Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Excuses, Excuses, EXCUSES!

I’m certain we’ve all heard it before, if not said it a hundred times ourselves, I’ve fallen off the ‘workout wagon’. It’s our job to help motivate people to get back on the wagon whether it’s through sports, fitness, physical therapy, or any other physical activity, right?

Whenever there are millions, trillions, gazillions of excuses how are we supposed to combat them all? I’m so busyYou don’t live in the same town … The class times are always opposite of my scheduleI don’t know what to doI don’t like working outI need someone there with meI don’t like working out with other people. Stop already! If it’s important to you…you will make time for it.

So, that’s the query, the conundrum, the giant elephant of a question – how do we help them make it important? There is a part of me that responds by overworking myself. I offer classes whenever I can through Live Online classes (where they can workout AT HOME with me right there guiding them), free online videos on YouTube, and offering classes in 3 (count ‘em) three different cities. Really there isn’t room for excuses anymore, yet people don’t do it – they’ll still gripe and complain – but nevertheless don’t do it. How do we ‘the professionals’ reach through the excuses and really grab hold of their hearts…then keep them coming back for more?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Instant Replay: A Game Changer

Over the last decade, instant replay in sports has evolved greatly and has become a normal part of most sports, especially football and basketball. Instant replay has changed the way games are watched, played, and most importantly, officiated. Sports can now be viewed from a variety of different angles, speeds and zoom, allowing officials and viewers watching television an unparalleled perspective of true in game action frame by frame. Instant replay has slowed game play down in sports like football where every scoring play is reviewed. Coaches can now challenge an official’s ruling on the field with instant replay and get a call overturned. What happened to the idea of sport officials and referees being the judges of a game in which their calls during competition are made from their own personal decision? Is this not the point of having referees in a game? With instant replay becoming the ultimate judge and jury during competition, there have been strong arguments for both sides of instant replay.
With the recent emergence of instant replay in baseball, there has been much controversy over what and how much instant replay should be used. The game of baseball is known as “America’s Pastime” and for over a century the game has seen little change to its rules. Baseball games have always been called by an umpire’s judgment and never been allowed to be overturned --- until now. Instant replay has now allowed umpire’s to look at close calls during a game and overturn them with substantial evidence from replay. A homerun, or a bang-bang play at first base or home plate, can all now be seen and called one hundred percent correctly through the all-seeing eye of instant replay. In my opinion, the idea of taking away an umpire’s authority and their judgment call during a game takes away from the excitement and passion of the game. The reason umpires are on the field is to call the game fairly…as they see it…no matter if it is the right call or not…that is their job.
Baseball is “Americas Pastime” for a reason --- the tradition and consistency it has held for over a century. Baseball has seen the least amount of rule change within the sport out of all mainstream sports and bringing instant replay into baseball is neither needed nor necessary for making baseball better. 

Why do Top High Black Athletes go to Predominantly White Institutions over Historically Black Colleges and Universities

October is an exciting month for football and with it comes one of the largest athletic events in Texas to the State Fair --- the Grambling State University versus Prairie View A&M University football rivalry. This football game is one of the biggest Historically Black College and University (HBCU) classics in the nation. As a black man (and future coach), I started pondering the question as to “why don’t more top high school black athletes attend HBCUs”.
     I believe there are many factors that high school athletes consider when they are being recruited by college athletic programs. For the top high school African American athletes, they must choose between prominently white institutions (PWI) and HBCUs. After researching and discussing the topic with many others, I formed the following opinion on the matter.
     I think that coaches from PWIs do a better job recruiting top black high school athletes than coaches at HBCUs. I’m convinced that some black student athletes view college as an opportunity to better their life especially the ones from low income families. Most black student athletes want to play professional sports so they can provide for their family. Another example of top black high school recruit choosing PWIs is most likely due to the fact that most are higher ranking Division I colleges and as such receive national television exposure each week. It’s not often that you see HBCUs playing any kind of sports on national television. These young men go off to colleges with high expectations about their athletic abilities. I feel like they choose to go to prominently white institutions in order to have a better opportunity of achieve their goals.            
     Top African American recruits prefer to go to higher ranking Division I colleges because they have a better chance of making it to the NFL. When I started playing football at a young age I use to have dreams of playing in the NFL. Almost every guy who has played organization football has dreamed of making it to the NFL. Yet, athletes that play for the HBCUs are often overlooked by the NFL scouts. How often have you seen televised games from the SWAC or MEAC Conferences?
     Athletic facilities are another factor in the decision making process. Most PWIs have state-of-the-art athletic facilities. According to research conducted by Joseph (2008), “What has hurt HBCUs in recruiting is the lack of premier athletic facilities, which has in part been one of the most noticeable funding disparities greatly affecting their football programs”. It is simplistic but true - more top black athletes go to PWIs over HBCU because their athletic facilities are simply better.
     Top black athletes should choose the colleges that are going to help them succeed in life. When comparing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to Primarily White Institutions (PWI), I truly believe that PWIs give top black athletes a greater chance of fulfilling their goals and aspirations.
Joseph, J. (2008). Black Students Athletes Changing Football at HBCUs.

