Interview with Coach Buddy Morris

If you’re not familiar with Coach Buddy Morris, you should be. He is one of the top coaches in the industry and in this interview, he and I discuss a variety of topics on the subject of physical preparation and performance. Buddy has coached at both the collegiate and the professional level and been in this game for just about as long as anyone. Buddy is also one of those no-nonsene coaches that always tells it like he sees it.

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Interview Transcript

Joel:                 Hi.  This is Joel Jamieson, 8weeksout.com and today I’ve put together an interview for you with longtime friend and colleague Buddy Morris.  For those of you on the website who may not be familiar with Buddy Morris.  He’s a great strength conditioning coach, physical preparation coach, and I think I first met you back at the Verkhoshansky seminar in Chicago.

Buddy:                        Yes.

Joel:                 A long time, but for those who don’t know who you are can you please just give us a quick rundown on your background as far as your coaching experience and how you got in this field to begin with?

Buddy:            Absolutely, Joel.  First of all, I thank you for the opportunity to be part of the website and thank you for this opportunity to be the first inaugural interview with you.  I appreciate it.

But I started back in 1980, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, and during my time there since the campus weight room wasn’t that nice, I actually went to Jackie Sherrill who was the head football coach at the time and asked for permission to start using the football players weight room early in the morning when none of the players are around.  He granted me that permission.

I had run track for the University of Pittsburgh up until I think my senior year I decided to give it up simply because I wasn’t going anywhere to be honest with you.  So I started working indirectly with some of the players on their strength, on their speed because of my track background.  Lo and behold he finds out about it, asked me if I could do the job, and that’s where it all started from.

I started in 1980 in April, and I was hired as the head strengthening conditioning coach [for] the University of Pittsburgh, went to the winter of 1990.  I resigned at that time because my oldest daughter, Cara, at the time was placed on a liver transplant list which she’s still on the transplant list but is doing exceptionally well.

So I went to work in a private industry which is where I really got to be in touch with physical therapists and the value of rehab and pre-hab, and programming for athletes.

In 1997 the University of Pittsburgh called me and asked me to come back.  I went back in 2001.  I got a call from Butch Davis of the Cleveland Browns, went to the Cleveland Browns until 2004 and literally sat around Joel for 16 months pulling what hair I had left out until I got a chance to go to the University of Buffalo with Turner Gill, and I was there for six months.  Was very fortunate to meet my now wife Monica who has been a Godsend and then was asked to come back to University of Pittsburgh by Dave Wannstedt until a change of coaching regimes this year.  So I’m back to where I was after Cleveland looking for a job.  So this is my 31st year, Joel, involved in physical preparation.

Joel:                 Yeah, that’s a long time.  You’ve had one of the rare experiences of coaching in both the collegiate and the professional level as far as football is concerned.  What are the main differences you’ve seen between the two levels from a coaching perspective and what is something that the people out there might be surprised to learn about coaching professional athletes versus collegiate athletes?

Buddy:            Probably the biggest difference is the amount of time that you have to train them.  The greatest amount of time you have to train a professional athlete is actually during the season when the physical stressors of the game is at its heightened level, so they’re already in maximum strength mode.  Your job during that time is just to help them promote recovery restoration, quality and integrity, a lot of hands on work with massage during the season, and to really address individuals simply because some guys are playing, some guys aren’t.  You only have 53…it’s just a whole different scenario, Joel.

You’re also looking at different age group.  In college you got from 17 to 21 or 22.  In the NFL, you got from 22 all the way up to 40.  So when Tommy and I were in Cleveland we actually wrote programs for one to four years, five to eight, and then nine and above and also in the NFL you have this long list of injury.

Joel:                 Right.

Buddy:            Because they’ve achieved, people talk about the process of achieving sports mastery, they’ve achieved the mastery of their sport.  It’s the highest level.  They’re not going to go anywhere else, so it is the highest level sporting activity.  So the forces that are generated on the field and the stresses of the game are twice that than what they are in college.  By that, in the NFL guys don’t have to panic like they do on the collegiate level, and they say the lifespan of an athlete’s game is equivalent to a lifetime of 10 mile an hour car accidents.  People say, “Well, 10 miles an hour isn’t very fast” and it isn’t.  But these guys are not made of steel, rubber, and iron, and glass.  So there is a tremendous difference in training a professional athlete and training a collegiate athlete.

The professional athlete, you have to understand this too Joel, it’s their job.  It’s what they do for a living.  So it’s a very businesslike approach, it’s not a game.  Like I said it’s not a game where in college it’s still a game.  Kids still have to go to class, you have more control of their environment, you have them all year around.  These are grown men you’re coaching and I’ve always said this, they don’t care what you know until they know that you care about them and once they know that you care about them and you have their best interests at heart and in you’re in a service industry now, you’re servicing them and helping them maintain the length of their career because the average career in the NFL is like 2.3 years, they really will buy into your program and do what you ask them to do.

Joel:                 Yeah, that sounds exactly like what I kind of saw when I moved up from the University of Washington.  I worked with the Seahawks a little bit.  It’s definitely changes to a professional environment and you are there for them like you were saying.

Buddy:            No question.

Joel:                 I mean if they don’t want to do the work, they’re not going to do the work so it’s up to you to sell them on why they should do the work and like you said let them see that you care about their performance and you’re there for them above all else.  And where in the collegiate level, you can pretty much run the show and they’re going to do what you say.  At least they should.

Buddy:            Right.  In college, it’s a very disciplined atmosphere. In the NFL you’re going to pick and choose your battles, so you give them options. You don’t want to bench press today, here’s 1,000 different other things that we can do so you don’t have to bench press. You’re still training the body against resistance.

Joel:                 Right.

Buddy:            And you’re still adjusting the program through the athlete and also the time because like I said it is their job.  So when they leave the house, they leave at 6:30 in the morning and they go home at 4:00 in the afternoon after they watch film.  So training a professional athlete there’s a lot of issues you have to deal with from injury standpoint, from years of service in the league to the fact that like you and I both agreed on, it is their job now so it’s more of a professional job work-like atmosphere.

Joel:                 Yeah, definitely.  Now, I’ve seen you and James Smith and I’m sure Tommy.  Talk about yourselves as physical preparation coaches and kind of moving away from the strength conditioning coach name.  Is there a particular reason for that and what exactly do you see as the distinction or the difference between calling yourself a strength conditioning coach or a physical preparation coach?

Buddy:            When I hear the term strength conditioning, I think of two things, weightlifting and running and that’s it.  But it doesn’t encompass all that we are responsible for from a coaching standpoint.  You know, there’s rehab versus pre-hab, there’s mobility, there’s flexibility, there’s stability, there’s strength, there’s a development of alactic and aerobic power and capacity.  There’s so much more that we have to be responsible for plus programming throughout the entire year.  That takes into account all the physical attributes involved in the sporting activity itself.

