A Look Back: Hell Week Friday

NOTE: This is a look in the rear view mirror at what we used to do for the first week of summer conditioning. It was dubbed “Hell Week” by participants. Friday…the final day of the first week. We’ve started the bodies on the road to becoming the explosive athletes we need to be in order to compete. We’ve started to thread in a team concept and give the kids an idea of what it takes to play Clay Center Tiger Football. And now it’s time to wrap up Week One and slingshot our way toward the season.

Friday of Hell Week was one of my favorite days of coaching football, especially in those years we were able to move the Friday Hell Week workout to our home field, the historic Otto Unruh Stadium. On Friday, we introduced the kids to the historic aspect of the program. We tried to make the kids aware they were part of something bigger and something greater. It is important for us to have a foot rooted in the past while the other moves forward. We also tried to make the kids aware of the role they have in the community and to appreciate the town that supports them like few other places on this earth.

Friday.  Finally the end of the week.  The attitudes and the energy are riding high.  Kids are working through the soreness and starting to feel like human beings again.  Friday.  This was a special day for me.  Tiger Tradition Day.  Until the admins told us we couldn’t use our stadium due to grounds-keeping concerns, we did the Hell Week Friday at Otto Unruh Stadium.  I think we lost something magical when we quit running this first Friday workout at the stadium.  If I had to do it all over again, I would have never asked the admins for permission to use stadium facility.  Shoot first and ask questions later.

Friday

Winning is not a sometime thing, it’s an all the time thing.  You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do the right thing once in a while; you do things right all the time.  Winning is a habit.”         -Vince Lombardi

6:30 -6:40  Stretch Runs
6:40-7:30  Tiger Tradition

I.  FANS – Otto Unruh Stadium seats

A.  Expectations and community pride

1.  Fans, parents, relatives want to see you do well, everyone wants us to be successful.

2.  Strong community sense of pride in this school’s athletic programs.

10 Stair Sprints – sprint up, walk down.

B.  Entertainment and Social Importance

1.  Friday night in America – CC true to this mantra.

2.  Tiger Football is the show on Friday nights in this town.

Families, friends all gather to celebrate Tiger football…Let’s give them the best damn show EVERY Friday night.  Let’s let our families and friends to have something to BRAG about and be PROUD of.

5 minutes of stadium stairs

II. Tradition – Otto Unruh Stadium Sign
A.  100 years of Clay Center football
1.  836 games, 453-337-46 record, a .542 winning %
2. 63% of all teams had a winning record
3.  10 undefeated seasons

B.  Highlights and Dynasties
1. V.R. Vegades Era 1920-1926; 42-10-2, a .778 winning %, 1920 – 7-1 record

  • 1921 – 8-1 undefeated regular season. Lost to Topeka in playoffs.
  • 1922 – 7-1 Did not get scored on all season until last game, a 7-6 loss to Manhattan.  Beat Concordia 101-0.
  • 1923 – 6-1, No TD’s given up the entire season. Lost final game to Manhattan 6-3 but only gave up 2 FG’s.
  • 1924 – 6-1, only gave up 3 TD’s all season.

2.  C.A. Nelson Era 1930-1941; 69-27-13, a .670 winning %

  • 3 undefeated seasons.

3.  Otto Unruh Era, 1945-1966; 126-65-8, a .633 winning %

Won 3 Class A State Championships; Domination and consistent competitiveness in the CKL; Nationally published book “How to Coach Winning Football”.

  • 3 undefeated 9-0 seasons.
  •  1956 and 1957 teams went 18-0 and won 2 state titles.
  • 1963 team went 8-1 and won state championship.  Only loss of year was to Manhattan, 7-6, on a missed PAT.

4.  Larry Wiemers Era, 1977-1994; 114-71, a .616 winning%

  • Solid, consistent football over twenty years.1978, 1979, 1980 teams went 26-5.
    -2 District championships and 3 NCKL titles
  • 1980 team went 10-1, losing only to Andover in the regional final.
    -1983, 1984, 1985 teams went 25-8
    -Substate, district and bi-district titles.
  • 1993 team went 10-1
    -NCKL champs, district, bi-district, regional runner-up
    -Andover regional heartbreaker loss at Unruh Stadium.

100 yard flip hip sprint to north end.
100 yard bear crawl back.

III.  Hold the Rope

A.  This is OUR HOUSE, this is OUR TURF!  We will crank it up an extra notch at home.

B.  Where do you want to fit into the Tiger Tradition?  Who in this group is going to Hold the Rope?
Coach Lane reads Hold the Rope while 5 min. Chain Wall Sit across stadium wall.

