Offensive line play is one of the hardest
positions in sports to truly master because of the amount of technique that is
involved with every movement during a play. When coaching OL one of the most
important parts of coaching OL is having a great stance! It goes back to the
old saying, “if you start wrong odds are you are going to finish wrong.” What I
will go thru in this blog is my key points on having a great stance.
Gone are the days from Pop Warner where you
were taught to have your toes pointing straight up the field! Let’s talks about
a Right Handed stance; the left foot should be slightly opened, point towards
11’oclock. The right foot is a part of the prop leg, the foot should be more
angled at approximately 2:00. This will allow you go get your whole back foot
in the ground!
Height in Stance
People think lower is better which is not
true all. I will say this, the lower you can play the better your going to be.
Some people’s anatomy won’t let them get to a certain depth. One way to figure
out how low you should be in you stance is to simply come off the football. If
the hips moves jagged then you’re too low. If the hips move nice and smooth,
then you are perfect. I always teach this to my guys so they understand what
goes into building a base.
Stagger of Stance
Pop warner coaches teach toe lined up in
the instep. Anatomy wise it really doesn’t make sense; it doesn’t allow you to
open up your hips and play with power. The easiest way to figure out how much
stagger to play with is this simple test. Stand with your feet just outside
shoulder width. Have someone gently give you a nudge, when falling backwards
catch yourself with the foot that goes back in your respective stance. Wherever
that foot falls is where it should be, in relation to your post foot
This is just the basics of how your stance
should operate, I could go on about this for hours, but I wont! Like I said
before, “if you start wrong, you will finish wrong.” Please put time and effort
into your stance and base, it’s the most important aspect.
If you would like to learn more about OL play come to our big man camp starting February 4th!
The squat is one of the most well known, if
not the most well-known exercise for developing lower body strength. One of the
age-old questions in the athletic community and strength and conditioning world
is how low should I go? This post aims to delve into this topic and provide
insight into how low one should go when squatting.
research into the squat suggested that with increased knee bend there was
increased stress on the knee joint and while this is partially true (as
tibiofemoral and patellofemoral compression increases with increasing knee
angle), the maximal mean peak shear forces reported are much lower than the
patellar and quadriceps tendons can withstand, and therefore while these forces
increase with squat depth, they are within ranges that would tend not to
significantly damage these tissues in an healthy individual. Furthermore, peak
anterior shear forces occur from 0 – 60 degrees of knee flexion, making the
anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) most susceptible at this range, and these
forces decrease with increased squat depth. Posterior shear force begins at 30
degrees flexion, with peak forces reported at 90 degrees of knee flexion and
decreasing below 90 degrees of flexion. Therefore, while it is true higher
forces exist at greater knee flexion, deep squats decrease stress on the ACL
and PCL compared to partial squats of 90 degrees knee flexion or less.
the knee joint is the most commonly addressed joint when talking about squat
depth, the loading mechanics of the spine also come into question. It has been
shown that with increased forward lean, forces on the lumbar spine are
increased. Furthermore, in lumbar flexion or excessive lumbar extension we also
see these forces increase with the squat. In terms of the effect of squat depth
on the spine, if a neutral lumbar spine and forward gaze can be maintained this
is more important than squat depth itself. Furthermore, it appears front squats
and low bar back squats provide less stress on the spine than high bar back
we look at muscle activation, deep squats tend to activate hip musculature more
than partial squats, so if we are trying to maximize the strength of our hip
musculature (including our most powerful hip extensor gluteus maximus) deep
squats with a wider stance and feet slightly turned out (anatomical position)
are preferred, as partial squats up to 90 degrees maximize quadricep
Overall there are many benefits to deep
squats, but this is only if we can perform deep squats with proper form and
technique. Likewise, there may be some scenarios where deep squats are
contraindicated such as those with previous PCL injuries or patellofemoral
disorders. Furthermore, squat depth should be consistent with individual goals and
proper technique and execution needs to be maintained. Individuals should seek
advice of an exercise professional on squat technique and should have an
assessment done to find what is right for them in their exercise program.
However, if you can squat to depth below 90 degrees it seems to be beneficial
to athletic development and may even be less stressful on supporting structures.
