FNF Coaches Talk — Cuonzo Martin Teaching Life Lessons, Philly Coach Hosts Friday Night Hangouts, Patrick Mahomes’ Training

Welcome back, Coaches. We hope you enjoyed the weekend. Here are three stories for a Monday evening.

1. Missouri Coach Cuonzo Martin on the Importance of Teaching Life Lessons (Twitter)

This is a great clip that applies to coaching any sport. Wins and losses are secondary. Molding players to become better people, fathers, husbands … that’s why we’re here.

Beyond the wins and state championships, what motivates you to coach?

2. Philadelphia High School Coach Opens Locker Room to Players to Hang Out on Friday Nights During Offseason (The Philadelphia Citizen)

We missed this story a couple of months ago, but the topic still remains timely. Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce wrote this story to bring attention to a Philadelphia high school coach who is keeping players safe on Friday nights during the offseason by opening his locker room so that players can stay safe and hang out together.

Bill Sytsma, a lifelong Philadelphian, is the head football coach at Frankford High School. He felt distraught over the trauma plaguing his players, who have lost teammates to senseless gun violence. And while sitting in an assembly last year, he thought about what power he could possibly have to do something about it.

“I know Friday is a bad night to be out on the streets. I just kind of offered to my players like yo, what if I clean up the locker room, open it up, bring some games, video games, board games. Would you guys be interested in hanging out?” he says.

The response was overwhelming—and now, every Friday night when the team isn’t in season, 30 to 40 players come until about 9 p.m. to play, eat dinner and feel safe.

Coach Sytsma has seen real growth in these young men since they started spending Friday nights together.

“They’re doing a lot better in the classroom, there are not discipline problems in school, and they’re performing better on the field, too,” he says. Last year, the team won one game; this year, they won six.
“These kids want to be successful just like anybody else,” Sytsma says. “It’s just that some of them don’t have the resources, or they assume that people just don’t care. So they build a wall around themselves. You just gotta kind of break through a little bit, and then things change. In just a few short months since we started doing this, these guys have really grown up.”

What activities do you put together for your players in the offseason to build team chemistry and keep them out of trouble?

3. Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes Loves to Bench, Squat and Dead Lift (Miami Herald)

This story was published before the Super Bowl, and it gives a window into Patrick Mahomes’ training plan.

What are his favorite workouts?

The deadlift and bench press.

“I can’t bench press anymore because of my position. I can only dumbbell bench press, but I still love to do it,” Mahomes told Men’s Journal last year. “With the deadlift, I just love the explosion part of it. I guess I like it because I’m good at it, but I feel like it’s a great workout.”

Orlando Lopez and Jessie Rodriguez, certified fitness trainers in Miami, aren’t surprised by Mahomes’ answer.

Those are “football workouts,” Lopez said. Add in squats — a favorite in Miami, he said — and you have the “Big 3.”

“The Big 3 — your squats, your bench press and your deadlift,” said Rodriguez. “That should be a staple of any program, regardless of the goal, should have a variation of those three moves.”

It’s not just professional athletes that do the “Big 3.” Both trainers say they can be incorporated into a person’s everyday routine to help strengthen the entire body.

If you had to designate the three most important lifts for a football player, which three would you pick?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk