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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Baseball Recruiting Success Story

Dear Mr. Lauenstein,

We purchased your book when our son was going into the 9th grade. He had been playing competitive ball since he was 12 and always had aspirations of playing in college. We knew several players that had gone on to play college, and had tried to gain insights from their parents but still had numerous unanswered questions. My husband is a coach and I am educator, so we are no strangers to athletics or to colleges, but your book really helped to guide us through the system.

Recognizing how important this goal was, we followed most of your suggestions and have worked hard these past three years to guide our son in the right direction. We are thrilled to report that he will be signing a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Newberry College in South Carolina. He really wanted to sign early so he could relax and enjoy his senior season. Because we were using your book, we also realized that most of a school’s scholarship money would be used in the early signing period. They made him an offer that will pay 50% of his tuition and living expenses. A pretty fair trade for the price of your book!

You are so correct in stating that most parents don’t realize how important it is to get your son seen. Since our son has signed, numerous parents are asking us how we did it! I tell them a lot of hard work and then I give them the information for your book. It has been quite a journey and we made our fair share of mistakes along the way, but your insights helped keep us focused and encouraged!

Best Wishes,

Judy F

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Steve Stetson Talks about Loss to Middlebury

Middlebury Newsletter Our game against Middlebury was about as frustrating as it gets. We moved the ball well for the great majority of the game against Middlebury. However, we also threw 5 interceptions, lost 1 fumble, and had a punt blocked for the first time since I can remember. Defensively, we played a very good football game. We gave up one TD on a long drive, but the rest of the scoring was pretty much a result of what our offense either did or did not do. We lost the game 28-0.

This had the makings of a great football game. There is no doubt that Middlebury is a very good football team. They will at least tie for the league championship this year.
We still have a ways to go. The last two weeks have seen the worst in us relative to turnovers. Most of these have not necessarily been the result of pressure from the opponent, but instead have been due to unforced errors on our part. We knew Middlebury had a great punt rush unit, and they should receive their due. However, the remaining turnovers, in my mind, are things we need to straighten out quickly if we are to finish on a high note.

The Bates game will be the last game for our seniors. I have a lot of respect for their perseverance. They started with about 30 teammates in their freshman class. That same class has dwindled down to 13 members. To a man, they are proud that they stayed the course. To their credit, they have led the current Hamilton team, which has suffered through many injuries and has had its share of ups and downs. I have heard only positive things from this entire group. In my opinion we have played hard EVERY SINGLE GAME - SO FAR. We have not played well in every game, but we have played hard, and I thank these seniors for their commitment and leadership.

Win or lose on Saturday, we could have had much better results this season. We all know it, and we all will have to live with it. My hope, as I have expressed to the seniors and to the rest of the team, is that we finish the season playing just as hard as we have all year long. That did not happen in our final game last year. If we are successful on Saturday, our record will be the best football record at Hamilton in 11 years!

We are currently concentrating our recruiting efforts on early decision two. The application deadline is January 1. Please let us know if you are aware of any prospects who have the grades, the football ability, and the motivation to go to a school like Hamilton. We will follow up on your recommendations.

I hope all is well with all of you.
Steve Stetson

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New books from Human Kinetics

Both books are outstanding, I have read them both...

A full-color offering, Sports Injuries Guidebook is an authoritative, quick reference guide to over 130 injuries, including ligament sprains, muscle strains and tears, fractures, and internal injuries.

Written by 25 leading sports physicians and therapists, you'll find easy-to-find entries that include descriptions
of common causes, injury identification cues, explanations of symptoms, full-color anatomical illustrations, treatment options, and a plan for returning to action quickly and safely. Sports Injuries Guidebook also ensures that you'll be spending more time on the field than in the dugout by providing additional coverage on conditioning,
body maintenance, and nutrition to keep injuries at bay.
Read more.

In the fourth edition of In Pursuit of Excellence, author Terry Orlick, an internationally acclaimed sport psychologist, provides new insights and a powerful step-by-step plan for you to develop your own personal path to excellence. You'll learn to focus for excellence and high-quality living. You'll gain a more positive outlook, a more focused commitment, better ways of dealing with distractions, and strategies for overcoming obstacles. You'll also achieve greater personal and professional satisfaction and discover better ways to work with teammates, respond more effectively to coaching, and become more self-directed in your thoughts and actions. Read more.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Website Nutrition for Athletes

The Athlete’s Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark, MS RD CSSD August 2007

