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Joel Smith of Just Fly Sports

by Shaun Kober
February 14th 2022

Joel Smith is the founder of Just Fly Sports Performance, and has been training athletes for the last 15 years.  

Joel hosts the Just Fly Performance Podcast, has authored several books on... More

just jumping in here quickly to let you guys know that I have recently created a facebook group for listeners of the lift train performed podcast. So this private forum is the place to connect with other podcast listeners and guests as well as to interact with myself and other coaches who have provided content for the coach's corner episodes. So in this forum you can ask questions which I can then answer in the group or I can use them for episodes, former Q and A sessions, post relevant articles you can share memes. The goal is to create a network of like minded people um so that everyone can interact with each other. Um you guys are listeners, the audience members can interact with the network of professionals in the fitness industry that have provided good quality content for the podcast. To gain access to this private group. All you need to do is leave me a rating and review what this does is allows me to bump up the ratings, draw bigger names and bigger guest to the podcast for your listening pleasure. Um once you've left a rating and review, take a screenshot of that, send that through to my instagram at coach underscore codes ko bes once you've done that, go onto facebook type in live train perform that group will come up request access, answer the three questions and I will grant you access, I am in the process of building out my online business.

One of the income streams is going to be from the facebook forum, so I'm going to be allowing 50 people into that forum for free after that it will be paid access only So get in early, be one of the O. G. S. Thanks guys, much appreciated. Hey guys, welcome to the live train performed podcast. I'm your host Sean Cobra and joining me today is Joel smith. Joel has been in the strengthening edition in game for 15 years. He is an author and also a podcast host, Joel. I'm really excited to have you on the podcast mate. I've been listening to the just flight performance podcast for a number of years now and I've taken a lot of value from it. So first of all thank you for putting the content out and secondly thank you for coming on my podcast. I appreciate it. Yeah thanks for having me Sean. It's great to be here and these ones on the other side of the globe are always fun. It's good morning for me night for you. So I'm excited for this now. How does it feel being on the other side of the microphone because you're normally one the one that's interviewing other people and asking the questions how do you feel being on the other side of the mic?

Um I think it's it's very relaxing to be honest. I think that my my my mind it works in interesting ways and I usually I'm not a very like hyper focused individual. I think I'm a little bit a D. H. D. And I like to do a lot of things at once. But when I sit down and podcast I actually can focus but it is very draining because it's like I have all these mental balls in the air and I'm trying to figure out what questions to come back to and it's just nice not to have to worry about that. So I I really do enjoy and my wife says I like to talk so it's um but I try to be more mindful of what I say, each one of these I do. Um Just like so anyways, yeah these these are great. I really like being on the other side, awesome man. I appreciate it. Um For my listeners that don't know who you are, can you give them a brief introduction to who you are? Keep it fairly short. I'll dive into anything that comes up and we'll go into a little bit more detail and kind of pick up the ball from wherever you leave it. Yeah, sounds good. Um yeah so the short version and I've been I practiced the short version with each one of these.

I think the first podcast I was on, someone asked it might have been like 10 minutes uh so long and short of it would be, I I grew up playing all sorts of sports. Um eventually basketball is a big one. Soccer eventually settled on track and field though. Track and field became my coaching route uh in the sense that that's what I did as a sport in college, high jump triple jump eventually threw the javelin and really, really loved that did a little sprinting wasn't quite as fast as I was, I guess athletic in the jumping and throwing elements. But um, eventually in college I was like, oh well I want to do something with athletes and well, strength and conditioning is the job, so I'm going to do that, but I get to grad school for applied sports Sciences or performance and they're kind of like, well, you have to pick, you have to be, you have to be a strength coach or a track coach, you can't really do both, which is not true by the way. Um, but they wanted me to kind of make my decision to be one or the other. So I chose track and I coached track for in the college ranks here for six years. Uh and then it was time for a transition.

So it wasn't my choice, but I was then reached out to, at the end of my time coaching track by a um, a division one or bigger university here to do strength and conditioning to be honest. I wasn't that excited about it in the sense that I was going to be doing just the strength training for track. So imagine you were, you were coaching, imagine your basketball coach and you know, and then all of a sudden the only way to go up is to be a strength coach for basketball. Like you, it's a smaller piece of the pie and so in many ways that initially at least I was like, well it's a bit, it's a better job, it's a bigger school, it's in California and that actually journey of just strengthening edition or human performance really took me on an important leg in my coaching journey that I wouldn't have got otherwise. Um there was a lot of like, I think just mental and emotional and psychological ways that I was approaching coaching that weren't healthy, that getting to more of the core of it all in strength and conditioning if you want to call it, that was really important for me personally, I also, in that time had the opportunity to work with a lot more sports than I would have worked with in detail, just obviously being a track coach and I did do strength and conditioning as a track coach.

I was strength, was a strength coach, like the basketball team and did a lot of, I was involved but not heavily um and then as I went through my time at kelly got involved or cal um it was a UC Berkeley was a school, I got involved in swimming, I did, starting the conditions for swimming for seven years and that was really transformative to me because and and all these things are just human performance, like track is human performance, lifting weights or whatever you're doing to improve the state. The athlete is human performance, swimming as human performance. These are all different perspectives on this same thing. And so swimming is like this totally different world. It's in the water, it's three dimensional, it's a different sensory pattern, it's just but it's just so amazing to be able to uh and the swim programs were good at kell, I mean, they were extremely good, like top three in the nation level, or they won the national championship a few times when I was there tons of olympians and elite performers. And so not only that just the, the, the great coaches and seeing how they would approach coaching in a different way of just approaching training human body, but you also get to see the mind and the mindset of all these elite performers and what distinguishes them um just from, I guess people who might not, and obviously they're gifted physically, but there's, there's other things I felt like they were really interesting to watch with these elite level athletes and then um after seven years of swimming, if you look at your life and series of sevens, I moved on from cal I just felt like my my learning curve was, there was starting to to drop a little bit in terms of just what I was able to learn each year and it was also just really expensive, living in the area and I wanted to get on to do other things.

So I've had to just fly sports kind of world for about 10 years now, the podcast, I've trained athletes online and, and so I had an opportunity to go live somewhere more affordable and settle down closer to home, closer to family. So here I am in Ohio, I train athletes in the Cincinnati area and online and or in the just flight performance podcast and it's um yeah, it's been a really fun journey so far and here I am. So I probably took a little longer than I meant to, but that encapsulates as much as the important details as I think I can. I can state their no, that was pretty solid man. And there's a, there's a couple of things that I want to kind of unpack there because I think it's important for the listeners to hear as well um and also for myself, just for my own interests. Um so you said, just correct me if this is incorrect, you said you went from a track coach to a strength coach for track, was that correct? Yes. Talk to me about that process because, you know, there's things that you would have learned as a track coach that you may not have learned as a strength and conditioning coach, but because you had experience as a track coach with, you know, biomechanics of running etcetera, you can then take that and apply that as a strength coach.

Did you think, did you feel that that gave you an advantage as a strength coach for track athletes? Yeah, I think that the biggest thing um yeah, there's like the biomechanics and nuances, like you could call it knowing what special strength exercises to do and track is one of the most easy and straightforward sports to do that in because it's like compared to training like basketball, how many movements could you do in basketball versus track? There's so many more, there's so much more potential movement, so or football or soccer, whatever, whatever. There's, there's a lot more um specificity I think doesn't go as far as the more open the sport is so a more closed sport where it's a more singular skill attract you, you can feel like you're doing things in the weight room, I think that pack more punch in terms of transfer, so there is that, but if anything, I think what I learned and then also watching like the swim strength coach at cal who was there before working with swords before me, he was a high level swimmer himself and there's just something, there is something that where you can find relational points between yourself and the athletes are working with and I was a track coach or a track athlete, the language you use and the they know them knowing that you understand them I think is really important and was swimming eventually I was able to do that just by I think enough time in the field, uh, and enough enough time and you gain the respect and they're like, okay, yes, like I feel like you understand where I'm coming from, but an athlete having belief and buying, which we talked I think has talked about a lot, but also feeling like they're understood from, hey, this coach knows what it's like to be me and do my sport.

Um, I think that's one of the bigger ones, especially to when we're talking about like dan john said this when he was on my podcast is like he said, how, how, how do we know exactly how waits transfer to throwing I think was his example. How do we know how lifting weights helps you throw further? You could say a bunch of things that motor recruitment or bigger muscles or whatever, but I don't think we know exactly in some perspectives and the further we get away from throwing to like, like sprinting or any other sport we play. How do we, how do you say how much you did as a strength coach from a transfer perspective, it could be 10% It could be 0% of sort of, some people honestly from like just a pure mechanical transfer perspective and that's where that's where it's just a little bit of a complex and interesting situation. But I think there's a lot of, there's a lot of mental and emotional, um, nuance in there, that's, that's really important, almost like archetypes if you will. Um So yeah, that connection of, of, of basic human level training, hopefully transfers, maybe some of it doesn't, but there's we're still doing something important here and there's a connection is an important factor.