The strength conditioning coach I think kind of limits.  It was very nice when it came out, but James and I and Tommy now and everybody else that have been prefer to refer to ourselves as physical preparation coaches because you are dealing with every physical component to prepare them for the sporting activity.

Joel:                 Yeah.  I mean it definitely is a more accurate term to describe what it is we do that’s for sure.  It’d be nice if the term catches on, but with the National Strength and Conditioning…

Buddy:            I doubt it.

Joel:                 …Association, it’s probably not going to happen.

Buddy:            Yeah, because somebody in the NFCA didn’t come up with it so…

Joel:                 Yeah, it’s not in their textbook at least.

Buddy:            …and their hierarchy of who’s in charge, if they don’t up with it they’re not going to listen to it.

Joel:                 Yep.  Now getting back to the idea of physical preparation.  What are the biggest factors, what are the things that you look at as a physical preparation coach that you see determining the physical performance and the athlete’s success at the end of the day?

Buddy:            I look at two factors to determine everything in life.  No. 1, your genetics.   That’s where you’re God given.  Contrary to what the Bible said all men are not created equal.  If they were we’d all look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I’d be thrilled and happy, but that’s not the case.

The second is your environment and that’s how you play the cards nature has dealt you.  Like I just said, nature does not deal everybody the same deck of cards.  So we look at athletes, James and I or Tommy and Alan and Michael, helping these guys, when we look at athletes we always move them to their strengths, continue to strengthen their strengths while bringing up their weaknesses and we look at everybody as an individual which makes it harder Joel because you’re more actively involved in programming.  And it’s a proven fact no two people respond the same to the same program.

Joel:                 Yep.

Buddy:            I mean that’s just basic.  My 15-year-old stepson can figure that out and that’s why we’ve taken the approach we have in training the athletes that we’re responsible for.

Joel:                 Yeah, and that’s definitely something I’ve been preaching for years and I’m sure all of us who have used the omega wave and seen the individual…

Buddy:            Oh, yeah.

Joel:                 …effects of training.  I mean, you really just can’t get around the fact that training is an individual process and there’s no way to cross over that or ignore it.  I mean that’s just the way it is.

Buddy:            Well, here’s what people don’t understand.  The stress of training is greater to the body than the stress of a broken bone because you have your local adaptation, you have general adaptation. When you talk about the omega wave Joel, you’re looking at seven different systems that must adapt to the stressors and pulls upon the athlete.  You know, cardiac, cardiopulmonary, detoxification, hormonal, metabolical, central nervous system, and our muscular system and I would add one more system in there and that’s the immune system.

Joel:                 Yeah, I would as well.

Buddy:            The way you respond to stress.  So you have eight different systems that do not adapt at the same time to the stressors involved.  The great thing about the omega wave is it allows you to train what is trainable.

Joel:                 Right.

Buddy:            But the problem with omega wave is unless you can get everybody on there, it’s hard and like the late great Charlie Francis made me aware of a long time ago.  When you look at the omega wave everybody has a base foundation, but that’s going to change throughout the year from being off season to the competitive season.  Things are going to change tremendously in the human body.  But I’m a firm believer that the human body will adapt to stress, but everybody’s ability to adapt or accommodate that stress is different.  Remember the Bulgarians choose their weightlifters on people that can tolerate high amounts of stress.  Not everybody can do that, Joel.

Joel:                 Definitely not.  So would you say one of the primary roles or maybe the role of the physical preparation coach is simply managing the stress so that the athletes are able to adapt successfully to it and see the outcome they’re looking for?

Buddy:            I’ve always said better to under train than over train an athlete.  One of their biggest problems, let me jump ahead of you here…

Joel:                 Sure, go for it.

Buddy:            …briefly is we’re over volumized in this country and being said in society more is always better.  We’re looking for that quick fix, the get rich quick scheme, that new mythical miracle magical pill that’s going to solve all problems and it doesn’t exist Joel.

Joel:                 No.

Buddy:            One of the four factors I look at when I look at my programming is No. 1 training is a long-term process.  It’s not short-term.  You’re not immediately better after what you just did.  You must slow cook it for gradual loading.  There’s periods of loading, and there’s periods of de-loading.  Everybody’s ability to accommodate stress, I just talked about, is different and I truly believe you have to build recovering restoration into your program which is the value of the high/low approach to training.

James Smith who was my assistant at Pitt these last four years is a genius.  He called me back and I forget Joel, it must have been when we met at the conference in Illinois and he talked about categorizing high stressors and low stressors.  At the time I thought it was a great idea.  He sent me his original manuscript.  Lo and behold, he developed a high/low approach and that is so valuable today in training in athlete because you cannot be C and S intensive everyday, but that’s the biggest mistake that’s being made on the collegiate level and the only reason we’re able to get away with it is for one word, youth.

Joel:                 Exactly.

Buddy:            You’re not going to train an older athlete like you train a younger guy.  Younger people can handle an enormous amount of volume, but as you get older, you can’t.  When I look at programming, when I look at drills for my athletes if I can’t find a good reason to keep a drill, I get rid of it.  So I’m constantly analyzing and re-analyzing the drills we do and if I can’t find a good reason to keep it, it’s gone.  It’s that simple.

People don’t understand why Bruce Lee became better at fighting.  He had become more technical, he became fancier, he became more single directed.  He got rid of all the unnecessary things.  He had to weigh what was unnecessary and became very directed.  He always said, “Don’t fear the man with 1,000 moves.  Fear the man that has one move that he’s practiced 1,000 times.”

So you have to look at training Joel as a long-term process.  The second thing you have to look at is the energy demands of the sport.  Not all sports use the same energy system.  I’ve dealt with football all my life.  Football is an a lactic aerobic sport, 300 yard shuttles, 1-10s, waste of time in my opinion.  The only time I’ve ever used those is like we said in college you’re in a more structured disciplined environment so you got to discipline them or when you’ve got to get their attention which you have to do because they’re still 18, 19, 20-year-old kids and you remember what it was like to be 18 and 19.

Even at my age of 54 now, I still remember what it was to be those ages.  You have to get their attention sometimes.  That’s the only time that James and I or me and Tommy or me and Al will use those types of workouts.  Everything else is based on what Charlie Francis talked about, 95% or above, 75% or less.

Joel:                 Right.

Buddy:            And there’s such a tremendous value to the tempo work whether the development of the aerobic enzyme] and myocardial energy production which is what Val has always talked about with the omega wave.

Joel:                 Yeah, exactly.

Buddy:            And the third thing that’s important is looking at position requirements, positional demands.  In football, the greatest resistance we all have to overcome Joel, the greatest external resistance we all have to overcome is our own body weight.  Now if you look at skilled guys, you’re looking anywhere from 160 to maybe 195 and you’ve got some bigger skill guys for linemen, you’re looking at 275 lbs. and plus.  That’s a significant difference.

But a lineman, in a split second you have to overcome somebody just as big if not bigger in a force.  So do you train the same?  In my opinion, no and that’s when I started programming back when I was in the NFL in Cleveland and Tommy and I could look at each other and say, “Tommy, you’re responsible for big guys.  I’m responsible for the small guys.”  The running is different, speed work is different, strength training, loading, exercise selection; it’s all different because they have different requirements and last but not least is you have to look at the individual, Joel.