Website Nutrition for Athletes

Whether you want to analyze your sports diet, get an answer to your questions about creatine, or find a new recipe for chicken, you can get an amazing amount of high quality food, nutrition and health information on the Web.The trick is, what’s quality information and what’s hokum? Here are some of my favorite websites; perhaps this information will be a helpful resource for you, as well.
If you have questions about fueling for exercise, The Australian Institute of Sport (whose mission is to help educate Olympic athletes and coaches) offers abundant sports nutrition information. Click on Sport Science/Sport Medicine and you can find out how to fuel for your particular sport (triathlon, running, rugby, rowing, etc.), as well as fact sheets and articles that offer answers to your questions about sports supplements, including antioxidants, bovine, colostrum, glutamine, whatever.
Wonder how your sports diet stacks up? This website lets you analyze the protein, carbohydrate and fat content of your diet, and helps tract your food, exercise and weight goals. Just enter into their nutrition calculator what you typically eat in a day, and you'll learn how well you eat. Note: The key to getting accurate nutrition information is to measure the true portion sizes of what you eat. That is, how much granola do you actually consume--one cup? two cups? Measure food; don’t guess!
Wonder about caffeine? aspartame? chocolate? You’ll find the answers to your food questions on this site sponsored by the International Food Information Council Foundation, a non-profit organization who's mission is to communicate reliable information about food, food safety and nutrition. Just go to "search", enter the topic, and enjoy articles that answer your questions.
Do you have questions or concerns about how to eat to lower your cholesterol? Either search for information about your food of interest (soy, fish, eggs etc.) or click on Healthy Lifestyle. Also explore Delicious Decisions for abundant heart-healthy recipes. Wonder about the nutritional needs of infants? your grandparents? your children? yourself? The National Agricultural Library's Food and Nutrition Information Center provides abundant information about nutrition throughout the lifecycle, food safety, the Food Pyramid, a search tool to look at the nutritional value of the foods you eat, plus a wealth of nutrition information.
If you are struggling to find the right balance of food and exercise, this site offers helpful information as well as videos of professionals who can help you find peace with food. There's no need to struggle on your own; this site can help you develop a better relationship with food and your body.
Are you really getting what you pay for when you buy nutritional supplements? monitors the quality of vitamin and mineral supplements, herbs, nutrition bars, protein powders and numerous other health products so you can learn which brands offer you the best for your money. Some of the information is free; some comes with a fee. An annual subscription is $29.95; a single product review is $12. The site could likely save you that much money...
Just about everyone knows someone who is afflicted with cancer. This website helps translate the latest research into healing food suggestions to help cure or prevent cancer. The National Library of Medicine offers easy-to-understand medical information for the general public (click on Medline Plus) as well as access to the latest research published in medical journals (click on PubMed). If you want the latest news on creatine, vitamin C and exercise, or carbohydrate loading, simply search the topic of interest and wade through the abstracts.
Have no idea what's for dinner but want something tasty? You'll find lots of food ideas on this website--not only 8,000 recipes but also nutrition information about each recipe and a customized food shopping list. You can look for recipes according to health needs (low cholesterol, diabetes), time available to cook, nutrition, and taste (that is, are you hankering for comfort food, gourmet food, holiday foods, taste of the world, chocolate?). You can also choose from the list of the most popular recipes. The Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts (preparation time: 10 minutes; cooking time: 35 minutes) sounds good to me!
If you are thinking about a vegetarian lifestyle, this website, sponsored by Vegetarians Unite!, was designed to create an Internet vegetarian community. It offers over 4,300 recipes including kid-friendly foods, plus chat rooms, articles, books, even veggie poems. A fun site!
Looking for a local sports dietitian who can help answer your personal nutrition questions? This site, sponsored by SCAN, the American Dietetic Association’s dietary practice group of Sports & Cardio-vascular Nutritionists, offers a referral network. Just click on your state, and you'll get a list of sports nutrition professionals who can give you personalized attention. Don’t let nutrition be your missing link!

Nancy Clark, MS RD CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) counsels casual and competitive athletes in her private practice at Healthworks, the premier fitness center in Chestnut Hill MA (617-383-6100). Her popular Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions, and Cyclist's Food Guide are available via Also see

Weight Reduction Tips from the American Dietetic Association

The Athlete’s Kitchen

Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD, October 2007

Weight Reduction Tips from the American Dietetic Association

As an athlete, you are likely lean and fit. But with more than 60% of Americans being overweight or obese, you undoubtedly know someone who struggles with how to shed undesired body fat. At the American Dietetic Association’s annual convention help this October in Philadelphia, nutrition researchers presented alternatives to the standard “eat less and exercise more” diet advice. Here’s some food for thought on non-dieting ways to tackle weight problems.

Curbing the Obesity Epidemic
Denver’s Dr. James Hill believes we need to focus on stopping weight gain, as opposed to advocating for weight loss. One simple way to limit weight gain is to eat 100 to 200 fewer calories at the end of the day. This small calorie deficit contrasts to standard diets that severely restrict calories and are no fun. People on strict diets tend to stop losing weight after six months. Hill believes they dislike the drudgery of always being on a diet.
Yet, during the first 6 months of dieting, most dieters create new health habits—such as regular exercise—that they maintain. Exercise helps prevent (or reduce) weight regain. Surveys with “successful losers” indicate they include exercise as a part of their daily routine. For some, exercise offers spiritual benefits. For others, it provides a handy opportunity to socialize with friends. Some diet-and-exercisers even become “athletes.” (Sound familiar to anyone you know?)
Dr. Hill also recommends we address the obesity epidemic by changing the way people think about weight. For example, Denver wants to become known as “America's Healthiest City.” City leaders are working to create a culture where healthy eating and daily activity are the sustainable norm. Healthier employees will hopfully attract businesses to Denver because of lower healthcare costs.
For health promoting strategies, visit and

Curbing Mindless Eating
Dr. Brian Wansink PhD of Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab is campaigning to end mindless eating. You know, munching entire tubs of popcorn without even being hungry. Nibbling on M&Ms while waiting for someone. Unknowingly finishing the kid's leftovers. Just 100 extra mindless calories a day can contribute to gaining ten pounds of undesired body fat a year.
Dr. Wansink recommends we curb weight gain by making mindful decisions about the calories that end up in our mouths. Wansink reported we make about 250 food decisions a day. We decide not only what we eat (turkey or tuna sandwich? lowfat or regular mayo?), but also how much (half or whole sandwich?). He has determined that we eat 92% of what we serve ourselves. We generally stop eating when our plate is empty. That means, we eat with our eyes, not with our stomachs! Think about it: When do you stop eating? Chances are, you stop eating when your plate is empty (or when the TV show ends). We don't always stop when our stomach signals it is full.
To prove this point, Wansink masterminded an interesting experiment with a refillable soup bowl that never emptied. (It was refilled via hidden tubing connected to a big soup pot.) Compared to the group who ate from standard bowls, the 30 adults who (unknowingly) ate from the refillable bowls consumed about 73% more soup. And believe it or not, they did not rate themselves as feeling any more full. (How can you be full if the bowl still has half the soup in it???) Only two people realized the bowl refilled—one dropped his napkin (and noticed the tubing); the other tried to pick up the bowl (surprise!).
Wansink created another experiment to determine if serving size influences the amount of food a person eats. He arranged for a movie theater to announce “everyone gets free popcorn and soda today because it is “Illinois History Month.” The movie-goers were given five-day old popcorn (yucky). Yet, even though the popcorn tasted bad, the people still ate 35% more when they were given a big bucket of popcorn compared to a smaller bucket. They mindlessly ate the stale popcorn slowly (in contrast to a previous experiment in which the movie-goers quickly devoured fresh popcorn).
Based on these and other experiments, Wansink believes a simple way to cut calories (and control weight) is to buy smaller bowls, plates, and also glasses. He reports you’ll drink less if you pour your beverage into a tall, thin glass compared to a short fat glass. And you'll eat less pasta if it's served from a small dish rather than a large platter.
Wansink has noticed that mindless eaters fall into categories: those who—
• eat too much at meals
• graze mindlessly throughout the day
• over-eat at restaurants or special occasions,
• mindlessly eat at their desks or in their cars.
If you relate to one or more these areas (and if you want to lose body fat), your goal should be to focus on that bad eating habit. You don't have to change your whole lifestyle. You just might need to cook less dinner so there are no leftovers, or take the candy jar off your desk.
Wansink recommends mindless eaters commit to 28 days of changing their fattening eating habit. Then, after 28 days, they can go on to improve another bad habit (such as drinking less soda, or crunching on baby carrots instead of chips). On, Wansink offers a free chart to help monitor daily success. You might also want to read his book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. Perhaps it can help you fight fat with less effort than a harder workout.

