This past week I was out of the office on a trip to San Diego for the Mountain West Baseball Conference Tournament. The team took care business on the field which allowed me to have some fun off the field.
Aside from doing a little surfing while I was there I also got the opportunity to visit with the Head Strength Coach for the San Diego Chargers. It was a great opportunity to see the Chargers facilities as well as talk shop with some good guys. Most strength coaches would be surprised at seeing an NFL weight room. It isn’t what most would expect. They aren’t like the grand weight rooms of Division I football that encompass acre’s. The Chargers facility is probably less than 4,500 sq. ft. It had 5 full rack / platform combo’s in it but a giant multitude of other tools including stability balls, med-balls, kettlebells, sleds, etc, as well as a pool right outside the door.
Some points I took away from meeting with Coach Jeff Hurd:
1. He trains the off-season on a four-day split of upper and lower. They do some form of sprinting / agility everyday of the week and finish on Friday with conditioning. Head Coach Norv Turner likes 110’s so often times this is part of Friday’s conditioning session.
2. During the in-season everyone is on a minimum of two-day split, with most skill guys getting three days during that time. Training is based on recovery for the most part.
3. Coach Hurd does olympic lift his guys. An interesting point he made is that his guys pull from where they play. Down lineman pull from the floor, while skill guys will go pull more predominantly from the hang and with a counter-movement.
4. One thing that differs greatly from college is the amount of rules and regulations. They have no weekly hours to abide by and have the ability to get things done on a more need based basis, unlike the university level where there are mandatory discretionary weeks, 8 hour weeks, etc. One problem Coach Hurd touched on was the month of July. Players go home for the month of July after training hard for the month of June. They then come back from the month off and begin camp. Some players stay but most leave for the month and hopefully keep up with their training.
5. They have two vibration platforms in their facility that they use extensively for recovery and restoration, especially of the big men. They also utilize other means for soft tissue work such as the foam rollers, lacrosse balls, etc. It’s good to see others using extensive means of recovery and soft tissue work for athletes. Most of you that know me understand I’m big into soft tissue work. Feel Like a Million Bucks Today.
6. The last thing he emphasized is that what they do isn’t magical or really any different from what most of us do at the collegiate level. They still train hard and heavy doing multi-joint movements, and olympic lifts. It really isn’t that different from what a lot of football programs at the university level.
A great friend of mine and former athlete finally made it to the show this week. Andrew Cashner, the Cubs first round pick in 2008 threw one 95 mph pitch in the top of the 8th with 2 outs and 2 runners on Memorial Day against the Pirates. The result was a pop up and ended the inning. Cubs’ Cashner get call to Majors.
I’m sure many of you saw the news about Armando Galarraga and his perfect game last night. To tell you how big the news was if you didn’t catch it yet a quick news search today on google will bring up over 2,500 hits. Armando was one out away from a perfect game, which would’ve been only the 21st in more than 130 years of record keeping, and the third in a four-week time span in MLB. Never before had two perfect games been thrown in the same season, let alone the same month. One measure of how significant this is that there have been entire decades including the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1970s where fewer than two perfect games were pitched. Armando was on the cusp of the greatest achievement in a pitcher’s career when it was cut short on the 27th and final out.
In his post-season interview the umpire on the call Jim Joyce admitted to blowing it over and over. One of my sources in professional baseball told me that Jim Joyce is actually one of the best umpires out there, and it sounds that way if you listen to the video below. Galarraga said that Joyce visited the Tiger locker room after the game and apologized deeply for the mistake.
Being that we’re in the final weeks of the TCU baseball season I’ll end with one of my very first posts 6 months ago. We play this weekend in the regional that we are hosting. It talks a little about my philosophy to in-season training and how it can and should be adjusted for the athlete. Individualized Training for Recovery