Posts Tagged ‘sport speed development’

Josh Weir
Updated: Monday, December 28, 2015jackson_05

JACKSON TWP. For Jack Tirmonia, Northwestern University offers the best of both the athletic and the academic worlds.

The Jackson High School senior wide receiver with the good hands and the Ivy League-caliber brain is too smart to pass on that.

Tirmonia announced Monday that he has committed to play football for the Wildcats as a preferred walk-on after originally committing to Brown University in August.
Tirmonia said Northwestern began showing interest in him late this regular season. He was invited to the Evanston, Illinois, campus for a recruiting visit and saw the Wildcats — currently ranked 12th by The Associated Press — beat Penn State with a late field goal Nov. 8.

Then Northwestern offered him a preferred walk-on spot Dec. 16.
“It took a lot of thought and consideration over the last couple of months,” Tirmonia said. “But at the end of the day, this is where I think I’ll be the most comfortable and what will be the best opportunity for me. It was a gut-wrenching decision to not go to Brown and tell those coaches there. But I know I made the right decision.”

At Northwestern, Tirmonia, who finished his junior year with a weighted 4.3 GPA, gets to play FBS college football while receiving about as close to an Ivy League education as one can get without actually being in the Ivy League. He is leaning toward majoring in business.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Tirmonia caught 44 passes for 645 yards and eight touchdowns this past fall as the Polar Bears went 5-5. He earned first-team honors for All-Northeast Inland District and All-Federal League.

Playing Big Ten football has special meaning for Tirmonia. His grandfather, Jerry Krisher, is a Massillon product who played for Woody Hayes at Ohio State and helped the Buckeyes win the 1954 national championship as an offensive lineman.

When Tirmonia told his grandfather of his decision to switch to Northwestern, Krisher searched through his office and produced a recruiting letter that Northwestern sent him more than 60 years ago.
“It was really cool,” Tirmonia said.

Tirmonia is encouraged by the fact that one of the Wildcats’ top receivers (junior Austin Carr) arrived at Northwestern as a walk-on and now is on full scholarship. He also points out that the holder (junior Christian Salem) for the game-winning field goal against Penn State is a walk-on.
Said Tirmonia, “I know I’ll have a good opportunity to contribute there in the future if I work by butt off.”

Reach Josh at 330-580-8426 or
On Twitter: @jweirREP



By K. Aleisha Fetters, 

Exercise machines are simple — too simple, in fact. According to metabolic training expert BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S. owner of, “They’ve been dumbed down to the point that they just don’t do your body much good.” Besides parking you on your butt, most machines isolate a single muscle, meaning you’ll burn fewer calories and gain less muscle mass rep for rep.

Most importantly (at least as far as medical bills are concerned), exercise machines can lead to injury. Even with their adjustable seats and pegs, finding the proper position can be close to impossible — and even then the movements just aren’t natural. “Free weights and bodyweight exercises allow your body to move in a natural range of motion,” Gaddour says. “When you fix it, it results in a limited and improper movement pattern that can be dangerous.”

Here, Gaddour shares five exercise machines you should swear off — and all-star alternatives that will give you better, faster fitness gains.

1. The Machine: Lying Leg Press
Your legs are strong (after all, they carry your body around all day), so if you lie down with your legs above your head for a leg press, you have to load more than the equivalent of your bodyweight onto the machine to achieve significant resistance, Gaddour says. Problem is, all that weight goes straight to your lower back, which flexes under the pressure. The risk? A herniated disk. Plus, the move doesn’t even work any of the stabilization muscles in the hips, glutes, shoulders, or lower back. The result: All pain and barely any gain.

Try This Instead: Goblet Squats
Apart from working just about your entire lower body in a single move, this squat variation involves holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your chest to keep your form in check and the weight off of your lower back. Sometimes, a lighter load delivers a better burn.

2. The Machine: Seated Leg Extension
Since the weight is placed so close to your ankles, the machine puts undue torque on the knee joint, which can wear down cartilage and cause knee pain, Gaddour says. Plus, the common gym contraption is built around a motion that has little real-life benefit.

Try This Instead: Step Ups
Besides working your quads far better than any machine, step ups also train your glutes, hamstrings, and calves. By calling up more muscles, your knees are actually strengthened, not worn down.

3. The Machine: Seated Chest Press
While sitting is less than useful, the bigger problem here is that the machine can cause lopsided muscles. How? If one arm is weaker, the stronger one can end up doing all the work — and getting all the benefit, Gaddour says. To make sure both sides of your chest are strengthened equally, you need to load them separately.

