Want to know one of the most stressful times of my year, every year?
You might think it’s when I’m busy coaching and in the trenches with my athletes.
You might think it’s when I’m traveling across the US (and sometimes internationally) to do speaking engagements.
Stressful – but not that stressful.
Or you might think it’s when I’m just here in Indy, hunkered down with a ton of work to do and programs to write.
Not even close.
The most stressful time of my year, every year?
It’s the 2-3 months leading up to our Physical Preparation Summit.
There are just so many moving parts when it comes to an event. From the venue and host site, to the speakers, to registration and sign-ups, it’s just not easy to pull a great event off.
However, I’m very excited for this year’s event, and I’ve gotten a lot of questions about it over the past 3-4 weeks.
One great question that came up was this:
“How did you pick this year’s line-up of speakers?”
And as I started to think all this through, I realized it couldn’t be a one or two line answer.
So instead, I wrote it all up for you, with some “Inside Baseball” insights as to how I picked this years crew.
So without any further ado, here’s my (very long winded) answer!
#1 – Lee Freakin’ Taft
If my math is right, this will be at least the fifth time I’ve had Lee Taft speak at one of our seminars.
(And this does not include the year I brought him and Nick Winkelman in for our Elite Speed Seminar, so make that six times!)
He’s so stinking smart, and he’s thought about this stuff so much, getting him for an hour is a tease.
You get this little, teeny-tiny glimpse of the cool stuff he’s doing, and then BOOM!
So this year, I decided to fix that.
I want to know as much about his system as possible.
I’ve bought and reviewed every product Lee has put out over the last 5-10 years.
I’ve stalked him with emails and texts.
Hell, I’ve even driven down to his place on my day off just to hang out and talk shop!
So bringing Lee in for an entire day, where we can really sit down and take a deep dive into his system, seems like a no-brainer to me.
You might not be able to learn someone’s entire training system in one day, but you can get some really good insights into it.
Furthermore, you can see how all the pieces fit together, so you can start using and implementing his system on your own.
If you train athletes that want to run faster, change directions quicker, or jump higher, then Lee’s presentations alone are worth the price of admission.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to have Lee in for our Summit this year.
We just spent some time together last week, and he’s doing some very cool stuff with his athletes.
So again, if you are serious about multi-directional speed and agility, this is going to be an amazing day!
#2 – Mike Young Talking Plyos
It’s funny – when you’ve done this for a little while, you start to spot the trends in our industry.
For a LONG TIME, it was all about strength.
Everyone was looking at how to make their athletes bigger and stronger, so they could perform at higher levels.
Then there was the “speed phase,” where everyone was looking to track coaches and athletes to help make their athletes faster.
But if you want my .02 here, the next big area of exploration and growth is going to be in plyometrics.
Plyos can help bridge that gap between speed and strength development.
They can also help train similar qualities to both, depending on the type of plyo you’re doing, the ground contact times involved, etc.
I can see the writing on the wall here, and plyos are something I’m using to try and “smooth the transition” between my speed and strength training.
As I’ve been researching plyos over the years, one name that kept popping up was Mike Young.
I’ve followed Mike’s work on speed training for years. And really, he’s a guy with a true system and philosophy of his own, so I try and learn as much from him as I can.
But his work with plyos in particular caught my eye, and I knew I wanted to learn more.
If you want to truly bridge the gap from speed to strength, and if you want to help your athletes build explosiveness and jump higher (and faster) than ever before, you’re going to love this talk.
I’m telling you right now, plyos are the next “big thing” in our industry.
They take zero technology to implement.
They can be done with little, or no, equipment.
And they can make a profound impact on your performance.
So yeah – if you want to build faster and more explosive athletes, this talk is going to be legit.
#3 – Andy McCloy and his EPIC Shoe Game
So those first two presenters help fill in specific knowledge gaps that I feel exist in the industry.
But I’m always looking for themes for my seminars.
Last year, it was “From Rehab to Performance,” which is why we put an emphasis on the entire training spectrum.
Quite simply, how do you develop an athlete at the high school, college and professional level?
And I’ll be honest – I don’t train enough high school athletes to give a good talk on that segment of the market.
But I know a guy who does!
Andy McCloy is someone I consider a good friend. We obviously share the passion (and burdens!) of being entrepreneurs, but Andy is serious about his craft as a coach as well.
Now you might think since we’re boys, I let him attend everything for free. But that’s not how Andy rolls.
He’s paid to attend all of the EAD seminars, our Physical Prep Summit, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It feels like Andy is at at least one training seminar per month, which is why he’s at the top of his game as a trainer.
But you want to know the most important thing in this equation?
I know a ton of guys who go to every seminar imaginable, and have every certification to their name.
But they don’t know jack shit about training!
Andy is a guy who takes all that information, distills it down, and figures out where it goes within his philosophy.
Plus, Andy consistently has some of the highest profile athletes in Alabama coming through his gym, so on so many levels he just gets it.
In this talk, you’re going to get a birds-eye view into how Andy has built one of the most powerful gyms in Alabama.
With a blend of both business and training discussed, I guarantee you’re going to be fired and focused after Andy’s talk.
Plus, up until a year or two ago, Andy always seemed really reluctant to get out there and speak.
So consider this my “not so subtle” way of pushing him to be more active and present in the speaking world!
Because we need more guys like Andy out there.
#4 – Ryan Horn and the Legend of the Beard
A few years back, I was interviewing Jay DeMayo from the University of Richmond for his podcast.
So needless to say, that caught my attention and I was intrigued.
I’m always looking to widen the network, and simultaneously looking for coaches who would be good to have on the podcast.
So I started following for a little while, and found out real quick that this guy knows his stuff.
He absolutely blew me away with not only his thought process, but that practicality of his approach.
That’s why I had to have Ryan at this year’s seminar. This is a guy that is living and breathing at the collegiate level. And sure, he’s got some tools at his disposal – but he’s also quick to tell you it’s not just about the tools, but the systems and how you actually put it all together.
I think Ryan is a true voice of reason when it comes to training, athlete management, etc., and I’m stoked to learn more from him.
#5 – Chris Chase and His Trainable Menus
Chris Chase is another guy whose legend preceded him.
I actually spoke to Chris a few years back, as Jack (one of interns at IFAST) wanted to take an internship at USC to study under him.
The good news is, I got to make a new connection with a great coach. Chris and I immediately hit it off, and I felt like I’d known him for years.
The down side? Jack got the internship, but within the week, Chris had taken a job in the NBA!
Whether it was his time at USC, the Atlanta Hawks, or now with the Memphis Grizzlies, I love Chris’ thought process with regards to training.
He’s what I’d definitely consider the “new wave” of performance coaches. These coaches not only understand movement, but also want to exploit it via smart speed, strength and power training.
And if you go back and listen to our podcast together, I love the idea of trainable menus. I’ve talked about progressions and regressions for years, but this concept just really jives with me.
So yeah – I think Chris is a pretty legit dude, and I’m excited to see how he builds his training menus for athletes at this year’s summit!
#6 – Bill Hartman Knows All of the Things
Every year about this time, I start stalking Bill about what he’s going to talk about at the Summit.
I’m sure it frustrates the hell out of him – he’s an incredibly focused guy, and then I’m constantly pestering him, asking him what his topic is going to be.
So last year when he told me he wanted to do an entire presentation on the thorax, I wasn’t sure what to think.
And the answer was simple:
Yes – yes he could.
And the best part? He absolutely crushed it!
His talk last year absolutely blew me away, and really reshaped how I think about not only the thorax, but how airflow impacts movement.
So yeah – Bill basically has carte blanche to talk about whatever he wants going forward!
This year, his talk is all about single-leg power. This came about during a seminar we were in this year – we were chatting a bit, and then Bill snapped his fingers and said, “I got it.”
Next thing I know, we’re looking at the pelvi of quadrupeds, and he’s showing me how their shape impacts their performance.
Needless to say, I’m excited to see where he’s taken his thoughts since that day.
It should be exciting!
#7 – I Know Nothing
(First off, kudos to anyone who catches my drift up above. Just a few short weeks my friends!)
But in all seriousness, do you want to know the hardest part of the summit every year?
Well outside of the stress of getting people to sign-up, making sure everyone gets to the event, and ensuring all the attendees have a great time?
Outside of that, the single hardest part for me is figuring out what I am going to talk about!
After all, if you’re a loyal and devoted follower (you are – aren’t you?!?!?), what can I talk about that will be new and insightful to you?
Luckily, I felt like I had more ideas this year than in years past, but I finally settled on the idea of assistance exercises.
Because here’s the thing: I think people know and understand how important the big lifts are.
We get it, right?
Everyone should squat, bench, trap bar, etc.
But what about the assistance lifts? What role should they be playing in your training process?
I feel like I’ve always valued these pieces, but now, I’m really dialed in to using the right assistance exercise for each athlete.
So in this talk, we’re going to break things down to the nitty gritty.
Why do I use split-stance and single-leg exercises?
Exercises that drive thorax rotation?
Or accessory shoulder work?
And more importantly, where do they fit into a program?
My goal is to give every coach in the audience an idea of the why behind my program design process, and then show them how to use my system for themselves.
Needless to say it’s always a work in progress, but I feel like I’ve really got some things dialed in that can make a huge impact on your programs!
So there you have it – an overview of why I’m bringing each speaker to this year’s Physical Preparation Summit.
If you’re serious about taking your program design and coaching to the next level, I feel this is a can’t miss event.
Whether it’s the amazing content and networking, the 1.2 NSCA CEU’s, or the simple fact that you can save $200 off the standard price if you sign-up this week, please don’t wait any longer.
Get signed up for the 2017 Physical Preparation Summit TODAY. I look forward to seeing you there!
All the best