I have written about this topic before, but it bears repeating. Speed and strength are CLOSELY related. I don’t care how many ladder drills, dot drills, or parachute sprints you do. If your legs are weak, you won’t be fast. Now, in regards to be speed, OF COURSE I am talking about relative body strength. You must be strong relative to your body weight. In other words, if the 300 pound lineman squats more than the 175 pound wide receiver, he may not be faster due to the difference in relative strength. It is quite shocking how unbelievable it is that more people don’t piece it together that added strength, with added hip mobility/flexibility, along with sprinting a couple of times per week, will yield far better results than performing ladder drills and parachute sprints with the local “speed guru” who basically makes his living convincing parents that he got their kids faster by pulling out all of the speed gadgets he could order in one training session.
Speed is the most coveted physical attribute. It is also the most genetically predetermined one, BUT that doesn’t mean we can’t improve it. Get your lower body stronger and watch your speed go up!
I don’t know about you, but if you are anything like me you spend your Sunday nights with the lovely Faith Hill and the rag tag boys at 30 Rock. Sadly, Faith’s presence is regrettably short-lived while Bob Costas’ is obnoxiously extended, but that’s a post for another day. This week’s marquee matchup featured America’s team vs. South Jersey’s, Dallas vs. Philly.
The game had a decidedly playoff tone to it with both squads vying for a shot to climb to the top of the uber competitive NFC east heap. Several things stuck out to me, but one feature left me totally perplexed and I don’t know why I didn’t think about it earlier. No it wasn’t Costas hair plugs or the average Philly fans disregard for dental work, it was how the game was won. Dallas’ Division I-AA QB finding his Division I-AA wide out on a beautifully timed slant and go for 6. Wait a second….hold the phone, you mean to tell me Americas most widely recognized football franchise is getting by with *scoff* second class players? Pure blasphemy I say!
This guy MUST be a Philly fan.
Well Virginia, that is the case and clearly I was joking about Tony Romo and Miles Austin being the football equivalent of the untouchable caste, but it helps in bringing about my point. How did USC, Florida, and Texas miss out where Eastern Illinois and Monmouth cashed in? Romo has transformed himself from an undrafted free agent to starlet wooing People Magazine cover boy and (regardless of how his social life strikes you) Pro-Bowl caliber player. Austin, on the other hand, just accomplished something that no other WR in the storied history of the Cowboys franchise has ever done. He strung together the largest three game receiving total of any Dallas receiver in history. No it wasn’t Bullet Bob Hayes, Michael Irvin or even you T.O; those 482 yards belong to Monmouth’s finest.
This got me wondering the million dollar question: WHY? Why were they overlooked, shirked by other universities and professional franchises? And it’s not just Austin and Romo, not by a long shot. Kurt Warner, Tom Terrific Brady and countless others played at obscure schools or rode the pine at a notable one only to find NFL fame and wealth several years down the line. This is a feature that I think you only find in football, no-name guys rarely strike it big in the NBA. Sure, many point to David Robinson, but growing 7 inches post high school would change the way any of us are viewed.
Conversely, there are a lot of players who excelled at prime time schools only to fail miserably at the professional level. The name Chris Leak comes to mind, sorry Gator fans. This guy was Mr. Everything coming out of high school (#1 recruit in the country according to some services) put up solid numbers at Florida and eventually won a national championship. This is no personal knock on Leak, but how is it that he was good enough to win at the highest level in college and then not pan out in the NFL?
Good enough for a National Championship in college, but not the NFL?
The talent evaluators and recruitnicks of the world seem to miss more often then they hit. Too often people become enamored with measurables (myself admitably one of them, see post: James, Lebron) and forget what’s important, playing the game well with heart.
This happens at other levels too, not just at the major college or pro ranks. We have an college football player who trains at the gym (we’re going anonymous here people) who was playing football at a school in Western Massachusetts, who decided to transfer to a school in western New York. He was told by his former coaches that he was “too slow” and wouldn’t play at either school. Fast forward a couple months and Mr. “Too Slow” is starting as a Sophomore and was a big part in his current squads pasting of his former 34-7. All he did in the big win was drop 8 tackles, 2 for a loss and 1 sack.
