Leaning the six coaching absolutes.
By Greg Shepard
Published: Spring 2002
Presidentís Note: In our Winter 1999 BFS Journal, we introduced the BFS Six Absolutes. They are now a focal point in all BFS Clinics. The Six Absolutes are amazingly effective in teaching and learning perfect technique not only in the weight room but in any sport. Learn the Six Absolutes and you can elevate your strength coaching abilities dramatically. The best part is that they are easy to learn.
The BFS Six Absolutes
1. Use an Athletic or Jump Stance.
2. Be Tall.
3. Spread the Chest (lock-in the lower back).
4. Toes Aligned.
5. Knees Aligned (Knees over toes).
6. Eyes On Target.
Be Tall, like the other Absolutes, applies to all areas of athletics, not just the weight room. Use this absolute all the time, even during practice for any sport. The term Be Tall goes closely with these other Absolutes: Eyes On Target and Spread the Chest. However, each term creates a little different improvement in technique as athletes implement these Absolutes. If an athlete is slouching in posture, say "Be Tall." Immediately, good things happen. If an athlete is bending at the waist with a rounded back, the quickest way to correct this problem is to say, "Be Tall." Fine-tuning comes with the terms Eyes On Target and Spread the Chest. All these terms are designed to help any athlete get into a correct and efficient alignment. Training yourself or your athletes to keep their Eyes On Target will pay huge dividends.
The first thing we do at BFS Clinics is to help everyone understand the Six Absolutes. Look carefully at Figure 1. My intent with these athletes is to get them to Be Tall. They need to be upright, not bent over. At every clinic, college or high school, there is always a high percentage of athletes who need to be encouraged to learn and maintain the correct position. That is what I am doing in the photo: hands-on coaching. I place one hand on the lower back to help lock it in and use one hand to pull back on the athlete's shoulder to help her get into a perfect upright, tall position.
The Be Tall Absolute can be used with most lifts in the weight room and can be used in a variety of ways outside the weight room. For example, in Figure 2, after full speed is attained in sprinting, athletes should sprint (Be) Tall. Another example would be throwing a discus or any ball as in Figure 3. You must Be Tall. Leaning or bending forward causes problems and inefficiency. At BFS Clinics athletes thoroughly learn the Absolute of Being Tall by the end of the day. Coaches in attendance who coach their own kids use the Six Absolutes over and over. It is always rewarding to see the quick improvements in both coaches and athletes, especially with coaches who have no significant background in weight training. They become amazingly skilled in correcting technique flaws in just one day.
On the following page are sets of pictures demonstrating the difference between being tall and not being tall when stretching and lifting. Remember, the be tall principle applies to all training whether running, throwing, hitting, lifting, stretching or whatever. Make sure your athletes are Being Tall in all they do.