Well the NY Jets screwed my man Spencer around but as he always does Spencer didn't give up and continued to train and he landed on his feet.....in DETROIT!! Last Tuesday he went up for a try out and was signed that day. I spoke to Lions' assistant strength and conditioning coach Ted Rath about him and Ted had nothing but great things to say. Got a chance after he signed to talk to Spencer about everything as well.
Congratulations and Good Luck you have damn sure earned your opportunity!! Sure am proud of you.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
"No citizen has a right to just be an amateur in the matter of physical training; what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable"
Greek Philosopher Socrates (469-399 BC)
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
picture is copyright protected and property of Ed Cosner and may not be reproduced without written permission.
A couple of weekends ago I attended a Hammer Strength Clinic here in Houston at Klein High School (which ain't all that far from my gym). As always it was a great clinic with awesome speakers and in the audience coaches that care enough to give up a Saturday to get better and in turn make their athletes better!! Back when I first joined the NSCA we had several State Clinics that were awesome. Small and very personable where you could not only listen to the speaker but interact with them as well. My first one a very long time ago I was talking to some of the greatest strength coaches around and around noon we broke for lunch and since I was not at their level of coaching(YET) I assumed that I would be going to lunch alone when Mike Clark of Texas A&M looked at me and said "hey...you coming?!" To me THAT is what is missing from the NSCA but they are working hard to improve but I'll tell you right now....it is going to be hard to beat a HAMMER STRENGTH CLINIC.
They had several great speakers but the highlight of the cinic was having a couple very good and successful coaches speaking. What a treat to have Kevin Yoxall of Auburn University!! He gave a great talk on structure of a training program with quite a bit of information as I filled up a couple of sheets of paper while listening. I also realized that I have always been doing things the right was in terms of my coaching programs. I had a chance to talk to him for a few hours and found that we have traveled parallel lives right here in Texas though powerlifting all the was back to 1983 and in coaching. He referred several times in his talk to strength & power athletes which is what I specialize in developing here at PowerSport Strength and Conditioning!! Texas State's Blake Cundif and University of Houston's Antwan Floyd both gave riveting talks that I throughly enjoyed and got plenty of information from.
Guess there is something to be said about hard work and passion as a way to achieve you dreams...tell me again what excuse you have to not achieveing your dreams!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES.
A couple of years ago at a NSCA Conference Coach Boyd Epley, the Founder of the NSCA, stopped in front of me and told me "way to look the part Coach"!! Ben Franks tells me that it is how he saw me as well when I visited the Crusaders training camp in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2006. When we talk training and sometimes get to train together and he mentions how important it is to him and others that I don't just "talk the talk" but I "walk the walk"!! However with that said during a Sports Management class at UTSA we had a speaker that was a "higher up manager" at a chain of fitness centers and when I was introduced to her the first thing she remarked was calling me a "meathead". Now that term doesn't bother me as it's been said so many times to describe me but it did bother my professor Dr. Taylor who explained to her that I was not in any way a meathead!! (Thanks Dr. Taylor) At that point I realized that while my physical presence is a selling point to my training philosophy I will also have to constantly battle the image that if you're big, strong and muscular then you must not be smart!! That is the further thing from the truth.
Bottom line...if you want your athletes to believe in your training then you better be banging out some training and looking the part!!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
picture is 170 kg snatch grip high pulls at Olympic Gym in San Antonio, TX
Throughout my coaching career I've preached that nothing matters in in training if it doesn't show up on the sports field. That's why I believe the way I do about perfect technique in ALL aspects of the training. This weekend during the Hurricanes game against the Blues Ben Franks once again proved that the training we are doing WORKS!!! Nice to get more proof that the training is doing it's job. I believe it is always a "team" effort, with that I mean the support team, coaching staff and the athlete. Hurricanes' Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Dave "Davie" Gray, myself and Ben stay in constant contact to insure that this is happens.
Told Ben that this combination works: my training + Davie's conditioning + Ben's work ethic & passion = one of the greatest rugby props in the world!!
So here is another example of the training working. During the start of the game Ben had a good hard tackle, one of many but more impressive is him chasing down Frank Halai of the Blues who is arguably one of the quickest wingers in rugby (playing both 15's and 7's)!! This happened at the end of the first half when most props are ready to head in the locker room.
There are no shortcuts or magic bullets and it won't happen over night. It will only happen with SIMPLE...HARD...BASIC TRAINING!! NO FANCY BULL#*$T...JUST HARD WORK!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES!!
Well the weekend has come and gone and left Sally and myself completely wiped out!! The games were another huge success. It's crazy as I look back at the transformation of these games I took over as Athletic Director in 2004 and see that not only has the number of athletes increased but the distances and heights thrown have gone off the charts. All I have to do is go back though the NASGA site where the database goes way back and look...it's amazing. Every time I go and throw in a game, no matter where it is I am proudly promoting the San Antonio Highland Games working on making it a premier game in the US and the World. We've had competitors come from all over the US, Canada, Switzerland, and Japan!! We've had kids as young as 14 out there...guys as old as our hero Dean Ross who is over 70 and still kicking ass!!! We've got men and women out there putting on a show while throwing in 9 different events over 6-8 hours of competition. We've had Field Records shattered and National and World Records broken.
While these athletes are out there working hard, I have a support staff working even harder to make sure this "organized chaos" looks like it's all going according to plan. First is my sweetheart and love of my life Sally who is my official scorer as well as my problem solver and my do anything I need, even if I don't ask so nicely!! Helping her is her awesome sister Sandra, David Anderson and her friend Christina. It's not easy keeping the scorer tent operations going smoothly as they go back over the score sheets from the judges trying to read the writing and wondering if the judge had the pen in between their teeth when they wrote the scores in!!! Then they log all of the distances/heights and placing on the master sheet all the while they've got athletes coming up to ask what their scores are (which is a thorn in my side to put it nicely). Next is my awesome association president Jenny May-Dennis. I'm telling you there is not enough room here to list all of the hard work and thankless hours this lady puts in to make these games the success they have become!! I can't forget Lisa McQuade who makes sure I have all the volunteers I need to run my area and Terrah Shaw who is always checking on us to make sure we have all we need....like my daily COKE!!! There are so many that make up the San Antonio Highland Games association that work tirelessly behind the scenes to put on this event!!! We were rewarded with the largest crowd we've ever had.....CLAP...CLAP...CLAP as I give a standing ovation to all that make these games possible.
I don't want to forget the companies that help athletics out as well!!! OZ Highland Farms who keeps my judges and me fed (that's really important). Larry Brock's Tacky, Professional Highland Games World Champion Matt Vincent, IronMind and Titan Support who I get my awards from and they always include extras for the athletes.
See you all next year as I celebrate my 10th year as Athletic Director. April 5 & 6, 2014
Well it is that time of year for the San Antonio Highland Games. Head out to the Helotes Fairgrounds and cheer on these athletes. We've got some of the best men and women in the world getting after it.
Saturday will have Masters World Champion and former NFL player Mike Baab, Masters World Champion and oldest Professional Highland Games competitor Mike Dickens, Masters World Champion Dean Ross at the age of 70+ still on the field competing!!! Anthony Lordi traveling from Switzerland to compete as well as many others in the Masters Class. The Women's class will have Brittney Boswell fresh off competing in her first Women's World Championship last weekend.
Sunday will have the Amateur Classes doing battle to see who's the best!! There are 3 levels of amateur then our Novice Class which is the beginner class.
These athletes will compete in 7-9 events depending on their level.
It is always a fun and exciting time for the whole family!! Come on out and cheer them on and visit the entire festival with fun, food, music, and shopping.
Check out this video of Mike Dickens throwing!! Think you're STRONG...Think you're POWERFUL....come give the Highland Games a try!!!
Some time ago I posted a picture and a blog about our in-season strength training and while most of the responses I recieved were great I had a few of the normal BS comments like; just how strong do you have to be, I don't need to be that strong to be successful, he didn't squat deep enough and a couple more. Watch the video from 3 News in New Zealand of Ben's try score against the Highlanders and tell me again that you don't you need to be strong or that you are strong enough already. Ben's score starts at the :15 second mark and watch him destroy the Highlander trying to tackle him at at :20 second mark. Pure Strength and Power!!! So now ask yourself does your training stand up to this test??
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES (it's a way of living your life not just a saying)
And some thoughts on Strength Training for Basketball. Today Sally and I went over to Memorial Park to do a little running!! That's right after all I've been though with my infections and surgeries the last year+, I've finally been cleared to do a little running to strengthen up my Achilles (or lack of) and heart. I have to say that it went better than I had expected!!
When we had finished I saw one of my favorite NBA players from long ago. Think I scared the crap out of him when I got out of the car to say hello!! Clyde "The Glide" Drexler I met him and a couple of other Portland Trail Blazers way back during the 1989-90 NBA Championships while I was training David Greenwood, a member of the Detroit Pistons, who would go on to beat the Blazers!! I was blessed 10 years later to coach 2 of those Blazers' players Jerome Kersey and Terry Porter.