Nancy Clark, MS, RD CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) counsels active people at her private practice located at Healthworks, the premier fitness center in Chestnut Hill MA (617-383-6100). Her popular Sports Nutrition Guidebook, NEW Food Guide for Marathoners and Cyclist's Food Guide offer additional information. They are available via For online education, visit


Winning Nutrition Books: Good Gifts for Good Health

The Athlete’s Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark, MS, RD November 2007

Winning Nutrition Books: Good Gifts for Good Health

Each year brings a holiday season filled with athletes searching for the “perfect gift” for a friend, relative, or teammate. To make your shopping easier, I’m sharing a list of winning book suggestions for active people. You can buy many of the books (plus others) at, or—websites that specialize in reputable food, nutrition and weight management books written by registered dietitians and other health professionals. (If the book is not at one of those sites, look on

The American Dietetic Association's Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, 3rd Edition (2006) by Roberta Duyff RD
For 656 pages of clear-cut food facts and eating advice, this nutrition bible is a good bet! This reputable resource separates fads from facts and answers questions from apples to zucchini, allergies to vegetarian diets.

What to Eat: An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Good Eating by Marion Nestle PhD
For people who feel lost in the grocery store, this guide provides an eye-opening tour through the produce, dairy, meat, fish, bread and ”center aisles” of the supermarket. The highly respected author provides the information confused athletes need to make intelligent food choices.

Vegetarian Sports Nutrition by Enette Larson-Meyer RD
Every day, more and more athletes are choosing a plant-based training diet. This book will help your favorite vegetarian enjoy optimal nutrition and top performance.

Practical Sports Nutrition by Louise Burke PhD
Written by internationally known and highly respected Australian sports dietitian Louise Burke, this 656 page textbook is geared for upper-level college and graduate students. But, it is easy to read and practical, and could easily become “the bible” for the serious athlete who really wants to delve into the science of sports nutrition.

Nutrient Timing: The Future of Sports Nutrition by John Ivy and Robert Portman
Written by two respected exercise physiologists, this book is perfect for athletes who are serious about weight training and want to take their sports diet to the next level. They'll learn the importance of what and when to eat to optimize muscles. Scientific but understandable.

Nancy Clark's Food Guide for Marathoners and
The Cyclist's Food Guide: Fueling for the Distance by Nancy Clark RD
If you have friends who are novice cyclists or runners and are venturing into the world of endurance exercise (for example, participating in a Team In Training marathon program or the AIDS ride), these books can help them enjoy the training, eat for the long haul--and, if desired, lose body fat along the way. Perfect gifts for training groups; bulk discounts at

The College Student's Guide to Eating Well on Campus by Ann Litt RD
Litt's how-to food guide can help student-athletes navigate campus food and consume adequate protein despite being vegetarian, fuel properly for sports even when traveling, and survive exams with energy to spare. It's the perfect going-away gift for college freshmen.

Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family and
Your Child's Weight: Helping without Harming by Ellyn Satter RD
Ellyn Satter RD is the expert on child feeding—and how to end the family feuds over eat-your-peas, no-dessert-until-you-eat-your-dinner, and other such controversial topics. If you and your spouse are struggling to manage your children's food intake and weight, these books are a must!

Mom's Guide to Meal Makeovers Janice Bissex RD & Liz Weiss RD
Written by dietitian-moms (and recipe-tested by their children), this family-friendly cookbook offers abundant ways to sneak health into your kids' tummies. The companion website,, offers more tips, recipes and cooking videos as well as an email newsletter.

Baby Bites by Bridgett Swinney RD
New moms will welcome this book for infants and toddlers. Offers both feeding tips and recipes. A nice gift to accompany the Baby Jogger!

The New Best Recipe by the editors of Cooks Illustrated Magazine
For friends who love to cook, this 1,028 page illustrated book offers more than just recipes. It talks about the testing that went into creating each “best” recipe. So if you want to know how to make the best tomato sauce, cinnamon swirl bread, chicken noodle soup or apple crisp, here's a fun book to read—as well as use for yummy sports meals.

Food for Fifty by Mary Molt RD
This cookbook is a welcome gift for the person who enjoys hosting team dinners. The recipes are not specifically designed for athletes, but the cook will find plenty of good choices for feeding a hungry crowd.

The Food and Feelings Workbook: A Full Course Meal on Emotional Health by Karen Koenig LCSW
Food is meant to be fuel but it often gets misused and becomes a way to starve or smother feelings. With this workbook, the reader learns how to address guilt, shame, helplessness, anxiety, disappointment, confusion, and loneliness. A helpful gift for a loved-one who struggles with food and weight, and had lost the sparkle in her (or his) eye.

Here's to 2008, filled with happiness, health and high energy!

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD is Board Certified as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She counsels both casual exercisers and competitive athletes in her private practice at Healthworks (617-383-6100) in Chestnut Hill, MA. She is author of the best selling Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Cyclists' Food Guide, and Food Guide for Marathoners. See & for more information.