Everybody needs something.  Everybody has a weakness and it’s your job in my opinion to find the most productive ways to train your athletes and to address the training of the individual.  So those are the four factors that I look at when I look at programming and when I look at developing programs for sporting, and I’m training guys now who are in the NFL.  I’ve got Shante Spencer who I rehabbed his ACL two years ago, this is going to be his eighth year.  I have Scott [inaudible 0:16:42.2] this is his first year.  There’s no way I’m training them the same.  They’re completely different entities.

Joel:                 There’s a couple of points that you touched on real quick and I want to go over something.  It’s one of the bigger issues in the strength conditioning and physical preparation is that you have a done a tremendous job of looking at the needs of the sport and looking at the needs of individuals.  So you understand from a physiological standpoint what the skills of football require, what the game of football requires, and what they’re being asked of from their football coach.

But with the separation in our country at least of strength and conditioning and the skill development side, I think one of the bigger issues we run into is the strength conditioning coaches or physical preparation coaches don’t have a clue a lot of times what is being asked of their athletes on and off the field by their skill coaches and a lot of times they don’t really understand their energy demands, they don’t really understand the game itself.  I’ve seen coaches at the collegiate level barely understand the game of football and they’re working with a football team so…

Buddy:            Isn’t that amazing?

Joel:                 It is.

Buddy:            Nonetheless, I don’t mean to interrupt you.  We suffer in this country from academic myopia.  They only teach you what they want you to know.  If you want to learn anything else you have to go above and beyond, and that’s why back in 1977,  I went to the Mega Power Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, two speakers – Louie Simmons, Charles Poliquin, totally changed how I looked at the field of physical preparation.  Made me realize, you know what?  I’m not that smart.

And the other thing I figured out in 31 years of doing this Joel is that I haven’t figured anything out.  I have figured the fact that all programs work but only work for so long, nothing works forever.  The human body was designed to adapt to external stimuli for one reason and that’s survival.  I’m always real big and all my staff and all the people I’ve worked with with hydration of our athletes.  The human body is electrical current conductor of electricity.

Joel:                 Yeah water, right.

Buddy:            Make sure you’re totally hydrated.  I always stress that to my athletes is you must be totally hydrated pre and post-workout.  I can’t express to you the value and importance of that, but it’s one thing I had to teach younger athletes or younger strength coaches to make sure your athletes are always properly hydrated and you’ll have tremendous success.

Joel:                 Definitely.  Aside from like we talked about just the idea of strength coaches or physical preparation coaches and trainers maybe don’t do the best job of understanding the needs of the sport and they tend to let their athletes over train because of the, like you said, push of this country is more intensity, the quick buck, the fast results.

The other thing I think that’s influenced our industry probably negatively more than anything else is the marketing aspect.  That there’s products, and there’s training methods, and there’s everything being pushed to athletes and coaches from a marketing perspective.

Buddy:            Oh, yeah.

Joel:                 We’ve all sent the cross fits, the P90 Xs, all the functional training stuff.

Buddy:            Oh, yeah.

Joel:                 It’s the marketing driving the training rather than the training driving the results or the results being based on something scientific.  And one of those things I wanted to have you talk about is the physical therapy and the functional training world, because I know you do come from a rehab/pre-hab background from an educated standpoint.

But in recent years there’s been a big push of the physical therapists kind of working their way into our industry.  My personal opinion is there’s a lot of value to it if it’s used properly, but a lot of it is being driven by the desire to sell equipment.  You know, the perform better, selling the bands, and the balls, and every other thing known to man.

Buddy:            No question, don’t get me wrong.

Joel:                 If you could give us your thoughts on that whole distinction maybe between how do you see rehab/pre-hab and performance and how do you see them coming together and what do you think of the current kind of training trends of the physical therapist inundating the business?

Buddy:            My very close friend who’s almost like a brother to me is Michael Hope who I think is one of the best PTs I’ve ever been around.  I’ve heard Kevin Wilkes speak, who’s Jimmy Andrews PT from Birmingham South, I’ve been around Alan De Janeiro.  [inaudible 0:20:51.0 – sounds like whether] there’s going to be certain issues or problems especially in movement patterns, they’re going to exist with every individual athlete where if I can’t figure it out Joel, I’m not afraid to go outside and bring somebody in to help me figure things out and that’s where Michael Hope and Alan have proved to be so valuable to me.

I believe pre-hab and rehab in their place is very important in designing strength training programs, but I find it hard to believe that you could find a [inaudible 0:21:19.8 – sounds like micro] flaw in a movement pattern that’s going to lead to a catastrophic injury later on down the road.

Physical therapists are smarter than I’ll ever be.  I’ve been to cadaver labs.  One of the things I started doing when I was with the Cleveland Browns is I actually went into surgery with our physicians and watched the repair that was done.  So [inaudible 0:21:41.2] with the Cleveland Browns, it was Dr. Vonda Wright with the University of Pittsburgh.  They always go over to MRI with me, they explain what was going on during the course of surgery, and I’m not standing in the back watching a telemonitor or prompt Joel,  I’m actually standing right behind the physician as he or she is doing their repair work, and that’s why I tell people when you’ve had surgery you’re not fixed, you’re repaired.  There’s a difference.

Ask any surgeon and here’s my advice to any young strength coaches who are going to get involved and you should as a strength coach be involved in pre-hab and rehab and the rehabilitation of your athletes from program modification to help get that athlete and return them to 100% of their activity.

Never ask a physician how the surgery went immediately following the surgery because you get the same response.  Everything went great, tremendous.  Wait a couple of months Joel and see how that changes because you’ll get this, “Well, you know, when we went in there we saw some things,” blah, blah, blah.  So I never ask a physician [inaudible 0:22:46.5].  I told James, I said, “Never ask a physician how surgery went immediately following the surgery.”  I’ll wait 6 to 8 weeks, then I’ll go up to the physician and say, “How did the surgery go?”  Even when I’m in surgery with the physician and they’re explaining what the process they’re going through, what they’re doing, repair work, here’s the injured tissue, here’s what we see, here’s what we’re going to do, I still won’t ask them.  I refuse to talk to them until 6 to 8 weeks later where everything has been done and you’re in the room with them and they’re communicating with you, but I still hold off to wait to ask somebody how the surgery went because you’ll get a big difference in your response from a physician.

With that being said I think when we start training our athletes all pre-hab and rehab work, especially pre-hab, should be done pre-workout.  We always take our athletes through a [inaudible 0:23:36.9] heart rate or heart rate elevation and then the next 15 to 20 minutes Joel depending on the workout day is all pre-hab work.  We look at those areas of the body that are more prone to injury based on the sport and we address those concerns.

