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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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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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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Bulldog Strong

When Brandon Derrick enters a room, people notice. “All my life I’ve been a little stronger and bigger than other kids,” says the 6’3” 320 lb. powerlifter. Brandon is a freshman at McKendree University, where competes for their Powerlifting Team. He has an ear-to-ear smile, carries himself with confidence, and says he could not be…

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Beyond Strength: Powerlifting at St. Olaf College

On all of the weather websites we searched, a long red bar appeared across the top of the page: SNOW EMERGENCY IN EFFECT. We were less than a week out from the 2nd Annual Midwest Powerlifting Meet at St. Olaf College. The reports said that all should be clear by Saturday, the day of the…

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Finish Strong, Even So.

It was late February, I had been training hard for months. I was heading down to Oklahoma City to compete in the Powerlifting Nationals, hosted by the good folks at NASA (Natural Athlete Strength Association). My preparation was solid. Intelligent programming yielded less pain and better technique throughout the training cycle. I was ready. The…

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Beyond Strength: Powerlifting at Knox College

The word “powerlifting” sounds intimidating. If you search the word on Instagram, you will find massive, muscled-up people shouting through maximum efforts in gyms all over the world. It is intense. Intensity is part of the fun of a powerlifting event, but when done well, it can be far more valuable than that. On February…

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Making a New Year’s Resolution? Think Like a Powerlifter.

Strength and conditioning might hold the secrets to success in more ways one might think. Yes, there is a growing body of research which aligns physical health and wellness with high performance outcomes across fields, but we have also found that strengthening the body is an essential metaphor for improving our lives, as successful processes…

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The Power of Support

What allows us to perform at our best?

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