Steve Stetson notes on Hamilton Football

Wesleyan Game Newsletter

This was a very difficult 10-9 loss for us. We played with intensity pretty much the entire game. We made our share of mistakes on both sides of the ball. Wesleyan also played very well and obviously made a few less critical errors than we did. Their QB threw for 365 yards against us which helped them control the ball. They only put up 10 points, but that is all they needed. We moved the ball offensively at times again but we struggled when we got near the end zone.

After two games we know this: We will play hard.

We have quite a few injuries and are in the process of teaching some people to play both ways. Due to the lack of numbers on our roster we believe we have to take this action. We considered it in the off season but felt two way players would limit us as far as being multiple on either side of the ball. Injuries had to be kept at a minimum for us to be a two platoon team like the rest of the league. Unfortunately the reverse has transpired, so we have acted immediately. We have told the team we are playing to win THIS WEEK, not next week or next year. This week happens to be Trinity which has been a powerhouse for years now. Quite frankly the opponent doesn’t matter to me right now. We have to put our BEST PLAYERS on the field and running this program like a NESCAC college football team with a full 75 man roster is not going to work. Today we are dressing about 49 players for practice.( This set of circumstances has nothing to do with the administration, which is very supportive of us.) Last year we were lucky in that we suffered very few injuries where players had to sit out games. This year has already taken a toll on us.

We are moving forward with a sense of urgency that I believe most of you would appreciate in your own business. I know sometimes that a step like this can initially look like a step backward. I also know that sometimes a move like the one we are making ends up being the catalyst for better results. We are looking to create a “spark.” We are closer to more of the NESCAC teams than we were a year ago, but this is not horseshoes. We are playing to be the best we can be. I firmly believe this move will enhance our chances today, tomorrow, this weekend and beyond.

I will keep you posted.

Steve Stetson


Our team was thrilled to have members from the 1967 team here last weekend. My wife, Sue, and I were invited to their dinner celebration. It was a great night. The team members were unanimous in their words of praise about what a great experience Hamilton College Football had been and still continues to be in the realm of friendship and bonding. Although the current team had just lost, this was a night of celebrating and sharing of genuine affection for one another that is rarely seen in any setting today. I walked away very proud of my association with Hamilton College Football.
Steve Stetson Head Football Coach Hamilton College 315.859.4757

Mount Everest Mind Camp

FEEDBACK, ideas, and suggestions are most welcome!!!Thanks in advance!Click Here: Check out "Welcome to Mt. Everest Mind Camp"StephanieStephanie S. GrahamMobile:

25 Years and Mistakes of a Pro Strength Coach

25 Years, 25 Mistakes
Michael Boyle
Originally Published: Saturday, 14 April 2007 at
This year I'll enter my twenty-fifth year as a strength and conditioning coach. Last month I watched Barbara Walters celebrate her thirtieth year with a special called "30 Mistakes in 30 Years." I'm going to celebrate my twenty-fifth anniversary by telling you my top twenty-five mistakes. Hopefully I'll save you some time, pain, and injury. Experience is a wonderful but impatient teacher. And unfortunately, our experiences in strength and conditioning sometimes hurt people besides us.

Mistake #1: Knowing it all I love Oscar Wilde's quote, "I'm much too old to know everything." Omniscience is reserved for the young. As the old saying goes, you have one mouth and two ears for a reason. I'd take it a step further and say the ratio is four to one: two eyes, two ears, and one mouth.
To continue down the cliché road, how about this one: "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." When I was young I had many answers and few questions. I knew the best way to do everything. Now that I'm older I'm not sure if I even know a good way to do anything.

Mistake #2: Not taking interns sooner
I was so smart that no one was smart enough to help me. (See mistake number one.) My productivity increased drastically when I began to take interns.
Note: Interns aren't janitors, laundry workers, or slaves. They're generally young people who look up to you and expect to learn. Take your responsibility seriously. Remember the golden rule.

Mistake #3: Not visiting other coaches
God, it seems everything goes back to number one! I was too busy running the perfect program to attempt to go learn from someone else. Plus, when you know it all, how much can you learn?
Find the good coaches or trainers in your area (or in any area you visit) and arrange to meet them or just watch them work. I often will just sit with a notebook and try to see what they do better than I do.
I can remember current San Francisco 49'ers strength and conditioning coach Johnny Parker allowing us to visit when he was with the New England Patriots and then asking us questions about what we saw and what we thought he could do better. Coach Parker is a humble man who always provided a great example of the type of coach and person I wanted to be.

Mistake #4: Putting square pegs in round holes
The bottom line is that not everyone is made to squat or to clean. I rarely squatted with my basketball players as many found squatting uncomfortable for their backs and knees.
It killed me to stop because the squat is a lift I fundamentally believed in, but athletes with long femurs will be poor squatters. It's physics. It took me a while to realize that a good lift isn't good for everybody.

Mistake #5: Not attending the United States Weightlifting Championships sooner
My only visit as a spectator to an Olympic lifting meet made me realize that Olympic lifts produced great athletes. I know this will piss off the powerlifters, but those Olympic lifters looked so much more athletic.
I remember being at the Senior's when they were held in Massachusetts in the early eighties and walking away thinking, "This is what I want my athletes to look like." Understand, at that time I was a competitive powerlifter and my programs reflected that.

Mistake #6: Being a strength coach
How can that be a mistake? Let's look at the evolution of the job. When I started, I was often referred to as the "weight coach." As the profession evolved, we became strength coaches, then strength and conditioning coaches, and today many refer to themselves as "performance enhancement specialists."
All these names reflect the changes in our job. For too many years, I was a strength coach. Eventually I realized that I knew more about conditioning than the sport coaches did, so we took on that responsibility. Later, I realized that I often knew more about movement than the sport coaches too, so we began to teach movement skills. This process took close to eighteen of my twenty-five years. I wish it had been faster.

Mistake #7: Adding without subtracting
Over the years we've continued to add more and more CNS intensive training techniques to our arsenal. Squatting, Olympic lifting, sprinting, pulling sleds, and jumping all are (or can be) CNS intensive.
I think I do too much CNS intensive work, and intend to change that. My thanks go out to Jason Ferrugia for pointing out this one.