I just finished watching two NFL Games and once again the QB
play at this level is astounding. As
much as I am impressed with the maturation of Jarred Goff, the great next one
in Patrick Mahomes; the deadly accuracy in Drew Brees one of my favorites of
all time but the one Qb who just exceeds anyone’s belief or expectations in his
play is BRADY.
Tom Brady- is he the G.O.A.T? As a former professional qb and coach for
the last 25 years he astounds me every time.
I would never bet against him that’s for sure. When I am reviewing films of potential Qbs I
am looking for qualities Brady and the aforementioned all have:
Footwork within the pocket (big difference in
just saying footwork)
Eye Level- very underrated
Leadership – I always like to see how a qb
reacts after a bad throw etc
The one quality that I believe Brady has over anyone else is:
HE HATES TO LOSE!
What does this mean?
We always hear I want to win but the most successful people are driven
by their hatred of losing or failure; not the success of winning. They won’t and can’t let themselves down but
more importantly, they will not let their teammates and coaches down. THINK
ABOUT THAT for a moment- You HATE to lose- you will do anything not too
EXAMPLE- Brady faced three 3rd and longs in
overtime and was not going to lose this game.
Heck he evens HATES losing the coin toss. It’s his will to win that astonishes me and I
The question is was he born with this or has he developed it?
I have never been in the film room with
him but I can bet that he is the first player in and last player out- whether
it’s the field or meetings.
The great Washington State head coach Mike Leach states his
qb must be the first in and last out, if not it’s time for a positional change.
This for me is must for a qb. He must be
your leader- the guy who people will believe in not when you’re winning but
when things are tough. I want a guy who is mad, pissed and crying after a
loss. He wants it that bad!
Players come and go in New England – but the one consistent
is Brady and his willingness to WILL his team to victory. As a coach, we all talk about does this qb have the IT factor…I
can’t describe what it is words but when you find a QB like this- make sure of
one thing…demand the most from him. He
will want this!
If you are a QB who hates to lose then I want to train you
at my next QB Canada camp. I am only
taking 10 top qbs to work with.
In the last couple of days we discussed our top 3 Supplements for fat loss:
1. Fish Oil
In our last series we look at two supplements which have seen tremendous results on BELLY FAT!
Conjugated linoleic acid is a supplement used to promote fat loss & the growth of lean muscle tissue. It is highly effective in assisting weight loss & changing body composition. The action of CLA is that it prevents lipogenesis or the storage of fat in adipose tissue after a meal. Although CLA is a trans fat, in this case a beneficial one, studies show amazing fat loss results with this supplement. CLA helps blood glucose enter body cells, so CLA can be burned for energy and not stored as fat. CLA also helps to promote fat burning, especially in muscles, where the bulk of our calorie burning takes place.
Green Tea Extract
Consumption of green tea extract enhances the process of thermogenesis and increases the rate of metabolism of fat, without increasing the heart rate. In other words, consuming green tea extract can help you lose weight without jitteriness or feelings of anxiety. The extract also helps your body burn more calories. All these factors make green tea an essential supplement in your weight loss program. One recent report found that daily consumption of green tea extract supplements helped obese men and women lose weight and lower their body mass index (BMI — an indicator of body fat). It might also help people keep off weight once they’ve lost it. Green tea extract has been shown to lower blood pressure and LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and significantly reduce belly fat.
Yesterdays my Blue Print Nutrition tip of the day was about our favourite supplement- FISH OIL
Today we discuss two very important supplements that people would not consider for fat loss
Part two Supplements for Fat Loss
Take a probiotic to lose fat fast. Probiotics aid digestion and support gastrointestinal health so that the body detoxifies better. A probiotic will help you lose fat, have more energy and feel better. Probiotics are the tiny bacteria that naturally occur in the gut, but can be easily destroyed by unhealthy bacteria, chemical pollution such as heavy metals, oxidative stress, or high cortisol. If your body is not digesting properly as a result of a lack of good bacteria, weight loss is halted.
Boost protein intake throughout the day by taking branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Research shows that eating a large dose of high-quality protein multiple times throughout the day is associated with lower body fat percentage. Adding BCAA’s during and after training will help to boost total amino acid intake and lose fat. Research shows that those with higher BCAA’s in their diets were leaner and had much less chance of being overweight than those with lower BCAA intake. Adequate protein intake throughout the day should be layered. Consuming animal protein at meals, protein shakes taken post workout and BCAA’s consumed during and after workouts. Try the powdered form and add it to your water.