Show Me the Proof Or Give Me the Titles

     Around the beginning of March 2012, the story of Lance Armstrong’s fight against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and their accusations of doping throughout his seven Tour de France victories was released. With this, Armstrong basically relinquished his seven titles and permanently stained the Live Strong reputation that he had worked for many years to create.
     Now whether a person is on the side of “he did it” or “he is innocent” is not the point of this commentary. I completely support the sporting world in its efforts to punished cheaters to the fullest extent of the law, whether it is federal or within their specific sport. However, what I cannot support are the cases of allegation have begun because of a “he said/she said” situation instead of having hard evidence to back the accusations.
     Armstrong has never refused to participate in drug testing; in fact he has passed hundreds of drug test over the years. He has faced claims of cheating ever since he began to have success in the cycling world back in 1999. A fierce competitor and defender of his integrity, Armstrong has never backed down from the doping accusations and has fought them any way he could. And now, at this point in his life he feels it is not worth the fight anymore.
     The way I see it, I know he won those seven Tour de France titles.  The people he raced against know they were watching the back of his jersey as he crossed the finish line. If he cheated to accomplish these victories, then he should be persecuted for his actions. Yet, there are no records of failed drug tests throughout his entire career. If there is solid evidence of doping then his accusers should present the proof and he will have to face the consequences. But the bottom line is that the American judicial system is based on the premise of innocent until proven guilty. It does not sit well with me that Lance Armstrong’s legacy is being tarnished when there is absolutely no solid evidence.  

Meal Replacement Shakes – The Latest Rage

     We all probably know someone who has experimented with the latest rage of meal replacement shakes.  Perhaps you have tried one yourself.  Many people have had success losing weight by using shakes instead of meals.  Some of the more popular brands are ViSalus (Body by Vi) or Advocare.  Most people love them because they don’t have to think about food, plan meals in advance, or buy expensive products.  Meal replacement shakes may be a great start for someone who is trying to lose weight and is intimidated by thinking about calories and making healthy choices.  Breakfast is a meal that lots of people skip simply because they think they don’t have time.  But a breakfast alternative is the meal replacement shake --- how easy to grab a shake on the way out the door!
     Some people believe they can start on meal replacement shakes and then once the weight is lost, they can go back to their normal eating habits.  This is a sure-fire plan for disaster as all of the lost weight is usually packed back on rather quickly.  Most people do not intend to strictly consume only meal replacement shakes for the rest of their life.  Consumers want a quick and easy fix for losing weight; meal replacement shakes may just give them that.  But, chances are these people will not be able to maintain their weight loss results after the meal replacement shake regimen ends.
     My personal opinion is that weight loss can be achieved by simple eating healthy and exercising regularly.  Yes, it may take more time and effort to change your diet and exercise, but I promise you that your results will last longer if not forever.  Meal replacements are best utilized as an addition to a well-balanced nutritional regimen - not as a substitute for natural foods. They fill a specific dietary niche, but by no means are a complete source of nutrition. Hence, their overuse can lead to a disparity in dietary ratios as well as a deficiency in vital nutrients. Combining meal replacements with natural foods is the best way to satisfy all of your nutritional requirements, ensuring an optimal intake of nutrients (Women's Fitness, 2012).


