Ask the Strength & Conditioning Coach

Ask Graig - Page 5

Ask Graig White's

Do you have a fitness or conditioning question for Graig White? Please click here to submit your question.


I am a 15 year old sophomore from West Deptford. I am playing football for my school and recently got moved from wide receiver to tight end. However, I am not that big of a kid, especially for a tight end. I was wondering what do you think is the quickest, safest, and most effective way to put on weight. I have heard lots of different ideas from different people but I want to hear from someone that knows what they are talking about. Thanks for your information in advance and I appreciate your advice.   (Tommy from West Deptford)


Tommy, thanks for taking the time to write. When you get a chance check out rest of my website and see if there is any information that can help you. If not contact me again and we will work to find information that will help get you to where you want to be. By the way how are you guys doing this year? Keep me posted.


What are the fastest ways you can increase your speed and flexibility?   (Gary from Glassboro)


Thanks for taking the time to write. To answer your question the quickest way I know to do both of the things you ask is through a technique called "PNF" Stretching. It's kind of hard to explain, the best thing I can tell you is to ask your trainer about it or go to your library. Or you can give me a call and I will take you through a session. I use it with all my athletes, high school to the pro's and they swear by it. So feel free to call me at Rutgers 856-225-6197.


I hear many athletes use drugs like "Creatine", what does this drug do? Is it a steroid? Are there any side effects?   (John from New York)


John, thanks for writing. The answers you are looking for can be found at this address This way the answers you get will be more comprehensive. I hope that you find the information you are looking for.


I'm going to play college basketball next year and I have a lot of things that I need to improve on before I play. My main concern is my quickness, if you have any drills or workouts I could use I would greatly appreciate it. I know short distance and powerful explosions are the key to quickness, but I don't know how much or how many to do. The last thing I really need to improve on is my dribbling, if there are any drills or programs you could send I would appreciate it. Thank You for your help.   (Todd from West Unity, OH)


Todd thanks for writing. In answer to your question, check out my site. There is information that will help you get to where you want to be. If not then feel free to contact me and we will take it from there.


I am sophomore and I would like to try out for the basketball team at Florida Atlantic University. I was wondering if you could send me a conditioning program to follow so I could be in shape for the try out on October 16. And if possible some drills to follow as well, like dribbling, shooting, and defense. I would surely appreciate it if you could help me.   (Walter from Miramar, FL)


Thanks for writing. When you have an opportunity check out the rest of my site, the information you are looking for should be there. If you do not find what you are looking for contact me again and we will do what is needed to get you to be where you want to be.


I am the head basketball coach at Shawnee Mission West HS. I am interested in some info. on the stability balls, medicine balls, and weight lifting for basketball players. I just ordered 9 stability balls for our players to use in our 8-week preseason conditioning. We already have medicine balls and a good weight room. Do you have any written workouts, or videos, or any pertinent info. that could help our athletes.   (Coach Campbell from Shawnee Mission, KS)


Thanks for taking the time to write. To answer your question check out the rest of my website, there should be some information on there that will help. If not then write back and we will do what is needed to get you to where you want to be.


Question: I am a pitching coach for a couple of local girls fastpitch softball teams (high school team and an 18-Under traveling team). I have one pitcher on the 18-Under team who has decent speed but no endurance in her pitching. Her legs, which are used extensively in pitching, and her upper body are not developed. I was wondering if you could recommend some exercises to help build her endurance. I currently employ a static jump, lunges and one drill I call sitting on the fence with the thighs parallel to the ground, but I am certain there are better ones I do not know about. I would like some general strength building exercises for fastpitch softball players (girls) and pitchers in particular. I realize this may be a rather lengthy reply and I thank you in advance for your assistance.   (Mike from Phoenix, AZ)
Answer: Mike how are things going? Have you had a chance to check out my website? I think the answers to your questions can be found there. If not please contact me again and we will work to find the answer you are looking for.


Question: I have heard many different ways on how your index or middle finger of your shooting hand should be on the ball. I am wondering where your index or middle finger should be in relation to the ball and the basket?   (R.J. from Cincinnati, OH)
Answer: This question is a very interesting one, the reason is that I don't think about it. I've talked to some really good shooters they say find to spread your fingers behind the ball not real wide, find a comfortable position and just let it rip. The thing about being a good shooter is technique but more often than not it's how you think. If you don't have any confidence in your shot, it won't matter where your hand is in relation to the ball or basket. So just work on your technique and just keep shooting. Good Luck.


