During Mike Srock’s eighteen years at J. F. Byrnes High School, the Rebels have won the South Carolina AAAA Football State Championship eight times in the past sixteen years, with the most recent championship in 2011. The Rebels’ record since 2000 is 204-36. In addition to the success of the football program, the Rebel Volleyball team won the State Championship in 2009. The Softball team won a State Championship in 2005, 2014 and 2017. The Baseball team played for the State Championship in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Boys Cross Country won State Titles in 2000 and 2001. The Rebels hold the distinction of earning the 2008 National NIKE SPARQ Training Challenge. In his tenure at Byrnes High, the Rebels have had 31 Shrine Bowl players, 34 North/South players, 3 Mr. Football (the best player in the state), and 23 State Strength Meet Champions. Coach Srock programs and trains every sport (male and female) for Byrnes High.
A graduate of St. Thomas University in Florida, Srock is a Certified Speed Specialist, Level II, (CSS) with the National Association for Speed and Explosion (NASE). He serves on the NASE Board of Directors and the Testing and Certification Board. He is a National and Sports Performance Coach with USA Weightlifting, a Bronze Level Coach with USA Wrestling, a certified Kettlebell Instructor with KettleBell Concepts, a certified SPARQ Trainer, a Certified Tsunami Bar Coach, and is currently working on certification with Westside Barbell and Louie Simmons.
Srock has been a Region Director for the South Carolina High School Strength Coaches Association (SCHSSCA) since 1999. He served as President of the SCHSSCA from 2008-2011. He is a current Board of Director with the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association and also served from 2008-2010 in the same capacity. He serves on the Sports Performance Board for SF-7X and on the Advisory Board for the South Carolina Chapter of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Srock is a Strategic Partner for Scholastic Strength and a Legendary Coach with (Ph)UEL 5.0. He was elected to the South Carolina Strength Coaches Hall of Fame in 2017.
Srock has won numerous Coach of the Year honors including the 2016 Assistant Coach of the Year and Strength Coach of the Year for SCACA in 2001 and 2007. USA Weightlifting East Coast Gold Coach of the Year 2001 and USA Weightlifting East Coast Gold Satellite Center Coach of the Year 2000. He was selected to the 2008 Max Emfinger All-American Bowl staff as strength and defensive line coach.
Srock has presented his Speed and Strength Program at many clinics including the University of Tennessee, NSCA State Level Clinic (four times), NC State Basketball Clinic, Wake Forest University (four times), Wofford College (four times), NASE Certification Clinic (four times), Charleston Southern University FCA Clinic, the SCHSSCA Development Clinic and Summer Strong all ten years it has been held. Srock has also appeared on National Pod Casts for Smarter Team Training and Iron Game Chalk Talk.
In 2010, Srock published 101 Fundamentals for Football Speed with two instructional DVD’s for Coaches Choice Publishing Company. He is currently working on the book, Essentials of Modern Sports Speed Training with Dr. George Dintiman and the NASE. Also in the works is Football Fast II with Jeremy Boone, Owner of Athlete by Design.
Srock is married to Judy, has two daughters, Carre and Teresa; a granddaughter, Sterling; and three grandsons, Raven, Ryo and Nikolas plus the joy of his life, GREAT granddaughter, Alexandria Leigh and GREAT grandson, Pierce!
If your high school was anything like mine, the only sports that had consistent access to the weight room we all shared were football and wrestling. If you coached any other sport and wanted access, you were shit out of luck. Not only was our weight room only the size of a standard classroom, but everyone had practices at the same time, so priority went to the male sports that mattered to our school. This priority system was a mistake, and likely the reason many of our other sports failed to succeed.
Strength training, especially at a time when young bodies are still developing, can exponentially enhance an athletic child’s ability to improve in his or her discipline. Having stellar hand-eye coordination in baseball is huge, but if you don’t have the strength to hit the ball with power, no amount of technique will get you that homer.