IV.  Breakdown – 50 yard line
Imagine:  Friday night in Clay Center, America. Walk as team to north end zone.

100 yard sprint to touch the “Otto Unruh Stadium” sign.

 

Unruh from scoreboard

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A Look Back: Hell Week Thursday

NOTE: This is a look in the rear view mirror at what we used to do for the first week of summer conditioning. It was dubbed “Hell Week” by participants. Thursday rolled around, our systems have been duly shocked and now it’s time to start the process of building a team attitude. Try to instill the importance of being the best you that you can be for the good of the team. Be part of the whole, not the whole part.

If there was an easier day to Hell Week, it had to be Thursday.  Speed work, low volume/high intensity, following our motto of getting faster by running fast,  then finishing the workout with agility cone runs.  The team building activity of having a blindfolded returning letter man being guided by underclassmen teammates through an obstacle course was a thing of beauty.  If, of course, you are the kind of person who considers a blindfolded, 250 lbs. offensive lineman (with a somewhat nasty disposition) trying to climb steps under the guidance of several scared-to-death-sophomores a thing of beauty.

Hell Week 2005

Thursday

Winning is not a sometime thing, it’s an all the time thing.  You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do the right thing once in a while; you do things right all the time.  Winning is a habit.”         -Vince Lombardi

6:30-6:40  Attitude and Self-Improvement

Attitude
1. “I’ll do it” instead of “I’ll try”
2.  Overcome the urge to quit or to not even try at all.

Self Improvement –identify weaknesses and improve

6:40-6:45  Stretch Runs

6:45-7:00  Sprint Ladder
10-4, 20-4, 40-2, 100-2   


7:00-7:15 Cut Circuit:  4 groups/4 flat cones per drill
1. Down and Backs – 3x
2. U-Turns – 3x Right and 3x left
3. Zig zags – 3x
4. Cut Drill – 3x down and 3x back

7:15 Hold the Rope – Freshman Read
Blindfold relay race.
Returning letterman blindfolded with team partners talking them through course.

Breakdown

Tigers 2006 runout

 

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A Look Back: Hell Week Tuesday & Wednesday

NOTE: This is a look in the rear view mirror at what we used to do for the first week of summer conditioning. It was dubbed “Hell Week” by participants. I had a local businessman tell me once that he knew when we had started summer conditioning each year because he’d see the boys walking around town like old men because they were so sore. I liked that. And in a couple weeks, the boys would start liking the athletic transformation their bodies would go through.

Tuesday of Hell Week was a day to actively recover from the shock of Monday.  Emphasis was put on warming up with our dynamic routine forcing oneself to obtain a full range of motion in the muscles.  Time to stretch out  the things we spent yesterday tightening up.  But don’t get confused thinking Tuesday was a vacation day.  It was simple, but it was hard.  Many kids this year still fondly remember the lunges up and down the hill at all possible angles.  The hill at Clay Center Community High School was (and still is) a real SOB.

Hell Week 2005

Tuesday

Winning is not a sometime thing, it’s an all the time thing.  You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do the right thing once in a while; you do things right all the time.  Winning is a habit.”         -Vince Lombardi

6:30-6:40  5 P’s  Purpose, Pride, Passion, Persistence, Performance

6:40-6:45  Stretch Runs

6:45-7:00  Hill Series (6 lines)
Runs- Forward and Back
Bear – Up and Down
Lunge Walk – Forward and Back, Diagonal Up & Down, Left and Right Across
Duck Walk – Forward, walk down

7:00-7:15  Four Corner Drill

7:15 Hold the Rope – Juniors Read
Team Cage Carry
1.  Seniors one lap.

2.  Returning lettermen, everyone else sits once then sit on cage.

3.  Whole Team

7:20  Abs – 50 Sit Ups

Breakdown

 

Wednesday of Hell Week, the day after the day after soreness is the worst.  Kids would be so sore they wouldn’t even be whining.  They would think it would be a somewhat easy day since we were repeating the body weight circuit.  That is how a teenage boy thinks, it HAS to be easier today than it was Monday, doesn’t it?  But, with the soreness being worked out,  it was just as hard.  Then the hammer comes down in the form off upper body plyometrics,  military push-ups, side to side push-ups, wheelbarrows, push-up walk, walk the plank and around the world push-ups.  Whoa, makes me hurt just thinking about it!

