Student Adventures Around The World

Tommy, Dallas

Map of Texas
Tommy is an offensive lineman on the SMU Mustang football team. The native of Irving, Texas is majoring in business. A sophomore, he is working with junior high and high school athletes as an assistant strength instructor for the Performance Course.

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July 19, 2006

Wow, it's hot out there! The last few days have been really hot out at Performance Course and at SMU. We've had to move our kids inside a few days in a row to keep them from dropping like flies while running. Coach Faucette has been taking us to the pool for workouts, which has been a cool alternative.

We're approaching the last few weeks of Performance Course. The kids will run fifty (50) forty-yard sprints during the last few days and then they will re-test to get their results. The primary reason that we re-test them at the end is to show how much stronger and how much faster they've gotten, and to show their parents that they didn't send their kids to a country club for a whole summer.

Summer workouts end on July 25th and the team has a week off before camp. Camp begins August 1st when players will report for physicals and to check-in with the coaching staff. From then its on to prepare for Texas Tech. I'm excited about two-a-days this year, and I hope everyone else is excited about the upcoming season. Another friendly reminder to buy your tickets!

Thanks for listening to me this summer, I hope that this has given you an insight into the "adventure" of being a student athlete at SMU.

July 8, 2006

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July!

It was back to work on Wednesday. The kids were in for some rough treatment, but they pushed through the workout and came out on top in the end. During this point of the summer, we see as instructors the large improvements in the kids' attitudes and work ethics. They are becoming faster, so now its our turn to increase the workload. The theory that work becomes easier the more reps you do comes into play as we (as in instructors) add more weight/less repetitions to the squats and benches, while outside we have the kids do more running at a higher level of intensity.

On a parallel note, our workouts at SMU are becoming more speed based. Coach Faucette is working on building up speed and explosiveness now, whereas in the first part we were building up strength and power. He has also emphasized a focus on mental toughness, because football is 80% mental, 20% physical. With one month left before two-a-days, everyone is starting to get a little more excited and a little more pumped about the upcoming season.

Another friendly reminder to buy tickets for this year, Mustang Fans!

June 24, 2006

Just got paid
A month of summer has gone by, and I just got my paycheck from Performance Course. YES! Even though most of the money will go towards filling up my truck, it's nice to have some hard-earned money to spend on the weekends.

It's hard to grasp how demanding college athletics is on a student. It's pretty much a full-time job. My co-workers always see me with a sandwich in my hand; I'm constantly eating to try to put more weight on or to just keep my weight up. My friends always call me when I'm in the weight room or on the field. My grades could be higher but time constraints for practice, traveling and games keep them "restricted." I still manage by the grace of God to make a 3.0 every semester. My sport is so much fun that I forget about how much time I dedicate unless if I really sit down and think about it, hour by hour, day by day.

Smells like team spirit
Here's a little football update for you PonyFANS junkies: Summer workouts have been going well. We've had majority turnouts of 60+ daily, which is good because a great sense of chemistry is developing amongst us. This is what the summer is for: developing unity and a sense of cohesion so when we reach the emotional roller coaster of the season, we can stick together.

Every week we have team functions, which open up more opportunities for us to develop chemistry. Even though most of us should just stick to football, we play sand volleyball at the Dedman center or we will hit up the intermural fields to play a little softball. It is not an understatement that we work together and play together as Mustangs.

Oh yeah, a friendly reminder for you Mustang fans to buy lots and lots of tickets so we can fill up Ford Stadium this year. The first game is against TEXAS TECH on September 2nd in Lubbock and I hope to see a lot of Blue in the BUY SOME TICKETS! Our first home game is against Sam Houston State on September 16th after another road game at North Texas.

June 14, 2006

Waking up is hard to do
Starting out is tough. Waking up at 5 a.m. to be at Allen High School by 6 is no joke. The first two days are always rough because all of the athletes in the camp have to be tested by the coaches. They are tested in height, weight, vertical reach, vertical jump, 40-yard dash and pro agility.

