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Quotes and Insights From Buddy Morris, Strength Coach of the Arizona Cardinals

Buddy Morris is the Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Buddy has a way of telling it like it is, not shying away from speaking his mind when it’s against popular cultural opinion within the world of sports performance training. I was fortunate enough to learn form a mentor of mine, Dr. Mike O’Donnell, who worked under Buddy at the University of Pittsburgh.

To this day, I enjoy reading and learning anything I can from Buddy. I have come to learn that when Buddy speaks, you should listen.

Why?

You are going to learn something.

Below is just a short collection of his thoughts that I have provided me with some insight into what it takes to better yourself as someone who works with developing young athletes.

Buddy Morris on the current state of the personal training and sports performance industry:
“(Personal training in the private sector) is one of those professions that’s about who you know, not what you know. If it was about what you know, there’d be a lot of guys on the street right now.”
“These days, everyone is looking for the top secret program and the “easy way” to lose weight, get in shape or become a better athlete. Here’s the secret: THERE IS NO SECRET! It’s all about things like commitment, effort, dedication, perseverance and WORK! You think that might be why it’s referred to as, “working out”?”
“It’s also become ridiculous with the athletic population. Every guru is out there trying to sell his miracle top-secret never-seen-before program to make you a super athlete. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times; “a good coach gets a lot done and goes a long way without gadgets, gimmicks or toys to enhance performance.”
Buddy Morris on the qualities of a great coach:
“The best coaches are the ones that can make adjustments.”
“The real magic will be in how you make adjustments on training day and use your heighten powers of observation and problem solving to make the training optimal on the training day.”
“Training readiness: The maximum amount of stress the body can handle or tolerate at any given time will fluctuate on a daily, hourly, and minutely basis.”
Buddy Morris on the importance of continual learning and development:
“I am far from an expert and I still have a lot to learn even after more than 3 decades in my profession.”
This is a personal favorite of mine just because there are far too many people marketing themselves as THE expert. The best trainers and coaches are humble and they are always trying to develop their craft. They don’t believe they know it all, so they actively pursue more knowledge. Buddy Morris more than gets this and it's exactly why several other coaches learn from his example.

More related reading:

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/thinking-of-taking-your-child-to-a-trainer-read-this-first/

Unlock Your Potential With This Powerful Tip

“Everyone has way more strength and power than they know how to use.“
- Larry Mather, Canadian Weighlifting Coach

Let's be clear about something: Movement is a skill. This means that exercise form is a skill. Strength is a skill. Speed is a skill. For those that have participated or are currently participating in athletics, you can appreciate the importance of practice in developing skill. Who will progress more rapidly at their sport, the individual who practices 2 hours per week or the one who is practicing 10 hours per week? Assuming all things are equal, the individual with the greater training volume will progress and achieve mastery the quickest. Understand that training volume accounts for a number of factors including training frequency, duration, load, intensity, velocity of movement, etc.

Why am I bringing this up?

Frankly, there seems to be a lot of misinformation being perpetuated about building strength, speed, or mastery in regards to highly technical movements such as sprinting, squatting, and the Olympic lifts (snatch, clean and jerk). What cannot be forgotten is that these movements are a total body approach that requires every joint to contribute in order for quality work to be performed. They require a high degree of skill and neurological coordination in the execution of the movement. Regardless of whether you want to debate where stability or mobility is needed at specific regions of the body during specific joint actions, the concept of adequate neuromuscular integrity in all directions must be present.

From a motor learning perspective, strength and power development is neuroplasticity. Clients and athletes are basically undergoing computer programming during training. The greater training volume one experiences, the quicker neural pathways will adapt to become more efficient and coordinated. When you focus on the how (technique), the how much (load or amount of weight lifted) will take care of itself. A more skilled lifter is typically stronger. They can display greater strength potential due to skill in technique and skill in their ability to generate and apply more force.