Women's Fitness. (2012, July 31). Meal Replacement Shakes: How Practical are They? Retrieved September 17, 2012, from Business & Health:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Anatomy of a Successful Baseball Program

     Finding the greatest, most efficient way of doing things in order to increase productivity or success rate is of fundamental value for any baseball program.  How coaches approach the details during the process of building a baseball team will determine efficiency and achievement. This is my personal account of playing collegiate baseball in two very different yet successful programs.
     A four-year letterman at Texas Wesleyan University, I was introduced to a winning program that encompassed my idea of collegiate baseball.  The coach handled discipline issues on an individual basis. Regardless of who showed up late to practice or how often this occurred was irrelevant to anyone but the guilty player and the coach.  Only under extreme acts of insubordination was the team punished as a whole.  This type of leadership by the coach created an atmosphere of relaxed, heart-felt competition amongst teammates and encouraged individuality on the team.  The coaches would often times instruct, encourage, and say things to get desired reactions out of players with the hopes of ultimately increasing performance level.  All of this was done pertaining to the targeted individual.  Players with different mindsets and personalities proved to need encouragement tailored specifically to the player from coaches or fellow teammates.
     The coaching philosophy at Texas Wesleyan University appears to have been successful.  Over three 40+ win seasons, the Rams came within five games of three NAIA College World Series, making the regional championship game twice and ending up in third place in the regional tournament once.
     Now for the polar opposite, Tarleton State University’s baseball program was extremely strict in nature.  All players treated equally were also punished equally as a team.  The person who was guilty of the crime matters not, the team was responsible, both on and off the field.  Players were to be where they were supposed to be, dressed appropriately, on time (which means early), without any off-field complaints, and ready to put forth 100% effort.   It seemed as if an individual was not to sleep without the permission of the coach at times.  There were mandatory weekly team meetings in a classroom setting, 6:00 a.m. weight workout three times a week, daily practice from 1-5, and daily team conditioning at 6:00 p.m. 
     Having only spent a year and a half in the program, and coming from the aforementioned loosely coached program, TSU Baseball was an eye-opening experience that taught me that there are various ways to build a program. During the 2012 season, Tarleton posted a winning season for the second year in a row and also made an appearance in the conference championship game after being picked as the last seed in the tournament.  Quite impressive considering that all of this took place after losing key players due to infractions of team policy.
     It is for the player to decide which program suits him the best and pursue excellence in their desired atmosphere.   Neither program is a “one size fits all” environment.  Success comes when the majority of individuals buy into the type of program they participate in.

The Low Down

     Professional baseball provides many different levels of playing and coaching opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career in the sport.  In the United States, there are five professional independent baseball leagues.  Each independent league has its own unique characteristics ranging from budget, level of quality, and realistic opportunity for the players to make it to the Major Leagues. Ranked in order goes from best to worst, the Independent Baseball Leagues consist of: the Atlantic League, the American Association, the Frontier League, the North American League, and the Can-Am League. 
     The Atlantic League is strides ahead of the other leagues as related to talent.  This league is based on the East coast and is geared toward giving players with a great deal of experience a second chance after being released from a Major League organization.  Generally, the majority of the players in this league have had major league playing experience.   The minimum salary for this league is $1,100 a month. The League also provides player amenities ranging from housing to outstanding practice and playing facilitie. Located in the United States and Canada, the American Association, a watered down version of the Atlantic League as far as talent goes, but facilities and fan involvement are quite comparable.  Across the board, stadiums are well-kept and many fans attend each baseball game.  The minimum salary for first-year rookies is $800 a month with experienced players receiving considerably higher salaries. 
     The Frontier League is quite similar to the American Association in terms of talent, but it is geared toward the development of younger players. The Frontier League focuses on providing former collegiate players a chance to play professional baseball.  The minimum salary for Frontier players is $600 a month.  Many of the young men are quite content with the salary because it is the first time they have ever been paid to play baseball.
     The North American League has a vast geographical spread from Texas to Hawaii and as far north as Canada.  The league has a minimum salary of $600 a month and focuses on giving rookies a chance to play baseball.  The difference between this league and the Frontier League is the overall financial stability of each individual team.  Stadium quality as well as the overall maintenance of the playing surface is minimal.  Fan attendance is generally low which creates an unmotivating playing environment.  Players are not always given a place to live, and must often pay their own way.  In many cases, players spend over half of their monthly salary on living expenses.  
     The bottom of the barrel is the Can-Am League which, at one point in time, was a quality league, but as of recently has met its downfall and is on the verge of folding.
     Although salaries and overall quality of Independent Baseball Leagues vary, there are still many opportunities for players to pursue or continue a professional baseball career.  Players should stay informed about the pros and cons of each league.     