Mistake #8: Listening to track coaches
Please don't get me wrong. Some of the people who were most influential in my professional development were track coaches. I learned volumes from guys like Don Chu, Vern Gambetta, Charlie Francis, and Brent McFarland.
However, it took me too long to realize that they coached people who ran upright almost all the time and never had to stop or to change direction. The old joke in track coaching is that it really comes down to "run fast and lean left."

Mistake #9: Not meeting Mark Verstegen sooner
Mark may be the most misunderstood guy in our field. He's a great coach and a better friend. About ten years ago a friend brought me a magazine article about Mark Verstegen. The article demonstrated some interesting drills that I'd never seen. I decided my next vacation would be to Florida 's Gulf Coast as Mark was then in Bradenton , Florida .
I was lucky enough to know Darryl Eto, a genius in his own right, who was a co-worker of Mark's. In the small world category, Darryl's college coach was the legendary Don Chu.
Darryl arranged for me to observe some training sessions in Bradenton . I sat fascinated for hours as I watched great young coaches work. Mark was one of the first to break out of the track mold we were all stuck in and teach lateral and multi-directional movement with the same skill that the track coaches taught linear movement. This process was a quantum leap for me and became a quantum leap for my athletes.
This was my step from strength and conditioning coach to performance enhancement specialist (although I never refer to myself as the latter). The key to this process was accepting the fact that Mark and his co-workers were far ahead of me in this critical area.

Mistake #10: Copying plyometric programs
This goes back to the track coach thing. I believe I injured a few athletes in my career by simply taking what I was told and attempting to do it with my athletes. I've since learned to filter information better, but the way I learned was through trial and error... and the error probably resulted in sore knees or sore backs for my athletes.
Track jumpers are unique and clearly are involved in track and field because they're suited for it. What's good for a long jumper is probably not good for a football lineman. It took me too long to realize this.

Mistake #11: Copying any programs
Luckily for me, I rarely copied strength programs when training my athletes. This mistake might be beyond the statute of limitations as it was more than twenty-five years ago.
I think copying the training programs of great powerlifters like George Frenn and Roger Estep left me with the sore back and bad shoulders I've carried around for the last twenty-five years. What works for the genetically gifted probably won't work for the genetically average.

Mistake #12: Not teaching my athletes to snatch sooner
We've done snatches for probably the last seven or eight years. The snatch is a great lift that's easier to learn than the clean and has greater athletic carryover. Take the time to try it and study it. You'll thank me.
Mistake #13: Starting to teach snatches with a snatch grip
When I realized that snatches would be a great lift for my athletes I began to implement them into my programs. Within a week some athletes complained of shoulder pain. In two weeks, so many complained that I took snatches out of the program. It wasn't until I revisited the snatch with a clean grip that I truly began to see the benefits.
Just remember, the only reason Olympic lifters use a wide snatch grip is so that they can reduce the distance the bar travels and as a result lift more weight. Close-grip snatches markedly decrease the external rotation component and also increase the distance traveled. The result is a better lift, but less weight.

Mistake #14: Confusing disagree with dislike
I think it's great to disagree. The field would be boring if we all agreed. What I realize now is that I've met very few people in this field I don't like and many I disagree with. I probably enjoy life more now that I don't feel compelled to ignore those who don't agree with me.

Mistake #15: Confusing reading with believing
This concept came to me by way of strength coach Martin Rooney. It's great to read. We just need to remember that in spite of the best efforts of editors, what we read may not always be true.
If the book is more than two years old, there's a good chance even the author no longer agrees with all the information in it. Read often, but read analytically.

Mistake #16: Listening to paid experts
Early on, many of us were duped by the people from companies like Cybex or Nautilus. Their experts proclaimed their systems to be the future, but now the cam and isokinetics are the past. Just as in any other field, people will say things for money.

Mistake #17: Not attending one seminar per year just as a participant
I speak approximately twenty times a year. Most times I stay and listen to the other speakers. If you don't do continuing education, start. If you work in the continuing education field, go to at least one seminar given by an expert in your field as a participant.
(Note: Mistakes 18-25 are more personal than professional, but keep reading!)

Mistake #18: Not taking enough vacation time
When I first worked at Boston University we were allowed two weeks paid vacation. For the first ten years I never took more than one.
Usually I took off the week between Christmas and New Years. This is an expensive week to vacation, but it meant that I'd miss the least number of workouts since most of my athletes were home at this time. I think the first time I took a week off in the summer was about four years ago. My rationale? Summer is peak training time. Can't miss one of those weeks.
I think there's a thin line between dedication and stupidity, and I often crossed it. I think in my early years I was more disappointed that the whole program hadn't collapsed during any of my brief absences. I felt less valuable when I returned from a seminar and realized that everything had gone great.
Stephen Covey refers to it as "sharpening the saw." Take the time to vacation. You'll be better for it.

Mistake #19: Neglecting your own health
This is an embarrassing story, but this article is all about helping others to not repeat my errors. Every year in February I'd find myself in the doctor's office with a different complaint: gastro-intestinal problems, headaches, flu-type illnesses, etc. I had a wonderful general practitioner who took a great interest in his patients. His response year after year was the same: slow down. You can't work 60-80 hours a week and be healthy.
Like a fool I yessed him to death and went back to my schedule. After about the fifth year of this process my doctor said, "I need to refer you to a specialist who can help you with this problem" and he handed me a card. I was expecting an allergist or perhaps some type of holistic stress expert. Instead I found myself holding a card for a psychiatrist.
My doctor's response was simple. I can't help you. You need to figure out why you continue to do this to yourself year in and year out. I went outside and called my wife. I told her it was a "good news-bad news" scenario. I wasn't seriously ill, but I might be crazy. Unfortunately, she already knew this.

