By Tony Holler
Football games have become track meets held in the fall. Have you seen the pads football players wear today? Football players wear compression shorts, tight jerseys, thin shoulder pads, and a weapon called a helmet. Football has become a game of sprinting, jumping, and explosion. Even the pachyderms of the offensive line get drafted based on their 40-times. Six of the NFL Combine’s ten fastest offensive tackles were picked in Round-1 and Round-2 of the 2015 Draft.
Track is the sister sport of football. 78% of track events (14 of 18) feature sprinting, jumping, and explosion.
Football is played in the fall. Track takes place in the spring. Training for one is training for the other. Football needs to infiltrate track. Track needs to infiltrate football.Football games have become track meets held in the fall. - Tony Holler Click To Tweet
The Dec 11-12 Track-Football Activation Consortium will address the challenges and methodology of training football and track athletes. The consortium will offer track-specific and football-specific breakout sessions. As a bonus, coaches can attend up to four sessions on “Be-Activated”.
To keep this article at a reasonable size, Chris Korfist and I have decided to split our promotion article into two segments. I will write about my guys, Chris will write about his guys (Cal Dietz, Joel Smith, Dan Fichter, and Dan Hartman).
Speaker Bios (The Holler-Guys)
Latif Thomas is my favorite track clinician. He is edgy, funny, and thought-provoking. The other day I asked Latif what percentage of cross-country coaches understood sprint training. His reply, “1% and that’s probably being generous. Maybe it should be 1% with an asterisk, like Bobby Jindal’s poll numbers.” Just for fun, I asked him what percentage of football coaches understood sprint training. His answer, “8% with much higher numbers in some areas.”
Latif Thomas is the CEO of Complete Track and Field. CTF markets track & field information to high school track coaches. Boo Schexnayder is a regular. Latif calls Boo a friend and mentor. Last summer’s CTF Track Clinic held at Harvard sold out with over 400 athletes from around the world attending.
Latif has over 9000 Facebook followers and over 3000 Twitter followers.
In 2012, I attended the WISTCA Clinic in Milwaukee. Latif spoke five times, five different presentations. I’ve never learned as much from one guy, ever. Latif presented his material and owned the room. I sat in the front row at every session. On December 11-12, Latif will present material that has never appeared in video, print, or interviews.
Lou Sponsel played football at Northern Illinois University. Lou is the head football coach at Palatine Fremd H.S. in the Chicago area. In addition, Lou Sponsel serves as sprint coach for the Palatine Fremd track team.
I did a mini-clinic on speed training for Lou and six other coaches from Palatine Fremd 7 years ago. Lou adopted many of my ideas. In addition, I encouraged Lou to visit the best sprint coach I know, Chris Korfist. The rest is history. Lou’s football team has made the playoffs every year since he’s been the head coach (four years). Last year, Lou Sponsel’s sprint relays ran 42.41, 1:27.48, and 3:19.91, two of which were school records. In regards to the outbreak of entrepreneurial money-grabbing 7-7 football, Lou tells his athletes, “You are wasting your time.”
18 months ago I wrote my first article for Freelap USA, Sprint-Based Football, featuring Palatine Fremd.
Four football teams in Illinois are committed to “Be-Activated”. Two may be state champions this year. At Fremd, athletes activate each other six-days per week. Lou Sponsel’s athletes activate their diaphragm, psoas, and glutes. On Thursdays, Dr. Nate Porcher oversees a 50-minute activation session. Fremd’s varsity football team suffered only one concussion in nine games this year. Last year, Nazareth Academy had one concussion in 14 games on their way to the 6A State Championship.
I group these two guys together for a reason. Both coach football and track at Edwardsville High School. These two guys have been a team for the last five years. Edwardsville has placed 15th, 2nd, 8th, 2nd, and 1st in the Illinois 3A (big-school) state meet in the Holler-Lakatos years. Edwardsville has gone 40-6 in the past four years in football. Four track coaches are on the football staff; four football coaches are on the track staff. These four coaches include the head track coach and head football coach. This year, a fifth football coach will join Edwardsville’s track staff.
Chad Lakatos is like a son to me. Chad quarterbacked my freshmen football team in 1988 to a 9-0 record. In 1991, Chad was an All-State track athlete leading my track team to a 3rd place finish at the state meet.