Tami our lifestyle coach and myself are excited to discuss NUTRITION! With so much info out there we want to keep things as simple as possible for you all. With fat loss being such a big topic today we will discuss what we have had success with clients for fats loss
Note – YOU must follow a proper nutritional program as there is no supplement that will outrun a POOR diet
Here are favourite Supplements To Take For Fat Loss – part one
Omega-3 Fish Oil
If you only take one supplement, it should be omega-3 fish oil. Studies show that supplementing with omega-3 fish oil significantly increases lean mass, while decreasing body fat at the same time. Omega-3 fish oil improves the body’s testosterone-to-cortisol ratio by lowering cortisol and turning on the fat burning genes, while turning off the lipogenic or fat storing genes. Omega-3’s improve leptin signaling in the brain, causing the brain to turn up fat burning and turn down appetite.\
Conditioning Offensive Line and Defensive athletes is harder than you may think. Naïve people think that you can condition and OL athlete just like a skill position, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Skill positions run a very long distance on most plays without must strain. OL and DL athletes run short distances with a lot of strain. We as strength coaches must know this information and use it to execute the training program! Here are our 3 favourite ways to Condition OL and DL athletes.
This is a great way to get Big Football Athletes CNS going. Twenty seconds of tire flipping is a perfect amount of time to get them firing on all cylinders! This is a great way to develop strength and conditioning in the lower back which is very important for hand down athletes. One note for this is when they flip the tire they need to sprint around it so they are working at 100% the whole rep.
This is easily one of my favourite ways to condition big boys. I like to keep the distance short, 10 to 15 yards maximum. Put a resistance band around their waste and make them work. 60-70 percent resistance is the perfect amount. Tell the athletes to start out of their stance and the fly. With OL what I like to do is start on a “Zone Track” then make them run after the fact.
I can’t even begin to tell you how important this is. The name of the game in the trenches is all about who can apply more force through the ground to move laterally and vertically, with strength. Jumping teaches us this perfectly. You can train it numerous amounts of ways, box jumps, bounding really anything where you are getting lift! This really teaches them the importance of bend in their legs and where power comes from along with the conditioning.
The SST “F.A.S.T” 8 Pillars for Developing Speed Part 1
What is the Holy Grail of all sports performance? SPEED! Learn methods of training other than the ordinary A and B skips for speed development. Is there anything more rewarding than watching one of your athletes run sub 4.5s in the forty or vertical jump over 35 inches at an NHL camp?
When an athlete starts training with SST, the most common question is, “Will I improve my speed?” Of course, we are honest and tell them that not everyone has the genetics to be a 100m champion and that they should set their expectations to be realistic. However, most athletes haven’t even scratched the surface of their potential. At SST we have our 8 Pillars to improve an athlete’s speed. If an athlete can improve one area there will be some improvement in their speed … but if they can improve them all, the results are outstanding!
The SST “FAST” 8 Pillars for Developing Speed include:
Strength and Power Training
Overspeed and Resistance training
Lateral and Agility
In this article we will touch on the first four pillars that are your foundation, or base, of your athletic triangle:
1. Body Composition
If an athlete is carrying too much body fat, their speed will be limited. Think about this for a second … put on a weighted vest with only 10lbs and perform a sprint … big difference! Yes, due to the fact that you are carrying DEAD WEIGHT!
Every sport (and even different positions in the same sport) has its own range for optimal body fat. An Offensive Lineman and a hockey center obviously have different physiques. The fact remains that muscle makes your body move, but fat slows you down. The way to improve body composition is through a clean diet and interval training. SST does not recommend rhythmical Cardio as it is counterproductive to speed development.
2. Strength & Power
Newton’s 3rd Law of motion:
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”
Your ability to initiate force into the ground is what makes you fast! The first 30 yards in a sprint is directly correlated to your strength levels and how much force you can produce into the ground. The term relative strength refers to your strength levels compared to your body weight. This quality of relative strength is most relevant to speed because it refers to your ability to move your own weight the fastest. Relative strength is so important because increasing absolute strength without any regard to body composition does not guarantee increased speed. An example is a powerlifter who generates a ton of absolute strength with no care for their own body composition nor the speed of the movement. We want FAST athletes not just big and strong. Think of it another way … we can make a huge car with a bigger engine but wouldn’t it be better to keep the car weight the same and increase the horsepower of that engine?