Fantasy Football: Fun for all

The first ever fantasy football league began in 1963 in Oakland, California by a group of west coast football guru’s and avid Oakland Raider fans who were looking to make the AFL a little bit more interesting that season.  Since that first league, Fantasy Football has been played by over 30 million people.
What is Fantasy Football?  Fantasy football leagues are often made up of groups of friends, co-workers, classmates, or just people from the same area that get together and create a league. Websites such as ESPN, YAHOO, and CBS offer free fantasy football for users to join as either a private group or you can join and play in a league with random people from across the country. Most leagues are on-line; however, leagues can function without the aid of the internet though this is a less popular option.
Fantasy football leagues are made up of 6-24 teams that generally consist of a quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, a tight end, a kicker, and a defense. Fantasy teams draft their players prior to the start of the NFL season and manage their team throughout the year by determining which players to start each week, which free agents to pick up, and making trades with other teams in the league. Points are awarded to each team based on how well each player performs in their game each week. Points are awarded to offensive position players based on touchdowns and yards gained. Kickers gain points by making their field goals and extra points with more points being awarded for making longer kicks.  The defense scores points by getting turnovers as well as performing well on special teams.
Fantasy teams are given a schedule and play a different opponent each week. The team that scores the most points during the week is the winner of the game. Just like any other sporting league the top teams go on to make the playoffs and compete in a bracket leading up to the fantasy football Super Bowl usually held during the final week of the NFL season.  
Go Play!  Whether you are a huge fan of the NFL or you have never even seen a football game you should give fantasy football a shot. Fantasy football can be as simple or as complicated as you choose to make it. Avid football fans love to compete with fantasy football and it allows them to study and keep up with teams and players throughout the season all while enjoying a friendly competition with friends. People with little to no knowledge of the NFL play along with friends just for fun as well as use it as a tool to learn the game. Try something new this season, create a team and manage your group of NFL stars to a fantasy league victory!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Success Story

PictureCongratulations to Katie Brian (M.S. '12) for becoming the newest member of the Kinesiology Department at Tarleton State University.  An Instructor, Katie is excited to share her passion for fitness and wellness with a new group of young undergraduates. Katie also serves as the Director for the Office of Professional Development & Health-Related Fitness.

As a dedicated professional, Katie embraces the Kinesiology philosophy of STRENGTH WITHIN!  

Workplace Wellness Programs

According to researchers for BMC Public Health, "Workforce Wellness Programs represent one of the most significant strategies for enhancing the productivity of workers.” Specifically, workplace wellness programs offer three major benefits to support the company’s bottom line.

1 – Implementation of a workforce wellness program provides the chance for employees to work together towards a common goal. These opportunities allow for the collaboration of ideas and prompt strong relationships between co-workers. For example, putting in place a program where employees are able to work towards a common goal, such as a team weight loss competition, will present the opportunity for everyone to work together as they try to reach their goal. This will also allow for a team environment, where everyone will be able to receive encouragement from the rest of the team if they ever run into a situation where they could use a little help. Not only in the competition, but also, it can carry over into their daily lives.
2 – Research suggests that when people are more active, they experience a higher level of brain function as compared to their non-active counterparts. Allowing employees the opportunity to participate in a program where they can be active at work will enhance their creativity and productivity. This will present opportunities for the employee to simply relax, and allow them the chance to approach an issue or project from a different angle or a new perspective.
3 – When people are active and participate in wellness programs, the employer is more likely to notice a decrease in the number of employees taking sick days and a decrease in injuries. Employees who stay healthy and workout on a constant basis are less likely to become ill. “Illness at the workplace can result in lost productivity” according to the researchers at BMC Public Health. This is not only a benefit to the employer, but will also benefit the employee as they will be able to use those ‘missed work days’ on vacation and spend time with family and friends outside work.
Creating a workplace wellness program is a winning strategy for developing a strong employee bond, enhancing on-the-job productivity, and lowering absenteeism. The costs associated with creating such a program are well worth the investment.

            Cancelliere C, Cassidy J, Ammendolia C, Côté P.  (2011, January). Are workplace health promotion programs effective at improving presenteeism in workers? A systematic review and best evidence synthesis of the literature. BMC Public Health [serial online]. (Suppl 4):395-405. Available from: Academic Search Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed May 26, 2012.