High School students are still young enough to learn good habits quickly, and it’s a vital time for them to master the basics that they will perform at least twice a week when they reach the college level. Unilateral strength training will expose and help fix muscle imbalances before they cause injury and become even more difficult to correct; and compound lifts will increase overall power output and stabilizer muscle strength which will also prevent against injury especially when performing multi-directional movements in a game.
So even if access to a weight room is limited, think about ways those same exercises can be performed without traditional equipment. Text books, heavy backpacks, and whatever you can find in your equipment shed will do the trick, or if all else fails, use bodyweight—just don’t forget the power of strength training!
Unilateral Exercise Examples
Bilateral Exercise Examples
-Emily De Lena
Pro-Days are extremely important for athletes looking to continue their football careers either at the college or professional level. During these winter months, most major schools will host a Pro-Day that uses the same drills as in the NFL combine to give their players up close and personal exposure in front of top scouts. They are also an opportunity for players not invited to the combine to be seen. Posting great numbers at a Pro-Day can have significant bearing on whether a player is chosen for a team or not and at what price. Because of this, some schools have been caught “fudging the numbers” in a variety of ways. One of the ways this is done is by continuing to choose hand-timing over electronic timing.
Studies have shown that hand-timing compared to electronic timing is consistently faster due to human reaction time. “The error from hand timing results in a minimum of 0.1 to 0.25 second difference from electronic timing.” (Michel Weinstein, Zybek) When hand timing, coaches do not start their watches until they see movement from the runner, but it takes time for a human to see that an athlete is in motion and then click a watch. Current timing sensors begin timing the instant a player begins moving and they are accurate to a least the hundredth of a second.
Many football programs own timing sensors, but choose not to use them because they want players to post fast times at their facilities. Because facilities are choosing to use hand-timing over timing sensors, data being posted from locations across the country are not comparable. Many players post unrealistic times and the data is skewed.
It is financially possible for nearly every school in the country to own timing sensors. It seems only right that the NCAA should regulate these Pro-Day tests in order to get true results from them. Without the regulation, they are not beneficial for data collection and scouts cannot look back and rely on the data to make decisions about players. If the technology to standardize these Pro-Days is inexpensive and readily available, there is no good reason to not use them. Coaches cannot be allowed to continue posting non-regulated data at the risk scouts are being given false statistics that make players look better than they really are.
-Emily De Lena
Working college basketball as an athletic trainer, very frequently I get asked, “What’s better? Should I get my ankles taped or braced?” If you ask any basketball player with a history of ankle injuries, they most certainly prefer one of the two methods to keep their ankles stable and injury-free. However, while either method may keep the ankle in check, some believe that taping or bracing the ankles can cause injuries elsewhere in the body. So should you get taped for practice, game, or your next YMCA pick up game?
As ankle sprains are the most common athletic-related injuries , most of us have dealt with one at some point or another. For those of us with a history of lateral ankle sprains, adding the support of taping or bracing has been repeatedly shown to reduce the risk of future ankle sprains throughout the literature . Interestingly enough, there have been a good number of studies that have shown that folks with no history of ankle sprain see no difference in the rate of ankle sprain with support .
There’s also the discussion of whether or not restricting the movement of the ankle can negatively affect other joints, specifically the knee. The ankle absorbs force from the ground, and if taping restricts the ability of the joint to do so, it may be transmitted to the knee, risking further injury to the knee. However, while this is a common train of thought (and makes sense when considering a joint that’s supposed to be mobile is being restricted), there is very limited evidence available that supports or refutes this notion .
As a clinician, I prefer if athletes choose braces, as they’re more cost- and time-efficient over the course of a season. However, I’m a firm believer in the power of the mind, and if an athlete is convinced that tape is more effective for him/her… let’s tape you up!
Kaminski TW1, Hertel J, Amendola N, Docherty CL, Dolan MG, Hopkins JT, Nussbaum E, Poppy W, Richie D; National Athletic Trainers' Association. National Athletic Trainers' Association position statement: conservative management and prevention of ankle sprains in athletes. J Athl Train. 2013 Jul-Aug;48(4):528-45.