Question: Hi. My coach wants me to get in shape for the soccer season. I was mainly asked to strengthen my shot and the goal kicks, for I am a defender that tends to take the free kicks and join up with the offense about ten times per game. However, I am not able to join a gym to use expensive equipment. What is the best drill I could do? Or should I try to join the gym?   (Emiliano from Cd. Mante, Tam., Mexico)
Answer: Two things I would like to see you do. The first thing is to check out the rest of my web site. There is a soccer workout there ["Conditioning Your Soccer Team"]. The second thing is going to sound kind of crazy, but bear with me. Do you have access to a pool? If so get in it and play a game of soccer. You will be using the muscles that you will be working on to get in shape. The resistance of the water will help your muscle strength so, when you take a shot, the muscles that are firing when you take the shot in the pool will be the same muscles on land. Kicking in the pool is a great way to strengthen muscles while not compromising technique. Emiliano stay in touch and let me know how things go!


Question: I am 43 and am overweight. I am losing the weight by even thin. Because of this I have fairly large breasts. How can I tone them?   (Noel from Houston, TX)
Answer: To answer your question, the only thing I can tell you is to work on the chest muscles. What you want to do is tighten the muscles that lie under the breast. That way they will have more support internally. The movements you want to concentrate on are the Flat Bench Press, the Incline Bench Press, and the Pec Deck or the "Flye". If you are a member of a gym someone will be able to talk you through these moves. I hope that your weight management program continues to be positive. Stay in touch and let me know how you are doing.


Question: I am a field hockey player starting my freshman year at Gateway Regional High School. Because we don't have enough players for a freshman team, we automatically start on the JV team. Gateway also has put into act a cut policy. I start working out with the team in late August, but I would like to start working out on my own earlier. I have the weight room at my disposal on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I also have the Red Bank Battlefield to run in. What would you recommend that I do to get into tip top shape for hockey season and get ready to battle for a place on the team. My best friend plays hockey with me and is interested to find this out too. Thank you.   (Cailin from National Park)
Answer: First thing is that when it comes to your cardio training I would like to see you do intervals. That is a workout that consists of a combination of jogging and sprinting. That way the "Slow twitch" and "Fast twitch" muscle fibers will be exerted on. As far as weight training goes, concentrate on your legs, hips, lower back and abs. These groups are the ones that will propel your game to the next level. I have a protocol that I can send you, better yet how would you like to come into my training facility and spend the day? Contact me and let me know, I think I can show you better than I can tell you.


Question: I was looking at your web site, and I noticed the girl "Stacy" that you train with. I was wondering if you or she could tell me what her diet consists of. She looks great, and I would love to know what she eats! Thanks a lot!   (Rachel from Moorestown)
Answer: Rachel, I can't take any credit for what Stacy has done. I don't even train with her, I'm not tough enough. I passed your question along to Stacy and here's her response...

The most important thing to remember is that I do not "look like that" unless I am getting ready to compete. 8-10 weeks out from a show, I usually consume the following: 1/2-1 gallon of water per day, 50-55 grams of carbohydrates, 200+ grams of protein, and 30 grams of fat. Also, I omit the following from my diet: any type of sugar (even fruit), no dairy, flour based products, rice or any other starchy carbs. It is important to understand that although this looks healthy, you're really taking important nutrients from your diet. However, you can achieve an "athletic look" by making better choices with your food and increasing your physical activity. Remember have fun and everything in moderation!

Good Luck!


Question: My son Dane (16 year old sophomore), who is a pitcher for the Cherokee varsity baseball team seems to have topped out with his velocity on his fast ball. Last year he was clocked at 85+ in June and 86+ in August and peaked out at 87-88 in December. He was throwing hard at the start of the season, but seems to have leveled out. Occasionally he has soreness in the front part of his arm opposite the elbow, but this goes away with a couple days rest from pitching. Is there a problem and can you help get his velocity up past 90 ? Thanks for you help.   (Michael from Marlton)
Answer: Michael, thanks for writing but I want to ask you to do me one big favor first. I need you to find out how old the radar is that is clocking Dane. Also find out when the last time it has been calibrated. The problem may not be Dane but it might be the equipment being used. Let's first rule out any mechanical problems and then take it from there. Stay in touch.


Question: I just had an ACL reconstruction done on my right knee. I noticed I lost quite a bit of my quad muscle. When I'm able to return to sports it will be in the middle of football season and I'm still hoping to play. Do you have any suggestions on how I can build my quad back up quick?   (Tom from Forreston)
Answer: I need a little more information, how long ago was the surgery? Are still participating in rehab? How did you injury it? Stuff like that. I don't want to tell you something that may not be conducive to getting you back in the game. Tell me what's going on and we will work to help you.


