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 Lateral Med Ball T-Position Throw is the second exercise in our T-Position progression with our athletes. The concept is the same: to coordinate the body to be more explosive in rotation, load it. However, the amount of rotation is over a longer arc than the linear position, resulting in higher speeds and more force that must be absorbed.
THE SET UP
The athlete will set their feet wider than shoulder width and perpendicular to the wall with knees bent.
The elbow should be up and in line with the ball on the driving arm.
Fingers turned up toward the sky.
The ball should be at or just under chin height (shot put).
The athlete will rock back (limited rotation) to the side of the drive arm.
Spending as little time as possible at the end of the load, the athlete should rotate to throw the ball violently against a wall (think start throwing the ball before the load is able to stop).
Let your body follow through in rotation. If you catch the ball off the wall, back up and let it bounce to you.
Make sure that the athlete's head stays with the back hip. Often times, athletes want to lead with their head which results in poor rotational mechanics. That isn’t to say that there is no forward movement. As the hips move into the front leg, the head just rides the back hip. Focus on firming up the front leg for maximal power output.
Plyometrics involve repetitive power jumping with quick force production. When muscles lengthen, then immediately shorten, they provide maximal power for an athlete. Plyometrics are an ideal style of training for athletes looking to improve speed and power with varied intensities. When you immediately follow an eccentric contraction with concentric, or “muscle-shortening” contraction, your muscle produces a greater force. This is called the “stretch-shortening cycle.”So that all sounds like something a basketball player would benefit from, right? They need to be powerful and explosive when skying for a rebound, contesting a jump shot or even shooting from 3-point range. This is all true. However, basketball players get the plyometric training they need while playing their sport, so extra plyometric training in the weight room isn't necessary. More does not equal better in this instance.
Okay, so how do you fix this? Easy - practice variations. Two variations to work on are the snatch pull from the floor and the high snatch working into the catch as shown in the video. Now get to work!!
Everything athletes do - from training, to sleeping, to what they are putting in their body - are all small, important pieces to a much bigger puzzle. One vital piece is nutrition and with this month's Trigger Focus being Nutrient Density, I figured I'd address an important question: "Are all calories created equally?" The simple answer is, of course, no. To explain why, I did a comparison case study on what 3,000 calories looks like: healthy, nutrient-dense foods vs. a beloved fast food chain that starts with a 'W' and ends with 'hataburger.'
“ Don’t talk to me about recovery when you're living out of a fast food window .”
I can still hear my collegiate strength coach telling me this as though it was yesterday. He was right, my nutrition habits were trash; I was so used to eating whatever I wanted because I was young, so I thought my body could handle it. I can probably count on one hand how many of us even knew the term ‘nutrient density’ let alone what it meant. So today we are going to EQUIP you with this knowledge.
Simply stated, nutrient density means how many nutrients you get from a food, given the number of calories it contains. A.K.A getting the “biggest bang for your buck”. Why is nutrient density so helpful? Because it gives you concentrated amounts of valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids, and phytonutrients , to name a few. Adequate consumption of foods high in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals is essential for a healthy immune system and for empowering your body’s detoxification and cellular repair mechanisms. This helps protect you from cancer and other diseases. Nutrient-dense foods also provide necessary micronutrients - which are highly overlooked - that are important co-factors in reactions that produce growth, repair tissues, and increase oxygen transport. Being deficient in this will negatively affect performance and could keep you from reaching your athletic potential.
Now let me show you the difference. 3,000 calories at Whataburger looks something like this: