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Marshall's last game, the day after Thanksgiving, was played nearly eight months ago. Spring practice was way back in April. Fall camp is still weeks away. So what's a Herd fan to do during the dog days of July? Keep an eye on summer workouts, that's what. HerdNation caught up with new strength and conditioning coach Scott Sinclair to see how his first couple of months in Huntington have been and just how far the 2013 version of the Thundering Herd have come this off-season.
What's a typical day in the life of the strength coach at Marshall University?
Well, right now is absolutely the busiest and most important time of the year for me as a coach because now is the time we win games.
For the first six weeks of summer we broke the kids up into three groups starting at 7, 9:45 and 12:45. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays we train for two hours and do our meat and potatoes stuff - which consists of some sort of Olympic lift and explosion training. We also focus on pre-hab, which centers on keeping guys away from surgery and general preventive maintenance. On Wednesdays we go on an hour run with each group. We also provide nutritional supplements via multi-vitamins and muscle milk.
Right now we do total body workout three days a week with long runs on the other two. I'm a big believer in letting guys recuperate over the weekend so they usually have Saturday and Sunday off unless they want to come in and get some work done in on their own.
What are your thoughts on the new IPF?
The new practice facility will help me do my job to the best of my ability more than people will ever know. It's just such a blessing to have such a top notch facility on the way. Probably the thing I'm most excited about is how close it will be to the weight room. Having them in such close proximity will allow me to multi-task and better coordinate what I want our kids doing.
Thoughts on Orlando versus Huntington and how Marshall and UCF's strength programs compare?
What jumped out to me about Huntington was the pride and enthusiasm the city has for Marshall. Everywhere you go someone is wearing green or something with Marshall on it. If you're from this area you're a Marshall fan, plain and simple. I really enjoy that a lot about Huntington. It's not like that at all down in Orlando with UCF because you have to share so many loyalties because of all the big football programs in the state. Maybe most importantly, my kids love it. They had never seen snow before and it snowed their first day of school up here in March, which was really cool.
I know a lot of people probably think a school in Florida wouldn't need an IPF but in reality it rains just about every afternoon in that part of the state so UCF actually had an Indoor facility. In fact, UCF was the only division one school in the entire state to have a practice facility like that. Outside of that, the way we did things down there and the way I'm running things here have a bunch of similarities.
What is your general philosophy when it comes to strength and conditioning?
The biggest thing I believe in is getting kids to train on their feet, not sitting or lying down. We focus on explosion movement training and have made a lot of changes based on those two Ideas. It's in no way an indictment of the previous strength coach but a lot of the equipment in the weight room when I arrived didn't mesh with my philosophy, so some things have been taken out. Now we have more free weights and olympic lifting platforms and I've added a sink with blenders right in with our equipment so kids can make smoothies and shakes immediately after their reps.
Has anyone stood out to you during workouts or has one particular player made the most gains?
You know, a lot of guys have really done an excellent job this summer getting stronger and faster so choosing a few names wouldn't be difficult. But when I got here I asked almost every player on the roster what it would take for us to win a championship and nearly everyone gave me the same answer - by playing as a team. So that's our philosophy on everything we do, including our workouts. There are no individuals, just team results.
That said, there is still room for growth because in my opinion we weren't nearly as strong as we should have been when I got here. I've had a couple of guys come up to me excited about squatting 400 pounds, which isn't where we want to be but is a big improvement from where guys were just last January.
I'm proud of my guys and know if we put in the work we can win a championship. The athletes here are as good as I've been around and I've spent time at Wake, UCF and Georgia Tech.
Chris McLaughlin is an analyst with Herd Nation. Comments and questions are welcomed and encouraged on the Old Fairfield forum.