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About The Author

Joel Smith, MS, CSCS is a NCAA Division I Strength Coach working in the PAC12 conference. He has been a track and field jumper and javelin thrower, track coach, strength coach, personal trainer, researcher, writer and lecturer in his 8 years in the professional field. You can connect with Joel on his website.

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Recent Posts



3 French Contrast Workouts For Improving Acceleration, Vertical Jump, And Change of Direction

By Joel Smith | Wed, Jul 19

Have you been looking for a training modality that can rapidly deliver gains in speed, power, and vertical leaping ability? If you want to get powerful in a hurry, there are few applications that will deliver this in the manner that the French Contrast platform can. 

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4 Scientifically Proven Ways To Develop Explosive Power (And How To Program Each)

By Joel Smith | Mon, Apr 24

Building athletic power is one of the most desired, if not the most desired, quality in athletic performance today. The question is...how do we optimally train it? 

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8 Daily Routines and Systems to Organize Your Coaching and Optimize Your Life

By Joel Smith | Mon, Feb 27

“Discipline = Freedom” - Jocko Willink

Physical preparation may be one of the most saturated and competitive fields in existence. How do you get the edge? In a word: discipline.  

Discipline for a performance professional is of the essence. I’ve found discipline manifests itself in the realm of getting things done in two ways:

  • Motivation
  • Productivity Principles
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3 Principles to Building a Successful Team Culture

By Joel Smith | Tue, Oct 18

“To win takes talent… to repeat takes Character” - John Wooden

Take a look at any team dynasty through the years in sports, and behind it all, you’ll see a coach that created a culture of success.  Any team can win it all one season, but to repeat success time and time again takes something more.  

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5 Movements to Build Powerful Glutes and Hamstrings for Athletic Performance

By Joel Smith | Mon, Sep 5

We all know things like deadlifts and Olympic lifts are great general posterior chain builders, so I’m going to leave those movements for now in favor of some more over-arching philosophy. 

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The Great Max Out Debate: 7 Questions to Ask Before You Test Your Athletes 1RM

By Joel Smith | Sun, Jul 10

In the midst of any training program, the idea of measuring and monitoring one’s limits is a vital part of the equation.  

How much do you think you might improve in a strength training program if you never knew how much weight was on the bar?  The nervous system must test itself to be able to create improved patterning.  

It is important to measure and improve one’s abilities in any training program, but the pressing question is, how and when should the maximal abilities of an athlete be measured, especially in terms of absolute strength.

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Accelerate to Dominate: 5 Drills That Improve Acceleration

By Joel Smith | Fri, Apr 29

If there is any one skill that defines an athlete’s ability in team sport, it is the ability to accelerate.  

Like most things in Strength and Conditioning, acceleration is extremely trainable.  It's entirely possible for an athlete to hack tenths of a second off of their 40 like butter with a good training program, and this shows up big-time on the field.

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3 Barbell Lifting Patterns to Avoid For Maximal Athletic Performance

By Joel Smith | Wed, Mar 30

What is good lifting technique really?  We emphasize how important “proper form” is in our lifting programs, but are we missing what is truly important regarding strength technique?

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10 Ways to Build an NFL Caliber Vertical Jump

By Joel Smith | Tue, Mar 15

The NFL Combine was just here, and nowhere else in the world will you see so many 40” vertical jumps in one place.  A leap of this magnitude is an awe inspiring display of power that certainly takes some good genetics to achieve, but is it just genetics?  Of course not.  

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Nervous System Training 101: The Creation of Superhuman Strength and Athleticism

By Joel Smith | Wed, Feb 10

Inside of each of us lies an untapped giant, capable of superhuman strength and performance. Consider the following: pound for pound apes have double the strength of a human being.

They can also jump about 30-40% higher than top human jumpers, in addition to their superhuman leg power.

How is this possible given their similar amount of muscle mass?

Aside from longer, denser fibers, our simian friends also have an interesting piece of their brain and spinal cord that allows them stronger muscle contractions: less grey matter.

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