The Curious Tale of Benjamin Bartch

With the 116th pick of the 2020 NFL draft, St. John’s tackle Ben Bartch became the first Division III player taken in five years. Statistically, it was one of the day’s most unlikely moments. More than one million high school football players put on the pads each fall. In a given year, approximately 7.3% of…

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Now is the Time to Rebuild Youth Sports

by Nate Baldwin Just over 4 weeks ago, the NBA abruptly suspended its season after Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert unexpectedly tested positive for the novel coronavirus.  With that one dramatic action, COVID-19 seemed to take over our collective North American consciousness.  All pillars of American life followed suit in the days that followed…all major…

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Priority One: Love What You Do

When Melissa Brody took over as freshman field hockey coach at New Trier High School, her boss, Randy Oberembt, gave her a clear outcome to strive for: make sure they love what they do. Brody coached Field Hockey for eight years. During that time, she showed hundreds of young athletes how fun it could be…

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Tom Sroka: Giving Back to the Barbell

In the newest episode of “Coffee with a Coach,” Jim sat down with Tom Sroka. Tom is an elite athlete, competing at a world-class level in the Olympic weightlifting, Highland Games, and pretty much anything that requires strength and power. Tom owns and operates The Strength Agenda, a gym located in Villa Park, IL that…

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Addressing the Elephant on Deck: How tracking sleep can lead to a culture of improvement

By Jim Davis and Mac Guy (this article was originally published in the NISCA Journal, 2019) The Obvious Truth How many pizzas did Michael Phelps eat during heavy training days? What starting stance does Caleb Dressel use? What sort of music does Katie Ledecky listen to in the locker room? We are all looking for…

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Building Depth with Brad Dixon

Every coach would like to have greater depth of talent on their roster. “No one has depth,” insists Brad Dixon, head football coach at Central High School (IL). “You get to work with who comes out, that’s it,” he says, adding that if you spend too much time complaining about lack of depth, you might…

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Tending to Tendencies: the Inaugural James C. Houk Lecture

On March 2, Northwestern University’s Department of Physiology hosted the first annual James C. Houk lecture in Motor Control. Simpson Querrey Auditorium was packed with eager students, distinguished professors, and an altogether curious audience. The event’s namesake, James C. Houk, was proudly positioned in the front row and accompanied by his wife, son, and grandson.…

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Laughter and the Dragon: The Reinvention of Chris Duffin

East of Humboldt County, in the Trinity Wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, Chris Duffin heated river water in a jug to bathe. He was a child then and, in his own words, “a different level of poor.” His story goes beyond poverty. During Chris’ developmental years he was exposed to crime, drug abuse, and murder.…

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Coaching with Energy from a Distance

“Be the energy catalyst in the room.” This is something that Jim Davis used to say to us all the time when I worked for him. It was some of the best advice I have received as a coach and something that I try and pass along to other coaches as well.You bring the energy,…

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Addressing Coronavirus Concerns through Strength: Powerlifting Nationals 2020

The Ivy League basketball tournament was the first to fall. Shortly after, the NCAA announced that March Madness and all other winter and spring championships were cancelled in hopes of slowing the spread of coronavirus. Seasons – careers – for thousands of athletes across the country came to a screeching halt. It was the right…

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