More from Oklahoma State strength and conditioning coach Rob Glass
Rob Glass, Oklahoma State’s assistant athletic director for speed, strength and conditioning, gave me total access to his summer workouts last Tuesday. I wrote two stories on it for Sunday’s newspaper, one outlining what makes his program unique and one as a sort of running diary while I was a fly on the wall during a day of workouts.
Yet my notebook needs a lot more emptying. Let’s start with more from my interview with Glass.
On how to reach players on the days when they’re not all that fired up to work out:
“If you’ve built a good rapport with the kids, you should know their ‘hot buttons’ are a little bit different. I think good coaches understand there’s certain things that motivate kids and certain things that don’t. Your ability to know your athlete and understand what motivates him and to be able to touch on them maybe on the days when they come in and they’re not that excited to be here.
“We call it ‘the jazz’ around here, ‘Get them on the jazz.’ (side note: I’ve heard Brandon Weeden use this phrase before. Now I know where it comes from). That’s where the staff comes in. Those guys understand how to approach kids. It’s not all about screaming and yelling. Years ago, you could do a little more of that, and kids respond to that. Now, that’s not necessarily the best way to reach kids.”
Summer is when they get the largest bulk of strength and conditioning work done. Is that his favorite time of the year?
“The best thing about the summer is there’s less distractions. The kids can really dial in on their athletic performance. They’re taking a class or two, but they’re really dialed in with football. This eight-week cycle here, everybody’s pretty cleaned up and everybody’s really dialed in on what’s getting ready to happen in the fall, so focus is good. I enjoy it. We’re able to have a much more comprehensive program, because they’re not taking 15 or 18 hours. They’re taking like six, so they can really dial in on becoming a better athlete.”
As you would expect, each player has their own individual file detailing a personal workout plan. That’s not just strength and conditioning, but vision, hand/eye coordination, balance, etc. Glass also tries to identify a potential common injury and gear their “pre-hab” program toward that.
“There’s a lot of hats, a lot of things going on, and everybody’s a little bit different. As we break them down, they may have different needs. Somebody may be really powerful, but their flexibility or may not have good lateral movement.”
On how they approach in-season training and how that helps shape OSU’s practice schedule:
“We still try to get stronger, every time we come into the room. We never want to approach it that we’re just trying to maintain. We’re always trying to improve and get stronger. But we have to be the ones that dictate the volume and intensity in the room to match what they’re doing out here (on the field), plus so they’re ready to perform at a high level on Saturday.
“We know from a certain percentages that we use in season how they’re hitting those weights. That tells us where their body’s at, whether it’s moving into that what they call a catabolic state, where it’s kind of overtraining. We want to keep them more in an anabolic state, where they’re more in a growth pattern or sustaining at a high level. Collectively as a team, when you go in and 70 percent of your guys are struggling with their sets, then that’s telling us, ‘Hey, we’ve got to watch what’s going on.’ Because they’re starting to get into that over-trained or fatigued state, which probably means Saturday they’re not going to be able to perform at their best. That plays into how (Gundy) manipulates practice.”
On how incoming freshmen coming into his program have changed:
“Their exposure to advanced training is much greater. Back in the mid-80s, you had to teach them how to squat, or an Olympic move was totally foreign to them.
“On the negative side, they’re looking for a little more instant gratification. The old guys that would just grind, grind, grind and would focus on the prize and they’d just work every day, It’s a little different now. I just don’t know if it’s just our society. That’s why the recruiting and what coach Gundy does is so critical, because they realize analyze. Our program’s not easy, that’s why some kids leave. I’ll be the first to tell you that some kids come in here and say “No, this ain’t for me.” But Coach knows for us and the success we’ve had, the foundation has been built on essentially hard work and commitment, not necessarily on the best players in the country. It’s the tough kids, the kids willing to put in the time and effort and they love the game.”
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