Try This Instead: Pushups
An oldie but a goodie, pushups equally engage both sides of your chest. If it didn’t, you’d fall right over onto your side. What’s more, they tap your core for support and balance. After all, hot bodies aren’t built on chests alone.

4. The Machine: Hip Abductor/Adductor
If it looks ridiculous, it probably is, Gaddour says. And squeezing your thighs together — or pushing them apart — over and over definitely counts. Besides actually working very few muscles, it also strains the spine and can make the IT band so tight it pulls your knee cap out of place — not a good look for anybody.

Try This Instead: Single-Leg Squat
When you’re not in the gym, your inner and outer thighs largely work to maintain stability. So they should do the same thing when you’re in the gym, right? Single leg exercises — like the single-leg bodyweight squat — require those muscles to brace your body and keep you upright, all while putting your quads, glutes, and hamstrings to good use.

5. The Machine: Loaded Standing Calf Raise
While the idea here is to lift weight with your calves, the machine’s setup — specifically the shoulder pads — means that all the weight presses down on your spine before it ever reaches your legs. If it doesn’t turn you into a hunchback, it’ll at least cause you some back pain.

Try This Instead: Bodyweight Standing Calf Raise
If regular standing calf raises don’t have the resistance you need, try standing on one foot during your next set. Besides doubling the weight each calf has to lift at a time, it also puts your legs’ smaller, stabilizing muscles to work.

More from DETAILS:

The Only 5 Exercises You’ll Ever Need

How To Get Rock Hard Abs Faster

Shirtless Nick Jonas Explains How He Got His New Body

The Hottest Vanity Muscles–And How To Get Them


female athleteKate Carr
President and CEO, Safe Kids Worldwide
Posted: 08/05/2013 9:58 pm

Sixteen-year-old Anna didn’t hesitate when I asked her about her love of soccer. “It’s my life,” she said matter-of-factly, and her reputation backed it up. Through hard work, tenacity and dedication, Anna is one of the top high school soccer players in the Washington, D.C. area with realistic aspirations of a Division I scholarship.

That’s why it’s so sad that our conversation took place when she was lying on a sports rehab table so far from the game she loves. This is her third knee surgery, which is shocking but not as uncommon as you might think among female athletes. In fact, female athletes are three times more likely to have ACL injuries than male athletes.

There are plenty of theories for this discrepancy, ranging from physical differences to hormone levels. Either way, there are stretches and exercises all athletes can do to help prevent these injuries.

I was at the rehab facility to film a video with U.S. Women’s Soccer player Ali Krieger, who you might remember from her game-winning penalty kick in the quarterfinals of 2011 World Cup in Germany. Ali, who was recovering from an ACL (knee) surgery, helped demonstrate seven exercises female athletes can do to help prevent knee injuries.

It’s a must-see for all of the athletes in your life.

Safe Kids Worldwide and Johnson & Johnson are working together to reach parents, coaches and kids with tips that can prevent the more than 1.35 million ER visits that occur as a result of a sports injury. For more information, read our research report or visit

For more on fitness and exercise, click here.

For more by Kate Carr, click here.

User:Extremepullup performing a standard dead-...

User:Extremepullup performing a standard dead-hang pull up (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David Cassilo
USA Today High School Sports
Doing a lot of heavy lifting might seem like the best way to strengthen your upper body, but sports training expert Rick Howard says that’s not necessarily the case.

We asked Howard, the founder of the Youth Special Interest Group for the National Strength and Conditioning Association, to shed some light on a few upper-body training misconceptions.

Myth 1: Focus on muscles you can see.
Athletes work muscles they can see like their chest. That’s why they tend to do the bench press, biceps and abs. To improve upper-body strength, you have to have a balance between the muscles on the front and back of your body.

Myth 2: Upper-body strength starts in the weight room.
Focus on bodyweight training before you transition to machines like the bench press. You don’t always have to use a strength-training machine. There are all types of exercises like pushups to work your chest muscles and exercises like pull-ups to work your back. It’s a long-term process to get into peak condition, and you need to progress correctly.

Myth 3: Do as many reps as often as you can.
Start with one set of an exercise for 10 to 15 reps. Progress to three sets, then gradually add weight. You don’t need to do the maximum every time. The key is to have great form, not to do as many reps as possible.

Myth 4: Every athlete should bench to build a strong upper body.
Some athletes have shoulder injuries that preclude them from doing a bench press. For others, there are different weighted bars that might be too heavy to lift. Instead, you can use a medicine ball, bodyweight exercises or dumbbells.

Myth 5: You should strengthen your upper body on your own.
A lot of times athletes go into a weight room or in their basement and work out without supervision. That, unfortunately, is where most injuries occur.

By Tommy Sutor, BS, CSCS

English: SAN DIEGO (Nov. 8, 2010) Marine Sgt. ...

Image via Wikipedia

Many track and field athletes incorporate plyometrics into their training, such as jumps, hops, bounds, or box jumps.  However many athletes only do lower body plyometrics when in fact they could also benefit from upper body plyometrics.  Throwers can benefit from upper body plyometrics since having more powerful muscles in the upper body could facilitate greater release velocities, provided their technique is sound.  Sprinters and many jumpers could benefit from a more powerful upper body as well.  Research has shown that the explosive swinging of the arms facilitates leg drive, enhances momentum and helps the body overcome inertia (the resistance to acceleration) when sprinting(1). So, what are some exercises to make the muscles of the chest, shoulders, and back more explosive?

Beginner/Low Intensity Exercises

Plyo push-ups: This is the most basic upper body plyometric exercise.  Simply perform a standard push-up, except make it quick and explosive enough to launch your hands a few inches off the ground.  A good way to make sure you’re pushing yourself high enough is to clap your hands in-between each rep.  Remember, do not stop between each rep – plyometrics are about being quick with one rep coming immediately after another!

Chest Passes: with a medicine ball, stand facing a partner or a wall.  Holding the ball at chest level with elbows out, throw the medicine ball to your partner or the wall.  As soon as the ball comes back to you, throw it again – there should be no hesitation between catching and throwing the ball.

Overhead Passes: Hold a medicine ball in both hands. Take a step forward, bringing the ball up over your head, and throw it as far as possible.  Make sure to lead with the legs and hips.  Because this exercise primarily involves the smaller muscles of the shoulders, only light medicine balls should be used – no more than a few pounds.  Stronger, more advanced athletes could gradually progress to heavier medicine balls.

Advanced/Higher Intensity Exercises

Depth push-ups: This is essentially a push-up version of a depth jump.  Start in push-up position with each hand elevated on a small plyo box (about 6″) or any surface a few inches off the ground, then drop down to the ground, landing on your hands in push-up position, and immediately pushing yourself back up on to the box.  An easier variation is starting on the boxes and just landing in push-up position, or starting in push-up position and pushing on to the boxes.  The height can be increased as the athlete becomes better at the movement.

Medicine ball drop: Lying on the ground with your arms extended up, have a partner stand above you at your head, and drop a medicine ball towards your chest.  Catch the ball and immediately throw it back to your partner.  The intensity of this exercise can be increased by increasing the weight of the ball, or having your partner stand on a box.

These are just a few upper body plyometric exercises – for more exercises, just be creative!

Work Cited:
1. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 3rd edition. Thomas R. Baechle, Roger W. Earle. © 2008 National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Usain Bolt

100m and 200m Dash World Record Holder - Usain Bolt

Developing Speed for Sprinting – If you consider what the components for speed are, they include firing frequency and muscle fiber recruitment.  Contemporary training programs work on increasing firing frequency through foot or leg drills or through repetitive running for set distances.  Muscle fiber recruitment typically is done in the weight room with explosive lifts. However, explosive lifts require proper training and supervision to avoid injury. Immediate improvements in speed usually, come from neuromuscular adaptations. Neuromuscular adaptations enhance firing frequency and muscle requirements.  A safer method of recruiting muscle fibers for the development of speed includes the addition of more balance work and conditioning program.

If you look at most movement patterns of lower body, at one point during the movement the body must support itself on one leg. However, we do not ask athletes to condition that way. We usually get on a weight machine and use two limbs; thus, never really working on the weaker limb. Each time the weaker limb steps on the ground by itself, it slows you down because, for a split fraction of a second, it must adjust appropriately during the running stride.

Balance work takes advantage of proprioception, the ability of muscle to respond to abnormal positions and situations.  Proprioception provides a sense of joint position and movement.

Doing balance work in conjunction with explosive power movements in your sprint training provides an opportunity to recruit and train additional muscle fibers. If done properly, the end result is improved speed.  The following program will illustrate how to incorporate the right blend of balance and power into the sprinting program.