Ultimately, as I stated earlier, playing with intensity and tenacity seem to be major factors in football that often supercede the tremendous athletic marvels many fall in love with. But what do I know, tell us what you think, why is football seemingly the only sport where guys can come out of nowhere and shine or be “gods gifts” and fall flat on their faces?
As a teenager in the 1990’s, we listened to many iconic rappers and hip hop artists. 2Pac, Nas, Public Enemy, Notorious BIG, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, A Tribe Called Quest, Ghost Face, Jay-Z, Wu Tang Clan, LL Cool J…the list goes on and on. These guys were great, both with beats they provided us, and the lyrics that they used. The lyrics had power, meaning, and a message. It saddens me that, in my opinion, hip hop is dying. No longer are lyrics powerful. No longer are beats hard or original. Instead we have a bunch of trash running around praying on the musical taste of 15 year old females who wouldn’t know good music if it hit them upside the head while they were watching the latest episode of Gossip Girl. Yes, boys and girls, Lil' Wayne is trash.
Synthesized voice? Terrible lyrics? 15 year old females like it? Guilty on all counts.
This is a video of a musician called “Bangs”. I sincerely hope it is a joke, and if it is not, he may be the worst rapper alive. Please note the POSTERS in the background, and the insanely cheesy lyrics (he makes a reference to taking a shower and putting on….perfume?). Combine these things with a fake thug image, a weak beat, and you have yourself a terrible, terrible song. I hope you laugh as hard as we did.
Bangs....a man that enjoys movies, popcorn, and a nice squirt of perfume.
Recently, our resident musical guru, and Zune playlist extraordinaire, Brian Matthews, made a playlist called “Out School Rap.” This should remind you of what Hip Hop IS, and what it SHOULD BE all about. It became one of the most popular playlists to ever be played in the gym, and although the lyrics are not always the cleanest, they get everybody pumped up. We even had one kid develop an unhealthy obsession for KRS-One’s Step Into a World, which he HAD to have playing whenever he was benching. Rumor has it that he know is listening to it before tests at school, school dances, and all other major events in his life.
If you need a great playlist, try Brian’s ”Old School Rap” (songs on the left, artists on the right):
Sure Shot, Beastie Boys
Work, Gang Starr
Bring Tha Noiz, Public Enemy
Motivators, A Tribe Called Quest
Chief Rocka, Lords of The Underground
Gangsta Nation, Westside Connection
Protect Ya Neck, Wu Tang Clan
Breaker, Break, GZA/Genius
Da Joint, EPMD
Know The Ledge, Rakim
Step Into A World, KRS-One
Knockin N****z’ Off, Das EFX
La Schmoove, Fu-Schnickens
Insane In The Brain, Cypress Hill
Jump Around, House of Pain
Rasassination, Ras Kass
Ital, The Roots
The Coming, Goodie Mob
The Return, Brand Nubian
O Le Le, Ozomatli
Is Hip Hop dying? Is Old School all we have left? Post away!
I don’t know if he was reared on the sparkling shores of Krypton and transplanted to Akron, Ohio at age 13, but one thing is for sure; Lebron James is out of this world. Tune into Sports Center during the NBA’s regular season and chances are LBJ (by far his best moniker)’s exploits are splattered all over theTop 10 plays of the day. They usually include some sort of unholy display of sheer athleticism and head scratching power. Calling him versatile is like calling the Grand Canyon a ditch. He’s either dunking on a 7 foot European while receiving a foul that would be better placed in the UFC or blowing by men 8 inches and 80 pounds lighter with a Mazaratti’s burst. James' highlights are nothing short of breathtaking.
LBJ. Not of this world, and not hard to envision running a post pattern for the Browns, either!