If we can produce more power into the ground, our equal and opposite reaction will be our athlete moving faster across that ground! Thus, being on a structured, periodized strength training program will go a long way to increasing your speed. Make sure that you plan your program properly around generating more force and eliminating weak links in your kinetic chain!
Flexibility is often the most overlooked aspect of speed training. If you ask a 16-year-old athlete if they work on their flexibility, they’ll usually tell you that they stretch before practice. Research has actually discovered that static stretching before a workout or game decreases speed! Sayer, et al discovered that there was a significant difference in the acceleration phase between the stretch and non-stretch groups. What is the acceleration phase? … it’s the part of a sprint when a player goes from a standing start to full speed – somewhere around 20 meters. The study also found that static stretching diminishes maximal velocity! It was discovered that an athlete could lose up to 0.39 seconds after static stretching and with sprints lasting only 4-5 seconds, this is SIGNIFICANT!
Static stretching is not what we refer to when we say flexibility training. Our athletes take 10-15 minutes before workouts or speed sessions performing dynamic flexibility and mobility drills.
We, at SST, have come up with BAND DYNAMIC PNF stretching. After a 10 minute warm-up, band stretching should be performed for 10 minutes prior to the workout. Hold your stretches for 6-10 seconds, and try and hit as many different angles as possible to work on different muscle fibers. You need to spend 5-6 days a week trying to improve this area.
Many coaches out there will spend most of their time on this quality and yes, it is a very important pillar, but it is not the be all and end all that some coaches think it is. Over the years I have spent a majority of time on technique neglecting other base qualities and my athlete’s performance suffered. As strength coaches, most of us will not be working with 100m Olympic sprinters, this technique should not be overanalyzed with athletes such as hockey players, football players, soccer players, etc.
It is, however, important to learn proper running fundamentals for both straight ahead speed, as well as for changing directions. If you are wasting movement you’re wasting time, so spend some time with a coach who can correct your errors. It is a waste of time to go out and practice running if your form is wrong. Remember it’s not practice makes perfect … its perfect practice makes perfect.
Larry Jusdanis is the owners of Sports Specific Training Burlington. SST has trained thousands of athletes from a variety of sports. SST’s no-nonsense approach to training has been used by thousands of athletes from a variety of sports all over the nation!
One of the most common mistakes that individuals make when starting to form new nutrition habits in the new year is to restrict their caloric intake to extreme levels. While moderate caloric restriction is great as it is a key component of the energy balance equation and helps us to lose weight, restricting our caloric intake by extreme levels early on usually lead to us falling off our new habits by the time January comes along. Start small, with realistic goals such as trying to avoid that extra evening snack or deciding not to get our regular donut with our morning coffee.
TIP #2 – Eat Whole, Minimally-processed Foods
While there are many various eating patterns that individuals will likely adopt in the new year trying to lose weight and fat mass, the most successful diets usually have this commonality. What many individuals might not realise is we digest and absorb nutrients and calories differently from processed and unprocessed foods and processed foods usually have unwanted calories from fat and other additives that are added to the natural products. Focusing on eating lots of green-leafy vegetables, fruits, legumes and lean cuts of meats and poultry are a great place to start.
TIP #3 – Conscious Eating
Lastly, we need to be conscious of what we are eating. There are many successful nutritional strategies to help lose weight and fat mass, but they all also have this in common. A good place to start is to track what we are eating, eat slowly and start to think about some of our eating behaviors and patterns and where we can improve. Having a nutritional consultation with a fitness professional can be a great place to start in the new year to start making some specific and realistic goals for long-term and successful weight loss.
Please contact me if you are trying to lose weight – I am taking 10 new clients on for a free fat loss phone consultation
Luke Vanderheyden – M. Kin. B. Sc. CSCS
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach – SST Burlington
I have had a
few people email me regarding what type of speed drills I would choose for
college and professional football players (American football). If people wish, I can write about speed work
and demands for football, aka soccer, in an upcoming article.
