Lessons From Wake Forest Strength Clinic

In January, I went to Wake Forest University for their annual Strength Coach’s Clinic. Their head strength coach Ethan Reeve is highly regarded as an industry leader and has hosted this event for many years. As you might expect, there was A TON of valuable information presented. Here are the highlights…

When I attend events like this, I take notes on my iPhone. The note automatically syncs with my computer and my notes are right where I need – whenever I need them. I literally copy and pasted them into this post. I have added or elaborated to provide you context or additional clarification where I felt it was needed.


Coach Ethan Reeve (Head Strength Coach Wake Forest University)

  • You gotta have fighters – We want athletes who LOVE to compete.
  • Make EVERYONE as athletic as possible (not just strong).
  • Here it is. Show me who it’s gonna be. Lay out the opportunity and let the winners reveal themselves.

Coach Clint Alexander

(Football Coach at Woodbury Forest outside Charlottesville, VA)

**If the disproportionate amount of notes under this man’s name is not a dead giveaway, HE WAS MY FAVORITE SPEAKER OF THE DAY. He brought me to tears several times. His talk was “Everything I know about coaching I learned from horses and my mother.” It’s no wonder he has turned his football program into a group of winners.

  • Reach out to coaches & strength coaches – go to or send coaches to practices, etc. Network & build relationships.
  • Who you are is more important than winning or losing.
  • Napoleon – morale:material is 3:1 (morale is WAY more important than materials)
  • Where are you gonna be and what are you gonna do when something goes wrong or someone needs you?
  • Read history & military.
  • Empower coaches & teams. Hire People, train skills
  • Wolves vs dogs…don’t settle and be dependent. Be a provider & warrior.
  • Circle the coaches before talking to players/members. (Halftime & post-game)
  • Talk about what we need to do to be successful. Often. With them.
  • When it’s bad news, you still gotta hear it. How do you handle it?
  • TRUST is #1
  • Engineer success, not failure.
  • Do what works – NOT what is fashionable.
  • Power struggles get you hurt (HOW DO YOU HANDLE THEM?)
  • Little successes mean A LOT. CELEBRATE THEM AND LOVE THEM UP!
1. Help them decompress
2. Be coaches that love them
3. Let them compete every day”
  • Core Values = Be unselfish – it’s not about YOU. It’s ABOUT THE TEAM. Leadership and discipline.
  • Every time you interact with horses, you teach them something – whether you know it or not. Same with your athletes. Coaches be AWARE of this!
  • Group commitment & senior goodbye. Add to programs.
  • Grinders rule the world. Refuse to fail. Keep showing up. Be the SEAL who doesn’t quit. Don’t quit, can’t fail.
  • The more you do something, the more you cement it. Be careful of your thoughts & actions

Tim Anderson, Crawling and Basic Human Movement

  • Backwards baby crawls are great for bum shoulders.
  • Leopard crawls = knees inside & butt down. When butt comes up = abs are done. Like a meat thermometer.
  • Slow crawls. Resetting nervous system, removing governors and unlocking your athletic and performance potential.
  • LATERAL Crawls! Always opposite limbs. More coordination = better athlete
  • Jack lalanne style extension on pushups and lateral crawls!
  • Axis crawling

“If you can OWN slow, you can OWN FAST.” – Tim Anderson Too many people rush and hurry through to cover up what they don’t have!!
  • Can’t hold posture on baby crawls?? It’s because your abs are not ON!
  • OWN the integrity of your movements.
  • If you’re unstable on 4, what the hell are you doing on 2??
  • Pair pressing with backward crawls and rocking with squats/swings. These are neurological resets that speed recovery for next set and next day.
  • Use as warmup or recovery reset. Even active recovery day

Mike Young – SPEED:

  • Ground-based sports= apply force into the ground!
  • The world’s top sprint coaches agree on ONLY ONE thing – to get faster, APPLY MORE FORCE (get stronger!!)
  • It’s not hard to make someone tired. Anybody can do that. True coaching is about achieving results and long term progress
  • Should we us TEMPO based lifts for a phase at HOS?? (See control and ownership of movement PLUS eccentric benefits as arguments FOR.)