Mhm. How did that come about that? You moved from one sport to another sport to another sport to another sport? How did you work your way across a multitude of sports with multiple athletes? Oh yeah, so yeah, when I started at cal I was there for track primarily and it was funny because track and here in America in the college system, track is like the last sport that it's like the beginners sport for all the, if you're the strength coach and it's your first sport, like that's like the newbie or the bottom of the chain, because most track coaches have their own lifting program and you're kind of the babysitter. And so from my experience, I wrote most of the programs, um not all of them and actually it was, it was a really good learning experience to, not for the programs, I had to just monitor. That was really good for me because there was some stuff I immediately would have disagreed with and but then you actually watch it happen and you're like, oh, you know what, that actually worked and so now I have to change my paradigm a little bit in the sense of what can work and I think we get really get caught into like, oh, that won't work or, you know, you need to feel it, that's a great point.

Do you think that ties into everything you just said before about the athlete buy in and the coaches understanding the athletes, you know, you might have known, you know, from your theory, from your courses or your degree or whatever, that, hey, maybe this is not the most optimal way of doing this. However, that coach knows his athletes and knows that that's probably the best way to get them to organize themselves in a manner that's going to allow them to achieve the goal. Yeah, I think it's, yeah, it's, you know, these coaches have spent time and they've gone through this and they've gone through trial and error and I saw that in swimming immensely because swimming, it's almost like in track and, and track and strength and conditioning have a lot of shared, like if you read the books or whatever, that here's a track program and here's a strength conditioning and you'll probably see a lot of similarities, you'll see maybe three weeks of loading one week of unloading and are those, those kinds of things that share space. But swimming, I don't think those rules are played by a whole lot. It's more like in some level, it's do, it's, it's over train a lot and then taper hard at the end and and and some version of that, but there's a reason that that exists in swimming, I'm not exactly sure, I'm not exactly sure why, but the coach is still, I mean, I feel like relative to those athletes total highest capabilities they were, I feel like they were reached like no different and no different of a manner than another sport.

And so you learn that experience and intuition is the greatest teacher there. I mean, obviously you need to be able to back what you do on, you know, in terms of reproducibility and you could use data to help prove your point. But at the end of the day, a throws coach told us to meet kelly is like if it works, it works. And I think that we can undermine the complexity of the body and the sense of its ability to adapt to things. We wouldn't normally think that's, that's, I think, uh, you know, we talk, you can talk about putting yourself in a mental box, like early belief systems, like if a child has early belief systems and then at the rest of their life they're going to be pegging everything based off those things. And if anything I've learned being in swimming and some of these other training is like, you know what, some of this training that I thought wouldn't work. It does. And then there might be a million reasons for that. So, um, yeah, I'm kind of getting almost kind of getting Oh yeah, with the, with the throws coach or the yeah, the with that whole system. Um yeah, that was a really important part of my learning process.

It expanded my mind and I think people need to, it's insane. I mean anything that has, like I I don't spend a lot of time with social media, but I just do find it interesting. It seems like most of the interactions that people have on like twitter or something are either just self like glorifying or like the things I agree with. I'll, you know, write a negative comment on the things I don't like, there's people aren't there to learn anything and that was one of the, for the most part, I don't think some people probably are, but it's, you learn by and many so many ways in this field by being exposed to a system that you thought wasn't gonna work or that is different than what you thought and you have to sit in it and you have to and that's the one of the beautiful things of the strength coach position is you had to sit there. I could disagree that it doesn't matter, I have to sit in this and just see how it goes. And so that was a massive learning experience for me. Yeah. And as you said, it's a system, right? Like I get people reach out to me all the time and um, you know, I trained a number of high level professional fighters based out of Tiger Muay thai in Phuket Thailand?

Um one of my guys, UFC bantamweight champion, interim champion, he flew me to Russia trained him over there for his last fight and you know, I had people reaching out to me and saying, hey man, can I come in, um you know, shadow you for a week or come and watch some of your training sessions and blah, blah blah, and I'm like, absolutely not. I'm like, you know, it's not anything against you at all, but it's like trying, if you come to one session, that's like you picking up a book at page 100 just going, ah, here's the answer right here. And it's like, you've got no context whatsoever. Like, you know, I've gone through a 10 week period of his program to get him to this point right now, prior to, you know, going through the acute weight loss phase before we step into the cage in two weeks time, you know, so I think context matters and I think, having that system in place, the system is very important and we'll dive into period ization in a moment, but before we go into that, I want to go back to um, you know, your journey going across a number of different sports transitioning from sport to sport, working with multiple athletes because the question that I do get asked a lot by my followers and listeners is, you know, how do I get into the strength and conditioning space?

How do I start working with professional athletes because a lot of trainers, when they first start out, that's their goal is to work with professional athletes and You know, maybe one or 2% of people actually make it there. So I can tell my story about how I got there and I have done a number of times on the podcast, but I'd like to hear your story and if you have any recommendations for people listening. Oh yeah, yeah, and I'm sorry, I didn't I didn't mention some of the other sports. Yes, it was tracked, It was tennis. So I worked with tennis, I work with tennis all eight years ago actually, that was a massive, massive learning experience too because tennis players are so different than, I mean so many of them, you would, you would come across them in the gym and the strength coach will say, oh they just don't want to work hard and make this brand of them, but then go watch them play and everything lights up. And so the question is, how do you create some of those situations in the weight room for them anyways, trade water polo, women's swimming as well. Eventually I stopped track to do more of the water, the aquatics type work. So, um that was my experience there, but with the professional thing, I mean it is funny like everyone, like all the, even the, the interns that came in to tell you say, what do you want to do?

I want to do this, I want to work in college and it's like, why do you want to work in college? Is it because, you know, in here, you know, it's a full time job, You get health benefits, you get paid not extremely well, at least not in some place, some positions you can get paid well, but generally for the amount of time you're going to put into this, you're not going to. So it's and I feel like people just say that because they don't know anything else. Like they don't all they know all people know here, we want to get into strength conditioning, I'm sure it's different in different parts of the world, but they're like, well it's a full, this is the full time job, this is the carrot at the end of the stick. So that's what I want to do. Maybe other places, maybe the pro athletes, that's more the secure. Yeah, I just think safety and security drives us very hard and I guess for a good reason, you know, but I just say, and I mean, and I've had the opportunity to work with professional swimmers professional and some very good track athletes as well, but like, I mean in working with the swimming individuals that I did, I mean people who won olympic gold medals, seven world records.

I learned more from them than I think they took from me. Like, I mean, these are people who are so at the top of their game in a sport, that's like, I mean, they're built for the sport and my job is not to mess them up, You know, like, I mean, some of them, I probably could have, we could have probably spent 20 minutes in the weight room a week and I think they would have been okay. Like, in fact, actually, that's what I wanted. I almost towards the end of this felt like they were spending too much time in the weight room um for relative to what they needed, but I mean that was great, but like, I think, some sometimes it's like, we want to work with those people because we feel like more validated, Oh yeah, I'm I'm a good strength coach because I work with a pro athlete. I'll tell you what, there's a lot of coaches who work with pro level athletes who probably aren't. I mean, it I don't, those athletes are going to be elite, no matter who works with them. Like, it's not like even even the coach in some respects, like, a lot of those people there, the way their mind works, they're gonna win. Like, it's just they're wired to be successful and I think it's very common to, in sports performance, to take credit for the individuals who did so well and then, but then then the people don't do well, I'm not going to take credit for that, you know, it's like in the marketing perspective of it's just like it's it's very rampant to to do that and I will say I I know individuals who are amazing physical preparation coaches who I do believe have a good impact, a good, strong impact on the individuals they train, but it's I just think it's it's very easy to take credit for something that, you know, you you don't know how much you necessarily did anyways, that's of course where there's a piece of the puzzle man, you're a piece of the puzzle.

I mean, you know, as as a strength conditioning coach I'm working for, you know, profilers, I'm working alongside their striking coaches, you know, boxing, kickboxing, muay, thai wrestling, Brazilian jiu jitsu laval, nutritionist, you know, managers, I'm working on one piece of the puzzle. So, you know, I totally understand exactly where you're coming from man and you know, it is very difficult to quantify how much you contribute to your athletes, but but the good athletes, they have the right team around them, they picked the right people and they put them in the right positions and most, most, you know, even individual sports man, there's a lot of um there's a lot of team mentality is a lot of team components to it. Again, having the right people in the right position to then guide that athletes. Yeah, and I think, especially on that level I from my understanding, it's as much, if not more of who you are than the exact specs of your training battery, your, how that you make that individual feel is probably the number one thing that matters in that relationship and you know, your training and I say this too because I'm the type of person who takes a lot of I and II processing through this, but I get a lot of validation personally.