The skills needed to be successful at the NFL combine are the same skills that make a good track athlete. Many of the events even mirror each other directly. The 40-yard dash and the indoor 60-meter race, high jump and the vertical jump test, long jump and the standing long jump test, the bench press and the pushing power of the shot put….
224 of the 256 players selected in the 2015 NFL Draft played at least two sports in high school. Of those 224, 63% of them participated in track and field and 48% of them played basketball where the quickness and cutting agility skills are honed. (usafootball.com)
In a country where many parents are forcing their kids into sports specialization at an earlier age, studies show this is hurting the chances of their kids being successful. Not only because of the obvious mental burn out, but cross training gives certain sport specific muscles a break preventing overuse injury.
But not all sports are created equal. Cross training in track and field directly correlates to a successful football career. By perfecting basic movement skills in the off season, staying in shape, and working fast twitch muscle fibers, players are putting themselves in line for a successful football season and are preparing themselves for a stand out combine performance. Tracking Football’s database of over 300,000 players even includes track and field performance data in their Player Athletic Index scores.
The list of successful football players with track backgrounds is extensive. Jalen Ramsey, Sammy Watkins, Julio Jones, Leonard Fournette, Rashad Greene, Jadeveon Clowney just to name a few. Putting out top track times allows a wide receiver to outrun his defender; a linebacker to keep up with his target, a defensive end to sack the QB.
In the chaos and time crunch of many football practices, the importance of practicing the basics of speed can be forgotten. Track and field fills this gap and reinforces the good techniques and habits necessary to kick ass on the field. So, when thinking about ways to take your football career to the next level, think track.
-Emily De Lena
Christian McCaffrey is not the first high-profile player to decide to sit out of his team’s bowl game, and we predict he will not be the last. Jaylon Smith’s worst case scenario example is worrisome to players who have millions of dollars of future earning potential on the line based on their draft status. Jaylon was injured in Notre Dame’s Fiesta bowl game against Ohio State last year. Entering the game, he was widely projected to be a top-5 NFL Draft pick. During the game, he suffered an ACL and MCL tear and was dropped to a second-round pick. This resulted in Jaylon receiving a $4.4 million guaranteed offer from Dallas, in comparison to the actual 5th overall pick, Jalen Ramsey, who joined the Jaguars for $22.9 million guaranteed.
Obviously, there is a risk for injury in every game played as a college athlete, but when the regular season is over and every team’s national status has been set, why should players participate in a bowl game that is nothing more than a profit machine for the industry?
When the first six bowl games were established in the 1930’s the NCAA was outraged by their existence “because they serve no sound educational ends, and such promotions merely trade upon intercollegiate football for commercial purposes.” By the 1980’s the bowls were being sponsored by major corporations and were paying schools more and more money to come participate at their locations. Fans then began pushing for the bowls to help crown a national champion, and by the 1990’s the Orange, Fiesta, Sugar and Rose Bowls came together to establish the Bowl Championship Series.
Yes, the BCS, and now the College Football Playoff that has replaced it, helps to give purpose to bowl season and allows one team to be the reining national champion, which is worthy post-season motivation to play. But the origin of the bowl games is rooted in profitability and greed. The non-CFP games exist solely for profitability and have meaningless outcomes, so why risk becoming the next Jaylon Smith horror story?
Some believe McCaffrey is abandoning his team and being selfish in his decision to sit out of the game, but he has received nothing but support and understanding from his coach and his team. Much of the media is also supportive of his decision and are predicting that this is a trend that will gain traction over the upcoming seasons. Why should players risk their personal financial status just to play in a game designed to make money for other big wigs? We say good for you McCaffrey, see you in Indy.
