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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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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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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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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Equity through Ultimate at CAHPERD 2020

CAHPERD (the California Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance) put on a fantastic conference this weekend just outside of Anaheim, CA. The theme of the week – “In Focus” – was everywhere. Conversations on attention networks in the brain, social emotional learning, and mindfulness were occurring not only in the lecture halls but…

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Beyond Strength: Knox College Powerlifting, 2020

The energy in the E & L Andrew Fitness was palpable. Winter sunlight cascaded through the expanse of windows in the Knox College weightroom to highlight a bar loaded with almost 600 pounds. GiHo Jeong was approaching the platform. One year prior, GiHo was leading the Whitney Young High School powerlifting team to its first…

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The Battle for the Alamodome: Munguia vs O’Sullivan, 1/11/2020

The towel hit the floor with :41 left in the 11th round. Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan fought brilliantly all night, but Jaime Munguia had him against the ropes. Spike’s corner knew that strength was O’Sullivan’s advantage and that his chance to win depended on his ability to land a knockout blow. A tough but tiring O’Sullivan could surely have…

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Should Joe Burrow Avoid Cincinnati?

In 2004, Eli Manning stood at the podium beside Paul Tagliabue as the number one overall draft pick. The San Diego Chargers could not resist selecting the highly rated collegiate passer, even though he and his family had publicly stated that he did not want to play for the Chargers. They called his name anyway,…

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