  • Single Leg Backbridge (Figure 1) – Lie with your back on the ball and with one leg firmly in contact with the ground. Make sure that the leg that is on the ground is at an angle greater than 90° and your foot is pointed straight ahead. Raise the other length off the ground and maintain this position for 3 to 4 sets of 30 to 45 seconds depending on the level of the leg imbalance.
  • Balance on Wobbly Board (Figure 2) – Balance on each leg on the wobbly board. Repeat for 3 to 4 sets of 30 to 45 seconds on each leg. Ultimately build 60 seconds on each leg for 3 to 4 sets.
  • Balance on Wobbly Board with Weighted Ball (Figure 3) – Once balance work on a wobbly board has been mastered, the next level of progression is to hold on to a weighted jelly ball or medicine ball.  Repeat for 3 to 4 sets of 30 to 45 seconds on each leg.
  • Bulgarian Step Ups (Figure 4) – With a 35 pound universal bar on your back (trapezius), place the right foot on a box. Make certain that the effort is placed on the foot that is on the box to step up. Step up on the box with the trailing leg. Do 3 to 4 sets of six repetitions on each leg.
  • Jelly Ball Kickups (Figure 5) – Use a 3 to 4 pound jelly ball for beginning training programs to allow for safe progression to a heavier weighted jelly ball. Place the ball between the feet. Squeeze the ball with the feet and drive down during the preparation phase. Next, drive up while kicking the jelly ball up in the air. Repeat for 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 10 repetitions.
  • Split Squat Jump (Figure 6) – Placed one leg in front of the other leg in a split position. Drive down with the legs and arms and explode up while maintaining the split squat position. Landing should be done in the same position as the drive phase. Do 3 to 4 sets of six jumps on each leg.
  • L Hops (Figure 7) – Place one leg on a table making the hip angle about 90° to the floor. Make sure that use have a soft landing mat or floor while performing these routines. Drive down on one leg and explosively drive up on the same late. Do 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions on each leg.
  • Box Step Ups (Figure 8 ) – Place 1 foot on a box and step up on that foot while driving the other leg up. Make sure to maintain the same arm action that you would in the running motion.  Do 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions on each leg.
  • Quick Foot Step Ups (Figure 9) – Place an aerobic step on a secure floor to prevent movement of the box. On command, the athlete will step up onto the box with the leg, foot, but they normally drive off with drive off with the blocks. The athlete will step on and off the box as fast as possible for 30 seconds. Make sure to maintain the proper sequence of movements in the running motion.
  • Stadium Hops (Figure 10) – Use aluminum stadium steps to do this exercise, as it will provide a much softer landing. Place the hands behind the head and squat, and then explosively drive up to the next step. Perform this for about 10 rows and walked down and repeat the same procedure 3 to 4 times.
  • Single Leg Hops (Figure 11) – Find an area that is soft and level if you are outside. Line up six cones and practiced jumping over one or two to line up the appropriate distance between comes.  Take a running start at the cones and then single leg hop over each one. Perform this drill 3 to 4 times on each leg.
  • Granny Throws (Figure 12) – Use a 16 pound jelly ball or medicine ball. Squat down and drive straight up while tossing the ball as explosively as you can. Perform this drill 6 to 8 times.
  • Incline Sprints – Find an incline area that is no more than 4 to 5 percent grade. The distance needed should be about 25 to 35m in length. On command sprint for a set distance of 25 to 30m. Perform the Sprint 6 to 8 times.

There are many ways to train for speed, such as tubing, parachutes, and shoulder harnesses. The isolated balance work and explosive routine done by each leg as depicted in this article will target those individual muscle fibers not normally conditioned by traditional sprint training. Incorporating balance and explosive movement patterns, as it relates to sprinting with develop the sprinter into a faster athlete. By following this program during the preseason, sprinter will have an excellent base of functional and explosive strength training as it relates to sprinting. The simplicity of this training program is that it does not require an extensive weight room to get results.

Figure . Single Leg - Backbridge Figure 2. - Balance on Wobble Board and Figure 3. Balance on Wobble Board with Weighted Ball


1.       Faccioni, A. Assisted and resisted methods for speed development; Part 2. Modern Athlete and Coach 32:8 – 12. 1994

2.       Jakalski, K.  Parachutes, tubing and towing. Track Coach 144:4285 – 4589. 1998

3.       Letzelter, M., G. Sauerwein, and Burger R.  Resistance runs in speed development.  Modern Athlete and Coach 33:7 – 12. 1996

This is an article that I posted several years ago, but as the FlightTeam gears up for 2011-2012 season  I thought  it was appropriate that we revisit it.