-Emily De Lena
At all levels of sport, hamstring injuries remain one of the most challenging injuries to deal with. Most commonly seen in track, football, and soccer , hamstring strains present a challenge to all athletic trainers and physical therapists, as evidenced by the high rate of reoccurrence: almost 1/3 of athletes with hamstring injuries are reinjured within a year . With how difficult these injuries are to treat, what’s the best way to attack rehab and return athletes to their prior level of sport?
Having worked track and field as an athletic trainer for 5 years now, this remains one of the toughest and persistent injuries I deal with every year. There are many risk factors that need to be evaluated and addressed, from the core and pelvis all the way down to the foot and ankle1. The majority of initial hamstring injuries I evaluate are not caused by insufficiency at the hamstring itself; rather, this seems to be where weaknesses elsewhere in the kinetic chain manifest themselves and cause injury. On the other hand, eccentric weakness in the hamstring muscle after injury has been consistently identified as a risk factor for re-injury [1,3].
Rehabilitation of hamstring strains needs to target all these deficits. In my rehab, I initially target the glute muscle in all 3 planes of motion while the hamstring itself begins to heal, as I’ve found that the vast majority of athletes do not effectively use the glutes. I’ll also use functional core exercises in the initial phase. As the hamstring heals and we are able to begin rehabilitating the muscle itself, I’ll begin more complex motions involving the core, glutes, and hamstrings together in a more functional manner, re-evaluating frequently to determine when to best let the athlete return to jogging, running, and finally, sprinting and return to sport. In every case, I discuss with the athletes the importance of continuing a maintenance rehab program to minimize the risk of agonizing re-injury.
1. Heiderscheit BC, Sherry MA, Silder A, Chumanov ES, Thelen DG. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2010 Feb;40(2):67-81
2. Foreman TK, Addy T, Baker S, Burns J, Hill N, Madden T. Prospective studies into the causation of hamstring injuries in sport: a systematic review. Physical Therapy in Sport 2006;7:101–109.
3. Orchard J, Best TM. The management of muscle strain injuries: an early return versus the risk of recurrence. Clin J Sport Med 2002;12:3–5. [PubMed: 11854581]
“I found that to build mental toughness, you need to inconvenience yourself. The early morning runs, if you hate early mornings. The late night runs, if you hate late nights. The snowy cold, the worst conditions you can get, put yourself in those and really make it inconvenient and you start to get a genuine expectation of winning for the price you have to pay.”~ Chael Sonnen
I don’t have a problem with mental toughness. I do have a problem with mental stupidity:
You see this kind of “toughness” too often in sport. My athletes loved Dr. Eric Thomas’ viral youtube video “How bad do you want it?” Have you seen it? It took me a year to undo the damage they experienced from it and convince them that yes, they did indeed need to sleep in order to recover and train the way they needed to for success. You see, no matter how hard you want it, no matter how much effort you’re putting in to it, if you don’t have a clear and rational understanding of the world around you and an accurate assessment of where you currently stand, you have no control over where your journey leads. It’s like trying to find your way through Chicago with a map of Detroit. No matter how hard you try, or how great your attitude, you’re still lost. This is notmental toughness.
Like the quote at the beginning of this post, people believe that if they seek misery, they will find success. But the objective is not to find misery. The objective is to overcome. The objective is – through integrity and discipline – to minimize the influence of distractions and rise above your present circumstances. It’s not about choosing the hard way over the easy way; it’s about choosing the right way over the easy way. And then executing it.
Maybe you want to go across town. Perhaps, after reading Sonnen’s quote, you consider running there, because that would really make it inconvenient. After pausing to reflect, and acknowledging the absurdity of such an idea, you decide instead of running across town (the hard way), you might catch the train (the right way). After mapping out your plan, you need to be at the right station, and the right time, with the right fare. Make intelligent choices, and have the discipline to follow through. That’s mental toughness.
We know great athletes are intentional about their nutrition. Mental toughness is saying to yourself “in order to be a champion I need to eat right.” Then you need a correct map of nutrition (…and that’s no easy task…). Then you need the discipline to follow through. That’s mental toughness.
Mental toughness is about resilience. Like this video of Arthur, who one day decides to organize his life around a quest to walk again. Yes, he falls down, but he gets back up, and says “Just because I can’t do it today doesn’t mean I can’t do it someday.” That’s mental toughness.
Everything is trainable. So how do you strengthen your mental muscle? Start by evaluating your core beliefs – making sure the map you’re using matches the world that’s important to you. Otherwise, you might climb the ladder of success only to find it was leaning against the wrong wall. Replace excuses with solutions. Once you identify what needs to be done, have the courage to do it. As you practice tolerating purposeful discomfort, you will find that the courage you once needed to do the right thing is replaced by the daily discipline of being on time, approaching every drill with purpose and intensity, and working hard (even when no one is looking). And when you fail, and fail you will (failure is not the opposite of success, failure is an ingredient of success), when you find the courage to get back up and start again – core beliefs, solution finding, daily discipline – then that’s mental toughness.
In my previous article “Nutrient Timing (Part 1)” we walked through a step by step process of how to determine your protein and carbohydrate needs using the research we have available to us. For those of you who missed out, I would highly recommend going back to read it before continuing here. For those of you who may have forgotten your numbers check out my “cheat table” below to get an idea of what you need to be getting. Remember the top of the ranges are reserved for the truly elite athletes training intensely for more than 4 hours a day.
Now that you all know what you need; we need to discuss when and how to get it all in. To do this, we will use an example athlete and go through his training schedule. Timing your nutrients appropriately can help maximize your recovery by replacing your muscle glycogen and suppling proteins to your muscles when your body needs them the most. Let’s call our example athlete Mr. Fartlek. Mr. Fartlek is a 20 year old, 160 pound long distance track runner at a large state university. It is spring time and Fartlek is gearing up for his season to begin with 2 a day practices to go along with his classes during the day. Fartlek’s pre-season training schedule is 2 weeks long and has him doing a long run in the morning that starts at 6 am and then a medium run in the afternoon along with an hour of track work starting at 4 pm.
First we get our numbers. Fartlek is on a fairly intense workout regimen at the moment and he will have to maintain this for 2 weeks without a break. Due to these factors, Fartlek will be on the higher end of our ranges that you see above. I would go with a range of 650-700 g of carbohydrates per day and 110-125 g of protein each day. In addition to the carbohydrates and protein, we will add enough calories from fat for a balanced diet. To do this we assume carbohydrate intake will comprise of 65% of total calorie intake. Time for some quick math and then onward!
Calories from carbohydrates: 550 – 600 g x 4 calories/g = 2200 – 2400 calories from carbohydrates
Calories from protein: 110 – 125 g x 4 calories/g = 440 – 500 calories from protein
Total calories from carbohydrates and protein = 2640 – 2900 calories
Now to add the fat…
2200/0.65 = 3385 total calories (2200 calories from carbohydrates and 440 from protein, the rest is from fat)
2400/0.65 = 3692 total calories (2200 calories from carbohydrates and 440 from protein, the rest is from fat)
So, Fartlek will need 3385 – 3692 calories each day with 110-125 g of protein, and 550-600 g of carbohydrates. Almost ready to build our meal plan! A few goals to keep in mind as you start your planning:
1. Unless it causes you stomach discomfort or other “bathroom issues” a pre-workout snack containing 30 g of carbohydrate and low in protein and fat can be beneficial
2. Immediately post-workout (< 30 minutes) consume a snack containing 30 – 60 g of carbohydrate and 20 g of protein can help enhance recovery time
3. After planning the snacks, divide the rest of your protein needed to hit your range between your 3 meals. Then do the same with your carbohydrates. If you are eating one of your meals immediately after your workout, just make sure you are hitting the minimum marks from goal 2.
4. If your goal range is too high for you to be able to meet with pre-workout snacks, post-workout snacks, and meals then add a night time snack or other snacks throughout your day as needed.
Using these 3 goals draw up an outline like you see below:
Morning pre-workout snack (5 am) – 30 g carbohydrate
Morning post-workout snack (7 am) – 30-60 g carbohydrate and 20 g of protein
Breakfast (9 am) – 135 g carbohydrate, 30 g protein
Lunch (Noon) – 135 g carbohydrate, 30 g protein
Afternoon pre-workout snack (3 pm) – 30 g carbohydrate
Dinner (6:30 pm) – 135 g carbohydrate, 30 g protein
Night-time snack – 60 g carbohydrate,
Remember these numbers are rounded and there are plenty of times when each meal will not be perfectly even as shown below. Now you have to build a meal plan to meet these numbers you’ve developed. See the example below for to see how it all comes together (no brand names are included for pre-made items but most are similar).
Morning pre-workout snack – Oats and Honey Granola Bar
Morning post-workout snack – workout shake with bananas, strawberries, and vanilla protein powder
Breakfast – 2 pieces of toast with jam, hash browns, apple, egg omelet with spinach and cheddar, cup of chocolate milk, water
Lunch – Foot long roasted chicken sandwich with toppings, baked potato chips, 1 cup sports drink, water
Pre-workout snack – 1 large banana
Dinner – Pasta, meatballs, garlic bread, broccoli, and chocolate mouse
Night-time snack – Bowl of cereal/oatmeal with cut up fruit
Well, there it is. Sure, it is a long process, but it can help to optimize your recovery. I would recommend taking the time to set this up for the most demanding part of your season where optimal recovery is likely to be the hardest to achieve. That is where you will the biggest benefits of a plan such as the one we just went through. For the rest of you who are in the off-season or simply don’t like math, I would recommend the training plates I have below to guide your meal choices.
Michael Coseo MS, RD, LD
Kerksick, C., Harvey, T., Stout, J., Campbell, B., Wilborn, C., Kreider, R., . . . Antonio, J. (2008). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: Nutrient timing. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 5(1), 17. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-5-17
You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. So you need to get your priorities straight in training.
Physical performance is based on the unique expression of five fundamental physical qualities, or abilities. They are often referred to as the Biomotor Abilities, and they are:
o Speed-how quickly you can fire your muscles to move
o Strength-your ability to produce task appropriate forces
o Skill-your coordination, postures, technique, form, and efficiency
o Stamina-endurance, fitness, that sort of thing
o Suppleness-it stands for flexibility and mobility. (I guess that’s the closest we can get and still start with “S”.)
When you and your coach decide on training, it is these five abilities that you need to prioritize. You might ask yourself these questions:
What does the task demand?
If it is a highly technical skill, like pole vault, you might spend most of your time practicing the event. Indeed, many of the most successful high school vaulters relied on this model – vault a lot and don’t do much else. On the other hand, if it’s an event like distance running, you might prioritize stamina and speed. Indeed, many great runners got by on a lot of running, and not much else.
The demands of some tasks are so specific and straightforward that the answer should be obvious. Sprinting, for example, requires a prioritization of speed above all else. If the task is a measure of Speed, it better be your first priority! (For you throwers thinking that for you it should be all about strength, pause for a moment and ask yourself “do they measure who can throw the heaviest implement, or a relatively light implement the furthest?” Release velocity is the biggest factor affecting distance, by the way).
What is the next step in your development?
I had the opportunity to work with an absolutely beautiful vaulter who had refined his skills with many hours of rehearsal. Since his Skill ability was already strong, we prioritized Speed and Strength instead as a way to provide greater energy input into his vault.
What do you respond well to?
As a hurdler I had excellent Skill, good Stamina, fair Speed, and poor Strength. I broke down under the presence of heavy strength training, so I emphasized Speed and my favorite Skill components instead. It allowed me to stay healthy, enjoy what I was doing, and improve my times.
Once you have your priorities straight, be objective in your evaluation of your training. Does your actual training reflect your priorities? Are you a sprinter doing interval workouts 4 out of 5 days?! Are you a thrower seeking the burn in the weight room?! If so, it might be time for a course correction.