Well during the conversation of guys we both knew we spoke on the importance of strength training in basketball...WHAT YOU SAY!! A player from that era who understands the importance of strength in basketball?? Well he does and spoke to me about the program that was at University of Houston where he played his college ball. Clyde has his degree in Kinesiology so we speak the same language and he told me the importance of "putting up" some shots after strength work to get the muscle memory back and how crappy the first shots (sometimes all of them) would be!! I told him that I learned that from David Greenwood way back when I met him in 1987 and it's always stuck with me.
So I began to think of the path of acceptance of proper strength training for basketball. When I first met David Greenwood at the gym and on the track where he approached me about training him. He explained that when he played at UCLA John Wooden forbid the players from weight training that it would make them "muscle bound". Of course this was back in the late 70's so....I thought about when I was with the Spurs and was stretching Jaren Jackson who played at Georgetown and his old coach John Thompson, who was doing the TV broadcast remarked how much flexibility work we were doing. I asked him how much they concentrated on strength and flexibility during his tenure at Georgetown and his answer suprised the hell out of me...NONE he says!! WOW I said!! How about during the 1999 NBA Championships Jeremy Schaap from ESPN comes over to me as I'm sitting before practice watching the media frenzy that is the NBA Finals and he sticks his microphone and camera in my face and begins to tell me how NY Knicks Coach Jeff VanGundy says too many basketball players are spending too much time in the weightroom and not enough time working on fundamental skills of course I answer...."You've got to be kidding me...what a dumbass!!" I then do my schpeal about the importance of strength training as well as the importance of skill work but I look at Jeremy and say...."what do I know I'm just the assistant, let's see what my boss says" and Brungy says the exact same thing!! Of course you never saw that interview because Spurs Head Coach Greg "Pop" Popovich saw myself and Brungy being interviewed and sent Media Director Tom James over to cut that interview off...haha!! He asked us what was going on over there and I told him....and being Pop he quickly forbid either of us to talk to any media!!! I complained it was my one shot at greatness and he stole it from me!! Of course I can't say what he told me in response!! ;-) I also told Clyde about how I once asked Houston Rockets Head Coach Rudy Tomjanovich what he thought of strength training in basketball as I was having some difficulties at UTSA getting guys to believe in what I was doing and he told me that if they didn't believe in strength training that they would never see his level and he then introduced me to Robert Barr his Strength Coach. That has always stayed with me as well.
Bottom line....there are some old NBA players out there that were instrumental in paving the way for the acceptance of Strength Training in Basketball. I've been around long enough to see the transformation. Unfortunately, now most NBA basketball strength programs are a joke having lost sight of the real purpose of why they are there. Maybe we'll explore that next!!
My thanks to guys like Clyde Drexler, David Greenwood, Karl "The Mailman" Malone, and Kobe Bryant to name a few. If not for them I would not have had the experience of a lifetime as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach in the NBA!!
Train Hard...Play Harder...NO EXCUSES
Today started as most of my days...in the weightroom!! The players have seen me the past couple days and they've introduced themselves and talked to me, a couple of them were with the Crusaders and remember me from my visit for training camp in 2006. I was officially introduced and welcomed and allowed to sit in on team meetings. We headed to the rugby pitch and the training session started off with one my favorite parts of a rugby match...the scrum!! I watched from the best advantage points I could, took video and pictures so I can study the body positions, strength/power requirements and very importantly the physical breakdown of the scrum so I can best design training programs for this important part of a rugby match. Was even more fun when I was put on the scrum machine as the boys worked hard. Being right over the front row looking down from my advantage point was an education for sure!! During lunch Ben and I talked about other the roles that the prop plays during rugby games but also the common injuries that happen as well. It's important to understand the common injuries associated with not only the sport but the different positions. I have some great ideas rattling around in my head for sure!!!
Hurricanes working on the scrum. I am fascinated by the biomechanics here.
Well I arrived safe and sound here in Wellington. Was the usual "fun times" traveling!! Got in after almost 30 hours of travel had a little clean up and was off to Hurricanes training. Watched the last 45 minutes of the session and met up with Strength and Conditioning Coach David Gray. He gave me the tour of the facility and of course the place I love to be...the weightroom!! After practice was over I met with the Head Coach Mark Hammet or as he's known in rugby Hammer!!! He welcomed me as he remembers me from my visit to the Crusaders in 2006 where he once coached. We went for a feed before Ben had to be in meetings and thank God because I was hungry and in need of coffee!!! After his meeting Ben hit his weights session with me which was good as we continue to make our adjustments to the training program. We finished off with some solid sandbag training. Tomorrow is a day off for them so I get to see more of Wellington. I can't wait!!