Mistake #20: Not recognizing stress
Again I remember talking to a nurse who was treating me for a gastrointestinal problem. I seemed to have chronic heartburn. Her first question was, "Are you under any stress?" My response was the usual. Me? Stress? I have the greatest job in the world. I love going to work every day!
Do you know what her response was? She said, "Remember, stress isn't always negative." It was the first time I'd really thought about that. My job was stressful. Long days, weekend travel, too many late nights celebrating victories or drowning sorrows. A part-time job to make extra money meant working at a bar on Friday and Saturday until 2 AM, and that was often followed by drinks until 4 AM.
Sounds like fun, but it added up to stress. The lesson: stress doesn't have to be negative. Stress can just be from volume.

Mistake #21: Not having kids sooner
As a typical type-A asshole know-it-all, I was way too busy to be bothered with kids. They would simply be little people who got in the way of my plans to change the world of strength and conditioning. I regret that I probably won't live to 100. If I did I'd get to spend another 53 years with my kids.

Mistake #22: Neglecting my wife
See above. It wasn't until I had children that I truly realized how my obsession with work caused me to neglect my wife. I have often apologized to her, but probably not often enough.

Mistake #23: Not taking naps
Do you see the pattern here? Whether we're personal trainers or strength and conditioning coaches, the badge of honor is often lack of sleep. How often have you heard someone say, "I only need five hours a night!"
In the last few years I've tried to take a nap every day I'm able. As we age we sleep less at night and get up earlier. I'm not sure if this is a good thing. I know when I'm well-rested I'm a better husband and father than when I'm exhausted at the end of a day that might have begun at 4:45 AM.
There's no shame in sleep, although I think many would try to make us believe there is.

Mistake #24: Not giving enough to charity
Most of us are lucky. Try to think of those who have less than you. I'm not a religious person, but I've been blessed with a great life. I try every day to "pay it forward." If you haven't seen the movie, rent it. The more you give, the more you get.

Mistake #25: Reading an article like this and thinking it doesn't apply to you
Trust me, denial is our biggest problem.
About the Author
Michael Boyle is one of the foremost experts in the fields of Strength and Conditioning, Performance Enhancement and general fitness. He currently spends his time lecturing, teaching, training, and writing. For more info, visit his site: Last Updated ( Saturday, 14 April 2007 ) Close Window

BJ Baker, MS, ATC, CSCSTRAIN Boston 34 Washington StWellesley , MA 02481 W: 781-263-9993Fax: 781-263-9996Cell: 978-549-8111

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You'll learn to focus for excellence and high-quality living. You'll gain a more positive outlook, a more focused commitment, better ways of dealing with distractions, and strategies for overcoming obstacles. You'll also achieve greater personal and professional satisfaction and discover better ways to work with teammates, respond more effectively to coaching, and become more self-directed in your thoughts and actions.

Both practical and inspirational, In Pursuit of Excellence is a guide to daily living and motivation as well as a road map to long-term achievement. Read it, use it, and win with it-on and off the field.
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Aimees Soapbox June 2007

Aimee's June Soapbox
June 2007: Soapbox Smackdown Winners!
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Greetings Groovy Soapbox Readers!

Hey Groovy Readers! Feels great to be back! I was recently out of work for 3 weeks following some heavy- duty surgery on my noggin. But all is good now, and I am back running and back Soapboxing!
So without further ado, I wanted to introduce you to the two winners of the Soapbox Smackdown. (Even though we had four categories, I only had entrants in two of them.)

The first winner, in the Race Goal Category, is Dan East. Dan is a member of the Valley Forge Striders running club, a former officer of that club, and an all- around nice guy. He has been putting in some dedicated and determined training for some time now. He has competed at a variety of distances and has even competed in multisport events.
Dan wrote to me that he wanted to enter the Race Goal category because he had just run the New Jersey Marathon at the end of April. Now, Dan is one of those that will set specific goals, avail himself of new technology, and run with a support group of other running buddies. In short, he focuses and does all the things you should do when setting out to achieve something new.

So it's no surprise that he set and achieved his goal of a marathon PR. In the first 18 miles of the race, Dan established a consistent and do-able pace with the help of his Garmin 305. But then, as happens to so many of us at mile 21, the wheels fell off, to use Dan's own words.

Fear not, though, Groovy Readers! Our story does not end there! (And Dan wouldn't have won this contest if it did.) No, Dan did not quit, throw in the towel, or make excuses. At mile 24 he realized he could still achieve his goal, and so he dug down deep, ran the last 2+ miles, and got his PR by a very fulfilling 41 seconds. And so Dan is awarded our Race Goal prize for fighting the good fight and successfully running a 3:56:22 marathon.

Our second winner, who actually entered the Race Goal Category as well, is Jennie Byrd. Jennie's story, though, was enough for me to invent a new category just for her: the Perseverance Category.
Jennie had set her sights on chopping 15 minutes off of her half marathon time. A lofty goal, indeed! But the intrepid Jenny threw herself into her training program with vigor, adding weights, Pilates, and extra miles to her routine. Unfortunately for her, though, she did not realize that her chosen race, the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon, was a pretty hilly one. Sigh...

So, while Jennie did indeed PR at the Lehigh Valley race by 10 minutes, she did not achieve her stated goal. At this, our heroine felt despondent. She emailed me to tell me that she had "failed." All seemed lost.
But again, fear not, Groovy Readers!!! Like Dan, our Jennie also rallied and went on to learn great lessons, to race again, and to achieve PRs in other distances! Rumor has it, she is even training for the Chicago Marathon this fall. Yay, Jennie!

I am very happy to highlight these two runners because they both show that dedication, focus, and perseverance can win the day. Once again, we see that running is a metaphor for life. Thanks for your stories, Dan and Jennie! (By the way, your prizes will be at the stores.)
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Aimees Soapbox July 2007

Aimee's July Soapbox
July 2007: Assessment without Judgement
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Greetings Groovy Soapbox Readers!

When I was younger, both of my parents were Health & PE teachers and both of them coached. So I pretty much came into this world with no choice but to play sports. The backyard of our house had a volleyball net, croquet wickets, and a jumble of Frisbees, whiffle balls, and soccer balls in it year-round. My dad taught me how to shoot a bow-n-arrow. And I was even the mascot for my mom's field hockey team when I was eight.