Training and competition are complex activities; there are a number of things that contribute to success.  However, three very basic rules should always be followed when training.  These cornerstones of being a successful system of training are:

  • Moderation,
  • Consistency, and
  • Rest.

Moderation – The first cornerstone of training is moderation.  Moderation means not going to extremes in any aspect of training.  In fact there have been some studies that suggest workouts lasting over one hour will compromise the body’s endocrine system.  To be more specific, production of testosterone, the male hormone, levels off 50 minutes into a workout and begins to decline after one hour.  Therefore many athletes (male and female) are working at a testosterone deficit if they train beyond an hours time.  An athlete who consistently over trains my feel a need to use anabolic steroids  – which contain artificial testosterone – in order to compensate for poor training methods or over training. Workouts that last too long tend to produce too much of a catabolic substance, cortisol, and no progress can be made until it is removed from the system.  Steroids mask the catabolic effects of cortisol so that the athlete can continue to train unwisely.

In any event the long-term results of more extreme training programs are inconsistent, with more athletes failing than succeeding in reaching their performance goals. Some athletes develop serious injuries, and many become burned out, psychologically drained by the heavy training loads. Or, as mentioned above, turn to performance enhancing substances to compensate for what they perceive as an acceptable means of jump starting their athletic performance.

The human body can take far more stress than we generally give it credit for. However, it needs to adapt to heavier stresses gradually. Moderation means carefully planned training of programs that avoid extremes in physical and psychological stress. Training and competing can be beautiful and exciting part of life, but they’re not all there is to life. Principle of moderation permits the athlete to enjoy the other parts of life as much as his or her sport.

Consistency – The second cornerstone of training is consistency. One way to avoid extremes in training is to train at a reasonable level every day. This does not mean using the same training load each day however. When an athlete trains consistently, the body has more time to adapt to the stress of training, easing its way to higher levels of  fitness and better performances.  If a few days of training are missed, the body loses tone and endurance. A day or two of extra training will not make up for that loss. In fact, the athlete my overstress the body, resulting in an injury or even worse – illness. Extra physical strain does more than simply tire the body, so the consistency of training is critical. The athlete who trains daily at a moderate level will outperform the equally talented athlete who trains extremely hard at times and then skips training at other times.

Consistency has another reward for the athlete. As training continues, a solid fitness base is developed. The longer the time used to develop that base, the less effect that interruption in training has. Although an athlete loses conditioning when training is interrupted, the long-term base loses in conditioning is slower and regained more quickly once the athlete resumes training.

Rest – The third and perhaps the most important cornerstone of training for young athletes is rest.   This may be the training rule least followed by young athletes. A simple rule of training: when in doubt, get more rest. Athletes feeling tired or weak shouldn’t attempt a strenuous training session. Instead, they should have a very light session or simply skipped practice altogether. Athletes must be aware of how much sleep there getting. Athletes in training need more rest and sleep than non-athletes.

Athletes need more rest because the extra work creates extra physical stress, which calls for more recovery time. Second, the body adapts to stress of training when it is at rest rather than during the stress. This is part of the overload aspect of training. If the body does not get enough rest, it cannot recover and adapte fully to the stress of training.

Although the amount varies from person to person with younger athletes usually needing more rest than older athletes, generally speaking most athletes need at least eight to ten hours of sleep each night. It is during this downtime or “rest period” that the body repairs itself and adapts to the stress of the previous training period.  Athletes must learn to be in tune to his or her body; it tells you it needs more rest and when it’s had enough. The body runs on rest, just as it runs on fuel. If it has to little of either, it begins to run poorly.

These three cornerstones – moderation, consistency, and rest are critical to any training plan that coach or an athlete may use. If an athlete trains consistently and at moderate levels while getting enough rest, his or her performance should continue to improve for years.

As an athlete you want to make sure that your training regime is effective and taking you to a point where you are realizing your full potential in your sport of choice.  A training regime that takes into account your limitations as an athlete with goals that are realistic for you without relying on performance enhancing substances that may have long term effects on your health and well-being. As you develop your personal training plan be sure to include the 3 cornerstones of training – moderation, consistency and rest.

Remember FlightTeam, our goal for 2012 is  “20 in 12”  (twenty State Qualifiers in 2012) – but you need to heed these 3 Cornerstones of Training to make sure we get there.

Get Out, Get Up, Get Busy!!!!!!

Coach Murdock