Hell Week 2005

Wednesday

Winning is not a sometime thing, it’s an all the time thing.  You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do the right thing once in a while; you do things right all the time.  Winning is a habit.”         -Vince Lombardi

6:30-6:40  Performance Triangle: Nutrition, Hydration and Rest

6:40-6:50  Stretch Runs

6:50-7:05  Body Weight Circuit

Jumping Jacks 50
Push-Ups 20
Crunch Series – 10 center, right, center, left, center
Lunges- 10 each leg
Navy Seals- 10
Sit-Ups- 20
Squat Jumps- 20
Push Ups Side to side- 10
Walk the Planks- 3 down and back
Split Lunge Jumps- 12
Crunch Series- 10 center, right, center, left, center
Squat and Touch- 15
Walkouts- 10
Sit Ups- 20
Around the Clock Lunges
Supermans- 2 x 30 seconds

7:05-7:15 Upper Body Plyos
1.  Military Push-ups, Side to Side Push-ups.
2.  Wheelbarrows, Push-up Walk
3.  Walk the Planks, Around the World Push-ups

7:15 Hold the Rope – Sophomores
Inverted Wall Hold

Breakdown

Tigers @ Royal Valley 2008

 

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A Look Back: Hell Week Monday

NOTE: This is a look in the rear view mirror at what we used to do for the first week of summer conditioning. It was dubbed “Hell Week” by participants. I always wanted to start the summer program as soon as possible after state track. Wait any longer and the high school kids slip into bad sleep and exercise habits that take ANOTHER full month to break. Another full month we are falling behind the competition. My belief was (and still is) that every day of training is vital and that one day wasted puts you three days behind.

Monday of Hell Week was designated as a “wake your body up” workout.  Not easy, but not too hard, just hard enough to make the kids conclude they needed to get to get in shape.  Below is the workout plan from 2005.  I think we had nine trash cans in the vicinity of the CCCHS gym and by the end of the second round of body weight circuit, they all had a young potential football player leaning over them.  Needless to say, the bodies were awake.

Hell Week 2005

Monday

Winning is not a sometime thing, it’s an all the time thing.  You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do the right thing once in a while; you do things right all the time.  Winning is a habit.”         -Vince Lombardi

6:30-6:40  Expectations
Make yourself better every day this summer…have fun and get better.
We need everyone to contribute in a positive fashion on and off field.
Find your niche and become great at what you do.

STAND TALL RULE
No bending over, sitting, leaning, kneeling…EVER
Bending over physically = Bending over mentally

6:40-6:50  Stretch Runs

6:50-7:05  Body Weight Circuit

Jumping Jacks 50
Push-Ups 20
Crunch Series – 10 center, right, center, left, center
Lunges- 10 each leg
Navy Seals- 10
Sit-Ups- 20
Squat Jumps- 20
Push Ups Side to side- 10
Walk the Planks- 3 down and back
Split Lunge Jumps- 12
Crunch Series- 10 center, right, center, left, center
Squat and Touch- 15
Walkouts- 10
Sit Ups- 20
Around the Clock Lunges
Supermans- 2 x 30 seconds

7:05-7:20 Agility Stations(~ 5min each.)
1.  Gate Drill
2.  5 Cone
3.  Full Moons/Half Moons
4.  5-10-5

7:20-7:30  Seniors- read “Hold the Rope”
Wall Sit 5 min.

cropped-tiger-huddle-20061.jpg

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The Greatest

Muhammad Ali has died. The Greatest is gone.

When I was a kid, I did not like Ali.

He scared me.

Ali was a brash and loud athlete. I was a quiet, shy kid-athlete. I didn’t understand him. Besides, he beat my boxing heroes Joe Frazier and the young George Foreman. Loud and boisterous beat stoic and quiet.

I’m sure there was also the religious aspect, Muslim. Which, as a young Catholic school kid, I had zero understanding of in the 1970’s. There was a political aspect, which, as a young, middle-class white kid on the fringe of a large, metropolitan area, I had very little understanding of.

It wasn’t until I saw an episode of my can’t-miss Saturday sports show hosted by Charlie Jones that my whole worldview on Muhammad Ali shifted. The majority of the show highlighted Ali’s training regimen. It was impressive. The amount of work and the intensity and focus on which he approached training converted me to a fan right there.

And of course, as the camera rolled so did Ali’s mouth. I barely noticed it.

For the first time, I saw Muhammad Ali for what he truly was—the greatest. The work it took on a daily basis to make his time in the ring appear completely effortless and natural as he floated  “like a butterfly and stung “like a bee”.

I saw a man doing 3000 sit-ups in a day before, during, and after sparring/running/speed bag/heavy bag work. About one-third of those being done on a trainer pounding on his torso with boxing gloves as he completed each rep. That image never left me.

Memories. Good and bad.

Memories of a day and a sport long gone.

Memories of Muhammad Ali.

The Greatest.

tumblr_n3vbsbhZrh1rbuw7do1_1280

 

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A beautiful sight.


19 years. 

For me, through the ten years as an assistant coach and four years helping from the fringes, this picture speaks volumes. It represents 14 years of hope and work and falling just short. 

It had been 19 years since Clay Center Comminity High School qualified for the KSHSAA state baseball tournament. 

I remember the first appearance in 1997. It was the first high school baseball game I’d been to in years. I had turned my back to the game after flaming out as a college freshman in 1983. Immaturity, poor decision making and crappy lifestyle choices ended my career playing a game I had love so much. 

I went to that game in 1997 mainly to see my old Legion coach, Dennis Hurla, who coached Clay Center’s opponent, Bishop Ward. Seeing Dennis and watching the high school game being played woke me from the frost of my self-impose exile. I became excited about the game again, began to learn & relearn as much as I could about the game, and found a new path in coaching. 

19 years later, the boys scratched their way into the state tournament. They lost their first round game to a good team but, more importantly, I hope they’ve triggered another wave of hope to the young (and old) baseball communities in our grand, little town.

A huge “Thank you” to the seniors who scratched and clawed and found a way to succeed. Also, a great amount of appreciation goes to Coach Bent and Coach Carlson for setting high standards and demanding excellence, even during the darkest of times.

Finally, a challenge to the Tiger Baseball underclassmen. Don’t be happy with how 2016 ended. There is still A LOT of work to be done to get the program where is needs to be and where it should be. Don’t assume success in 2017 is a done deal. Nothing is a given in sport. You need to put yourself in position to grab the brass ring first. And then you need to reach out and grab it from your competition.

Let this appearance change your life the way the Tiger Baseball game in 1997 helped change mine. 

Baseball can be “our” sport.

And, after a 19-year hiatus, this can be our time. 

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“Are you proud?”

I was doing my best to be a badass. It was working pretty good. Well, it was working well enough to keep second graders in line at their fine arts visit to the university. It was the class of second graders that my eldest daughter teaches. I walked across campus on a brisk, cloudy morning to help corral and keep the kids in line. A job right up my alley? Perhaps.

For you folks with no experience in the art of elementary school field trip duty, let me tell you a 30 minutes cello + piano concert is an amazing cultural opportunity for these kids, but…it is not the easiest thing to get an auditorium full of 8 & 9-year-olds to behave and listen to a 30-minute cello + piano recital. Not an easy thing at all.

The kids were awesome! They paid attention and listened; really listened to the music. I only had to pull out the Coach Hays death glare a couple of times and even had a productive discussion with the supposed “naughtiest” kid in the class who I had the pleasure to sit next to.

After the show, the class waited for their bus to arrive on the sidewalk outside the venue. Classic elementary school style of single file line order. My daughter leads the line and my job is to bring up the rear and not to lose any kids. The precision spacing and order of the line begins to break down as soon as we quit walking and start waiting. Kids start nervously moving around and telling “interesting” stories about their cat, their little brother, or their mother’s current boyfriend. Herding goats is actually easier to keeping these kids in alignment, but we survived.

A group of girls drifts back to the end of the line and the spokesperson of the group slides over until she is standing directly in front of me. She looks up with an angelic, second-grader face and asks, “Are Ms. Hays’s dad?”

“Yes.” I begin to wonder where this is going as the throng of girls collectively inch closer.

“Mr. Hays, are you proud of her?”

BANG!

I was stopped in my tracks. My badass failed me. My cold heart melted.

Yes. I am extremely proud of my kids. One teacher and, in a week, two college graduates. I am beyond proud the way they’ve started their lives outside the nest.

“Yes, I am.” was my simple answer. Three words that easily could have blown up into a thousand words (and possibly with colorful language not appropriate for second-grade ears). The little girl’s face lit up and her smile almost made me break down in tears. The bus soon came and I said goodbye to all my second-grade friends.

As I walked across campus a proud dad, I hoped each of the little girls, and the rest of the kids in the class, had someone in their life to be proud of them. I wished the people in these kid’s lives appreciated their potential and will help them grow into something they can take great pride in.

It’s a great feeling having kids turning into adults, especially when they are turning into much better adults than their “badass” old man.

It feels kind of like…

WorldSeriesTrophyKSU

Every single day.

 

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