Alec Holler is my son. Alec caught 17 touchdown passes to lead my sophomore football team in 2002 to a 9-0 record. In 2004, Alec was an All-State track athlete leading my track team to a 3rd place finish at the state meet.
Only 41 years old, Chad Lakatos is headed to the Mt. Rushmore of Illinois Track & Field. Chad is the only coach in IHSA to win two state championships in Class A and another in Class 3A. Chad’s coaching expertise extends to football where his Edwardsville freshman teams have won 80% of their games, a record of 36-9.
At the age of 29, Alec Holler has struck gold as a hurdle coach. How many high school hurdle coaches have produced these marks in the past two seasons?
- Craig James 14.07 & 38.10 (2014, senior season)
- Isaiah Michl 14.54 & 37.13 (2015, senior season)
- Travis Anderson 13.98 & 39.20 (2015, sophomore season)
Alec Holler’s football assignment: the defensive backfield. Interception records have been set in both the last two seasons. Edwardsville’s quarterbacks have thrown only ten interceptions while Alec’s defensive backs have picked off 32. In all but one game this year, Edwardsville held their opponents to less than 100 yards passing.
No one does the track-football thing better than Edwardsville High School.
Below is the poster-child (man-child) of Edwardsville H.S. A.J. Epenesa is only a junior. Last year as a sophomore, A.J. Epenesa was the leading scorer and rebounder for Edwardsville’s varsity basketball team. In the spring, he placed 2nd in the discus at the IHSA state meet. Epenesa is ranked as the #2 overall football player in the nation for the class of 2017. His best discus throw of 194’3” makes him the #1 sophomore thrower in the U.S. Many schools have elite athletes; few promote the idea of playing multiple sports.
The pictures above speak volumes. All coaches should appreciate the beauty of an athlete competing in more than one sport. I give so much credit to my friend, Matt Martin, the head football coach at Edwardsville. Unlike the more selfish football-centric coaches in his profession, Matt encourages competition. Anyone who doesn’t see the educational value of playing multiple sports should stop calling themselves educators.
I started as a basketball coach and became the youngest head basketball coach in Illinois back in 1983. I accepted the head track job at Harrisburg in 1990 and one month later got fired as head basketball coach in a midnight coup d’état. I’ve never looked back.
My obsession with basketball was rerouted to football and track. My freshmen and sophomore football teams have won 82% of their games in 21 seasons at three different schools in two states. My freshmen at Plainfield North have won their last 39 games. As a track coach, my teams have won 8 state trophies including three state championships.
In my opinion, high school coaching is the most rewarding level of coaching. Instead of recruiting or drafting elite athletes, high school coaches work with what they have … the talented AND the untalented. Instead of spending their days evaluating talent, high school coaches teach all day, and then develop talent.
I’ve presented at over 20 clinics and have been published over 50 times. I may be in the twilight of my coaching career, but I still have gas left in my tank. Strangely, after 35 years, I have more enthusiasm than I had at age 22.
My dream for this clinic is to provide an experience where a football coach and track coach can share a weekend, improving both of their programs. Our schedule allows a football coach to avoid track-specific sessions and a track coach to avoid football-specific sessions. The Saturday morning demonstrations will be worth the price of admission.
As a bonus, “Be-Activated”, will be presented in four separate sessions. “Be-Activated” is a performance-enhancing manual therapy program from South Africa. Coaches will learn enough to take Activation home with them. Douglas Heel is not scheduled to return to the United States anytime soon, so your best chance of learning “Be-Activated” is through Douglas Heel’s surrogates.
Stay alert for upcoming articles in association with the Dec 11-12 Track-Football Activation Consortium.
For more information, email, call, text Tony Holler, 630-849-8294.
If you need more convincing …
Top Ten Reasons Why Football Coaches Need to Attend Our “Track-Football Activation Consortium”
All stats compiled by my friends at TrackingFootball
Over the past three NFL Drafts, 2013-2015, 766 players have been drafted and approximately 441 (58%) of those participated in high school track and field.
In 2014, approximately 3,040 high school football players received Division I-FBS scholarships and approximately 1,731 (57%) participated in high school track and field.
Over the past three NFL Drafts, 96 players have been drafted in the 1st round. 59 of the 96 (61%) first round picks participated in high school track and field.