Yes, I do think it’s important to train an athlete unilaterally.  It doesn’t have to be all the time.  They can maintain an [inaudible 0:23:58.1] warm up, and it can be in your warm up before you start your actual strength training program.  But I think it is important, and I think there is a valuable role for physical therapists and the pre-hab [inaudible 0:24:10.3].

But here’s what physical therapists don’t have to do, they restore movement patterns with very light loads.  We have to ask our athletes Joel to handle heavier and heavier loads and that’s the significant difference.  Seeing all these movement screens, you know what Joel?  Everyday is a movement screen with your athletes.

Charlie Francis always told me a long time ago, “If it’s not a true flaw, don’t mess with it.  It may just be a peculiarity to the athlete.”  Can you imagine somebody trying to tell Michael Johnson that he’s got to get more of a forward lean when he’s runs instead of going straight back, and he’s the world record holder.

So I still look at also what the best athletes in the world do.  It’s on a [inaudible 0:24:55.2], very simplistic, very directed, very basic.  Something Louie Simmons always told me a long time ago, “He sprints, he does jumps, he throws a ball, and he lifts weights.  How hard is that?”

We’re trying to create circus acts in this country so like you said people can generate revenue.  So if you’ve actually read and you understand training methodics and you understand the athlete and training the athlete, you won’t buy into all this stuff out there.  There’s a lot of guys out there just regurgitating what Michael Hope says, regurgitating what Stuart McGill says trying to make themselves seem like they’re the most intelligent people in the world, and they probably are more intelligent than me.  But when push comes to shove, you still have to be able to coach and train your athletes.

Joel:                 Yeah, definitely.  I mean, I think you touched on something that needs to be addressed and there’s a difference between rehabbing an injury and restoring a joint to normal function and asking that joint or that muscle group to perform under high stress, high loads of high speeds and those are totally different things.

Buddy:            Yep.

Joel:                 Expecting the methods that restore normal function to be the same methods to improve to high/low performance is just foolish really.

Buddy:            I think what the NFCA has done is, and don’t get me wrong because I admire what they’ve tried to do for strength coaches, but they’re trying to make it seem like there’s only one program to end all to be all.  I don’t believe in running cookie cutter programs as you and I have talked.  Anybody who runs a cookie cutter program makes me nervous because some people get it, some people never get it, and everybody else falls in between.  It’s just like we teach an athlete to train.

When James and I bring, or Tommy and I or whoever my assistant was at the time, we bring in this freshman the very first things we go through is we train them to train.  We have to learn to train, Joel.

Joel:                 Right.

Buddy:            Then we train them to compete and then we train them to win which is the ultimate end byproduct of what we’re trying to do, training our athletes.

Joel:                 Definitely.  One thing real quick maybe you can touch on is like we’ve been talking about the individual needs of the athlete.  How have you been able to address that at the collegiate setting where a lot of the strength coaches out there get their start, then they’re working with 50 athletes, 100 athletes and 4 teams, 5 teams; how do you suggest being able to individualize as much as possible or take into consideration individualization needs, but still have the ability to train an entire team?  How do you weigh those factors?

Buddy:            No. 1, I’ve always believed in coaching small groups.  They hired me to coach athletes, they did not hire me to facilitate the facility or the athletes.  I understand the team concept and you can have team runs if you want, but when it comes to a multi-disciplinary very intricate approach to the training methodic or prepare them for their sport, I think you’re better off coaching in small groups and you’re better off hiring an assistant who can think.

I never hired assistants who I wanted to be mini mes or clones of me or go out and say, “Buddy Morris is God.  This is his program.  This is the only way to do it.”  That’s egotistical.  I’ve always hired people who are smarter than me Joel for two reasons.  One, they make me better, they make me smarter and they decrease my workload and that’s what we try to do probably since 2001 when I went to the Cleveland Browns.  These are your guys you’re responsible for.  Here’s my guys I’m responsible for.  Let’s talk about things at the end of the day.  Let’s talk about the program.  Let’s communicate.

The end result being this is your guy, get him better and that’s where it becomes very valuable to watch your athletes everyday when they warm up.  To me everyday is a dynamic functional assessment of all athletes as you watch them move.  You know, you asked me what did I do with an athlete the very first time I saw him?

I take him through an active dynamic warm up.  I want to see his mobility, I want to see his balance, I want to see his stability, I want to see his [inaudible 0:29:10.1] awareness, I want to see his understanding of movement patterns [inaudible 0:29:12.6 – sounds like analyses] and sprint because just doing that can tell you a lot.  Just giving them a test and watching them perform a test.  Well anytime you do your test the first time, you’re not going to be that good at it.  The more you do it, the better you’re going to get.  That’s the learning process.

Joel:                 Right.

Buddy:            So I prefer to look at my athletes on a daily basis and watching them, and especially we don’t use maximal loads all the time.  People think I’m highly westside based, I love Louie, I’ve adapted his methodics, his programming to my environment, my circumstances, my athletes.  So maybe 10% of the time we’re at maximal effort during the course of a full week block.

That’s not a lot Joel, but when you impose a maximal effort on somebody, the first thing that’s going to happen is their technique going to deteriorate or suffer, then you’re going to be able to identify weaknesses.  And when athletes fail you have to understand why the athletes failed, you have to be able to address it, and you have to be able to correct it to give every athlete an advantage to develop upon his and/or her own athletic abilities and potentials.  So I think it’s very important to coach in small groups.  I think it’s very important that you have an assistant who is very smart and understand what you’re trying to do, somebody you can trust, somebody that’s going to make you better.  Quit trying to create mini mes.

Joel:                 Okay.

Buddy:            That’s not what the profession is about, just have a bunch of mini mes so your ego can be stroked and so you can sell product and make money.  That’s one of the things I’m against in this profession.

Joel:                 It’s definitely out there.  Now, let’s say the assistant strength coach or maybe an athlete and a team doesn’t necessarily agree with the training principles or with what the head training coach is doing.  How would you suggest they address that?  Because I know there’s a lot of assistants out there who have questions about why their training coaches is doing what they’re doing and rather than ask them or rather than bring something up they tend to just go with it or athletes as well.

The athletes may not see the benefit of what they’re doing or they feel like they’re not getting more explosive, they’re not improving but they just feel they have to go with it.  Is there any advice you have when you may get stuck in a situation like that where you just feel like the guy’s not meeting your needs?

Buddy:            Well from an athletic standpoint, from the athlete’s viewpoint, you’re up shit creek because it’s the program, it’s their system, you got to run it.  If you can’t function in the system, then get out.  I’ve always told people as strength coaches we’re one small entity involved in a program.  People forget that the most important criteria, the most overlooked is still the ability to play the game.

There’s certain types of lifting I don’t agree with with football players.  Obviously everybody knows I do not do Olympic lifting.  I think Olympic lifting is a great sport within itself, but I always believe that the human body is incapable of [inaudible 0:32:11.8] two primarily neurological [inaudible 0:32:13.2] skills that don’t support each other.  And by that I mean if Olympic lifting makes you a better football player, then why we even recruit football players why don’t we just recruit Olympic lifters.