Um I think I prop myself up on being not very knowledgeable and knowing different training modalities and I find that you can present yourself as that to an individual, but that the athlete, but that might not be what they need. They might just need someone to ask them how their day was to uh, you know, emotionally identify with them or to draw things out of them mentally and emotionally and when there's a tough place in the workout that someone else couldn't, you know, there's, there's just different layers to this and ultimately how did you make that individual feel and everything else is kind of a tool on that journey to how did you make them feel? How did you make them feel valued? And I think that's, that's really important. Um that's and, and, and if you sprain it that way, I think when people say, I just want to work with pros maybe they would think about it a little differently. It's so much, I like the quote, It's like you don't get what you want in life, You get who you are and who you are kind of attracts you to some of those things. And so ultimately that if you want to work with those athletes, I think a lot of it's a journey into yourself and I'll say the pros I worked with, like I didn't, they work with me because they had to basically like I was there, I was a straight coach, you have to work with me sorry, like, and I mean we had a great relationship the pros and I we did, but it wasn't like I'm not like, you know, I'm not like I don't have like my facility and these pros are like drawn to my facility, You know what I'm saying?

It wasn't that situation. So I can't I said these are the things that I'm working on, that I've seen in my relationship with these types of athletes that I think is really important. Um That is as I try to grow myself as a coach that I think is more and more valuable that people don't talk about enough. Mm hmm. Yeah, man, you made a really good point there about the coach, athlete relationship and we'll come back to this in a moment, but you just reminded me of um you know when I did fly to Russia and train Peter Yarn for his fight camp to fight against Al Jemaine sterling for the UFC bantamweight title. Al Jemaine pulled out of that fight, Corey Sand Hagen stepped in. I went to Dubai with the guys, they all spoke Russian man, I was in Russia with the Russian team, I was the only one that spoke english, so that was challenging to be able to communicate with them. But that was a relationship that we've built over 3.5 years of working together since my guy signed a contract with the UFC and made his debut. So he flew me to Russia. I went over to Dubai with them a week before the fight, his manager flew over, who I also work with that tiger muay thai Kazakh guy who speaks five languages.

One of my friends called me on the phone and was like, hey, whereabouts you're sitting in the crowd and I'm like, I don't know. So I talked to his manager and I said, hey, sorry, where am I sitting? And he goes, dude, you're in the corner, I'm like, what? And he goes, yeah, you're in the corner. I'm like, what the heck am I in the corner for? Like, he's got these other guys, these training partners, his other coaches that you know, in my mind should be in the corner because they're going to contribute more. So I'm like, why am I in the corner? And he goes, he just wants you in the corner because he, you know, he wants your presence, you know? And like I went and spoke to him and I was like, what's what's the deal, what do you want me to do? And my guy just goes, coach, you control situation, that's it. I don't need to do anything. And his manager said he just wants you in the corner because of your presence man. You don't need to say anything, you don't need to do anything. He just wants you there. So, you know, I think that's a great point that you made about the coach athlete relationship. Um did we just, did we discuss how any advice that you can give for upcoming coaches that do want to work with, not just professional athletes, but athletes in general to get into the strength and conditioning world because there's many, many different roads to Rome, so to speak.

Yeah, that's a good question. And I feel like my advice can only be relatively general and part of that is because I think it depends on what country you're, I think there's just different structures and different job placements. I speak to hear what I would tell people here is, I think you just, you coach all different ages is one of the biggest things that I, I don't know, regardless of what you could say is how well it prepares you for a job placement. I think that people who only work with like this age group, this age group, you're now here in a place, we're only seeing one part of the, the puzzle, you know, like you said, like if someone jumps in and watches the training session and they're going in on page 100 I do think if we look at this as a giant book and it's 100 pages, you're only if you only work with one group of eight, like four years of age bracket, you know, and you don't work with like youth, especially I I talked with Michael's gleefully runs a gym called building better athletes and he, he says like every coach should work with kids and pros, like at some point like you should see those, those duel ends of things, you need to see where it starts and you need to see where it ends.

And I've talked with jeremy frisch about this or, and others and I, and I've, one of the things that has been really meaningful to me as I started to have the opportunity to coach my daughter's five and started to get into some sports and you know, I'm trying not to be the overbearing dad, but I'm coached her soccer team last fall and it was one of the best athletic experiences that I've gone through because it's all, it's just pure fun. It's how much fun can we have? It's pure joy and the thing is too is you start, you see these kids running around and playing and you already can see in many cases who has the potential to be good later and it has nothing to do at this point with strength or any of those qualities, you start to see all the little qualities that are the seeds to be good later. And you also just see it's like kind of like the eye of the tiger a little bit too in the sense of like, well where's the roots of where this was fun when you were a kid, you know, and you see some of the, the elite players I think in like NBA basketball at least this, this is what I'm familiar with their warming up and they're just having fun, They're shooting crazy shots and like they're like kids, you know, and those that the freedom to be a child like to think like a child to have that mentality at least I think is a really key element to it.

So to be able to go back and say, okay, this is where it all starts, this is this is this fertile soil of athleticism and then being able to have that perspective when you see the man, the woman later on, I I think that's really important and I think we just under, it's where the greatest need is. I wish that those positions paid more because to be honest, I feel like the world, the world would be an interesting place if we paid youth coaches, like a lot of money or a full time job and then the colleges will volunteer. You wanna work with pros and college, it's all volunteer. That would be a funny flip. But to be honest, I almost feel like the sports world would be a better place if that was the case because I see there's a lot of, um, it's just not like there's always a need for volunteers on that level and, and there's a need for education. I mean, man, I've seen so many terrible, like training programs on like the middle school, high school level and again, it's not about the coaching, but like, it just would not be nice if there was more education and just more like energy put into that end of things.

Um, and, and so many kids quit too. Like it's um steven Kotler and a flow expert was on my podcast talking about quit rates and it's, it's like we don't develop a love for movement early. We just, it's just like this always this like kind of system you work through and anyways, I just think that, sorry, that's kind of a tire, that's kind of a different direction. It's almost like a little tirade that has nothing to do with professional. How will I get paid and get a job. I'm just saying work with youth and we need more people to spend time with youth. And even if it's just, you know, a couple of seasons training kids on some level. I also spent, um seven years in club track, working with, like 9 to 14 year olds and that was for track. That was really interesting to seeing how do kids learn to move with no coaching, like, and honestly, some of these 10 year olds sprint better than their 18 year old counterparts and then the coach actually kind of messes them up. And so that was an interesting, that's just, I'm just saying from a pure skills perspective, um because I do think your skills is what makes you, and to be able to command attention in a young group, like you got kids going every which way.

There's something to that to that. I do think sometimes almost for the college sector and it's not, this is important, but you almost have to put on this, like I'm the strength coach and I'm, you know, like listen to me and again, you need to be. Yeah, but Yes, exactly, but I do think being able to also cultivate presence with kids, it's almost like a knot. It's a very, it's the least intimidating place to do that. And it's also one where it's like, look, if kids are certain lose attention, it's because you're not, it's because you're not doing something that's interesting to them and we don't credit that enough because I think once you've got kids in college and you're there paid strength coach, they have to do what you say, but it doesn't mean they're engaged and keeping people engaged as the skill and doing things that's meaningful as a skill and then coaches will complain and say, oh, the athletes, they just don't want to work hard, they're not bought in, we'll do things that are meaningful for them, you know? And so anyway, I think that that that that youth experience can really help you to understand what is meaningful. Um I spent time at Rafe Kelley's return to the source, which is like a parkour and human movement type retreat, and that was also just really helpful in understanding, thinking about the meaning behind things.

I'm not saying the whole training program has to be just just fun and games, there's challenges that should exist, but it does change perspective. So I was just, my general advice is be willing to work with anybody. And the other thing too is if you want to get somewhere you need to be willing to intern and work for free and be very proactive with that, and like, it needs to be on the level of obsessiveness to be honest, if that's who you truly want to work with. One 100% man. Now, I want to, I want to discuss what the system is like in the US, because I don't know too much about the system over there. And I assume that my journey into strengthening conditioning has been completely different to yours. So, um let's talk about your journey of, you know, what you did after, you know, did you go to university got a degree when interns somewhere, you know, talk to me about that process, how did you end up working with these kids for coaching them through track? Yeah, so my, my experience getting into strength and conditioning was almost totally backwards so I can, I can get into it, like, I'm I'm like the.1% and how I actually got into strength coaching, track coaching was interesting.