If you’ve ever coached an athlete or client through technical movements, you will most certainly understand that technique is of utmost importance. Coaching technique as it applies to sprinting, squatting, weightlifting requires that one understands biodynamics and physics. Meaning, doing it the right way is the easiest way. This also means that if the client or athlete is displaying poor technique, often times there is central motor coordination issue that must be addressed accordingly. This is what is know as, "Training the Brain." Yes, muscular imbalances and poor joint dynamics may exist, but it is very common that perceived lack of mobility is simply a result of faulty motor patterning. Rather than focusing on mobility drills and stretches to improve movement quality, appropriate cuing and biofeedback may be all that is necessary. Just watch an experienced coach in action and you’ll understand what I mean.

A coach that understands how to help their client or athlete "Train The Brain", will unlock strength and athletic potential they never knew they could achieve.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/qa-with-head-performance-coach-ryan-gallagher-lmt-ces/

https://gallagherperformance.com/advanced-training-for-elite-athletes/

Guidelines for Selecting a Strength Coach or Personal Trainer

Today, athletes are without a doubt becoming stronger, faster, bigger, and displaying more proficient levels of sport-specific fitness than in years past. Not only do you still have young athletes participating in multiple sports during the calendar year, but many of them are also participating in ‘strength and conditioning’ programs as early as 13-14. Athletics have always promoted competition and developing a competitive advantage. Both parents and young athletes are investing in private/semi-private training services with greater frequency. I can remember back to my days as a young athlete in the 1990s and the concept of strength and conditioning coaches for youth athletes was almost non-existent.

Flash forward 15-20 years and the sports performance business has expanded greatly, arguably to the point of saturation in some areas around the country. Most cities offer several facilities to chose from when it comes to selecting a location for your son or daughter to train. With that in mind, it’s important to keep in mind some guidelines to help parents and athletes in the decision making process.

When looking for the best, it also helps to get advice from the best. So today, I want to feature some guidelines from Sean Skahan, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL. Sean’s guidelines certainly apply to not only youth hockey players, but all youth athletes. Sean has a tremendous reputation in the NHL for being one of the top strength and conditioning coaches and his advice is valuable.

Here are his guidelines for finding quality strength and conditioning services:

  1. Make sure that the trainer(s) has a degree from a four-year college or university. A master’s degree would be a plus. Preferably, their degree is in Exercise Science, Kinesiology, Biomechanics, or another major related to Exercise and or Sports Medicine.
  2. Make sure that the trainer is certified by a reputable certification agency. For Strength and Conditioning Coaches or Personal Trainers who work with hockey players, the Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (C.S.C.S) certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is probably the most reputable certification. Another good certification is any certification provided by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (N.A.S.M.).
  3. Ask for testimonials and/or references from athletes that they have coached. They should be able to provide current or past testimonials from people who have trained with them. If they can’t provide you with any testimonials, ask for references. If they can’t give you any references, find another trainer. Also, make sure that the trainer actually trained and worked with an athlete whom they say they have.
  4. Don’t get caught up in the “bells and whistles” about the facility. Most of the good strength and conditioning coaches and personal trainers out there can get results without the high-tech equipment that might be considered “hockey-specific”. Also, they might not need a large facility the size of a Wal-Mart.
Sean goes on to add this as well:
In today’s world, it is easy for anyone to get a personal training certification from a non-reputable source and then partner up with someone with a lot of money and start up a sports training business. I always prefer an individual or company that started out with close to nothing and then grew their business by getting positive results from their athletes and clients. As a parent who is paying for the child to participate in a strength and conditioning program, you must do your homework when trying to choose one.
Hopefully these guidelines and recommendations will help you make the right decision when pursuing where your son or daughter should train. Investing in training services for your child is not a decision that should be taken lightly and it will only be a benefit to gather as much information as possible. Otherwise, your lack of results and progress may start to tell you something. Should you have any questions or wish to learn more about the training services available at Gallagher Performance, contact us [email protected]

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/6-tips-for-hockey-training/

https://gallagherperformance.com/is-weight-training-inappropriate-for-young-athletes/

https://gallagherperformance.com/understanding-the-benefits-and-concerns-of-youth-strength-training-programs/

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