Moral Compass

For all the coaches that are in the profession today, please be advised that YOU HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES THAT GO WAY BEYOND YOURSELF. In today’s world of coaching, there are far too many incidents happening where a coach’s moral compass goes astray and embarrasses a profession that many take pride in and have given their lives to. The dictionary defines a coach as “a person who trains an athlete or group of athletes.” But as we all know, the actual scope of coaching goes way beyond that. A coach is an individual that is in a position to change lives. To make a difference in a young person that could potentially save them from themselves or the environment they are in. A coach has no choice in this matter; a coach has the responsibility to change lives.
There are many stories in the news, whether it be national or a small town paper, that depicts a coach involved in disgraceful acts that do not in any way benefit the young person involved. The most common instance is “inappropriate communication” with a student of the opposite sex. Just last month I learned of one of my former coaches “resigning” because of this type of inappropriate communication. A head coach for over 20 years, a husband with a wife and two kids, a man that I have looked up to as a role model and previously thought of as a great individual to model my coaching style after, my mentor made an egregious mistake; he failed to follow his moral compass.  Inappropriate communication, whether face-to-face or through the use of technology (texting or social media), is an absolute wrong regardless of intention.
Coaching is a tough yet noble profession. There is no room for any type of acts that will embarrass and crucify this sacred family that many of us have chosen to join. Get back to true definition of the word coach --- to be a role model and help kids become the best they can be on and off the field of play. As coaches, we must always follow our moral compass so that we can lead in the right direction.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Faith & Fitness

Many fitness and exercise instructors are changing the status quo of working out by incorporating a holistic approach to strengthen the mind, body and spirit. Specifically, instructors are adding a spiritual element for those who are searching for a fuller, more meaningful workout routine. Being healthy requires not only physical fitness, but also an intentional focus on the mind and spirit.

In my personal experience, including the spiritual aspect into my fitness regime has definitely had a positive effect on my life. When I work out I am able to let go of any stress and frustrations that I have endured during my day. I love the feeling that I get when I include a time to pray and meditate to my God while completing my daily yoga routine. I utilize my  routine to become fit spiritually as well as fit physically. By concentrating on my whole being I am able to successfully go about my day without letting daily obstacles get in my way.

Back in my hometown of Katy, Texas, my yoga instructor, who also happens to be a very good friend, incorporated praying and scriptures into our routines. The scripture was meant to be uplifting for the middle of the week or “hump day”. Scriptures such as Jeremiah 29:11 were used (For I know the plans for you,  says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm, plans to give you hope and a future.). This is one of my absolute favorite verses because it reassures me of the faith I have in my God. One of my favorite parts of the routine is meditating and praying. She begins the routine with breathing exercises to release the negative and absorb the positive. We then end the session with praying to God. Along with praying we send love and light to people in our lives. These could just be loved ones or someone that you know is struggling. This helps other people to also feel God’s love and light. This type of yoga seems more relaxing and calming than just doing the poses. I feel I get more and feel healthier in mind, body, and spirit.

There are many different religious views out there and many people hear the title “faith and fitness” and shy away because they think it is based on mainstream religion. Fitness instructors are not solely tied to one religious type, but can put their own faith into the class. The world of fitness has transformed from only having spin classes and yoga to being faith-friendly to all walks of life.