I I did, I mean, I just think it's just so silly. I went to college for four years, you kind of don't know what I was going to do, then I did exercise science and to be honest, I didn't really learn anything that I actually used in coaching and then I it was like, all right, well I'm gonna go to grad school to improve my chances and I still kind of don't know exactly what I'm gonna do, So two years in grad school, so I've gone to college for six years basically and I'm applying for jobs and not getting any inter like no interviews, not hearing back. I mean applying for everything to be honest, some of those jobs were certainly out of my reach or range, looking back, I was like, I had no chance at that one, but some of them, I think I might have and I it was the summer, I was I was actually relatively depressed because I wasn't here, I here, I am going to college for six years. This is something I'm just so passionate about And I had like, even like back then if anyone's familiar with my writing, like I started writing on these like sports topics when I was really like 22, um, like a blog for this site called Track Shark.

And then I started writing my own blog on sports performance at 23. And so I'm like, you know, this is something that I have been passionate about my whole life and I have six years of college and I'm, and I was coaching for two years, volunteer at the college. So it's a good, it was a good university. So I'm like, all right, I got some experience and I should at least get an interview and just nothing. And so, and I was working to make ends meet, I was working valet parking at a hospital, making like nothing and I was starting to get just kind of burned out from doing the same thing over and over again at that job. So here I am like basically minimum wage job can't get an interview for coaching. And then I, it was crazy. I basically packed it in. I was just going to try to volunteer another year and I guess park cars for a living. And, and I, and then I found out that the coaches who were there at the school were trying to like, They, I mean I was getting paid like $400 to coach. It was like a weird situation where there's there's a lot of split between a lot of different coaches on a low level, yeah, volunteer, very low level.

And they were trying to kind of give my coaching event coaching to someone out, there was a lot of internal politics and they were just gonna, they were gonna give my events to someone else. So here I was going to be without even a college place to coach on a volunteer basis. And so then I was like, oh man, shit, I'd better go back and look for some jobs again. And I literally like this job popped up that was right near a school, right near where I applied or right where I went to college and I was like, oh that would be awesome if I could get that assistant coach. It seems my level like of job applied for it. It turned out it was the very last day I could possibly have applied and I ended up getting it partially because the coach remembered me, I was a good high jumper, you know? And so he remembered who I was and it's just funny because it's like in this industry, it's not like your resume, it's just little things that stand out and people remember who you were and that was, that was like, I remember that was the most joyful moments of my life because here I go from and honestly, I told myself to, if I can't make it in the coaching industry, maybe I'll just get my PhD in biomechanics or something and it's, I'm so glad.

Yeah, because that's what you do when you don't know what you're gonna do, you just keep going in through school and it's weird to think of what would have happened if I would have ended up doing that, I think I would have been miserable because it's just too that type of thing is too constricting for me. You know, you have to play by all the rules of research and you can only, there's only, so, I mean, that's not to diss any researchers or anything like that, just my brain doesn't really work like that. I have a really hard time with all those details and that consistency through the research process. Some people are very wired for that. I'm it's not my strength, I think I would have been miserable. So, yeah, I got, so that got me in the call the college track and I was like, kind of the strength coach for the school as well. I didn't get paid for it, but it was, it was at least a start, I was coaching athletes and um but then I started to just fly sports website three years into that and that actually is what led me to getting the bridge to The Division one, that that bigger step up, um which is, it's rare to step up from the low division Division three here to Division one, because it's just not that it's like division three coaches aren't any better, it's just The same class, it's a caste system or a class system, you know, and it's like, Oh, your D3, so you probably aren't very good or something, you know, whatever, like, whatever opinion of thoughts.

So I got very fortunate twice and um yeah, so that was, that was it for me and a lot of it, but but the the one job was was from writing and like, doing the thing that I was gifted at and just really trying to maximize that, so I think a lot of it is finding your gifts. Yeah, it wasn't just, yes, so it wasn't just coaching people, it was also putting your thoughts into writing and putting that into articles, getting that out onto the internet as well. So, you know, people could see that you were not just a strength coach coach, that was, you know, putting these practices into into place, but you could also um put that information across to other people and teach other people how to do that, Put your thoughts into writing, put your systems into writing as well, which is a skill, Yeah, its skills, its and and the thing, the funny thing about this industry is like, and this is something that my first internships in strength and conditioning, actually maybe not want to be a strength coach because those internships, I mean it would have been different, I think if it was different coaches, but the individuals who I interned with, it literally is like, alright, here's this lift, here's three, here's three things to tell athletes for this lift, you know, go around yellow athletes, make sure they're working hard, like I'm like, this stuff is so elementary, like if these are the skills that make this job, like I feel like I feel like 1/8 grader could easily do this like this, there's very little critical thinking, like where is the skill building, like, where's the, like, if you train with, like, I don't know, like a Shaolin master or like a master acupuncturist or like someone who like has this, like, or even a, like a massage therapist, someone who has their hands on and it's getting instant feedback and like has this lifetime of mastery, like, I would like to think that like, if you're interning with someone, you should get that feeling from them and I just felt like this is what is even happening here, and so I just feel like there's so many ways, there's so many elements of this interdisciplinary field to grow in, to become more of a master and and yeah, for me it was, it was writing and putting my thoughts down on paper and saying this is what I think training is, and I think even within, I don't say that about strength in addition to say like I think within the industry there is many points of mastery.

I just, the experiences I had were very, did not treat the field like it was a masterful um thing if that makes sense. So I think there's a lot of ways and I've written some articles on that as well and how, what are some masterful things to really have your eyes on in the industry to be an act, to be someone who you can tell what's going to set you apart. Yeah, yeah, for sure. Um, there was something you touched, you said there that I want to touch on. Just lost my train of thought for a second. Let me come back. How long did you volunteer for or intern for or essentially work for free for. I think that's a big point that we need to dial in on Well. Um, so my two years in graduate school, my first year was a pure volunteer coach didn't get paid anything. Um, the second year I got like, I don't know, 500 bucks or something like just basically gas for the whole, like the whole year was a glorified gas, but I got paid so I guess on my resume I said assistant coach because I got paid.

So I guess it was, that's all I cared about. Hey, I got, I'm getting money for this. I am valued. I am an assistant coach, not a volunteer anymore. So that maybe that carried more weight, I don't know, basically two years. Um and then I, yeah, I got I and actually I was like thinking, yeah, club track had to get paid for. Yeah, so yeah, for the most part it was, it was two years of essentially free coaching. Yeah, I think that's a big point that a lot of people don't understand is, you know, to get into the space man, you have to make, you have to invest. You know, you don't just go to school, you get your degree and then you walk straight into a high paying job. Like you've still got to go out there and you've got to invest, you've got to find people to, you know, become your mentors and you've got an intern for them and you've got to, you know, invest time, energy and effort into training your friends, training low level athletes at club at club level and then, you know, making your way up through the ranks and you need to, you know, put that time in man and you know, so many people say like, dude, you're in a really good position training professional fighters at tiger muay thai in Thailand.

I'm like, well you don't see the journey that brought me to this point, right? Like every overnight success is 10 years in the making and I got out of the army in 2012, I was a sniper in the Australian Army, got out of the army after our last deployment to Afghanistan, um did my personal training course, did my strength conditioning course, did a number of other courses over the years, and my goal was always to work with professional athletes and I was living down in Tasmania in Australia, small island, down island state, down the bottom of Australia, and I wasn't getting those opportunities to work with athletes and I was putting myself in positions where I was, you know, I was training my rugby team and was training hockey players and other athletes and things like that um you know, at a low level at a club level and you know, I left the relationship with the girl that I loved and cared about to move to Thailand to put myself in a position to work with, you know, to work to intern at this gym, work there for free so that I could put myself in a position to take any opportunities that came up. So you know, I I did that, I got lucky, I was there at the right place at the right time, I ended up, you know, ex military um very professional punctual um you know, it was always where I was supposed to be doing what I was supposed to be doing, um just doing my job basically providing value and I got offered a full time job and then I became the head strength conditioning coach like six months later after the old coach left and you know, I knew what I was doing in terms of strengthening conditioning, but I hadn't been able to apply that with professional athletes and with um a mixed martial arts fighters, so I had to go up to these fighters and be like, hey man, do you have a strength conditioning coach, can I train you for free?

Let's go through this program and it was years and years and years of doing that man before, you know, I got to this position where I'm at now and that's a big point that I think a lot of people don't understand is like you need to be willing to work for free, you need to be willing to put yourself in these positions that is going to show your worth, is going to show your value before anyone even takes you seriously, because you know, you need to build those systems out, you need to have proof of concept that these athletes that you have worked with for years, you know, you have been able to get them results, you have been able to contribute to their success, you have been able to contribute to their journey as well along with the other coaches. Yeah, yeah, it's, I mean, yeah, that obsessiveness towards like, I will, you know, I will get this job and I'll do whatever it takes, I will say to those there is, I think there is an important element of like being willing to pivot in the sense of like here. Like if I was, if I was doing it all over again here in the United States, I don't I know that for me in my position, like I would, I mean, I know it's easy to say, but I don't know if I would directly try to be like a college strength coach here just because I don't know, like just I think there's there is, I would just say also have a dose of like a, like a willing opportunity to look at other things that maybe you didn't um you know, I think there's there's it's definitely awesome to say, I want to do this work with these athletes.

