Xs and Os are important but they are secondary to the number one reason for player safety and winning – upper level strength and conditioning. Extreme fitness body, mind, and soul. The most important equipment in football is the equipment built in the weight room. Being unfit for duty is the number one player safety issue. Out of shape players are a threat to themselves and to the entire team. We coaches are responsible for ensuring that each player, rookie and veteran alike, are in the very best shape possible to reduce the catastrophic risks inherent to any contact sport.
Top level strength and conditioning is non-negotiable at any level of football. Those unfit for duty are liabilities who cannot be exposed to contact sports for their safety and the safety of the rest of the team. The toughest challenge I’ve had in 40 seasons of coaching football is building team passion for lifting and running. Passion for working out transcends ordinary buy-in. Passion for working out requires raising individual level of consciousness that exceeds casual commitment. Heightened awareness doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t happen accidentally or randomly or overnight. It takes structured work to build the heightened awareness that’s the main ingredient for lifting passion.
I recently installed Level One of my workout plan for my new high school football team. I returned to high school football where I started my coaching career. My new team finished dead last in the lowest division of the Halton Region. Level One includes a mental and physical strength and conditioning program intended to build a mindset that will lead to lifelong working out for each player. Part of Level One is a motivational component based on hardcore evidence of what past lifters have accomplished. This kind of evidence has proved to trigger the most powerful motivation – a self-generated performance demand, the driving force behind all peak performance, on and off the field, in any sport or profession. The following is a blog I posted on my personal website that is the single-most powerful evidence of how lifting is life-altering. I shared it with my new team. It’s a story that not only needs to be told but needs to be heard. The story is about one of many lifting accomplishments of a 50-year old rookie female lifter who I coached starting last August. She is one of six women ranging from 39-50 years of age who have made tremendous strength gains in the gym. If a 50 year-old rookie female lifter can build extreme strength in only 8 months, so can high school student-athletes. The article is called, “You lift like a girl.”
You lift like a girl
Less than 3 months ago, I set a “stretch goal” for women group lifters – 200 abs while holding an Olympic bar with one 45-lb plate aside in an upright bench press position at the end of an intense workout. 4 x 50 reps while locking out 135 lbs (45-lb bar + 45 + 45). Congratulations to Cathy Martin for achieving that goal last night, in a fraction of the time normally needed.
This ab workout is hardcore. Dual meaning. It’s a hardcore intense ab workout. And it builds a super hard core. Cathy started group lifting last August. She was a veteran X Fitness boot camper but a rookie hardcore lifter. Achieving her level of lifting, strength, and endurance in only eight months is incredible. But adding her age makes it epic.
The Power of Stretch Goals is limitless. A stretch goal is a seemingly unreasonable, outrageous goal by conventional standards. It’s a goal that raises the bar beyond traditional thinking. Stretch goals explore your soul, letting you search it for strength, stamina, and endurance that you never imagined having. Everyone has the soul of a lifter but not everyone finds it or uses it or brings it out. Many resign themselves to weakness by giving up when the candles on their birthday cake get too heavy. The soul of a lifter never grows old. You grow old when you stop lifting. You grow old when you stop searching your soul for more strength, more stamina, and more endurance from the limitless power source that we’re all blessed with.
Achieving a stretch goal is hardcore evidence –proof of what can be done when you invest your body, mind, and soul into a personal odyssey that has no finish line. Evidence eliminates unreasonable doubt, especially the killer self-doubt that vanquishes your spirit prematurely. Evidence makes us believe. Evidence makes us believe in doing what our minds had convinced us we couldn’t do.
“Stretch” goals stretch performance. All you need is a stretching program, a set of stretch goals that will examine your conscience with higher level s of urgency and intensity. Listen to your conscience after you question it. Let your conscience speak to you. And take the time to listen. The most important message you will hear is, “I’m not going to take it anymore.” Not going to accept mediocrity from self. Not going to accept excuses. Not going to accept failure. Not going to accept losing. Not going to accept what can’t be done. Along those lines, here is a link to a top 100 Classic Rock workout song that made number one on my hit list for this week’s workouts. The link is after my signature.
Congratulations, Cathy Martin. You definitely lift like a girl because girl lifters never quit. May you never stop lifting. Dual meaning. Lifting yourself and others.
Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 Nat’l Coaching Certification Program
Head coach – Niagara X-men football
head coach- Robert Bateman High School – GO WILD.
Owner – X Fitness Inc.
Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. His website, blog, Youtube channel, and list of books are at: www.ginoarcaro.com His books include: 4th & hell: seasons 1-5, Soul of a Lifter, SWAT Offense, SWAT Defense, X Fitness Workout System, and a 3 business book series called Soul of an Entrepreneur . He also has written 20 editions of 6 law enforcement academic textbooks. A new 8-volume interrogation book series will be released in the spring of 2014. And just released, a new children’s book called “BE FIT – DON’T QUIT.” His latest book on human potential called “Hashtag Peace” is at the editing stage. It will be released soon.