How to Become A Great Strength Coach

     Athletic performance coaches are a hot commodity in the sports industry today mainly because this particular type of coach specializes in the development of sport training that will turn a team from good to great.  As high schools and universities buy into and understand the importance of proper training for sport, it becomes more crucial for Strength & Conditioning coaches to enhance their knowledge through certifications, experience, and research. 
     One path that can be taken in order to advance in the athletic performance profession, as mentioned before, is to become certified. According to Schultz (2005), 86.3% of the employers surveyed agreed that earning the National Strength & Conditioning Association’s Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential or the Strength & Conditioning Collegiate Coaches Association (SCCC) certificate greatly increases the individual’s chances of being hired.  These certifications demonstrate professionalism, commitment, and integrity that will separate you from competition.
     As an aspiring strength and conditioning coach, you should strive to become an intern and work toward a graduate assistant position at the university of your choice.  As an intern, this is where you show your head coach how dedicated and committed you are to wanting to be in a higher position.  You will be laboring at an intensive pace, work long hours and learn at the same time throughout your internship; however, in the end it will pay off  if you go above and beyond to impress your head coach.  The graduate assistant job should be your next goal.  At this point you should have a developed resume, program designs, coaching and training philosophies plus whatever you feel will highlight your skills and talents as compared to other potential competitors.  Having internships and Graduate Assistantships are all a part of your professional experience that will help you become a great strength coach.
     Another way to refine your athletic performance skills is to research other athletic performance programs and learn about other coach’s philosophies regarding their athletes. Kim Pinske, assistant strength and conditioning coach at the United States Air Force Academy stated, I believe that the most effective way to advance your knowledge and ability as a coach and educator is to visit and observe other programs and to communicate with other practitioners.  Today, when I find myself busy with the daily routine and grind, I remember the time and patience that other coaches gave to me when I am put in the position to reciprocate with younger professionals (Greener, Peterson & Pinske, 2012).  In addition to this statement, it is essential to keep in good contact with the coaches that you meet and learn from, because in the future they could potentially need someone to hire.   In the athletic performance profession, it is all about who you know --- networking is key.
     Athletic performance is a growing profession that requires potential practitioners to always to study and stay up-to-date with the most current trends to in order to produce better athletes.  For those wanting to become a Strength & Conditioning coach it is imperative that you take advantage of certifications and networking opportunities to enhance your awareness of the athletic performance industry.  Stay informed to continue developing as a coach and to create better athletes.

Religion In Sport

If you have watched an NFL game, or even turned on your television for that matter, in the past two years, you most likely know Tim Tebow. Tim Tebow has become the most popular professional sports figure of this era. The reason for his unparalleled infinite amount of popularity and support from people all over the world does not stem from his football skills, athletic ability, will to win, or good looks for that matter. It is because of his faith and religion. Religion has always been a part of sport but perhaps has never drawn as much attention as it does in today’s world of sport, which is largely due to the arrival of what is now a household name, Tim Tebow.
Religion in sport is nothing new and has been, in some aspects of sport, a tradition or ritual for pre-game preparation. While a pre-game prayer is common among most sports, most aspects of religion in sport have been just that, off the field expressions of personal beliefs that help prepare an individual get ready for battle and competition. Not until Tim Tebow has religion been so strongly associated within sport both on and off the field and expressed so deliberately without any hesitation. Tim Tebow’s faith and religion pours out of him in everything he says and does both on and off the field. From quoting the Bible at tough times in a game to helping motivate coaches and teammates, to singing gospel songs while playing, Tebow expresses his religion continuously throughout competition. In the past the most obvious expression of religion in sport, particularly in football, has been taking a knee to pray after scoring a touchdown. This simple idea of taking a knee for a quick prayer after scoring has been overlooked in the past, but is now tagged as “Tebowing.” It’s amazing to see something that has been part of the game for decades and done by hundreds of athletes turn into such a worldwide phenomenon associated with just one player - Tim Tebow.
Tim Tebow’s faith and passion for expressing his religious views have been embraced by most Americans. People admire him for maintaining and expressing his strong faith while competing in a violent and physical sport such as football. Tebow’s strong expression of religion in sport is the beginning --- a beginning of a new era of religion in sport that will have an affect on all sports and athletes and the way they express their religion on the playing field.
Suggested Reading:
Tim Tebow: Through My Eyes. Tim Tebow & Nathan Whitaker; 2011.

Establishing a Coaching Philosophy

In hunting for a perfect example of a coaching philosophy, I ran across a very interesting article from 2006 involving the U.S.A Men’s basketball team and head coach Mike Krzyzwski. The team was about to take a team picture and the photographer asked all coaches to be seated in the middle and front row for the picture. Coach K declined with this statement: “We aren't going to sit there. Coaches will be on the sides, I do that with all my teams. The players are the most important, and they are supported by us. We're there in support of them. We aren't there because of us. The only way to accomplish what we want to accomplish is to do it together. It's not about me or any single individual." That is where I would like to put the focus of my coaching philosophy, placing my athlete’s NEEDS before my professional WANTS. The role of a coach is much more than X’s and O’s, wins and losses, it’s about taking young individuals with different needs, different backgrounds and different paths in life and molding them into high character and high moral valued individuals along with giving them the resource, knowledge and motivation to become the best athlete and teammate they could become. The love of being a coach, teacher and leader comes very naturally and has been a dream of mine since grade school. The realm of sports is more than just a game, which is a cliché line but very true. According to Clifford and Feezel “Coaches and, for that matter, administrators, parents, fans, officials, and everyone else involved in youth athletics are moral educators, whether they want to be or not.” In the world of sports we get too wrapped up in the need to win and lose sight of what sports are really meant for, Clifford and Feezel stated “Sports creates a world of utopia, were we can participate in a realm governed by rules and regulation, were we can escape the ruggedness of the real world, but also know sports can be a helpful tool in creating values and life-long lessons to those who participate.” A sport is one of the best ways to teach morals, virtue and life-long lessons to anyone involved. It’s very difficult to establish a coaching philosophy with no coaching experience, but as time passes, I will gain that necessary experience needed to build a winning program. But most importantly, I will become the motivational leader to those individuals participating in my program, helping them reach their full potential on and off the field. There would be nothing greater, than hearing others speak about my current or former athletes with high regard. “High-character individuals, leaders, hard workers, respectful, never make excuses, loyal, strong, intelligent and always positive.” Ultimately my coaching philosophy will be based on me becoming the best role-model, coach, teacher, leader, father, counselor, educator, and mentor I could ever possibly become; this will be foundation for my coaching philosophy.  