I think some people and I say that I guess from the perspective of, I felt like a lot of interns that came across at cal were a little disillusioned and I only say that in the sense that they, it's like they just expected to go get this job and a lot of them needed to spend a lot more time doing personal doing really good where they were at before they got that job. And I think that fits with what I'm not trying to divert from what you were saying, but it's like that if you need to be really good with where you're at like, if you're a volunteer, you need to be the best damn volunteer, if you're gonna be a personal trainer like, and you want eventually work in college or whatever, but like, you should be killing it at what you're doing right now and a lot. And that's the thing is I saw a lot of people who we're not like, it's just they they had the perspective of I'm here, I'm going to be a volunteer assistant here at this university, I'm gonna have this on my resume, it's going to get me to the next level and I just don't think it works like that. Like you, wherever you are, whoever you're working with, um I believe that you cannot reach the next level until there's a certain level of gratitude for what you're doing right now and competence on that level.

Like, and I think even for me, like at Wisconsin Lacrosse grad school, like I was really grateful just to be basically volunteering or getting paid $500 a year to be working with those athletes and I was really shaken up when I was going to get that opportunity to work for free taken away from me because I really valued it. I put a lot of time and effort into that and I wanted to do the best I could and the interns who did make it out of cal we're the ones who had that mentality, they had a huge ownership of what they were doing there was like a like, whatever I'm doing now, I'm going to be the best I can at it no matter what it is, and I think that even like, even if again, I could go back to, like, even if it was coaching youth sports, like, be the best at that, be the best five year old soccer coach. Like, I remember saying I my my three year old son did this like, soccer thing and thank God, it's not actually soccer, it's just like, physical education with some soccer balls thrown in, They do a good job here in the city, and but I saw this across the field, there's this coach who is like, just killing it.

Like, he's he probably has a background in improvisational acting. Like he's just making this training come alive for these three year olds. They're having a blast, like, they're having so much fun. And it's like that that's someone who he's not getting paid, none of us are getting paid for this, and he's just like, fully investing himself with the group in front of him, where he's at making this come alive for these kids. Like, no matter what you do, you should have that mentality be the best at where you're at, be totally grateful for where you're at because I don't think that you can really level up and tell you fully appreciate what you're doing right now, and it might actually change where you think you should go to, and I think that's something to be open to because that's what's happened with me. Um I used to think, and I would only say that because I used to think I was going, I wanted to be a division one track coach, like that was my goal, like via the best jumps, the best track jumps coach, like that was always my goal And now I'm sitting back here at age 38 and I'm like, you know, that wasn't your thing, that wasn't what you were meant to do. Um and that's fine. I have no, I have no problem with not being like, you know, the best college jumps coach or something that's, that's fine, but I mean goals are important, but I think gratitude and being good, like mastering where you are now is really important to Yeah, and, and you know, I love what you said about showing perseverance as well.

You know, sometimes it is going to take time to invest in the position that you're currently at to get really good at it before you then are able to take that step to the next level. And you know, that's where a lot of, a lot of people go wrong, I believe is they believe that they deserve more than where they're currently at, so they get disillusioned, they get disheartened, you know, they've been grinding for a year and they're not where they're, where they want to be. So they just give it up and they throw throw the towel and you know where sometimes you need to graft for 345 years before you can and be really good at what you're doing over that time before you can take that next step. Um From here mate I want to transition to um let's talk about the force velocity curve and then why you wrote your book speed strength and that's I'm sure that's going to tie in together. So what is speed strength? Where does that sit on the force velocity curve? And why did you write that book? Yeah so speed strength was when I I like to like almost write books when chapter's closed sometimes by when um so when I was coaching doing strength and auditioning for track um I just finished writing a book called vertical ignition which was like when I started just fly sports I was like I was like I'm gonna write a vertical jump book and make a million dollars.

Like I I remember I was at Barnes and noble like going through like business books when I was 27 or 28 like I was all excited. I was like yes I'm gonna I'm going to do this and I came across a book called, It's called like get rich click or something. This is like 50, everything's totally different now. But the first page was a guy who name's Jacob Hiller. He made like millions of dollars selling some vertical jump book and a lot of it was through this thing called click bank which is a massive affiliate marketing but anyways I read this and I was like oh like I'm such a good coach and you know I got a guy doing the website, he was amazing, like we're gonna kill it, we're gonna and you know, so I I finally wrote that book and it did not make a million dollars. Um but when I after I wrote that book, I had finished with being a strength coach for track, I was fully into Aquatics now and and then 10 is still doing, but I was like I should close that chapter by writing something where I felt like here's all the things I felt like really were really helpful for strength training for sprinting and then it was funny because I was like all right, well I need to write at least a chapter on sprint mechanics like because you need to have sprint mechanics but it was really funny because here I am having spent six years as a track coach and still coaching club track and then also doing strength training for track and I'm sitting down to write this mechanics chapter and like I really don't know what to write, like I I kind of was like I bought all the books I bought like franz bosch running and James smithson, the thinker smith's book on sprinting and like watched all these, you know like watch some of these higher level coaches on their sprint presentations and I had this chapter kind of written out as a conglomeration of those thoughts and then I met a darion barr who's been on my podcast, who's like a, just as nuanced of an individual as you can get with how the human body works in timing.

Like this is a guy who watches a bird take off for three hours to figure out why I just listened to that podcast you did with him and I was like, my mind was blown man, I was like, I had to go back and I had to pause and think on things for like a couple of minutes and then go back and play it again and I was just like holy sh it, that's very nuanced, I didn't understand the darien very much, I would listen to him for an hour on the phone and I would understand like five minutes of it. And slowly as I got along with him, I started to understand more and more and more and I, there was a long jumper, he was working with the very first day I came out and watched him coach and I didn't understand like anything and that, but the long jumper like knew everything he was saying and I was like, man, this is, but that's what I'm talking about, the skill to like, like that was me growing is understanding what the heck of darien is saying and being able to tie two movements. So long story short, I feel like one of the things that ended up that book ended up being a lot more than just a book on strength training for sprinting because the darien in my time with him, I completely rewrote that first chapter And a lot of it too is like I was starting to do the things that Darien has shown me and I was setting personal best at age like 33, in sprinting that I didn't think was possible because I was doing all the old drills and like oh this would, you know with like as if they were going to work and then it turns out they didn't and I needed to do something else.

So a lot of it was just was was learning from him and it's just it's just been like a thing in my life, it's like where you set out to do something like and you put yourself out there like I whatever your belief system is, the universe conspiring in your favor. I I do believe that there is a element of that when you really put out and so for me going out to put out to do this book and I'm like I want this to be the best, you know, the the best I can put out there with how do all things fit together to build speed and so yeah, it was a lot of algerians, influence of biomechanics and then a lot of it just yet going through the power lifts the olympic list, special strength plyometrics, how does all this actually fit into running faster? And so that was that was that book and that took three years to write and it was a lot of revising a lot of times, like, like I'd be in the shower and and like selling would hit me that the darien said, I was like, like I got to go right away, go write this down. I had this huge thing of notes and like this massive sheet of notes and so yeah, that book was was quite the project.

Um but yeah, with the, the force velocity curve, like, yeah, it was kind of a play on words like speed, strength as part of the, you know, you know, strength, speed, speed, strength to be completely honest sean, I don't even know, although like, I don't even know those brackets, I don't like, I don't, I don't know them from an academic perspective. And the funny thing is, is I, I do believe christian Thibodeau was on my show, the brilliant Canadian strength coach and he said something I think is really, you know, it's like, yes, there's nuance and there's art, there's there should be a skill as you get better at this, but at the end of the day, you should also be able to really simplify out training and to the perspective of I don't think all those layers of the force velocity curve are truly necessary at the beginning and and when they come in it should be kind of like it because they're needed. I think it's very easy for a coach to say, all right, well, I'm the strength coach and so, you know, you're gonna do some basic hypertrophy work and you're going to do some high velocity work here and you're gonna do some rapid plyometrics here and we're going to cover the spectrum because but I don't know, go watch someone do their sport and they're going to basically cover the spectrum too.