The 2015 NFL Draft included some top-flight shot putters.
The 2015 NFL Draft had some track speed.
The best NCAA running backs have track speed.
If you play big-time college football as a running back, defensive back, or receiver, you probably didn’t boycott high school track.
Lots of Heisman Trophy winners were track athletes.
|Name||Position||HS Event||HS Performance|
|Marcus Mariota||QB||LJ / 400R||20’06 / 42.83|
|Robert Griffin III||QB||110H / 300IH||13.53 /35.33|
|Mark Ingram Jr.||RB||60 / 200||7.01 / 22.30|
|Reggie Bush||RB||100 / 200||10.42 / 21.07|
|Eric Crouch||QB||100 /200||10.64 / 21.84|
|Ron Dayne||RB||SP / Discus||64’06” / 206’01”|
|Rashaan Salaam||RB||200 / 400||22.84 / 49.44|
|Tim Brown||WR||LJ / 400||24’03” / 47.14|
|Bo Jackson||RB||HJ / LJ / 110H||6’09” / 24’08” / 13.80|
|Herschel Walker||RB||100y/220y/SP||9.5 / 21.5 /53’03|
|Charles White||RB||110H / 300IH||14.14 / 36.34|
|Johnny Rodgers||WR||LJ / TJ||23’00” / 46’09”|
|Billy Cannon||RB||100y / SP||9.7 / 57’10”|
Explosive track athletes become explosive football players.
|Name||Position||HS Event||HS Performance|
|Julius Peppers||DE||HJ / TJ||6’08” / 46’10”|
|Geno Atkins||DT||SP / Discus||59’01” / 158’07”|
|Vince Wilfork||DT||SP / Discus||67’07” / 178’08”|
|Casey Hampton||DT||SP / Discus||52’10” / 157’08”|
|Dontari Poe||DT||SP / Discus||56’03” / 156’01”|
|James Harrison||LB||SP / HJ||50’03” / 6’01”|
|Jamie Collins||LB||SP / TJ / HJ||52’00” / 44’05” / 6’04”|
|John Abraham||LB||100 / 200||11.26 / 22.60|
|Demarcus Ware||LB||HJ / LJ||6’04” / 23’04”|
|Tedy Bruschi||LB||SP / Discus||58’10” / 175’11”|
|Lavar Arrington||LB||LJ / HJ||22’02” / 6’05”|
|Zach Brown||LB||100 / 200||10.67 / 21.52|
|Anthony Barr||LB||200 / Vault||21.86 / 15’07”|
Receivers make great track athletes and vice versa.
|Name||Position||HS Event||HS Performance|
|Shannon Sharpe||TE||LJ / TJ||22’00” / 48’03”|
|Jay Novacek||TE||HJ / Pole Vault||6’06” / 15’01”|
|Vernon Davis||TE||100 / HJ||10.92 / 6’06”|
|Greg Olsen||TE||SP / Javelin||59’01” / 173’03”|
|Ben Watson||TE||200 / 400||22.37 / 50.03|
|Jordy Nelson||WR||100 / 200 / LJ||10.63 / 21.64 / 22’09”|
|Keenan Allen||WR||100 / LJ||11.20 / 22’09”|
|Julio Jones||WR||LJ / TJ||24’02” / 47’05”|
|Brandon Marshall||WR||LJ / TJ||22’06” / 48’07”|
|Travis Benjamin||WR||100 / LJ||10.79 / 22’10”|
|Joe Horn||WR||100 / 400R||10.63 / 41.91|
|Plaxico Burress||WR||300IH / 400R||38.04 / 41.95|
|Randy Moss||WR||100 / 200||10.94 / 21.95|
|Steve Smith||WR||110HH / 300IH||14.95 / 38.73|
|Demaryius Thomas||WR||100 / TJ||11.00 / 45’04”|
|Emmanuel Sanders||WR||200 / 400||22.47 / 49.81|
|Devin Hester||WR||100 / LJ||10.87 / 24’01”|
|Odell Beckham||WR||200 / LJ||22.31 / 22’03”|
Thanks again to Mark at TrackingFootball.
To see the time schedule for the Dec 11-12 Track-Football Activation Consortium, click here.
To purchase a ticket for the Dec 11-12 Track-Football Activation Consortium, click here.
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