And if you look at Malcolm Gladwell’s  book called the Outliers he discusses why people become successful Joel, and he looked at all successful people from Bill Gates to the Beatles to Wayne Gretzky, from every different walk of life and obviously it’s being born in the right place and the right time.  But there’s a thing he refers to as the 10,000 hour rule or in lifting I’ll call it the 10,000 rep rule.  Olympic lifters need to achieve at least 10,000 reps to become average at their sport, and these are guys that are doing it 365 days a year 52 weeks a year.  Like I said, it’s their sports.  It’s a primary concern.  That’s what they compete at.

In 3 to 5 years the athletes I’m responsible for will never ever achieve 10,000 reps.  So why would I train them to be something that they’re going to be less than average at?  And again, I’m not taking a shot at guys who [do] Olympic lifts.  You know, you coach what you know.  I’m just saying it does not have to be done like it’s been jammed down our throats for so many years.

And the biggest thing is if you look at a motor unit activation chart, which if you buy Charlie’s products and you listen to Charlie speak, the highest recruitment or activation is with the Olympic lifts.  But it’s no different from maximal [inaudible 0:33:43.0] sprints, [inaudible 0:33:44.4 – sounds like pyrometers] and explosive med ball [inaudible 0:33:46.0] which is easier to teach which I’m going to get the most bang for my buck.

It drives me nuts when I talk to a coach and he says, “The Olympic lift, but we’re not very good at it.”  If you’re not very good at it, well why are you going to do it?  Let them master the basics first.  Trust me, I’ve been doing this for 31 years and I cannot look at you and say, “You know what?  We got great squatters” because we don’t.  That’s a constant work in progress and the same thing about bench pressing.

How many guys actually take the time to teach their athlete a bench press?  How to get setup, how to take the bar out of the rack, how to load, how to [inaudible 0:34:21.9 – sounds like defend with it], how to reverse it, how to lock it…how to put it back in the rack, how to get setup tight.  There’s so many factors you have to look at.  Then again, I’m trying to get the most bang for my buck for my athletes in the shortest amount of time.

Joel:                 Yeah.

Buddy:            Again, I am not against Olympic lifting.  If you want to do it ,that’s your business.  I just have never done it and our athletes have always gotten bigger, stronger, faster, and more explosive.

Joel:                 Yeah, definitely.

Buddy:            Understand there’s many roads lead to [inaudible 0:34:48.1] to skin a cat.  It’s just not one way.

Joel:                 Yeah and I agree with you on that one.  I think you have to look at the man in the sport.  If your sport produces force directly vertical as you do in Olympic lifts and by all means, Olympic lift.  If you’re a high jumper or some sport that requires tremendous vertical acceleration, then I can see the use for it.  But if your sport isn’t one of those sports…

Buddy:            You don’t need it.

Joel:                 …you don’t need it.  Particularly in combat sports, I see a lot of people these days wanting to use the Olympic lifts for fighting and I’m sorry but there’s very, very few opportunities and times in combat sport where you’re producing force from the ground straight vertical.  It’s just now a very common movement…

Buddy:            Naw.

Joel:                 … and the technical aspects of teaching the Olympic lifts like you said, let alone they’ve got to spend 6 hours, 4 hours, 3 hours, whatever training the skills of fighting.  There’s so many skills of fighting to learn.  If you’re going to try and teach them Olympic lifts on top of that, I mean…

Buddy:            Can’t do it.

Joel:                 …you can’t do it.  There’s…

Buddy:            You’re going to confuse the body and here’s what kills me, Joel.  Guys doing hang clings and pulling their feet off the ground.  When is the last time you saw an Olympic lifter pull his feet off the ground?

Joel:                 Nope.

Buddy:            He loses contact with his sport [inaudible 0:35:53.3].  The elastic reactive response that propels the human body forward does not come into play until you’re running 7 meters or 7.6 yards a second and that doesn’t happen until 14 or 16 meters that’s in a vertical plane.

As football players we spend all our time in acceleration and deceleration.  We’ll never achieve maximal speed on a playing field or playing surface.  The late great Charlie Francis will tell you that.  We spend all our time in the horizontal plane.  So train in the horizontal plane.

There’s certain indicators that will give you a great understanding or give you a great, what I want to say, [inaudible 0:36:32.5] signature athletes can do.  But I can do a standing broad jump I think is more important for a football player, especially a lineman, than going into a vertical plane.

Joel:                 Definitely and in combat sports even worst.  There’s even less of that in a combat sport and yet you see a lot of guys thinking that the Olympic lift is really the only way to be explosive so all they’re going to do is train explosively and they think Olympic lifts are the most explosive lifts so that’s what they’re going to do.  The only thing I’ll say real quick is worst than that is trying to do that for time in the old cross fit  doing clings for 2 minutes straight as many reps as you can get.

Buddy:            Oh yeah, it’s crazy.

Joel:                 Yeah.

Buddy:            That’s an open invitation for a highly technical skilled moved, that’s an open invitation for injury.  You can’t tell me how it works driving to achieve perfection technically wise because they’re very technically-oriented lifts.  Fatigue sets in, the first thing goes out the door is technique.  The first thing and people just [inaudible 0:37:30.4].

Joel:                 Or just the fact that you say you want to develop explosiveness and power with them, but then you’re going to do it for 2 minutes straight.  I mean how many of those are explosive?

Buddy:            [inaudible 0:37:39.6] because your last rep is not going to look like your first rep, I guarantee.

Joel:                 Exactly.

Buddy:            [inaudible 0:37:46.1] fatigue.  Again Joel, we can argue about it just like an atheist and a Christian can argue about who’s their God.  There’s pros and cons and we can sit here and argue all day long, but like I said that’s your decision.  I’m not telling you how to coach your athletes, I’m not telling you how to program.  It’s your decision.  If you like the Olympic lifts, you’re comfortable with them, if you want to do them do them.  That’s your decision.  I just made it my decision I’m not going to do them.

Joel:                 Definitely.  I couldn’t agree more.  It’s just some people use them and they think they get benefits from them and more power to them, but…

Buddy:            Yep, I agree.

Joel:                 …I tend to not use them a whole lot.  If I ever coach an Olympic lifter, I’ll start doing lots of Olympic lifts but until that happens.

Buddy:            No question.  I’m not coaching an Olympic lifter, I’m coaching football players.

Joel:                 Yep, exactly.

Buddy:            Again one more time and I don’t want to harp on the point Joel, but if Olympic lifting is so valuable and it makes you a better football player, then if A equals B, B equals A.  Then playing football should make you a better Olympic lifter, right?

Joel:                 Yeah, you would think so.

Buddy:            I don’t see our Olympic lifters playing football, and I don’t see us recruiting Olympic lifters to play football.  Think what happened and I started in the profession in 1980 and in 1984 the NFCA was developed.  I’m a firm believer that part of the reason the NFCA was developed was to filter athletes into the sport of Olympic lifting.  Teach them Olympic lifting in college, if they don’t make it to the NFL, then maybe we can push them towards an Olympic sport or Olympic progression of getting them involved in the [inaudible 0:39:21.7] year and put them and help in a more selection pool for the Olympic lifts.