Reference - It's all about the team for Krzyzewski
Clifford, C., & Feezell, R. M., (2010). Sport and character: reclaiming the principles of sportsmanship. 16, pp 87

Chasing a Dream

     Imagine a person willingly choosing a life of constant bus travel, insufficient pay, and constant discouragement.  You ask yourself “Why would someone put themselves through such a thing?” The answer to that question is very simple; it is because this person is a minor league baseball player who has an unrelenting desire to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a major league baseball player.  There are countless baseball players in this country, as well as many other parts of the planet who continue to encounter pathetic paychecks, un-Godly amounts of travel, time away from family and continuing disappointment every summer but continue to come back.  These people have a love for the game that is incomparable, and have known nothing but baseball for the majority of their lives, so to withstand some of the negative aspects of the game is not an issue for many of them because they have been blessed with the ability to play baseball at the professional level and not everyone is so fortunate.

     There are many different levels of minor league baseball all around the world, ranging from the worst, most financially unstable independent league in the country up to AAA affiliated baseball which is one step away from being in the major leagues.  There is also a great range in the type of players in each of these leagues; for instance in affiliated baseball, of those who get drafted, 20% will receive a signing bonus of $100,000 or more. (Davis, 2012)  As for the rest, a signing bonus could be anywhere from $99,000 to the minimum of $1,000, with the majority being much closer to the lower mark.  Many players will sign what is called a free agent deal which entails no signing bonus whatsoever, just a chance to play professional baseball.  In this situation, the thought process of a major league organization is that each player is an investment, and the more they invest in a player, the more chances that player will receive to succeed.  This is somewhat unfair to those players who have signed free agent or for $1,000 because while they may have better statistics than another player, the other player has signed for a large amount of money and organizations are concerned with seeing their large investments come to fruition. This situation is even more prevalent in the independent levels of baseball.  When major league organizations sign a player from an independent league, it is often times someone who has been in affiliated baseball before.  Those who have no previous affiliated experience still have a chance, but the facts are still there; less than 4 percent of independent players make it to affiliated ball. (Longenecker, 2012).

     With these humbling facts still in the back of each player’s mind, they go out each and every day to continue to work as hard as they can to hone their craft; not because they are waiting on a huge paycheck, but because they love the game of baseball and would do anything in their power to make their dream of playing in the major leagues a reality.

Davis, W. (2012, Feb.). Baseball reference. Retrieved from
Longenecker, C. (2012, Aug 15). Indy ball players arent doing it for the money. Retrieved from

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Texas High Schools Produce Top NFL Quarterbacks