Now, my parents didn't just teach me the fundamentals and skills needed to play a variety of sports. They also taught me sportsmanship and the importance of discipline and dedication. And most importantly, they showed me how sports is a metaphor for life and how to use it for proper self- improvement.

Now that I am older and have done my own training and coached others, I can see that not everyone got this same memo. I think a lot of folks were taught some excellent skills, but a lot of people missed out on that "proper self-improvement" speech.

When I say Proper Self-Improvement, what I really mean is Self-Analysis without Judgment. (Side Note: I don't think that this phenomenon is limited to athletes and sports, but those are the parameters of this Soapbox, so there you go.)

In my 28 years of playing sports, competing, and coaching, I have noticed far too many people who will obsess over their times or weekly mileage or their stats for the sole purpose of running themselves down. Ummm, not cool. In fact, this is the least Groovy Behavior in all the Wide World of Sports.

I mean, think about it. If you are trying to IMPROVE your performance, how does it help to beat yourself up over missing a day of exercise or missing your PR by twenty seconds? Does this make you run faster or farther? Does comparing yourself to another runner suddenly make you as fast as that runner? And even if you did suddenly become as fast as that other runner, would anything really, truly be different?

Good athletes do not judge themselves as human beings based on a time or a score. One person is not better than another because he ran a faster 5K or lifted more weight or threw a ball farther. And bad- mouthing yourself and running yourself down because of perceived flaws in your training journals only makes you a Small and Sorry Lump without contributing to real improvement. So cut it out, OK?

Just go run and be groovy! Hike and be groovy! Swim and be groovy! Do what you do and remember always to be groovy. You don't want to be the Small and Sorry Lump. . . .
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Aimees Soapbox August 2007

Aimee's August Soapbox
August 2007: Assessment, Part II
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Greetings Groovy Soapbox Readers!

(This column is a continuation of last month's theme. Yes, I am sure you realized that when you saw the "Part II" in the title, smarty pants. The point is that you might want to read-or read again-that column to get you ready for this one.)

If you read last month's column (this is now your second reminder to do so, so you may want to do that before reading on. . . . go ahead, I'll wait. . . . ) you know that both of my parents have been coaches. And some of you might now that I have been a coach. In fact, I am still coaching; in this case, I am an assistant coach on my own dragon boat team.

One thing that I have noticed this season with some of my teammates is a lack of enthusiasm. Now, this is not meant as a criticism of my teammates; it is strictly an observation of the General Team Atmosphere. My observation is based on a few things: we have done far fewer races this year than in years past, attendance has been down at some practices, and there are a few folks who have simply taken the year off.

Have you ever had a year like that, my Groovy Runners? When your heart is just not into it? When you need a break from racing? Or when you just aren't getting out there like you used to?

First, let me reassure you that this kind of thing is perfectly natural and normal. Running and dragon boating--just like life--go in cycles. There is no such thing as The Straight Line to Fitness Land. Some years you will have injuries, some years you will kick butt, some years will kick you in the butt, some years you will feel burned out and need to take time off, and some years you will rally to kick butt again. It's all a big ole circle that goes around and around and does not stay static, or even build upward in a straight line.

So, no matter which cycle you are in, you can always assess yourself to gain some perspective. Here are a few good questions to ask yourself:

1. How is my mental "fitness" level? Do I need to work on mental toughness? Do I let self- doubt creep in during testing and racing? Do I let myself slack off during practice? Do I feel burned out because I am too hard on myself mentally and never let myself have normal ups-n-downs?

2. How is my strength? Is my strength balanced in all areas of my body? Do I have areas where I compensate, thus setting myself up for future injury?

3. How is my endurance? Can I improve my cardiovascular base over the winter? Do I feel winded at practice, even during short pieces? Can I add some cardio cross training into my routine?

4. How is the balance in my life? Do I take things too seriously? Not seriously enough? Am I overtraining in any one area of my fitness? Am I including time for myself and my family in my overall schedule?

Take a few moments to answer these questions for yourself. Find out where you need to focus, or to let up. In this way, you can devise a more well-rounded plan for yourself so that you can become a stronger, healthier, more balanced athlete in the months and years ahead. So go assess yourself, and remember to think in cycles!
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Aimees Soapbox October

Aimee's October Soapbox
October 2007: Stretching, or How Not to Feel Like an Old Lady at 40
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Greetings Groovy Soapbox Readers!
So I'm lying on the floor, trying to stretch my hamstrings. I've got my stretching band around my foot, and I am attempting to lift my leg straight up in the air. I fight back the tears as a bead of sweat drips down my forehead and onto the carpet. My leg shakes, and I curse the heavens and take the flexibility god's name in vain.

Now, at this point some of you might be wondering why I am having such a difficult time with stretching, especially when I have been preaching and pontificating on the Virtue of Flexibility in this column for the past four years. Hmmm, a wee bit hypocritical, you say?

Let me explain myself and provide some exposition. First, I had just finished up my own racing season, and this was my first workout back after having taken a full week off. So, in the course of the taper, competition, and recovery week, I had not done much of anything in terms of real working out except the actual races. Second, I had, only a few days earlier, been on an airplane for about twenty hours straight. Now, I know that I am smaller than the average bear, but even my 5' 2" self got a bit cramped after that long of a flight.

Of course, I could have and should have been continuing to stretch all throughout that recovery week. But I will admit to being a lazy dog and doing absolutely nothing on those off days. Pardon my self- back-patting, but I felt that after a challenging training and racing season, I had earned a coupla days of couch surfing.

So back to the floor and my attempt to stretch my sneering hamstrings. . . . Well, Groovy Readers, let me tell you that it was something of an Epiphany for me. For one thing, it cemented my belief that stretching is indeed a key component of fitness. When you remember that fitness can be defined as "quality of life," you have to realize that not being able to bend over to tie your shoes or not being able to put lotion on your own back is a definite limitation on one's life quality. And for another thing, it made me realize that, just like exercise, it is easy to get out of flexibility shape and tough to get back in. Geez, after less than two weeks of no stretching, I was unable to touch my toes or do a simple yoga Sun Salutation. Sigh. . . .

What's an almost-forty-year-old to do then? Go back to the basics, of course. For me, that is Active Isolated Stretching, kinesiologist Aaron Mattes' technique of flexibility exercises. (For more on this technique, please read the October 2004 Soapbox, or go to The "back to basics," then, means the following:

1. MAKE TIME TO STRETCH EVERY DAY. Mattes suggests daily stretching, since our muscles can shorten or stiffen from work, training, posture, or stress. So my temporary break from stretching and working out, while doing wonders for my mental state, really did nothing to help me stay loose and relaxed physically.

2. STRETCH PROPERLY. While there are several stretching methods out there (ballistic, passive, static, PNF), I think that Active Isolated Stretching is the grooviest out there. Mattes put his years of education and experience to good use in formulating the AIS technique. It works WITH the body's physiology and is a safe, effective method. And it identifies and isolates the specific muscle to be stretched in order to achieve the best result. (Again, see his website or one of his books for the exact directions on how to perform the stretches.)

3. VALUE FLEXIBILITY AS A KEY COMPONENT OF WELLNESS. As illustrated above, NOT stretching really has a detrimental effect on overall fitness or quality of life. So instead of thinking of it as just something to do after my run, I really need to think of it as something I do for my overall health- mind, body, and spirit.
Convinced yet, dear Groovy Readers? Trust me, that moment on the floor was embarrassing and humbling enough to convince me. And I already believed. Now, off you go. . . drop and give me twenty trunk rotations.
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Hey Ladies! Come to our Paoli shop for Girlz Nite on Monday, October 22 at 6:30pm!
Enjoy a night out with your fellow women runners & walkers, and learn about training, nutrition, and more. Presenters include a Bobbi Kisebach (massage therapy), Nancy Whelan (Champion Sports Bra representative), and Keith Straw (nationally-ranked ultramarathoner). All attendees receive a free goodie bag!

RSVP to 610-296-2868, hope to see you there!
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Aimee's Soapbox

Aimee's November Soapbox
November 2007: Perspective
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Greetings Groovy Soapbox Readers!
When I am in charge of the world, all citizens will have a required one-year period of "Customer Service" service to the nation. It could be in retail, restaurants, whatever. Every person just has to spend one year working in some kind of service industry that includes working with the public
Why such a requirement? Well, in my little utopian society, every person will have to learn the lesson about walking a mile in the other guy's shoes, and that sometimes the other guy is wearing really tight stilettos with four-inch heels and pointy toes.

Now, I am not saying that each person will have to start wearing their own stilettos, or even like them. But I am saying that everyone will have to learn Perspective.

What's so big about perspective? Well, if perspective is reality, as they say, then perspective is pretty much everything. I mean, if your perspective is that life is crap and everything sucks, then you will only see the glass half empty, you will only pay attention to the things that reinforce your perspective, and you will go home and kick the dog, yell at the kids, and push away your spouse. And that becomes your reality. (You just better hope your dog, kids, and spouse are "half full" folks so that they have some compassion for you.)

Anyway, here are my three reasons why Perspective is the Key to it All:
1. Perspective Teaches Personal Responsibility. It is my opinion that too many people play the victim (because it is easier) and are under-responsible for their lives. For example, it is much easier to blame supersized fast food for our obesity problem than it is to take responsibility for the fact that we are a sedentary nation that would rather play video games and download internet porn than go out for a walk.
When I was in college, one of my religion professors had arranged for our class to visit the home of an Amish family. We toured the farm and had dinner with them. If you've ever eaten German or Pennsylvania Dutch food, you know that "low calorie" and "light and airy" are not in the cookbook. Think meat and potatoes. But have you ever seen an obese Amish person? No. So don't just blame the carbs or the fats.
I think if we are willing to look at the big picture, we can become more personally responsible for our actions, and therefore more empowered. I know that there will always be some people who take the easy way out by being the victim, but they truly are giving up their personal power to others when they do that. And that's just silly.

2. Perspective Teaches you to Think Outside of Yourself. So in my aforementioned utopia with the mandatory service, every person will have to learn how to wait on others, help others, and provide service to others. Now, if you have already worked in these industries, you know that "others" can sometimes be a bit prickly. If you have not already worked in these industries, you should know that sometimes you can be a bit prickly.
I always cringe when I see someone in a restaurant giving the wait staff a hard time. Or when I see someone treating a sales clerk in a patronizing or condescending manner. (And yes, I know this goes both ways.)
Maybe that waiter just broke up with his girlfriend. Or maybe the sales clerk just learned his dad has cancer. Or maybe, they have just worked a double shift and they still have to go home to a sick kid. If that were you, wouldn't you want someone to see things from your perspective?

3. Perspective Teaches Compassion and Humility. The other day, I was watching a decorating show on one of the cable channels. It highlighted the Top 25 Biggest Decorating Mistakes. (I was anxious to learn if my throw pillows were trendy or tacky.)
Anyway, about 15 minutes into the show, my husband says, "Gee, I bet this show's a big hit in Darfur."
OK, so that made me laugh, but kind of in a rueful sort of way. I mean, here I sit, on my comfy couch and in a position to even HAVE throw pillows to judge, and on the other side of the world, someone else is wondering how long he has till he starves to death and maybe even wishing it would hurry up. Yep, that gave me a sense of humility real fast.
I guess what I am saying here is that we could all use a little reality check now and then, or at least a reminder to think about the big picture and the fact that our own version of things is not the only version. It's a tough and humbling path to take.So, maybe it's good I am not in charge of the world, enforcing my mandatory service on all the unsuspecting citizens. Or maybe it's not. Depends on your perspective.
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Cooler temperatures are finally here! We've got all the right gear for winter training at Runaway Success!
You don't need to flee to the gym or the treadmill as soon as the thermostat dips below 60 degrees! Cooler weather can be some of the most fantastic running weather if you just dress appropriately. Our knowledgeable staff will be glad to help you pick a few key items to make winter training enjoyable!
P.S. Winter can also mean running in the dark - we've got a full selection of reflective items to help you stay safe when visibility is less than optimal!
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