Sign on the door of the Hurricanes' weightroom
Well I always say if you want to learn something then learn it from the best and I am going to do just that!! A big THANKS to Ben Franks for setting it all up for me and to Genna for putting up with me for 2 weeks!!
On Sunday I am heading to Wellington, New Zealand to spend 10 days with the Hurricanes of of the Super 15 Rugby League. I'll be doing a lot of watching and learning and maybe even a little teaching!! I'm excited to have the opportunity of learning from Head Coach Mark "Hammer" Hammett, Scrum Coach Dan Cron and Strength and Conditioning Coach David Grey. What a blessing to be able to learn from the best as I work on my presentation roughly titled "Strength, Power and Fitness Training for Rugby Forwards" as well as increase my own coaching knowledge.
I picked up something (actually I've learned a lot) from Al Vermiel of the Chicago Bulls, he said that he would spend equal or more money on learning than on equipment.
Stayed tuned right here for updates on the trip!!
Kia Kaha-Be Strong
I look back on my life and I can't help but to think about this path I've choosen. I can't remember a time in my life that I did not want to be a strength coach even when I was told that it was a stupid "dream" (not a goal but a dream) and that I would probably amount to nothing in life if I choose to pursue this. Funny how things turn out!! I work really hard and have sacrificed much to ahieve my goal and I will admit at times I've lost a little belief in myself but never for very long before the Good Lord would gently (and sometimes not so gentlly) remind me. Now I know that there have been people in my life that have helped and guided me along the way and I have never forgotten any of them.
This is posted in my gym and a copy is also in my training log. I wish I could remember where I got it but I try to live by it daily.
Believe In Yourself
FACE IT. Nobody owes you a living.
What you achieve or fail to achieve is directly
related to what you do or fail to do.
No one chooses his parents or childhood but
everyone can choose their own direction.
Everyone has problems and obstacles to overcome
but that too is relative to each individual.
NOTHING IS CARVED IN STONE,
You can change anything in your life, if you want to
Excuses are for losers.
Those who take responsibility for ther actions
are the real winners.
Winners meet life's challenges head on,
knowing there are no guarantees, and give it
all they've got.
And never think it's too late or too early to begin,
Time plays no favorites, and will pass whether
you act or not.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOU LIFE.
Dare to dream and take risks...
If you aren't willing to work for your goals,
don't expect others to.
I've been thinking for a while now about the things I program into my athletes' training plans as well as my own that I just don't see in other programs. I"ve always preached that I'm "old school" in my approach to training. Trust me I don't use that description as many others do.....I've been training for Strength and Power the entire time that I've been training. However, not only do I want to be strong, powerful and fit I want to look like it as well.
So I'm going to attempt to cover some areas that seem to be overlooked anymore in training. I've become sick to my stomach seeing some of the "finishers" that so called experts come up with!! That would be a very long blog and will really piss off some of them when I attempt to write that!!
First up for us....neck and traps. I can remember when I joined the Army and was training at the base gym in Würzburg, Germany this guy comes over to me and says "Hey boy you better be training that stack of dimes you call a neck!" I believe training the traps falls right in there with neck training. Look at a good strength athlete, an athlete that plays a contact or collision sport they will have neck and traps IF they are training correctly. As far as I'm concerned after reading, visiting strength facilities and observing the training being done not enough coaches are programing this critical area into their training plans. You know, it really wasn't that long ago that neck training was a priority for all football players from high school, to college all the way to the pros. Most facilities had the plate loaded 4 way neck machine (even the commercial gym I trained at in San Antonio had one). Now there are ways around the expense of this machine if the facility or team is on a tight budget. Here are some other options...neck harness, old football helmets with a rod in it to load weights on, wrestler bridges(for more advanced athletes), I've discovered a way to use stretch bands for a 4 way neck workout, partner resisted work and finally one of my favorites placing the plate on your forehead and the back of your head to do the work!!
While I don't agree with some of the old HIT Training methods they always did neck and heavy machine shrugs in their training. Look up old articles from Dr. Ken Leistner and you'll discover a whole new world of information!! I love reading his articles and I will admit they influenced me quite a bit and they still do!!
Beisdes the "look" of a strength athlete there are important other factors in training the neck if you indeed play a contact or collision sport it had better be a priority in your training. In fact properly training the neck can help even so called "normal" people as well. Ever think that some of the chronic neck problems you have from sitting at the computer could possibly be from having a weak neck.
So why not finish your training off with some neck work and shrugs but watch out and be warned.....buldging traps and thick necks are the result of this!!
pictured is Bill "Kaz" Kazmaier one of the greatest strength athletes ever!!
