcome lifelong habits of thought and behavior.” This means “clearing up any negative thought patterns we carry about ourselves, or our capacity for change.”

So how can you get out of your own way?

First, according to John Duffy, it’s important to understand how negative thoughts “drive our beliefs and behaviors.” To do this, keep a journal of both your negative and positive thoughts throughout the day along with the behavior that followed. “We typically find that positive, internal ‘self-talk’ drives positive behavior, and that the opposite is true for negative self-talk,” he said.

Then, replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Negative thoughts are rarely accurate and only serve to sabotage us. Duffy helps his clients either to embrace positive thoughts or to “fake it ‘til they make it,” as he puts it. He also suggested Dyer’s Excuses Begone! to help readers with changing their thoughts. If you’re still struggling, consider seeing a cognitive-behavioral therapist or life coach, Duffy said.

Everyone’s perception is their own reality and its important we take care of our thoughts to ensure our perception isn’t skewed by self-doubt or other negative thoughts we collect in our minds eye.

4. Set goals that are in line with your values. A “strong resolution with a solid chance for success bridges that gap between values and action,” according to Duffy. So first identify your core values, he said. Take your top five and use them to create a personal mission statement. Then set your New Year’s goals based on that statement.

An example: “To participate in enjoyable physical activities three times weekly in order to feel strong, boost my mood and improve my overall sense of health and wellbeing.”

5.Ditch deprivation. People tend to approach New Year’s resolutions from a place of deprivation, restriction and punishment. The quintessential example is wanting to lose weight. People turn to diets or difficult-to-maintain intense exercise schedules — both of which are the antithesis of lasting habits. Changes to our eating and exercise habits will always require effort and dedication, however we also shouldn’t make it harder for ourselves than it already is!

6. Chop up each goal. Big goals are overwhelming, so sit down and consider the “ridiculously easy mini-steps” that you can take, Jordan said. Make sure they’re “reasonable and attainable,” Duffy said.

Check in with yourself and set weekly intentions, then asses them at the end of each week. When you are making your assessments, be as kind and compassionate with yourself as you would allow for others. Acknowledge what went wrong but also celebrate your success. Then set your next week’s intentions.

7.Create a goal-friendly environment. A common hurdle in accomplishing our goals is creating the settings and circumstances that cultivate them, according to Duffy, who also explained that “a resolution that results in real change requires a shift in priorities.” In other words, if your want to be healthier, stronger and have e better sense of wellness, then you need to prioritize self-care, do the prep work to set yourself up for success (like meal planning and buying groceries to avoid eating out) or even making sure someone is home to take care of the kids while you go to the gym.

New Year’s goals get a bad rap mostly because we set restrictive resolutions that don’t honor our values or ourselves. We set resolutions hastily, minutes before the ball drops, without considering what we truly want. This year let the above tips help you create nourishing, positive and lasting goals.

References:

Tartakovsky, M. (2018). 10 Tips for Setting Successful Resolutions That Stick. Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-tips-for-setting-successful-resolutions-that-stick/