Quarterbacks in the NFL come from all over the country. Ever wonder just where the majority of these NFL stars come from? The state of Texas leads the nation in producing NFL quarterbacks again this season. This should come as no surprise with the reputation that Texas high school football has gained over time. This 2012 season, Texas high schools have produced thirteen NFL quarterbacks on an active 53-man NFL roster. Of these thirteen quarterbacks eight of them saw action for their respective team during week one of the season.
Drew Brees, from Austin’s Westlake High School, leads the way of the new age Texas quarterbacks currently playing in the NFL. Brees led Westlake to a perfect 16-0 record and a class 5A state football championship during his senior season in 1996. Brees later starred at Purdue before being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2001 NFL draft. Brees led the New Orleans Saints to their first ever Super Bowl victory during the 2009 season. Named the Super Bowl MVP, Brees was the first ever quarterback from a Texas high school to throw a touchdown pass during the Super Bowl.
The 2012 NFL draft class proved just how dominant the quarterback position is in the state of Texas. The 2012 class alone produced three first round picks that were quarterbacks from the state of Texas. Andrew Luck (Houston Stratford), Robert Griffin III (Copperas Cove), and Ryan Tannehill (Big Spring) were all taken in the first eight picks of this year’s draft. All three of these quarterbacks started week one of the season.
The recent growth and popularity of 7-on-7 should get credit for the number of quarterbacks that are having success and advancing all the way to the NFL. Played during the spring and summer, 7-on-7 finishes up each year with a state-wide tournament featuring 128 teams. A small school and large school champion is crowned following a three-day tournament each July. 7-on-7 focuses only on passing the football and helps to develop both quarterbacks and wide receivers during the off-season. 
The quarterback position is the premier position in the sport of football. The state of Texas knows how to play football and how to produce the best talent. It should be of no surprise that Texas has the most quarterbacks currently playing in the NFL.
NFL quarterbacks who played Texas High School Football:
Drew Brees – Austin Westlake HS; New Orleans Saints
Andy Dalton – Katy HS; Cincinnati Bengals
Chase Daniel – Southlake Carroll HS; New Orleans Saints
Robert Griffin III – Copperas Cove HS; Washington Redskins
Graham Harrell – Ennis HS; Green Bay Packers
Kevin Kolb – Stephenville HS; Arizona Cardinals
Andrew Luck – Houston Stratford HS, Indianapolis Colts
Luke McCown – Jacksonville HS; Atlanta Falcons
Colt McCoy – Jim Ned HS; Cleveland Browns
Greg McElroy – Southlake Carroll HS; New York Jets
Christian Ponder – Colleyville Heritage HS; Minnesota Vikings
Matthew Stafford – Highland Park HS; Detroit Lions
Ryan Tannehill – Big Spring HS; Miami Dolphins


Friday, September 14, 2012

Power Balance Bands: Are They Effective?

Power Balance bands became the latest sports rage sometime during 2010 when popular athletes were first seen using them.  The Australian manufacturing company that makes these popular rubber bracelets claims that the embedded holograms adjust your body’s energy or vibrations.  There are a couple other companies that also manufacture similar products such as Phiten and EFX.  But do they really work?  A representative from the Power Balance company issued a statement that acknowledged, “We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims.  Therefore we engaged in misleading conduct.” (Radford, 2011).  

As a professional, I am perplexed by the popularity of these bands.  I still personally know people who are wearing their bands with claims that they feel so much better, their shoulder, back, knee (whatever it is) pain has vanished, and they have more energy.  How are these people getting results if the company claims that they are basically a farce?  The answer --- because they believe that they work.  Have you ever heard the saying “look good, feel good, play good?”  If the people who are wearing them believe they are working, they will convince themselves that they are.  If you don’t believe in them or think they work, then you probably won’t feel any changes by wearing one.  Australian researcher Richard Saunders told Discovery News, “The claims are that these bands will improve your strength, your balance, and your flexibility. They also suggest it will improve your well-being, give you clarity of thought, improve your stamina and sports performance, that sort of thing.” (Radford, 2011).  The key words in this statement are ‘claims’ and ‘they also suggest.’  Nowhere is there the word ‘evidence’ or any scientific facts to back up their so called claims.  Rather than published scientific work to promote their bands, this product was promoted through paid celebrity endorsements and viral marketing.  Many celebrities such as Robert DeNiro, Shaquille O’Neal, Kate Middleton, and even Bill Clinton were spotted seen sporting a Power Balance band.  Golf instructor and PGA Pro Dave Stockton Jr. claimed his EFX bracelet eliminated tendinitis in his wrist.  He said "If you believe it gives you an advantage, it's going to give you an advantage. If you don't believe in what you're using, you're not going to be using it.” (Stein, 2011).  

Final Thoughts - I won’t be wearing a Power Balance, EFX, or Phiten band anytime soon, but if other people believe they are doing great things for their body, more power to them!

Radford, B. (2011, January 10). Power Balance Maker Admits Bands Are Worthless. Retrieved September 6, 2012, from Discovery News:

Stein, A. (2011, January 14). Do those power bands athletes wear really work? Retrieved September 10, 2012, from Chicago Tribune: