In June of 2008, I married my wife Crystal. Prior to our wedding, I was training in South Florida under world-renowned Performance Coach, Pete Bommarito . My ambitions to start Dynamic Sports Training had formed many years prior, but the true catalyst was - and still is - my wife. The first month in Houston, we lived at her good friend’s house until we could find affordable living near her school and a park that could allow me to start training. We found our apartment home near Briarforest and Gessner and I pinpointed Briarbend Park as a good park and community to train. I had very few contacts and zero idea how I was going to start.The Beginning
A Boot Camp seemed like the most logical fit, so I set out going door to door leaving my flyers and brochures at doorsteps and mailboxes. I ended up dropping them off at a few hundred houses. I believe I was too busy preparing and working on the next thing to realize it, but let’s just say my phone wasn’t ringing off the hook with people looking to train. Finally, the night before I was to arrive at the park, I received my first phone call. I thought the call went really well, but then she asked how many people were going to be there. I had to tell her I didn’t know because she was the first to call, but assured her that my wife and a friend were going to be training with her and I expected others to be there. She sounded a bit hesitant and then asked if it was okay if her husband could come, and of course I said yes! It wasn’t until I arrived at the park at 6am that I realized her hesitancy -- there were only 2 street lights that could barely cast a shadow on the park and it had a hedge of bushes that looked as if someone could snatch you into the abyss (FYI… before starting a bootcamp at 6am, make sure there is light !). Thank God she showed up with her husband because no one else did! * Welcome to the humble beginnings of DST *The Start of a Great Partnership
It was obvious I needed to have some sort of supplemental income to take some of the financial burden from my wife, and my client list of two wasn’t going to cut it. I registered with Spring Branch ISD to substitute teach (funny how I used to salivate during my adolescent years when I had a substitute, for some reason it didn’t give me the same feeling now that I was about to be on the other end).
I continued to survey the area for potential opportunities and found a place called Baseball USA . I preferred to go to the places I thought would be interested, so I could make personal connections. When I arrived at Baseball USA, I spoke with pitching guru, David Evans. David informed me they were not looking for anyone with my type of background but mentioned that Houston Christian ’s baseball coach might be interested and he gave me Ron Mathis’ contact info. Now, for those of you who know Ron (he fathered Houston Christian's nationally-recognized baseball tradition), know he can be difficult to track down. I was finally able to get in touch with him and he was gracious enough to take a meeting with me. The meeting went well and he informed me he was only able to supplement me with a small stipend and that he understood if I could only train them minimally... I took it and ran like Usain Bolt!
It was DST’s first opportunity to start training athletes and I couldn’t have been more excited. I developed a comprehensive training program and we got after it the entire fall. That was the beginning of our relationship with Houston Christian!
My next step was to scour the professional teams that had athletes from Houston, Texas as the off-season was approaching for MiLB and MLB players. When I searched the Tampa Bay Rays roster, I saw that Carl Crawford was a native Houstonian. At that time they were advancing to the World Series, and I reached out to Cliff Floyd whom I had trained that off-season. I was surprised he picked up the phone, as many players are difficult to get a hold of during the season, especially during the World Series. I asked him if he knew Carl’s plans, he said he didn’t know but he would ask… a few minutes passed and he responded that Carl was looking to move back to Houston from Arizona and that he was interested in training with me. I was floored, but I also knew that didn’t mean anything would happen. God definitely worked in this situation because I was also able to get a hold of Carl’s agent to set up a meeting with both of them.
Carl was coming off a World Series run, but was limited during the year due to some hamstring issues. After touring the Houston Christian Facilities and talking with them about my training philosophy, he committed and became DST’s first professional client! We had a tremendous off-season as his hamstring issues went away and he was able to sprint full-speed for the first time in over a year.
After a successful baseball off-season, the Houston Christian baseball team performed on the field. With their leadership and great talent, they played in another State Championship and their star pitcher was drafted by the Orioles after the season.
The work that I was doing with baseball got the attention of then-Head Football Coach Mike Johnston. Johnston is a Texas football legend and is credited for being the catalyst in Katy High School becoming the dominant force they are. Coach Johnston communicated to me that he had never seen the level of enthusiasm the baseball team was demonstrating in their off-season training before. He later asked if I would be interested in implementing something similar for the football team for their off-season and, of course, I accepted. I couldn’t believe how things had turned around from that first morning at Briarbend Park
Yes, Year One definitely had amazing highlights and was filled with blessings, but it also couldn’t have had a more humble beginning. That’s why it’s so important to stay resilient and relentless in pursuit of your dreams.
-- Lee Fiocchi
The kettlebell windmill is a great exercise that improves many traits at once. We all know that mobility, stability, and strength are vital to optimizing sport performance. Any time we can accomplish all these physical attributes at once is ideal to maximize training time.