Back to the purpose: what speed
drills do I like to use with my college and pro football players?
To start, I have all my athletes
perform a proper dynamic warm-up, which includes many drills, such as:
Plus the conventional drills we all use as track coache
I am going to assume that these
athletes know many of the basic drills mentioned, so I won’t spend much focus
on this. Here is the catch: I will watch
an athlete, and if there are mechanical issues, then we will focus on a drill
or drills SPECIFIC to that athlete. The
purpose of this is to reinforce a good habit and correct the issue(s). I learned a long time ago from good coaches
that anyone can teach the X and O’s, but the good coaches can see and make
adjustments in making the athlete better.
So, we at SST do not really spend much time with so-called drills to improve performance.
Where do I differ
with my athletes?
Know your position! For example, I don’t waste my time doing repetitive
100-meter sprints with O linemen. I have seen this numerous times with coaches
and just shake my head. What is the purpose of 300-lb men running 100
meters? When do they ever do this in the
game? The question I then get is do we
need to condition them? No! These guys are paid to have a fight in a phone
booth. Conditioning drills should be more functional, such as tire flipping and
2. Top-end speed: Athletes such as wide receivers and running backs focus on top-end speed. Development. I do not waste time with linemen with this training method- we may spend one training block a year on long runs over 40 yards and that’s it!
Agility training: I believe many of us spend too much time on linear speed training for sports when we should focus more on lateral speed work. Unlike track, sports are multidirectional, and GREAT athletes not only possess top-end speed, but also the quickness of a cat. Think Barry Sanders from the Detroit Lions; he would break ankles on the football field! There are many methods to teach agility, and we focus on closed and open-chain agility exercises.
Closed-chain: These types of drills and exercises are what we call patterned drills. Examples include all ladder drills and specific drills that are patterned. With high-end athletes (could be high school as well), we tend to spend very little time with closed-chain exercises. The few we like to include in our programming in the early preseason are drills in which we have our athletes learning how to decelerate. (Note: Sometimes, an athlete has a difficult time changing direction, not because of form, but because they tend to be eccentrically weak. This has to be taken care of in theweight room.) We use the cue “STICK IT” to make certain they stop on a dime!
Our drills for this may be as simple as a 5-yard sprint and stop before the line. Our athletes focus on accelerating as fast as they can but then lower their hips and stop on a dime before the line! The next progression to this is having our athletes perform the same distance but moving in a different direction (backpedal, crossovers, and shuffling).
After we have mastered the ability to stop after moving in all directions, we teach our athletes how to change direction, which is VITALLY important in ALL sports! For example, we will have an athlete shuffle for 5 yards, and once they touch the line with their foot, they change their body position and direction and shuffle back. We cue the athlete to stick it where they started. Once they master each direction, we then progress to multidirectional movements, such as sprinting for 5 yards then crossover back and stick it. Your imagination is endless with these drills, but we try to be specific to the sports and position. For examples, defensive backs in football focus on all, but we tend to have them backpedal much more since they pretty well do this on every play.
Open-chained agility: This is SPORTS. React to what you see and make it happen. When is the last time you were in a game of football and a player was running and a coach yelled to go left then right, etc.? NEVER! Games are played by reaction with your senses, especially your eyes. This is why I firmly believe younger athletes should play multiple sports. In fact, kids should play more in uncontrolled environments. This is where they can be creative and learn to react!
Acceleration phase: Approximately 80% of most sports are played in this phase, so we spend at least 80% of our time training in this phase. Drills that I like to use include:
Band resisted starts: This is one of my favourites! Note: Please make certain you do not apply too much resistance in order to keep the athlete’s mechanics from being altered.
SpeedSac resisted starts: These are similar to sled sprints, but I have found that the SpeedSac to be more effective for two reasons. We can alter the weight to be more precise compared to the sled. The SpeedSac also has less shifting, as does the sled, thus our mechanics are not altered as much.
So, to answer the question, I like to
spend 80% of my time training with open-pattern agility and acceleration
exercises with my so-called more experienced athletes!
I follow the 80% rule in most things in life, and in this case, these training modalities provide our athletes with the best bang for their buck!