Train Hard...Play Harder...NO EXCUSES
Headed out early in the morning to Deer Park to attend their Coaches' Clinic. Doug Bull puts on a GREAT clinic. Huge auditorium with comfortable seat and a great lunch wtih plenty of BBQ!! What a speakers list he had!!! Was sitting next to 2 coaches I really respect in Tim Swords and Garrett Taylor so I learned a little just listening to our conversations as well.
Got to hear one of the coaches that helped form my coaching philosophy early on, Vern Gamtetta was his usual passionate self up there and I was my usual self, writing down everything I could so I wouldn't forget it when I asked him questions!! He spoke on "Game Speed' Refining Movement in Skills & Agility". Another speaker I was excited to hear was Ron McKeefery and he delievered. This was the first time to hear him speak but I am familiar with some of his coaching and he did not dissapoint he delivered a great talk on "Hard Knox" Conditioning!! Can't wait to pick his brain in the future. Now comes the surprise of the clinic for me and that was Dr. Brandon Marcello, PhD. the Director of Sports Performance at Stanford University and he spoke on "Training the Female Cardinal" . He posed some great questions and delievered some better answers on differences in training male and female athletes. Really made me think and re-examine some of my training plans and I look forward to talking more to him and doing some research on my own. There were a few more speakers and as usual for me I took a little from each of them.
Clinics like this are wonderful to attend and I plan on making sure I am there next year!! You were able to interact with the speakers and other coaches.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from PowerSport!! Hope that your day is filled with family and friends. While you are enjoying your holiday feast and gifts PLEASE take a moment to remember those who cannot be with their families because they are keeping us safe!!
God Bless our first responders and Military men and women serving this Great Nation.
May God Bless you and your families and shine his grace down onto you.
Hallelujah Jesus is born today.
Butters got to visit Santa courtesy of English Bulldog Rescue Houston
So we all know that I am All Blacks Ben Franks personal strength and conditioning coach. Well he just had a short 5 week break after 10 months and 30+ games before he and the All Blacks head to the UK for the final 5 matches of the season so we attacked the break and got stronger!! This kind of strength development can only be accomplished by having a properly designed and well thought out training program. We really stress restoration and recovery as well as our continued development of strength and power thoughout the long season so we are able to do this type of training when we get an extended break from rugby. Considering most coaches feel in-season training is a time for maintance work I feel that we must continue to develop strength and power thoughout the season picking times when we can hit some heavier training sessions. I don't believe that you can ever be strong and powerful enough.
There is nothing better than knowing you are stronger and more powerful than your opponent.
"If you train at a reduced volume and intensity you will only succeed in retaining your performance levels for a finite period of time. In the case of a long season it is necessary to apply greater volume and intensity at periods of time thoughout the season"
Jason Webber former Wallabies strength and conditioning coach.
"Detraining: the diminished contractile properties of the muscle which leads to a visible decrease in the contributition of strength to athletic performance"
Bottom line is a properly designed program will have you strong, powerful and fit for your whole season NOT just for the first few games!! Ask youself these questions: What role do you think strength plays in your sport? What does your training plan look like?
Train Hard...Play Harder...NO EXCUSES
photo: James (Red) McLeod Ben Franks doing 250kgx2x2 with brother and All Blacks teamate Owen spotting
Now anyone who knows me knows that this is the most important games of my Highland Games season. It tore me up inside to think after my injury that I would not be on the field anymore until Steve Conway (the Athletic Director) contacted me to come out and judge the games!!! WOW!! This is a big deal honor to for me and I said YES right away!! I enjoyed myself although I would have much rather been throwing. For those that don't know about these games at Pleasanton CA, they are the premier game in the World. Imagine a field with the top professionals, amateur, womens, and masters class athletes in the world....they're right there on the field throwing. It's an awesome thing to be part of for sure and I'm blessed that I was invited.
Let me thank my dear friend Anthony Lordi who used his 'air miles" to fly me to San Fransico, Big John McClure who first asked me if I thought I would be healthy enough to come out and judge, and Steve Conway who not only invited me to judge but took great care of me while I was there. Sally and I are already planning next years trip!!!
This is what Kel Mulrey, the Assistant Athletic Director said on the NASGA message board about me: "Ed Cosner has had a rough go of it this last year and we like this guy so much as a competitor that we wanted him to come up and judge for us. He did an Awesome job for us as a Judge he was everything we had hoped for, he had a big class of masters (who do move slow) and he had those guys in order and rolling smoothly all weekend. Ed was a great addition to our crew and we could not ask for a better guy, thank you for your time and service to our game, and great job."
Play Hard...Train Hard...NO EXCUSES