And many. I mean, it's gonna be more velocity oriented, but you're gonna have some slower movements, you're gonna have some faster ones. Like they're gonna, the human body. I always like, the human body is designed to to do its job, like how much outside influence from what we've made up as training does the human body needs. I mean, yeah, it could be, it could help it for sure. But in the perfect world, I think that just doing some basic, like look at like Michael Jordan would be a good example in basketball. Like the guy worked out on machines and then played a sport. It was amazing how much more would doing like jump squats or something that helped him probably zero in my opinion. I think he, you know, he he could just take basic strength and then his sport and connect it all in, you know, a very athletic way. And so I think the starting point really is just that it's it's doing your sport insanely well. So having a great movement, competency, having the mental and emotional abilities, you know, skill exposure to different sports, all that stuff and then basic strength, on the other hand doesn't have to be anything fancy.

Can the athlete do well with that? And then if there's gaps, okay, maybe there's a gap right here. Okay, let's let's do a little bit of extra work at this, like in the middle layer, if that makes sense. Like let's do some extra work with this component of the force velocity curve, that maybe maybe that will help you to bridge this gap a little bit better. I think you could say that for like special strength to like maybe like, like an isometric standing plantar flexion, an isometric maximal hit bridge. Maybe that will bridge a gap for a particular athlete that can't cross that on their own. So that's that's kind of where I look at it is you should be able to get a lot just doing the basics the polls. But then you can bring the stuff in selectively. Um I will say too, is I think that doing a lot of them in the middle stuff over a long period of time, can divert resources. So like if I like it, I I want to have this bucket or I have a limited amount of adaptation, I need to maximally adapt to my sport. So how do I maximally adapt and create the least amount of noise in the process?

Um So that being said, I still do, I use, I love olympic lifts, I use things like olympic list, which is in the middle, but I like olympic lists because they're fun. It's more fun than doing jump squats. It's more fun in many cases than just squatting or doing a hex bar dead lift. So there's if it, if it's if it's enjoyable, I think that to me almost is more important than for me, like kind of looking at what does box, does this tick on this spectrum of velocity would be a way that I would look at that. So that's my take, I guess on the force velocity curve, I think it can be helpful, but I don't think it's necessarily the first place that we should go. Mm hmm That's it's something that I'm going to look at through a period ized plan with my athletes. Like if I've got a big athlete who is really strong, has really good starting strength but doesn't have very good elastic strength, then I'm probably gonna work a little bit more speed and more speed strength and go into more jumps and sprints and throws change of direction and things like that.

If I've got a small athlete who is quite elastic but doesn't have good starting strength, then I might work a little bit higher on that force velocity curve more towards the strength and and that's kind of how I use it. And, you know, for the listeners, very simple way of thinking about the force velocity curve. One end is strength forces our strength, our ability to produce force. So that might be a one rep max, dead lift, for example. And then strength speed is going to be something that's heavy requires a lot of strength, but also an element of speed. So that might be an olympic lift which is close to um you know, your three rep max or something like that, and then power is going to be right in the middle of the perfect combination of strength and speed um which is, you know, our jumps, throws um maybe the olympic lift again at a sub maximal weight 40 50 60% where it's most more about bar velocity, bar speed. Um and then we've got our speed strength. So this might be like a hill sprint where the focus is on speed, but there is also an element of strength, and then down the bottom end is our velocity, which is our speed, which might be a straight up um sprint.

So that's how I kind of look at it, that's how I explain it. Um And if I look at my athletes, so I'm looking at, you know what their sport is, I'm looking at what they're good at, I'm looking at any um gaps that they may have that I could potentially fill with period ice training program. Yeah, yeah. The filling the gaps and not to take away from when I say that I I I say that I have tended to make things much more complex than they needed to be in my past. And so I'm always looking at how can I give the athlete the optimal chance to do this on their own before we need to come in and fill in the gaps. And I totally agree like athletes um Graham Morris was on this show who has worked with some fighters and talked about like even a solitary isometrics as a gap filler, like where you're just moving, switching on and off really quickly, like firing a muscle on and off as fast as possible in a short range of motion. And he had mentioned how helpful that was in helping kick velocity for example. So someone who has trouble storing and releasing tension will need that to fill the gap for them.

And I I do by nature in an average training program, like an athlete who wants to work with me online and they want to jump be more generally more powerful and they're playing sports maybe once a week. I will usually have Yeah, different, like it won't just be bodybuilding and sprinting, like there are multiple layers in there, there's usually olympic lifts. Um there's usually different elements to master for sure. Um so I'll just say that I don't um I think that like how that's changed for me and I'm a big, I love like french contrast complex training with layers in it, like where you're doing a heavy lift, uh heavy jump, like then a quick lift and then a fast jump, like that stuff gets results so fast. I mean it's, if you want to get powerful that will get you powerful real fast. So I'm not just for, for the audience man, because I, I love, I love contrast training, I use it all the time, but for the audience, can you give them an example of some exercises that you would link together in that order?

Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah, I know french. I've written like french contrast has been like a non obsession, but like I've written like big articles on it for other websites and, and have been really into all the combinations because again, it's, it's, it's like, again, Michael Jordan probably didn't need that because he was a beast. He could make that transfer over like, you know, or Zion Williamson or any like, you know the one person who's just for saying bull, anyone who's elite from that speed power perspective, they can make the jump, but for the rest of us are people who are not quite as that level. Yes, you can Bridget got very fast with contrast training so I can tell you some favorites actually used in swimming and I used it in swimming. Okay. I wanted, I felt like one, you know, short course swimming, you wanted to be powerful off the walls and things, but it was also fun. Like it, I think it helped raise dopamine levels. They just enjoyed it. And so that's another, I think that that might be something to it. That's maybe why I don't classify things so tightly is I just like, alright, here's power work and it's fun. Okay, uh and you get your jumping higher each week.

So I think we're on the right track. And so like a common movement, would I I kind of classified into two patterns would be like a pull pattern contrast or a squat pattern or push pattern contrast. So for a pull pattern, maybe we would start with like a hex bar, dead lift off of blocks or straps. So it's like maybe a half range hex bar, dead lift pull. And obviously these athletes are going to be able to pull a lot of weight, you know, maybe 200 kg, it's, it's, they can handle a lot of weight. And then the next thing is we would do a heavy jump. So for swimmers, for another athlete it might be a low depth jump for a swimmer, maybe it's you're wearing a weighted vest and you're doing a seated box jump or something. So something that's more concentric but something that's just a slower jump. Um So or maybe I'll say, hey go I like doing skills stuff so you can go jump and try to touch as high as you can on the vertex or something like that. And it was just like a heavier jump. So you got your heavy lift, heavy jump. Then the light lift would be like a light pole would be like a power clean or a hand clean. So go and do a power clean. Maybe there's a velocity bar, philosophy tag on it to help motivate them to move it faster And then this this there would be a speed jump.

So maybe it's just like 10 seconds of fast line hops. Maybe it's um three standing broad jumps that for speed or something like that. So that would be the tail end of it and and that, so just variations. A squat pattern might be ah you're going to do a front squat or something like that, then you're going to do like again awaited jump of some sort then maybe it's like a speed push press or some speed squats or some goblet jump squats and then you can have the fast ply. Also some rapid line hops or something like that. Um So those, yeah, you have like those types of patterns and it's like this wave, this descending wave of power and we would usually go through that when I first started, we would do three or four rounds of that. But as I went on and this is again where I'm looking at the dosage of this stuff like these athletes are swimmers and they are doing a ton of work in the water. And the more I would realize that like I don't even if this stuff can make you powerful, I don't want to take away your, your bucket, your water adaptation. Like even if this is great, like we're getting more powerful, I still might not want to even trade power for your specific adaptation in the water.

Like general power in the weight room is great, but it will only help you so far. Like an olympic level swimmer needs to have almost all their adaptation go to their specific expression of that in the water. And so I eventually got to the point where instead of three or four rounds, we would just do two uh and bobby Stroop who have had my podcast trains Patrick Mahomes, he'll just do one sometimes and I think that's okay. So we would just do, we would do to in the fall in the off season and then I would let them do three when they were going to peak. So it's almost like just to treat this potentially ation and that seemed to be the best flip rather than like, oh we're gonna build the base which you want a base of your sport, you know, you know, I don't know on some level. I mean, yeah, you want some other movements in there, but for the most part your base, if you're a swimmer is more swimming and then you'll taper like, so why I don't think your base should be a bunch of stuff that's not your sport. We just want to use this to give you more power here and there, you know, or more dopamine release or, you know, or neural excitation.

