Every month CB ATHLETICS will be featuring a new strength coach and an insight into their conditioning philosophies. There are many great coaches out there that are unrecognized and that may even live in the same city as you or an athlete you know that is looking for advanced instruction. Our first profile will feature Ottawa, Canada strength coach Mike Gough, owner of www.optperformance.com and a former interim strength coach with the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Indian's minor league coach. If there are any other features you would like to see, please send your ideas.



CB: Mike, tell us a little bit about your current work situation.

MG: I train elite amateur and professional athletes to improve their sport performance. During the summer months I have a very successful Hockey Fit Conditioning Program in Eastern Ontario (Ottawa area). I train athletes from the NHL, AHL, OHL, NCAA and tier II levels specializing in speed, agility, quickness, and plyometrics.

In the winter months my focus is with my Baseball Conditioning Program where I have a handful of professional baseball players, and my NFL Combine Prep Camp. This is my first year running the NFL camp. I have draft prospects from major D1 schools such as Florida State. I spend whatever time I have left mentoring future strength coaches and working with my website www.optperformance.com. I have recently opened an online store carrying training products that I have had success with along the way.


CB: What is your education background?

MG: I attended Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec (BSc. Exercise Science). I believe that a lot of my education came after graduating, learning from top people in the field such as Fernando Montes of the Cleveland Indians and my good friend Scott Livingston (now with the Montreal Canadiens). I have realized that a lot the ideas and theories I have and use today are not from studying from a book, but from practical learning experiences I have had along the way with some of the top names in the field. I became certified by the NSCA as a CSCS in my senior year at Concordia and I like to attend conferences and seminars to learn and share ideas with others in the field.


CB: What is your training philosophy?

MG: My philosophy is providing the athlete with the most personalized training program available. I train one on one or in small groups so every athlete gets the attention they need. I like to motivate and push each athlete to higher levels of physical conditioning and I like to train the complete athlete.


CB: Can you give the reader some tips for improving athleticism?

MG: Train at high speeds. Do every speed, agility and plyometric drill as fast and as explosive as possible. Constantly change exercises or drills to challenge the body, increase the difficulty, add stability and balance into drills. Remember we must not only train the muscles but also the brain!


CB: Can you describe your clients a little further?

MG: Strictly elite amateur and professional athletes. I have worked with athletes such as David Justice and Roberto Alomar, Vince Carter, Tracey McGrady, and Antonio Davis when I worked with the Toronto Raptors, and Fred Brathwaite of the St. Louis Blues, along with hundreds of other athletes who I have shared ideas with along the way.

While working with the Toronto Raptors, I implemented more of a maintenance phase of conditioning throughout the year. The goal was to maintain levels of strength, agility, power, and overall conditioning of the players. The players would have if possible two lifts a week depending on the schedule and travel. Players that played very little would perform extra conditioning on game days, and the players on the injured list would condition every day. I pushed these players hard to maintain high levels of basketball specific conditioning. They would perform footspeed, strength, agility, and anaerobic conditioning.

CB: That's amazing! Those are fantastic experiences that I'm sure have allowed you to pass on amazing information to the younger athletes. What are some of your personal achievements?

MG: I get a lot of satisfaction from being in this profession. Seeing the athletes get drafted in the NHL, Major League Baseball, receive a NCAA Scholarship, or simply make the jump to the next level of play. I pride myself on the success of my clients.


CB: Again, great stuff. Any quick tips to pass along for building muscle?

MG: Get a proper training program by a qualified professional, such as MASSIVE ACTION from CB ATHLETICS. Many people who want to build muscle are often training with no purpose and no direction and then wonder why they are not seeing the results they want.


CB: Misdirected training is often a big problem. What other common mistakes do you see athletes making?

MG: Many athletes don't understand the concept of recovery. Recovery is as important as the training itself. Many athletes do not hydrate or fuel their bodies the way they should. They negate the effects of training by not getting adequate rest and recovery.


CB: You've had a great career so far. What are your goals?

MG: My goal is to have an impact on more and more motivated athletes. To push them to new levels of sports performance and ultimately to make their athletic dreams a reality. I would love to someday open up a training facility with my close colleagues and friends.


CB: Thanks Mike! You have been an outstanding initial profile. Where can athletes contact you for more information on your programs?

MG: Athletes can contact me through my site: www.optperformance.com


Coach Mike is getting ready to return to Ottawa to run his summer training camp. Visit his site www.optperformance.com for more info. Here is what Mike has been doing all winter...

"Yesterday was my last day for the football guys. The test tomorrow at the Florida State Pro Day where the "who's who" of the NFL come to test them. I think that hey are ready. They have both added 5 pounds of muscle and both have lost some fat. They have gotten quicker and more agile so it should be interesting to see what they do. While I have been busy with them, Ryan Jardine one of my clients and a project for three seasons made his NHL debut with the Panthers. I have put in three years of hard work and personal attention with this kid. I was quite proud.

I also want readers to know that I feel that the Speed Ladder has a great transfer ability to on-ice movements. I think that it is especially great for defensemen doing patterns backwards keeping their head up, just like they are challenged by a forward on-ice. Also they usually have slow feet so it's great."

For some Speed Ladder drills and other agility ideas, please refer to Issue 74



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