Podcast #51: Strength & Conditioning – Problems & Solutions with Max Schmarzo


“Strength coaches always complain the sport coaches don’t understand strength and conditioning. Do sport coaches get to complain that you don’t know the sport?”

“It’s not KPIs, it’s rate limiting factors… what is something that might guarantee failure. It won’t guarantee success.”

“It’s not availability is the best ability. It’s being good at your sport is good, feeling fresh… it’s not that you’re on the court that’s good, it’s that you feel good and are on the court.”

“The whole thing in basketball is sub maximal extensive plyos, no one runs linear, everyone just hops and skips around.”

“An all-in method is really risky (e.g., only plyos)… knowing I don’t know 100%, I’m willing to hedge my bets… I probably should keep some around [strength work].”

“Michael Jordan lifted weights. Cool, Larry Bird didn’t.”

“On a normal distribution curve of successful athletes, it kinda seems like some don’t lift weights, some do lift weights, and some lift weights sometimes.”

“Strength and conditioning is this glob that has grown off the body of sport.”

“Your wide receivers lift differently than your lineman. Why don’t we have our guards lift a little differently than our bigs?”

“Things in the weight room need to help the things on the court… if you don’t know the exact things on the court that need to get better, how can you know the exact things in the weight room?

Squatting: “what makes up the majority of the pie? it’s probably lower leg extensor strength.”

“People rarely miss a squat because their legs aren’t strong enough… it’s because they get out of position.”

“Just because it does something doesn’t mean that’s what it’s good for (e.g., getting core work from squats).”

“Why are we trying to have these things do 9 things? They don’t.”

“Excessive justification is what complicates things.”

“Obsession with ground reaction forces is silly… I can have equal ground reaction forces doing an RDL with 100 pounds and a curl with 100 pounds. The curl is not going to train my legs the same way an RDL will.”

Supercompensation: “You get tired, you recover, then you’re better. But did you really need to get that tired?”

“We have a very poorly defined purpose? How do you define success?”

“Every other coach on that team has a purpose. So what’s your purpose?”

“I don’t know if strength and conditioning itself will get funding. I think player development will get funding. So how can we make a pitch to be player development specialists emphasizing physical qualities?”

“There’s a lot of million dollar players with dogshit squats. That’s the reality.”

Giannis: “Why don’t we talk about that? He got to the NBA without lifting weights.”

“You don’t need to pick out outliers in a group of outliers… what explains their outlier-ness? Don’t find an outlier inside of an outlier then subjectively analyze it.”


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