So I would treat the progression that way. Actually worked better in my opinion. So that that would be a way that I tended to use it for that population. And then the pro swimmers, I think I started almost they would be the ones who would actually probably do better with just one set of it because they, you know, they they have the strength. They don't need any more strength. Like they are, they're strong enough for what they need to do and powerful enough. So Maybe just one sec, yep, let's talk about period ization. How important is period ization for athletes? Yeah. So, you know, I think it just depends on what your definition is and I've changed mine over time. I mean you have the traditional Tudor pampa, you know, grade, like that's the old school like we're going to come in with a bunch of general work for a block that we're going to go to hypertrophy or muscle size, then we're gonna go to strength and we're gonna go to power? Like, I don't think it tends to unfold like that. It's very rare. I on the other hand, you have bonded chuck the track coaches schemes, which is basically no period ization, which is literally just, here's a block of training with different layers of transfer exercises.

And as soon as you stop getting gains from this, we're just going to switch everything, all the exercises will change. And that's, that's still a plan though. Yeah, that's the point that I'm making is it's, it's like period ization is a plan. And like most people, a lot of people, you know, I've got athletes that listen to this, I've got coaches that listen to this. I've got regular people that listen to this. So, you know, I've spoken about period Ization before and how important period Ization is and is essentially just having a plan, man. You know, if you're just going to the gym and you're just working out like that workout is really not going to give you too much, it's not going to add to your sport. It's, you know, it's going to, it's going to give you, your workout is going to give you, um, you know, that adaptation right there and then, but it's not adding to the overall plan. And I mean that's what period Ization is? It's like, let's look at the plan, let's, where do I want to be, How am I going to move myself in the right direction. So I'm peaking at the right time for an event for um, a tournament or whatever it might be. And that's the difference between training and working out right?

And that's essentially what period Ization is. It's a plan to, I want to be here. How do I take those steps that's going to get me peaking at the right time? Yeah, I think that, yeah, I would, so I mentioned terminology. I would just call period Ization. Yeah. Just having a plan. Just knowing the frame, the bones I, you know, behind me, I have the bones of what will be some nice paneling for this room. The bones of what I'm doing. And, but I think people who have, you know, like will say like, oh period Ization is that like, it's just terminology like those coaches say a period Ization is dead. You just need to be adjusted to adapt on the fly. And I think to be honest that's true. But just, but it also can be, it's a plan and knowing how you're going to adapt what markers am I looking for. How will I change things with those change. And you could still say it's privatization, it's just having a plan and knowing where to go. I, I think the problem exists improvisation when actually the plan supersedes what is happening right now here in this training session, like just pure human human grade training and so I just think that that if people have, I think when we say you need to have a plan or we talk about serialization, we do, we watch, we look at the average gym goer who literally has no, like they're gonna, you know, maybe they'll go to some bench to go do some curls, they'll go to a few squats, like they just look like they're lost.

And I think that, you know, I, I worked with um swim coaches who in swimming as opposed to track, there's very little classical period ization and swimming in the sense of a swim coach who will say we're in this phase, we have this many weeks of loading this, many of unloading. I've never seen a swim coach at one time, I saw a swim coach say that first track, You see it all the time track is very, very more formalized in that perspective. But the question is which one will get better results? And, and I look at the swim coaches, I feel like they kind of went through like kind of plans and then it just all becomes intuitive and I think that's kind of how I think sometimes maybe you take for granted like for where I'm at like, I've gone through all the period ization schemes and I think sometimes it's easy for me just to say, oh, it's just all about the session because I've, intuitively, I know where I'm going. So it's like, I'm not gonna not, but I think, you know, looking at that coach who just will do anything, you know, every couple of weeks they'll change it just because like, I think it's more like principles of if you're going to change exercises, why if you're going to change volumes, why just have an answer?

Like, that's to me that's the most important thing. Just have an answer. Not even because I've seen coaches just right up yearly training plans that look amazing. It's like, oh, this month is this and this month is this? And I'm like, that's that's kind of, it's too far, like it's not going to look like that. And it's like, it's, it's almost by writing that you assume that plan is going to take you there when in the reality it's how are things going on the day in the session? Are you creating systems of belief of motivation? Are you getting the most out of that athlete on the given day? That's the core, Like that is that is the core essential. And then you work outward from there. I think it's almost like we try to make escapes for that and some like people who don't can't really get into that. What are the ones who are gonna go crazy with the period ization schemes and like, like this is like they're they're they're over and this this over analytical approach. So I just think you have to be able to answer questions as to what you're doing, that's the big one. If when asked why did I do this? Why did I change this? Where do I need to be able to justify it? Yeah, you should have an answer.

Like, you should just have an answer. Yeah, I'll make you make a great point there about, you know, period ization. You know, some people do go so far down into the weeds and like, they have literally like, you know, they're macro cycles, meso cycles, Microsoft, blah, blah, blah, blah. Like, they've got all these cycles planned out and then, like, they don't know how to auto regulate the session, you know? But then that's one end of the spectrum. The other end of the spectrum is a person that doesn't have any fucking idea of what they're doing in their training session. They're just making it up on the fly, right? Like, that's not a good place to be either. So, you know, the point that you made about, Yes, you need to kind of have a plan and you need to be able to, if someone asks you why you're doing something or why you've changed something, you need to be able to know why you did that. So, a plan is like, where do I want to be? What do I want to give my athlete in this training session? All right. What's the what's the intent of this training session? All right. The intent of this training session is we're going to work on strength and stability and then we're gonna finish with a little bit of aerobic conditioning? Alright, cool.

That's going to then determine what exercise I'm going to choose the order that I'm going to put them in, the sets, the reps, the weights, the rest periods, the intensities, the volume, blah, blah, blah, blah. Like, you know, understanding that stuff, what the intent is is very important and that's on a day to day basis. That's also on a week to week basis, a month to month basis, because, you know, if I do too much with my professional fighter in my strength conditioning session in the morning and he then goes into the aspiring class in the afternoon and he can't hold his hands up and he's getting punched in the face by other high profile fighters, you know, that are absolute killers. Then I haven't done my job. I've done too much. I've now taken away from his training and his adaptation rather than adding to it. Yeah, yeah, that's I mean, just, just knowing, and that's part of the plan to if you're a strength coach, you can't live on the island of Well, here's my plan and then you're not even looking at and this is a sad thing though, is that a lot of sports here in the United States, like if I was to ask a sport coach at a university? Hey, what's your weekly plan? What's your monthly plan?

What does this generally look like? Or can you tell me throughout the week, like what are your high days, what are your low days? They can't tell you everything is just kind of medium. They, there's literally nothing. And so then then you're like, well I guess I'll just do my own plan and or you're just kind of constantly reacting. It's like, right, the athletes came in feeling terrible this day. I have to react and then the plan that I think I may just goes to, you know, it goes to ship like, so the, the unfortunate reality and in many cases is, and this is the thing is like, this is where sport needs to fundamentally change is I mean we don't, I think the sport coaches were were kind of like they get a little shaky. It's like, oh, I have to plan my week out. Like I can't like, but it's like, look, you don't have to like hyper manage everything. Just have a general idea what are the days that are going to be more intense, low intense, Why are they that way? It's going to help you? Like, it doesn't mean you have to like completely change everything you're doing. You just have to like have, and this is why I feel like I'm writing this book on strength and conditioning for swimming right now.

You know, I've kind of closed the chapter on sunday, I do still work with swimming online right now. But um like I'm writing, I want to make it clear in the book, like if you coach swimming, you should know how to coach strength and conditioning, you should know how to do strength training because this is just human adaptation and how did so many, like, sport coaches get to? A lot of support coaches got to the place they did at least here because they're very good recruiters, they play the game, they recruit the right talent, they know how to lead a team, that's awesome, Those are things, some things that I'm not that great at, but they got there without ever really, at least a lot of them didn't really study how humans adapt and so then it's like, how does the street codes work with that, I just feel like we all need to have these basic principles that we could work together off of and I've had that conversation with a few coaches on my own podcast, so I think that relationship with of the sport coach to the physical preparation coach is a really important one, Yeah, absolutely, man, and I'm in a very good position where I'm at the gym that I'm working at, like I've got a good relationship with the skills coaches, so, you know, I'm in constant conversation with them going, you know, and I'll sit down with my athletes and say, all right, we're going to push you to boxing, we're gonna do pt boxing sessions three times a week.

Then you're going to go to kickboxing class, he can do strengthening conditioning three times a week. You can do um mixed martial arts here, you can do Brazilian jiu jitsu here and like, we're literally planning out the week and like, all right, let's follow this for a couple of weeks. The intent or the purpose of this training block is going to be, you know, get your strength and conditioning up. Let's start managing your um, wait, let's start dropping a little bit of body fat. Um, you know, build those skills because, you know, as a fighter, you already know how to fight. So we don't need to invest more time and energy into that. You've, you've been doing that all year round. Anyway, let's take a couple of weeks where we really focus on the strength and conditioning, you know, teach you how to organize your body in a manner that's going to allow you to produce the most amount of force possible with the least amount of movement, allow that to transfer through the chain, carry that through to your skill based sessions. Now, you've got a more explosive athlete with better endurance, it's able to organize themselves in a better manner to be able to adapt to those skills that their skills coach want, let's do that for a couple of weeks and then we transfer, so I'm talking to the coaches saying, hey, I'm going to push him hard this day, this day, this is going to be a high day, you need to do a low day in the afternoon, I'm going to a moderate day in the morning, you need to moderate or high in the afternoon.

