Marquette Mailbag: Todd Smith

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Marquette Mailbag is a weekly feature in the Social Summer Series

20110302_MB_006_MC.jpgHead strength and conditioning coach Todd Smith was kind enough to respond to some the questions submitted to the Marquette Mailbag this week.

Although he had to catch a flight to the West Coast, and therefore couldn't answer all of your questions, Coach Smith invites you check out the Marquette Strength and Conditioning page on Facebook, where you can submit additional questions for the staff.

Q: Coach Todd, what's the main advice you give your student-athletes to reach their maximum potential no matter how talented they are?
- Coach MR, Milwaukee

A: What we preach day in and day out is CONSISTENCY. Consistency in their work, consistency in their attitude, consistency their effort, and consistency in their nutrition and rest. Whatever you decide to improve upon, do it every day.

My 13 year old son has always been big and slow, but not bad athletically. He is 6' and 180lbs and about to grow even more. He wants to get quicker, faster and jump higher. Any thoughts?
- Paul, Spring Lake, N.J.

Great question. What we do is actually very simple; there is no magic pill or special exercise to achieve what you are looking for. Strength is an important part of staying healthy and becoming a more efficient athlete. Work on push-ups, pull-ups, leg lifts, lunges, single-leg squats and step-ups every day. EVERY DAY. That will get you stronger.  Now if you want to run fast, PRACTICE RUNNING FAST. If you want to jump higher, PRACTICE JUMPING. Every day. Your results will be determined by your consistency.

In your opinion, what's the best exercise or exercises to strengthen your core?
- Brigid, Scottsdale, Ariz.

The majority of the questions I received in this forum are about core strength. We really like gymnastic strength holds and using a Powerwheel for core strength.  Specifically we really work hard on hanging leg lifts [video] and L-sits [photo] with all of our student-athletes. They may be the most simple of all the gymnastic-strength holds for gymnasts, but for our student-athletes they are extremely challenging to master. Others include front levers, back levers, body levers, and planche hold.  We do different progressions and variations of these exercises every day. The Powerwheel is a simple tool that is very challenging as well. We perform arm walks, knee tuck push-ups, pikes, and leg curls with this tool. Good Luck.

Great job, Coach. I believe our recent NBA draftees have you to thank. My question: Post heart attack, I became a serious walker, but now my knees are shot. Is there an aerobic regimen that does not involve use of the knees? I have tried water aerobics, but the motion still kills those arthritic joints.
- Lee, Springfield, Va.

Sounds like a good challenge. I also have an arthritic knee.  I find the more I move the better I feel. Moving somehow pushes the fluid out of the joint space. Impact activities (running and jumping) are problematic. In your situation I would try cycling, swimming with a float between your knees, deep water running, and maybe a circuit of upper body lifting. I hope this helps.  

What is the in-season and off-season training regimen for basketball players?
- Enrique, Eagle Pass, Texas

The focus of the off season workouts is to get as strong and powerful as possible. We practice acceleration mechanics, deceleration mechanics, and reaction drills in addition to our Olympic lifting, basic gymnastic strength training, and plyometrics. It is the best time of year to become a better individual athlete.

The preseason workouts are meant to increase work capacity and to become a better team. In-season workouts depend on your role on the team. The main-minute players have more to do on the court and less to do in the weight room. We try to keep these players strong and healthy for the long grind of the basketball season.  The redshirt or role players have more to do in the weight room and just as much to do on the court. We try to waste no time in their development as players. Post-season the key is to evaluate the in-season individual progress while still being active.

Check back on Monday, June 25 to learn next week's featured guest.

Thumbnail image for 20110718_MB_190_MC.JPGGymnastic-strength holds help MU student-athletes strengthen core muscles.

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