Any sports fan worth their weight in Starting Lineup Figures knows that comparing athletes from different eras and different sports is usually an exercise in futility. Egos get bruised, friendships tested and no one can definitively answer if Babe Ruth in today’s game would a fat bum or the tremendous player everybody universally cherishes. But is sure is fun debating isn’t it? Barry Sanders with Emmit Smith's line. A healthy Ken Griffey Jr. Len Bias playing on the Celtics of the mid 80’s. There are millions of examples, and chances are you may have discussed several with your buddies throughout the years. This brings me to today’s topic. Last year state farm ran an ad campaign where Lebron decided to forgo his NBA career and sign with the Cleveland browns. I had envisioned King James strapping up a helmet in the NFL before but the commercial made it a hot topic of discussion for many and thrust yours truly into a debate that remains as completely unresolved as it was last year. The question is “Would Lebron James be the best tight end the NFL has ever seen? ”
I’ve been charged with remaining objective in this post but chances are you know what side I’m leaning toward. (theres still time to sign, Buffalo!) Lets look at the measurables; according to STATS LLC the average tight end in 2009 checks in at 6’4” 255.4 pounds. On his NBA player page Lebron is listed at 6’8” 250 pounds but there have been claims that he weighs as much as 274 according to what source you read.
So, he’s definitely taller than the average bear and there’s a chance he’s bulkier too. Sadly, the only other piece of concrete physical evidence I have is in the vertical leap. The highest number at the NFL combine last year for a tight end was Jared Cooks 41,” at the NBA predraft combine years ago Lebron topped out at 44.”
Lebron was an All State Wide Receiver as a Sophomore in High School, but chose (what’s now looking as a wiser financial and health related decision) to stick with hoops. Virtually every major high profile college football coach made a half-hearted play at getting Lebron to suit up for a year and let’s face it, have a ton of fun. NBA riches proved to be too much, and for a man that eventually wants to be a billionaire his choice definitively made more sense.
Detractors in this argument say that those long limbs are a bull’s-eye for NFL defenders and his ACL’s would have to be made of titanium to hold up to the persistent knee hunting. Compound that with the complexity of NFL offenses and his high center of gravity in the run blocking game, it wouldn’t be long before he found himself either benched or seriously injured.
So there you go fellas, you have the frame and a little bit of athletic background regarding both. The rest is up to you. Is Lebron such a transcendent force he could take the NFL by storm and be as unstoppable as he is in the NBA? Or would the added height and time away from the game result into a mess of an experiment most likely ending in an injury? Remember there is no wrong answer, unless you disagree with me. Let the games begin.
A while back, I posted this video of some our athletes performing a “gun show” finisher at the end of a workout.
Turns out, I received a couple of “friendly e-mails” from guys who apparently had a huge problem that I was doing bicep curls with football players. I was accused of performing a “non functional” (what does this even mean these days?) exercise that would in no way help a football player improve performance on the gridiron. For whatever reason, there is this dogma among some guys that bicep curls are a “bodybuilding” movement that have NO place in the training of athletes.
Personally, I think that opinion is ridiculous; in a sport as physical and violent as football, where EVERY muscle in the body needs to be as prepared as possible, there is certainly a place for bicep curls. The funny part is, we do not spent an hour doing “bi’s and tri’s.” We spend about 10 minutes, and no more, training these muscles at the end of our upper body workout. Aside from the physical benefit that our athletes derive from having stronger biceps, what about the mental aspect? Ever hear the phrase “Look good, feel good, play good.”? It basically means that if an athlete is confident about the way he looks, he will be confident about himself as an athlete, and perform well. Never be quick to blow off the many mental benefits of a sound training program, for there are many.
If you are dumb enough to think that it is “wrong” for athletes to perform bicep curls, then I don’t really care. I finished trying to convert people to rational means of thinking long ago. I will leave you with this, though: in football, aren’t turnovers hugely detrimental to the outcome of a football game? Look at the following two pictures, and tell me which of these two athletes is more likely to fumble, while holding the ball is an isometric bicep hold!