But like anything we do in this country, not anything but most things, its failed miserably because I haven’t seen [inaudible 0:39:32.1 – sounds like not stand] on the platform since 1968 when Irv Schmanski won bronze medal.  So in my mind I’m thinking, “Well, you know, if we’re not winning we must be doing something wrong and what we’ve been doing over the last 40/50 years ain’t been working, we better find another way.”  And again, I think it’s a great sport.  I love watching it.  I just don’t think it’s for football and again like you and I have discussed, your decision, you do what you want to do.

Joel:                 Definitely.  Now, you’ve been around this sport or this profession I should say since it really was a profession.  How have your views as far as training, how has your approach to the training evolved over the years?  I’m sure it’s continually evolving and it’s going to be different in 10 years from what it is now, but were the biggest things you’ve changed over the years as a physical preparation coach?

Buddy:            Well, the more I’ve learned and the more I’ve read, the more I’ve realized what I don’t know and the more I understand that there are people out there who are pretty doggone good at what they do.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have great colleagues and great assistants.  You know, Alan De Janeiro, James Smith, Tom [inaudible 0:40:44.1], Michael Hope and of the countless amount of interns we’ve had.  But back in the day, I was just a progressive overload guy [inaudible 0:40:53.0] which now I have come to understand is old, outdated, and antiquated.  It does work absolutely like all programs work, but it’ll only get you about 2 years.

It amaze me in the NFL how I get guys from all these top programs first 2 years they make great games obviously because they’re a novice.  Once the body starts to figure things out, then the games don’t come so fast do they?  So I was always interested to see how much gain as you became more experienced from your junior to senior year and then your senior year and beyond.

We had one athlete, and you can ask Tommy this when you interview Tommy, who Tommy recruited from a major top 5 program.  He was an offensive lineman, didn’t give up a sack in 4 years of college football.  He came to us he benched 340 in Cleveland, he squatted about 455, and did dumbbell bench in the hundreds for 8 reps.  Now that’s 4 years of a program.  We had him for 2 years Joel and through our programming, and I’m not patting ourselves on the back, I’m not mimicking a scene like we figured it out because we haven’t and this is just one extreme example.  But he went from a 340 to a 405 bench, a 455 to a 500 plus squat, and his dumbbell bench from 100 lbs. for 8 reps went to 100 lbs. for 22 reps.  So I firmly believe it was our programming and addressing the individual components of the athlete.

Louie always told me a long time ago, “If your [inaudible 0:42:19.3] are strong enough to bench 300 [inaudible 0:42:21.1] strong enough to bench 250, how much do you think they’re going to bench?”  250.

Joel:                 Right.

Buddy:            The holes are some of the parts and some of the parts are always greater than the hole.  So myself, Tommy, Alan, and Michael Hope, James have always taken apart hole approach.  Look at the parts where they come down, fix them, strengthen them, and then put them into the hole.  And when I say put them into the hole that means you do not have to train maximally all the time.

There’s a lot to be said for some maximal loading, Joel.  That’s why Poliquin developed his chart.  Some maximal loading because it’s so valuable for the athlete, you’d be surprised how often my guys do not go above 85% in programming even with special exercises.

Joel:                 Yeah, I think it goes back to the over volumization, over intensification of this country.  Everybody wants the short results, and the problem is you see some little study come out that says high intensity training produce better results than low intensity training over a 6-week period.  Well, what happens the rest of the year?

Buddy:            Yeah.

Joel:                 What about the rest of the [inaudible 0:43:26.9]?

Buddy:            That’s 6 weeks, and the people you use were very novice people anyway.

Joel:                 Exactly.

Buddy:            So no matter what you do, it’s going to work.

Joel:                 It still boggles my mind that…

Buddy:            Pick a high level athlete.

Joel:                 Go head, sorry.

Buddy:            Pick a high level athlete and do that to them and see what happens.

Joel:                 Yeah, exactly.  I mean, it boggles my mind that the whole [inaudible 0:43:44.6 – sounds like tabota] research is probably the most overused, over bastardized study out there talking about the high intensity intervals versus the continuous lower intensity volume…

Buddy:            Yep.

Joel:                 …freedom, and they had literally I think 6 or 7 people in each group, and they were basically PE students to the Japanese university and their progress in the high intensity group stalled after about 3 weeks.  They didn’t see any further improvements…

Buddy:            Yep.

Joel:                 … [inaudible 0:44:07.9] 3 weeks and you’re going to extrapolate that to all athletics and all levels of sport and tell me the high intensity is what you should do all the time because in this one study for 6 weeks they saw slightly better results every 6 weeks.

Buddy:            Let me try to explain to you why James’ approach of the high/low approach is so valuable.  And Charlie Francis hit on it, Louie Simmons hits on it.  People who are the best in the world have a tremendous understanding of it.  When you train at 95% and above, it’s a very high C and S stress training which the development of a lactic [inaudible 0:44:39.3] capacity.

You have understand Joel that this high stress training is No. 1 anti-circulatory, it’s very sympathetic dominant, you have two branches in the nervous system.  You have your accelerant and decelerant.  But this is very sympathetic dominant.  It increases neuro demand, speed reserves, and really requires a good 72 hours of recovery between sessions.

When you follow a high intensity day or high intensity [inaudible 0:45:04.8] stress training day with a low C and S training day, in other words, 75% or less, you develop your aerobic capacity and power.  It’s circulatory.

The great thing about circulatory is it increases capillar density.  Increase capillar density, increase heat or temperature.  Decrease resistance, increase motor unit activation.  So it’s pro-circulatory.  It resets the [inaudible 0:45:30.6] sympathetic [inaudible 0:45:31.3] of the nervous system which in other words it brings you down.  It keeps like we talked about motor neurons heated so you have a lower electrical resistance, it only requires 24 hours of recovery between sessions but more importantly here’s what it does.  It secures the high C and S stress adaptation.

The reason we stay out of, what James talked about and everybody talks about Charlie and everybody talks about medium C and S stress training from like 76 to 94% because it’s very lactic.  Lactic capacity, lactic power.  So you superimpose [inaudible 0:46:06.5 – sounds like glycolictic] and aerobic training effects which cause a profound impact in adaptation.  Obviously if you look at this, then you’re going to understand that it’s going to inhibit an aerobic enzyme and mitochondria production and everybody knows the more mitochondria you have the greater the energy source, the greater energy source the faster you clear lactic anyway.

Joel:                 Right.

Buddy:            This is why we have gone to a high C and S, low C and S, or the high/low approach.  Guys that are going C and S and intensive everyday.  Okay.  Monday we’re going agility work and Olympic lifts, Tuesday we’re going to do speed work and Olympic lifts, Wednesday we’re going to take off, and Thursday and Friday we’re going to repeat again.  Where is the time to secure the high adaptation to the high C and S stressor?  It doesn’t occur.

And again, the only reason these people are getting away with it is obviously because you’re dealing with some very young athletes and youth.  Youth was wasted on the young.  You know, that old philosophy or the old cliché, “Youth is wasted on youth.”  So that’s why we’ve gone to doing what we do.

Joel:                 Yeah.  Well, I think if more people had the tools like the omega wave and had some way of seeing what they’re doing themselves and seeing the impact that their training is having, they would have a big awakening of what you’re doing everyday and killing yourself.  That’s why we get these injuries, that’s why you have teams breaking down, that’s why you have people burning out.  It’s not because they couldn’t pass a functional movement screen, it’s not because they couldn’t do some drill or some test properly.  It’s because they were fried because they were over trained for years on end.

Buddy:            Here’s a perfect example.  I love my wife to death.  My wife Monica is one of the most best athletes I’ve ever been around Joel, don’t get me wrong.  It’s funny because she’s now training for a triathlon.  She’s [inaudible 0:47:46.2] competitor.  At 50 years of age, the woman can still grab 50 lb. dumbbells and do 6 reps on a dumbbell incline and I’ve seen her do it.  But her idea of training was to track herself out of the gym everyday.  She wasn’t satisfied and that’s why cross fit has become so popular because people can pound their chest like a gorilla and say, “I trained today.  What did you do?”  I trained today, but I didn’t beat the piss out of myself so I can train tomorrow and get better results.

Joel:                 Exactly.

Buddy:            People just don’t want to understand that, Joel.  And don’t get me wrong because I can do that to myself sometimes.  Being in the situation I am in now, I don’t have a job so right away the first thing I do is start punishing myself so I train 6 days a week straight in a weight room and I went to Kung Fu Monday and Wednesday with my stepson.  I hit about 2 weeks and then hit a wall.  Now that I’ve hit a wall…my stepson had mono, my wife and I both went through a bout of mono because we could hardly get out of bed, Joel.  It had nothing to do with being the fact that we’re older.  I think we just depleted ourselves.

One of the things I try to teach and educate in my own life and my family to the fact that you don’t have to crawl out of the gym.  One of the indicators I use, because I don’t have an omega wave Joel, is my grip strength.

Joel:                 Yeah.

Buddy:            If I’m walking around the house and my little finger curls up, I know I’m C and S fried.  I know if I’m very sensitive to light going from indoors to outdoors I’m very C and S fried.  [inaudible 0:49:20.6] I can hardly get out of bed in the morning it’s not because I’m 54, it’s because I’m C and S fried.  So I adjust my program accordingly based on me.

Now, what I found at my age I can go 2 weeks hard and then I can take a week off and just de-load everything and I’m still able to make games.  And again, [inaudible 0:49:43.6] 208 and I don’t want to talk about my training because I’m not the strongest person in the world, but today in the gym I actually grabbed a 100 lb. dumbbell, it’s a dumbbell incline and I did 14 reps.  That ain’t bad.

Joel:                 No, it’s good.

Buddy:            Now, when I did that Joel that was it.  I was done.  I went on to another exercise because I had set a record.  That’s what people don’t understand.  When you set a record or establish a new mark, you’re done.  Walk away.  Give the body time to stabilize itself.  You’re not going to accomplish anything else.

Tommy and I’ve always said, it took Yuri Sedik 18 days to recover for one world record throw.  And the higher performance athletes you have, the more sensitive you have to be to them because you’re dealing with them because they’re dealing with sedans.  Sedans you can run all day, Joel .  Mini cars you can’t and that’s what I appreciate about James because James had a very intuitive understanding of his skill guys and what they could and couldn’t handle.

Joel:                 Yeah, he’s…

Buddy:            [inaudible 0:50:46.4] track background.  I mean track and field is one of the greatest sporting activities in this country, and I got a young high school kid and he comes to me.  I hate when kids come to me and say, “All I’m going to do is [inaudible 0:50:55.2] to the off season.”  Guess what?  The only thing you’re better at is being a weightlifter.  Exercise is specific exercises being trained, movements are specific movements being trained.  You’re not going to become a better athlete.  [inaudible 0:51:05.6].  Want to become explosive?  Go out for track…

Joel:                 Yeah.

Buddy:            …and see what happens.

Joel:                 I threw a shot and disc in high school myself so I can definitely attest to the value of adding that in gymnastics.  Gymnastics when the kids are young and track and a multitude of sports as they get older.

Buddy:            Gymnastics when they’re young followed by martial arts.

Joel:                 Definitely.

Buddy:            They are two of the best things you can do for your kids growing up.  I had daughters, I didn’t do it.  My wife had two sons.  Her youngest son who lives with us now is pretty doggone good at Kung Fu, but he went through gymnastics first Joel which has helped support the development of his Kung Fu.

Joel:                 In actually about 20 minutes Matt Hume is bringing his two little sons here.  They run next door to the gym and train there for MMA and hit the bag and do all their MMA training down there.  Maybe 4 and 2 years old so when those kids get older, you’re going to want to look out for them.

Buddy:            Right.  Yeah.  Here’s what I think the biggest mistake we make in this country.  Our supposed best strength coaches are our highest level.  People have no idea what they’re doing are developing our athletes.

Joel:                 Yeah.

Buddy:            At a very early age.

Joel:                 That’s true.

Buddy:            When it should be reversed.  It should be reversed.  We should have our highly skilled professionals on the very beginning level to develop our athletes.  We don’t develop our athletes anymore.  Like I said, people like Bill Gates are always going to be smarter than Buddy Morris, but the computers ruined this country.  It has once again made us lazy, made things easy for us so our work habits are horrible.

Probably the reason we separate our freshmen from our older guys when they came as freshmen Joel is to teach them how to work.  Train them to train because they didn’t have work habits.  We got to develop proper work habits.  I don’t care what program you use, I don’t care who your strength coach is if you don’t work hard you’re not going to be successful.  It’s that simple and that’s the one underlying ingredient and component we all forget about.

Joel:                 Absolutely.

Buddy:            Charlie Francis always told me, “If you’re reading a program and it’s boring you, how do you think your athletes are going to feel?  But if you’re reading your program and writing a program that’s making you tired, how is your athlete going to feel?”  Just because you write some program you got to be Einstein to figure out doesn’t mean the program’s going to be successful.  So I’ve always told people if you can’t explain it to a waitress on a napkin, then don’t bother talking about it.

Joel:                 That’s good advice.  Well looks like time is just about up here.  I want to kind of wrap things up by you’ve mentioned a lot of names in the sport that have influenced you, Charlie Francis and having James Smith and Michael Hope and Russ Linski [sp], and Alan.  These are all guys that I’m planning on bringing on board and have all talked to about contributing to the site and I’m thankful for that.  Is there anybody else or who do you recommend to the people listening to this to go out and learn from because really I think that’s what separates guys like yourself and those I just mentioned from a lot of the other strength coaches or trainers or whatever out there is you guys are constantly looking to educate yourself in different areas.  You’re constantly looking to evolve your training, and you’re constantly looking just to learn.  So who do you recommend people start with?  I always tell them, “Before you do anything, go read.”  Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Sapolsky because it’s going to teach you about stress and about how the body adapts to it.

Buddy:            That’s a great book.

Joel:                 Great book.

Buddy:            Or the guy who developed the word stress, Hans Selye.

Joel:                 Exactly.

Buddy:            Canadian [inaudible 0:54:41.5 – sounds like It ain’t a] psychologist who coined the term the stress of life.  Now, if you look at that book and I’ve read it.  My youngest daughter is going to be a nurse.  I’ve had her read it.  There’s some things that are in there that are wrong that we know nowadays are different, but I think that’s one of the most important things you can do.  Those two books are…I think Malcolm Gladwell’s book the Outliers…because it will help you understand what it takes to be successful.  When Tommy and I were in Cleveland we visited [inaudible 0:55:07.9] a couple of times at Penn State.  So anything by Zadsorski [SP], but Trasanski, [inaudible 0:55:13.7], Michael [inaudible 0:55:14.3]…

Joel:                 You can get Val to write anything that is.

Buddy:            I tell you what, when we brought Val to Cleveland I sat there and my jaw just hit the table and I’m thinking to myself, “Goddamn am I stupid.”  And that’s the first thing they say to recovery for an addict is you have to admit.  Well, I admitted I was dumb.  So anytime Yousef Johnson puts on a seminar and brings in the [inaudible 0:55:41.3] check or you can read Clings by Stuart McGill, Michael [Yeses], obviously Louie Simmons.  Right now if I was anybody, I’d get right to Charlie Francis’ website and order everything on Charlie’s website like I have.

Joel:                 Great.

Buddy:            I had the chance to talk to a good friend of mine John Logan, and one of the reasons I spoke with [inaudible 0:55:59.9] in Cleveland is I knew that Judd had trained under [inaudible 0:56:02.4 – sounds like Bonder Chuck], and I wanted to see from an athlete’s perspective and get Judd’s input on some things as far as training what he had learned from Bonder Chuck, and I learned a lot just listening to Charles Poliquin and Louie speak in 1997.

But obviously like I told you Joel, I’ve gotten people who are my assistants who are smarter than me.  One thing as the head guy, I’m no dummy.  I don’t want a bunch of mini mes running around.  I want people who can make my program better, make me smarter.  My ego isn’t that big where I got say no and I want everybody to bow down and worship me and just preach my program is the end all to be all.  No.  I want people to look at my program and say you can do it better if you do this and that’s why Alan DeGenarro, Michael Hope, [inaudible 0:56:48.2], James Smith, that’s why these guys have been so valuable to me because they tell me the truth.  And don’t take it personally, this is business.  I’m a big boy, tell me what you really think.  Tell me what we probably can improve and that’s why we’ve had some great interns who have sat me down and said, “You know, I think we can it better if we do it this way” and I’m always open to somebody saying that.  I say, “Okay.  Tell me why you would do it and how you would do it.”  Explain to me what you see, and it just works out for the betterment of the program, Joel.

I’ve always said if you limit your knowledge, you limit your abilities because if you limit your abilities, you limit the development of your athlete.  I can’t stand when people say I’m old school.  Old school is an excuse for being dumb.  It’s an excuse for not going out and wanting to learn and it’s just an excuse for saying, “You know what?  I’ve always done it this way.  We’ve been successful.”  Well, you know what?  Maybe you’ve been successful because you’re a great athlete.  My first couple of years at Pitt, we were 11 and 1.  You know what the hardest thing I did was?

Joel:                 What’s that?

Buddy:            Open the door and turn the lights on.  It’s a little different story when you’re not getting the cream of the crop, Joel.  So you got to find ways to get them better.

Joel:                 Definitely.

Buddy:            Because then you’ve really got to look at their movement patterns and really look at them as individuals to put them in the best possible position to be successful and that’s what we’ve done for 31 years.

Joel:                 Yeah, well I’m sure you will continue to do it and find a place to do it soon and you’re truly one of the great physical preparation coaches out there.  So I truly thank you for doing this interview with me and for being a part of the site.  This is something I’ve really wanted to do was bring guys like you and Tom and Alan and Michael and James and the group of us together that have all kind of shared similar beliefs and philosophies.  Not necessarily just to stroke each other’s ego, but really to educate the public at large and one another really because there’s not a whole lot of us out there I think who come from a similar ideological background or have read and learned from the same people and the more we can help open people’s eyes and get them to look at the broader picture I think the better really.  So thanks again for coming on.

Buddy:            I agree with you 100% and once again Joel, I appreciate your time.  I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of your site and do the inaugural interview with you and it’s an honor for me to be part of those people having learned from them as I have over the past couple of years.  They have really been invaluable tools for me, and they’ve really helped me and the athletes I’m responsible for become better.

Joel:                 It’s great having you and like I said this isn’t the last…people are going to hear from you.  We’ll definitely get you involved in lots of programs and products and just getting information out there because that’s what this is all about just educating people and continuing to educate ourselves.  So thanks again.

Buddy:            I appreciate it and I look forward to it.

Joel:                 Yep.  We’ll hear from you again soon, all right?  Thanks.

Buddy:            All right.  Thanks, Joel.

Joel:                 Bye.

Buddy:            Bye bye.

Joel:                 Thanks for listening.  This is Joel Jamieson, 8weeksout.com.  Make sure and check the website for more updates, more interviews, and more great information on physical preparation for athletic performance coming soon.[/hidepost]


Comments

  1. The guy is great, and I hope he contributes here. He has the perfect attitude the a scientist should possess, humility. I know that he is in the practical business of making football players, but he is very logical and empirical. He made many references in regards to not letting your ego delude you; I have extreme appreciation for that; that attitude is what makes a good student in any field. There is no intellectual facade, like I so often see in those that I am surrounded by. His vernacular is very natural and succinct. His knowledge of physiology and practical (in the trenches) experience would make him an invaluable addition here.

    Hey Joel, this guy seems just like the epitome of what you told us the new contributors would be like: experienced people that have so busy working in the field that they haven’t had the time to post all of their shit online.

  2. Yes, Buddy is a great guy and a great coach and I can assure you he will be on the site as often as possible. Everyone will also enjoy the rest of the coaches I’m bringing on board as well, Buddy mentioned many of them in the interview. Look for more from Buddy and everyone else soon.

  3. Joel- the resources and materials you have made available have really opened doors in my own education. Based on your recommendations and Buddy Morris I’ve picked up both “Why Zebras Don’t Ulcers” and “Speed Trap” by Charlie Francis.

  4. This was a great interview. It was an opportunity to talk about how training is constatnly evolving. As a coach that deals with many HS football coaches, I really appreciated the part about being able to individualize the training in a group setting and understanding CNS stressors. Thanks Joel for this interview and hope we see more of coach Morris.

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