My typical day at work always starts before 6 a.m. because I need to get up early to get a shower and eat something, then I'm out the door. The mornings are always exciting though because we work with the varsity athletes. During the fall I try to stay in touch with a lot of the athletes I work out with because one day I might be seeing them play in college (or even play against them). There are about three sessions daily.

What do women want?
The next session after the "Varsity Boys" group are the girls. Girls are much different from guys. You have to work them out differently and you have to apply concepts differently. One also has to be very careful how you coach them because they are much more sensitive to criticism The plus side to coaching girls is you really only have to tell them once. The guys need more reinforcement because of egos, but you can be more intense. (I remember not wanting to listen when I was their age, too.)

The wonder years
The last session is usually composed of middle school youth. They are the hardest to teach because they are just learning how to squat or perform Olympic lifts and you have to demonstrate every lift to a "T". This also helps me with my lifting for football because I learn how to perform lifts more efficiently and to run much better.

New school
This is my last week at Allen High School, next week I'll be at Southlake Carroll. Southlake is where I worked last year. Geno has been getting me ready for "the transition" by giving me different jobs this week at Allen (i.e. playing "waterboy") because he knows that I'll be leaving there to work at a different place. He told me that I'll be running the weight room over there, so I'm glad he's kept my weight room responsibilities to a minimum thus far.

I've enjoyed working at both places. The kids at Allen and at Southlake are great. They work very hard to earn their district and state championships in all sports. Geno warns all of us sometimes to watch the kids for "working themselves into the ground." Being at a place where the athletes want to get better really makes my job easier, but you still have to find ways to motivate them to keep coming back day after day, because the newfound tough workouts eventually become a daily grind. Sometimes I have to the same problems at SMU, because the work is tough, but I know that you get out what you put in, so that usually motivates me to do another rep harder or run another sprint faster.

Mustang workouts
Around 12:30 is when I'm finished with work, so I start to head back to Dallas for my workouts at SMU. My body is usually already tired, so I find myself drinking a lot of water and sports drinks to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration. I also find myself eating a lot during the day to help keep my weight up. Our lifts and running are very difficult but it is very similar to putting money into an investment, the pay out is in September when we start our season. My job really translates smoothly into my sport, which is why I enjoy what I do.

June 4, 2006

A weighty job
I wanted to work for the Performance Course because it appeals to my interests as a football player. By working here, I will be able to use my talents and skills to teach others how to train their bodies properly in order to compete at a maximum level. I also applied to work here because I really enjoy lifting weights and sports in general. I am seriously considering coaching (high school or college) as a career once I am out of college.

Finding the job
The application process wasn't very difficult. I actually applied for the job last year, it is my second year to work for The Performance Course. I called the owner of the course (Geno Pierce) and asked for a job. He was reluctant to give me the job but I told him that I'd work very hard and gave him my resume. Through persistent phone calls and emails he called me back and interviewed me for the job. He could see that I was a man of good character and accepted me to work for him as an assistant strength instructor.

A taste of the coaching life
I hope to gain out of this experience a little taste of what it is like to be a football coach. So far, my experience has been positive. I really enjoy teaching others proper lifting techniques and seeing my "students" succeed. I also hope to gain invaluable connections through the coaches at my job site and through the strength coaching business.

Doing things the right way
As an assistant strength coach, my job's responsibilities are to maintain a safe lifting environment for the athletes. I also have the responsibility to correct poor technique and provide positive reinforcement to the athletes. I am a coach, not a drill sergeant. I have to physically show these young men and women what to do. My responsibilities are important because if these boys and girls do not learn the correct technique, they will not get stronger, and they could possibly get hurt. I am also responsible for providing a role model for the athletes. My fellow co-workers and I are required to maintain a professional, "clean cut" appearance to set examples for these young men and women. A lot of responsibility is required for my job, but it helps teach me a few lessons about how to do things the right way and to teach myself how to be a successful coach and leader.