Question: Hi, my name is Kristina and I play softball for Louisiana Tech. I was wondering if you know some kind of diet that I can use?   (Kristina from Lafayette, LA)
Answer: How's the season going? I am writing to ask for more information about you and how you are eating already. When you get a chance give me an idea as to how many times a day you are eating? The types of food you are eating, anything in your medical history I should know about?

I hope that things are going well, drop me a note when you get a chance.


Question: Please explain what is meant if one is asked to follow the Push/Pull weight lifting program.   (Joel from Dresher, PA)
Answer: The Push-Pull protocol separates the upper body's pushing muscles from the pulling muscles. The pushing muscles are the chest and triceps, the pulling muscles would be back and biceps. When you train your legs and abs is totally up to you. You may have noticed that the deltoid group was not mentioned. Well, deltoids don't fit into push-pull neatly. The shoulders are involved in both movements. Most people like to work shoulders right after chest, but all in all it's strictly a personal choice. This protocol is most popular with people who want to work each muscle group to the fullest, and it is a protocol that I think highly of.


Question: As a soccer official, what is the best way to prepare myself for games? Do I want to take up running long distances to increase my running stamina or would wind sprints work better? I have tried the mile plus a night routine to find shin splints become a problem. Using the wind sprints eliminates the shin splints. Wind sprints to me are running the length of the soccer field, walk back the same length and continue that process until I have completed 10 runs and 10 walks. Shin splint problem is gone with this process. Is this of any value?   (Jim from West Berlin)
Answer: You are doing one heck of a job with your preparation for the season. The way you are training is efficient and will help you be in position to those crucial calls.

Since refs have a greater opportunity to rest in between work intervals (sprints during a match) your training protocol is sound. Keep doing what you are doing, remember to work on your flexibility and I truly believe you will have a truly productive season!


Question: I've been volunteered to get a 14-15 yr old girls travel softball team to understand the benefits of pre game eating habits as well as the game day diet . These girls are *premier athletes and so is their competition , some will choose to play ball in college. At tournaments they play 2-3 days with 3-4 games in each and we got to keep their stamina up , at these tournaments its usual junk type food -fries, burgers, candy etc. and of course they all have their own likes and dislikes when it comes to what they should be eating. We usually do well in the beginning but sometimes run out of gas before the tournaments end I'd appreciate any information you have on the subject or direction as to where I may look. Thank You!   (Nancy from Levittown, PA)
Answer: Nancy, I tried to send you an answer to your question, but the email address used in your message doesn't seem to be working. Could you email me again with your address?


Question: I play for Shawnee High School in Shawnee, Oklahoma. I started last year as a transfer student from a private school in the same town. I was an okay basketball player. I would like your program for running and one for dribbling. At 6'4", I could use some better techniques. Thank you.   (Josh from Shawnee, OK)
Answer: Since I don't know what you are doing now, the one thing I would suggest you is to practice on the plane you will be playing on. What I mean is, one of the things I see that drives me crazy is kids doing dribbling drills while running around the court. Since basketball isn't played around the court, the best drill to do would be to dribble up and down the court. You may want to dribble while running at different speeds to simulate different game conditions. As far as running to get fit, we have our greatest success when we do it without the ball. I find that basketball players tend to focus more on the ball (as well they should). So by removing the ball, you will concentrate more on the conditioning drills and not so much on other things.

Josh, thanks for the question and I will get a protocol out to you.


Question: I coach a local Under-13 girls travel soccer team that plays a pretty competitive schedule. My girls are old enough now to benefit from some type of conditioning program to help them get ready for the upcoming fall season. I would appreciate any suggestions you can provide in order for the players to improve their stamina and overall conditioning. Thanks for the help.   (Mike from Hammonton)
Answer: I think the best way to condition your soccer team would be to do interval training. Soccer athletes have to have the strength of a sprinter and the stamina of a distance runner. With that in mind the best way to handle your athletes would be to get them to train on the plane that they play on. By that I mean don't ask them to do this on a track, your players will not be running in circles. So don't ask them to train in circles. The drill I recommend is called "Ladders". Set up a series of cones you want them to be a uniformed distance apart, like 10 yards. Have your team sprint to the farthest cone and jog back when they get to the closest cone. Make sure that everybody is giving you their best effort. You could time it and each time you do it, have the team work to come in under the time before that. I do this with most of my athletes and have great success. Coach, I hope this helps, I also want you to know that I am willing to come and help in any way I can. I can be reached through this site or call me at Rutgers University at (856) 225-6197. Take care and good luck.