Thoracic spine rotation is something that many athletes lack and is necessary for optimal sports performance. As a throwing athlete, thoracic spine mobility is imperative to attaining separation and fluidity in the throwing motion. Elbow and shoulder health is also very much dependent on the thoracic spine doing the job it is intended to do.
Shoulder stability is also very important as the shoulder joint is the most unstable joint in the body. Good control and alignment of the joint can help to prevent many common injuries that athletes face in sports like baseball. Throwing a baseball is the fastest motion in sports, and therefore extremely stressful. Proper stability will ensure that the shoulder can withstand the repetitive stresses and avoid the common overuse injuries.
The windmill also helps to improve lateral core stability where the oblique’s resist against unwanted movement of the spine. When sprinting, many athletes lack the necessary core stability to maintain posture. This is evident when the athlete exhibits a lateral hip hike or an unnecessary side bend of the torso. Stability through the core will ensure that all force is being put into the ground as it should and not lost, thus achieving maximum velocity.
Physical Principle: Tempo
By Sammy Knox
When discussing tempo in training, we are referring to the speed at which we execute the exercise. Training with different tempos is important because it will provide the athlete with a different stress, therefore causing a specific adaptation to that stress. There are three different tempos we utilize in our training because there are three different types of muscular contractions.
Isometric – a muscle that does not change in length while contracting
Concentric - a muscle that is shortening in length while contracting
- The better you are at eccentric strength (a slow descent in the squat), the better you will be at absorbing force. This is important for both preventing injury and increasing performance. When sprinting, we want to spend very little time on the ground while still being able to apply enough force to be fast. The stronger the athlete is eccentrically, the better they will be able to achieve this.
- Isometric strength (holding the bottom of the squat) is beneficial to being a well-rounded athlete, as you are required to hold static postures under high forces and velocities while sprinting. Our core muscles must be strong isometrically during sprinting and other athletic feats to transfer force in the most efficient and effective way.
- Concentric strength (standing up from the bottom of a squat) is all about force production and can also be referred to as “starting strength.” This is very important in the acceleration phase of sprinting, which is the first 10-20 yards. This is the case since we are not able to utilize the stretch reflex as effectively to propel us in the direction we want to go; therefore, we must use more concentric strength to get us going.
As you can see, all three tempos are important and useful for athletes to develop maximum strength.
We will be announcing several ways that we, and the rest of the DST family, can provide support and aid to those affected by Harvey, so be on the lookout for a series of announcements on ways you can get involved.
Physical Principle: Movement
Of all our physical principles, movement is the most important building block we have. While the concept is simple, the implementation is, unfortunately, often overlooked in many athletic development programs.
We approach movement as a core foundation of everything we do. Before an athlete can excel on the field/court, they must first be able to move efficiently. Because of this, we take all our athletes through an in-depth bio-mechanical assessment in which we look at an athlete's:
"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."
- C.S. Lewis
In this exercise of the week video, we will be going over reaction drills. The athletes don't know which direction they will be cutting before starting each rep, so they will have to react to whichever direction Kyle points. They also won't know if they'll be taking two steps, three steps, or four steps before the cut. We make sure they attack vertically and then react to Kyle's hand, still focusing on being explosive each change of direction.
Speed and agility drills should focus on explosive movements and cutting from all parts of the foot because, in competitions, athletes are going to cut from all parts of the foot. This is training one part of the foot - the outside edge. We want to train and improve movements that are sport-specific and will improve in-game performance.
In this exercise of the week video, we will be going over the outside edge cut. To start this drill you will only need three cones. We will first work on the three-step cross over with our back leg staying nice and tight to our body as it comes up and over to change direction. After that, we will work in a heiden at the beginning of the drill to work on deceleration and acceleration coming back through that cut. Here we are really focusing on sticking the landing each time and driving out into the outside edge cut drill.
We do this drill to help in our outside edge cuts. More than likely we are cutting and opening up in one direction. The benefits of this drill are to help feel the outside edge of the feet, it teaches athletes how to bring the knee drive up and over, and it helps athletes with motor control/skills.
In this exercise of the week video, we will be going over the inside edge cut on the ladder. To start this drill you will need two ladders set up side by side. If you’re starting on the left side of the ladder your right foot will start in the box. Next, we will cross over with our left leg keeping a high and tight knee to our body into the next ladder. After that, we will step outside the ladder with our right foot. Here we are really focusing on inside edge of the foot.
We do this drill to help in our inside edge cuts. More than likely we are cutting and opening up in one direction. While going through the ladder, we are also focused on body lean - always towards the center of the two ladders. The benefits of this drill are to help feel the inside edge of the feet, it teaches athletes how to bring the knee drive up and over, and it helps athletes with motor control/skills.