Initially, I was hesitant to go on yet another trip this summer for business development or continuing education as it seemed like every week this summer there was some event I was attending or some seminar I was going to. Whether it was to become a better coach or a better business owner, most of my weekends were spent traveling. From as far as Kentucky to as close as my back yard, I have been all over the place since starting my own business last year.  I have to say I am extremely glad I decided to attend. This was the least expensive, yet most informative seminar I have been to in a while. It was very well run and the speaker line up had a little bit of everything; something in each lecture helped me out specifically. There were some big conceptual points that I came away with. Surprisingly, I also came away with some business changes as well.

The first presentation of the seminar was with Dr. Quinn Henoch of Paradigm Performance Therapy; you may know him from the great content he has put out on and from Darkside Strength. He has done a great job bringing PRI and breathing techniques to the performance world. He went  on to marry  them with the FMS/ SFMA and added some DNS on top of that, to make one kickass framework to help athletes move and perform better. In his lecture, he really spelled out how he uses each of these and applies pieces of each to identify and correct dysfunctional patterns. This really gave me a more clear picture of the structure and progressions I want to use with my athletes and the corrective exercises I use with them. This will make me just better at what I do, period.

Next up was Dave Spitz, the owner of Cal Strength. To be honest, I had heard of Cal Strength before and seen some of their lifters do some impressive things on Instagram, but I didn’t know who the owner was until Saturday. Dave’s presentation was mostly hands-on, including an impressive 425 lb clean and jerk demo from one of his athletes. The biggest thing I took away from this lecture, aside from the improved teaching progression of the bottom position of the clean, was something conceptual that really gave a fresh perspective on how to train my youth athletes. This really solidified some of my deeply held beliefs but it also opened my eyes to how much more simply I can think about my youth sports performance training. Dave talked about making youth training clients more athletic in general. Making them better at all movements in their entirety. If you not only make them better at expressing strength and power, as well as make them more technical and kinesthetically aware through training, they will become better. Considering I train predominantly teenage kids whose first introduction to any strength training is at my gym, this really simplified and cemented my views on what my athletes really need… They just need to be better athletes overall.

After lunch we heard from UC Berkley’s Head Football Strength Coach, Damon Harrington. Damon talked a lot about creating and maintaining culture in a team and in a coaching staff. For me, this lecture was much more applicable to my business development. He talked a lot about creating a standard that you hold everyone to and not wavering about that standard. He also talked about making sure you select a staff to complement you. A staff that shines where you are less of an expert, a staff that is smarter than you are! You can’t be an expert in everything, but you can hire those that are experts so that your company or coaching staff can fill in all the holes. This will make the whole team better as they can learn from each other and refer back and forth, creating better athletes. I have heard this in many different ways from many different people but it is always good to hear this again.

Last to speak was Chad Wesley Smith. Chad is an extremely accomplished athlete in the strength game. If you don’t know who this is just Google him, he is impressive. Other than his athletic accomplishments, he is the owner and Head Physical Preparation Coach at Juggernaut Training Systems. Before his lecture when the group was on a break, Chad looked at me and asked “What do you want to hear about today, Jimmy?”  I had a few questions about youth sports performance coaching and how to best program that. After some banter back and forth about what youth athletes in America truly need, he brought up a great suggestion. He posed the idea that I run shorter duration (with more frequency) workouts for my youth athletes allowing me more opportunities to overload their systems with a strength stimulus when they are not beat up from all the sports practice they do. I thought this was a great idea and am working it into the business model. One other big takeaway was the simplicity in which Chad presented topics. He really boiled it down to a few things athletes need, they need to run/sprint, jump, throw, and lift, and when they lift they need to push, pull, hinge, and squat. I have heard things in these terms before, but hearing this after Dave’s presentation really brought everything full circle.

I am extremely glad that I attended this seminar. It was one of the best I have attended in a long time. There was something for everyone and I am sure everyone learned something valuable leaving this seminar. Thank you, Sorinex, for putting this on! I look forward to more in the future.

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