If anyone had thought that this annual strength clinic attendance had topped out after last years big turn out that followed a 2016 College Football Playoff appearance, forget about it! The 2017 Michigan State Spartans 10th Annual Strength & Conditioning Clinic welcomed a record turnout The adage that "you win with people" holds very true here. There's a lot of folks up there in East Lansing who have passion and commitment to the coaching profession and enjoy sharing the knowledge that they've acquired. It starts at the top and that's where the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach, Ken Mannie and his leadership skills step to the forefront. He's in his 22nd year of coaching at this Big Ten power member. Try doing that! Pretty much amazing. Coach Mannie gave the opening night clinic kick-off and touched on great topics about learning...and taking on new knowledge, and the process of building relationships.
Assistant Strength Coach Mike Vorkapich...the clinic's director, definitely has a feel for how to make it all work. He's found a format that has really kept past attendees returning and new coaches on the way. One thing that's really added a professional flair to this clinic is when they made the addition of clinic emcee Ted Lambrinides. He's a speaker, professor, coach and true expert in the strength coaching & conditioning realm.... and a true authority on many of the branches of the field. In fact, over the past several years, he's become a specialist at understanding football player tracking data and consults with many of the nation's top collegiate programs, as well as all NFL teams... which he does through his work at Zebra Technologies, the leader in player tracking. Ted keeps the clinic on the go and interjects some sidebar facts regarding all things strength & conditioning. He also has an unusual memory to reel off coaching profiles of all of the speakers.... without any note cards or teleprompters!
Coach Vorkapich also makes sure that the annual event has a well rounded speaker list..... a litany of professionals who know how to share information in a great way. This year, we saw the University of Maryland's Assistant A.D.for Football Sports Performance, Rick Court give a polished talk in the newly refurbished Spartan strength training complex.that boasts a brand new floor and completely updated Rogers Athletic Rack System. And, with the help of Spartan G.A. Danny Foligno, the practical demos contained info and techniques that could be added to a coaches' toolbox. ETSU Strength Coach Al Johnson delivered. He's a seasoned veteran of the strength industry and he gave a great talk on teaching mental toughness, as well as Tim "Red' Wakeham on leadership roles and development . Round that out with CMU Coach Jason Novak and Warren Michigan's Mott High School Strength Coach Shaun Tahrebandi and you have your self a nice speaker list.
But wait, in the MSU Strength Clinic tradition, there's always a Spartans on hand to 'keep it real!'. Star Running Back Gerald Holmes gave up a Friday night as a college kid to help out one of the practical application parts of the clinic: This year, MSU Assistant Strength Coach Lorenzo Guess came through on this segment. Coach Guess, not only talks it...but he walks it, too. Lorenzo was a four year letter winner for the Spartans...playing in cool bowl games, and..... if that's not enough, he also starred on the Spartan's basketball squad with a couple of letters there, too. And, an NCAA Final Four gig! Anyway, they conducted a very nice football performance session out in the Michigan State Indoor Facility. Holmes (#24), a power RB, looked effortless as he demonstrated a a lengthy list of drills for Coach Guess. It should be noted that shifty runner had worked previously that day with the morning training groups. Hopefully, the NCAA allowed that dude some extra protein that day! As for Coach Guess, he looks like he could still don the Green & White!
All that plus ample restrooms, a very comfortable auditorium-style learning setting, plenty of Panera coffee and bagels along with a power box lunch selection makes for a pretty BIG deal. GO GREEN!