Okay. And then maybe I do a lower intensity day, you're, you do a higher intensity in the afternoon. If I know he's got mm a sparring on friday afternoon and I've got him in the morning, I'm not pushing him hard, I'm giving him enough, I'm giving enough of the adaptation or enough of the stimulus we need for the desired adaptation, but not so much. I'm now taking away from that training session in the afternoon and I think that communication between the coaches has to be there man and they have to have that base level understanding of, you know, stimulus recovery, adaptation. Yeah, for sure. That's really cool that you're able to communicate on that level. I think that would be an ideal. You know, I just think that and I'm not too familiar with fighting, but I think that, um, that sounds like that's a really positive situation. I know it's a little bit of a struggle for a lot of coaches with his sport here. So in those types of, with those types of training loads, so it's great you're able to do that. Yeah, thanks man. I think it's interesting like speaking to different coaches in different parts of the world and, you know, the systems that they have in place and the um the channels that they go through to get to where they're at and you know, I definitely seem to be in a unique situation.

You can probably say the same thing for yourself as well um you know, talking to many coaches from around the world for your podcast. Yeah. Yeah, it's interesting to hear, I mean it's uh all the different perspectives on sport, the more, you know, the and that's one of the beauties I think of think of being a strength coach is you get to like, although you're maybe not super specific to what you're working with, you can really collect some of the nuances of all these different forms of activity and it's a really cool dynamic. Yeah. Um mate, let's start wrapping up the episode. Um is there any resources that you can recommend for people listening back home podcasts, audiobooks, um you know, texts or courses or anything like that that have really shaped your career um that have stuck in your mind that you use as kind of one of your favorite references. Yeah, Yeah. Someone else asked me the book question on a recent podcast. It's funny because I actually had no idea what to answer. I because I don't read as many strength conditioning books as I used to and I think part of it is because I mean running the podcast, I'm have a lot of information two.

And so it's like just doing that and taking the notes is kind of like a book and every week. And so I think two books, it's very easy to read, especially in this like hyper competitive industry, people will brag how many books they read and you know, it's so easy to do that and not actually and take information. I've heard it said you when you learned it and you used it, then you could kind of say you've read it. And I think the books that embody that the most for me, um it would be easy strength as a book that I've gone back to a few times with rereading with dan john impossible. That one is like a standard. It could replace college courses. It's Just, it's brilliant. It's like this, it's block 1 um in so many ways. So that was a really good one. There's a book called The Greatest Sports training book ever, which I don't even know who wrote it. It's very esoteric and you can't get it, you can't buy it anymore. Um if you want it, you can email me because I have a copy that I don't mind sending electronically because it is no longer for sale and the author is anonymous. So that book, I don't know people surmised that jay Strader or someone in that camp wrote it, but that book is, is brilliant on another level, like it's it's advanced reading, but it, if you've been coaching and just seeing how people adapt.

I think for a while it makes all the sense in the world and I don't coach athletes to a t like the program say. But it also just kind of using it as a guideline. I think like easy strength is the basic the bread and butter that you need to be familiar with. And there is some advanced stuff and easy strength. But then if you want to get more advanced and look at things on more, I guess the neuro neurological level, That book is awesome. It probably doesn't help me to mention it because you can't buy it, you can email me to get it. I'm sure I might have a shared file with like 150 people with that book. So it's uh so there's that one and I will say like if I was going to give a book that's more like I don't know like I feel like it's also on the other end because we just so often we just want to read like just um like I'm not database but like here's give me some like sets and reps and principles of training. But then on the other end of the spectrum, like I would say like the the wild human like training the human being. Um there's a book called the exuberant animal that I just picked up uh this last year I spent last july at Rafe kelley's return to the source retreat.

And I was reading this book, it's by a guy named frank forensic who just, it's basically like how are we wired to innately move? Like how do animals move, how do we move in nature? And then you think well how does training differ from how we move in nature? Like how or sport for that matter. And so for example, one of the things would be in nature, you never know how long you're going to run. Like an animal being chased. You don't know how long you're going to have to run for it or you don't know how long you're gonna have to chase or it's like playing tag when you're playing tag. Do you know how long you're going to have to run or even sport you don't know and but there's a beauty to that, but then everything is strengthen conditioning or track or whatever is, you know, so it's like this book is amazing because it just, it just brings us into what it means to be a human being. And it also has a massive dose of what I feel is purpose in the sense that how many athletes after they're done. I saw this rampantly and swimming like swimmers would be done with college and they were done swimming forever because there it just was such a grind, it was almost like a little bit of PTSD because like morning practice is looking at this black line, lots of difficult like practices and but like and I think that's fine difficulty is important, it's it's a critical ingredient but purpose is also a critical ingredient and having fun and feeling like a human being or like that childlike element and so that the exuberant animal was a book that I think that every aspiring strength coach should read should be familiar with, you should be able to lead a session in that manner which is more play based just as you should be able to lead a session in a very drill based, you know, very um the typical manner, you should be familiar with both of them and so those would be three that I think would provide a lot of a wide ranging perspective on what we do, I love that.

And also your podcast, just flight performance, Oh yeah, yeah, you can listen to that one too, I'll have that link in the show mate mate to round out the episode, the name of this podcast is live train perform which stands for live life to the fullest train to your potential and perform at your best. What does that mantra mean to you? Yeah, so I I checked that question and it was, it was cool because it's like all right, I'm gonna think about this for a minute because if you, if you just asked it to me and I hadn't thought about it, I probably would have no idea but it to me, living life to the fullest potential is like especially with like training, its its purpose and its I just find it interesting how I think how many like strength coaches, well I don't know, it's almost like I find this is my theory but I feel like a lot of strength coaches and personal trainers have a lot of repressed anger and so not that that's not a bad thing, I have repressed anger by the way, but like you know like it's you turn on like the you know aggressive music and you take your repressed anger out on the weights and that's like the purposeful thing that you do in your day, it's a release but like there's a lot more purpose outside of that in the sense of like, like even just like doing something parker in the woods, playing games with other people like doing rock climbing, I don't know like finding something that's outside of that release mechanism that I again, I think it's cool, I mean I've done that my whole life is finding like purpose that goes beyond that something that you fundamentally enjoy doing and so for what nuance of strengthening edition is fundamentally meaningful to you that is beyond, I would say challenge was to say beyond just lifting lifting iron beyond just beyond just that because strength is awesome but I just think there's a lot more to movement and the movement equation than just that and so finding um I guess living life to the fullest is is fully embracing that purpose and and maybe it is maybe it is lifting, maybe that is, but then how do you fully embrace that?

How do you fully embody whatever it is that you're doing? And I think that when we grow to our full potential then the athletes can reap the benefits of that. Um I think so much, it's not what we necessarily come up with to write or give, you know, for the athletes program, it's who we are that they pick up on and so like kind of maximizing that journey that potential in yourself. Um I think is really, really helpful. Um the the second one you perform at your best to train your potential, I think that your training and your potential, I think it's just with that, like you only will hit the potential of the purpose that you have to get there if you don't have much purpose, you're just not gonna make it. And so I think part of it is finding the things that are truly purposeful and meaningful for you, what's purposeful for you maximally purposeful might not be that thing for me, so being able to find that will help you to to realize that, and so I think some of it too is even thinking that I think the dreams and visions for myself that I would have had two years ago have changed partly because of learning who I am a little bit more and so yeah, kind of going into that, that self awareness and that purpose and finding that meaning and then that meaning can carry you.

I think that I don't think we should have to force things so much. Sometimes. I think if we're on the right track, it's more about like letting the brakes off than it is, like consciously just like shoving yourself forward every day, uh that's the least of my take on it. So um that's where I've gone is finding things in a training perspective that I find more innately meaningful has been really helpful for me a lot of that's been doing more work in nature. So on a personal level it's been really helpful. I love that man, I love that, I love hearing the answers from all the different people that I get on. You know what they're taking taking on that mantra because you know, those answers are so diverse and so different. Um Joel it's been an absolute pleasure having conversation to you mate, It's an honor to have you on my podcast. I do enjoy listening to your podcast. I'll have all of your links in the show notes. Um hopefully I can get on your podcast one day. Yeah, yeah, yeah, man, it's been great talking so I'm sure this will definitely not be our only conversation, It was really wonderful talking to you. I appreciate Joel, Thanks mate, Take care Yeah, you as well.

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Joel Smith of Just Fly Sports
Joel Smith of Just Fly Sports
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