Jamie Hale: Let us start the interview by asking you to give a brief description of the services you offer and a description of your website.
Coach Davies: In basic I operate primarily as consultant to coaches to analyze athletic weaknesses and build up a plan of attack to eliminate those as well as prepare the athete't to dominate on the field of competition. My involvement with these coaches / teams can vary extensively whether it be a short-term assignment or a long-term program design and implementation. Each year I invite a small group of "Renegade" athletes to train for the upcoming season. Acceptance into my "inner circle" of athlete's isn't a given but a right that is earned with one caveat - a relentless attitude to be the best.
JH: Are there any particular people in the field that have directly influenced your training methods and philosophies?
CD: My greatest influences have come from coaches/theorists of different eras. When I first started developing my theories roughly 20 years ago, I utilized the science of training within the Eastern bloc with an idea to develop a training methodology to enhance performance on the gridiron. Over time, I finalized my training model into where it stands today, tested and proved where it counts - on the field!
JH: There is a great deal of discussion these days about functional training. How do you define functional training?
CD: The term "functional training" is definitely being misused and possibly confusing to some. While it may be semantics I would prefer to consider the Renegade training approach not necessarily "functional" but one in which the needs of the sport is analyzed and all work is designed to maximize performance.
In that regard our function of training is probably best described as training with a purpose. Quite possibly the greatest weakness in overall training program design that I see is the lack of attacking the needs of sport. Simply athletes are all too often being developed to look the part rather than be the part. Within the application of the average fitness enthusiast it is questionable if training often has a purpose. It seems a peculiar paradox that the fitness industry is burgening yet the weight management problems of the general public is epidemic.
JH: An old myth that exists is that weight training will slow an athlete down and limit range of motion. What do you tell athletes to dispel this myth?
CD: Many athletes who rely on their speed and agility often question the training with good reason. Unfortunately more athletes are being "untrained" to perform with greatest speed and agility then the contrary. While proper strength training will radically improve many physical attributes such as speed, agility, proprioreception, reactive ability and naturally strength it must be within a balanced training program. My athletes understand that the plan of attack I use our strength development maximizes these attributes. With this realization they jump into their strength-training with a vengeance.
JH: I have noticed you are an advocate of serious flexibility training to enhance performance. How does increased range of motion increase speed and strength?
CD: Athletes need to spend significantly greater time on static and dynamic flexibility or they will simply never achieve optimal performance. Range of motion work is sorely overlooked within most programs and this deficit in training is actually increasing. As training programs have made greater use of machine based work they have eliminated many exercises that radically improve range of motion. Athletes need to understand that strength development is paramount to their long-term success but cannot occur at the expense of range of motion as it will cost them the speed and agility that they need to perform on the field.
JH: I have noticed the majority of your athletes are football players. Do you prefer training football players over other athletes?
CD: Certainly within this country the overwhelming majority of my athletes are football players, although I do spend at least a few months of each year working with soccer players overseas. 'Ball players definitely identify themselves with me - they understand the raw barebones approach that I take and the reason I do so. They can "smell" the sport specific characteristics of my training and that we simply do not engage in any useless training that does not carryover to the gridiron.
I wouldn't necessarily say that I prefer working with football players more than others because in fact it is more about psyche of the individual player that I look at. Oddly enough I have been noted about working with some of the top players in the NFL today, however it's the players who survive through grit and determination that I invite back each year. I guess you might say - my idea of a Renegade athlete goes far beyond the guys you watch on Sunday but it's within the heart of every garage gym type.
JH: I have noticed you incorporate sled pulling and wheelbarrow work into some of your routines. Could you give us the purpose and benefits of this type of training?
CD: I use a wide variety of weighted GPP from sled pulls, wheelbarrow walks, object lifts and wood chopping in all training. The benefits of this aspect of training is far ranging such as improve work threshold, develop strength endurance, enhance recovery not to mention a tough as nails attitude.
JH: Do you feel like speed is an inherent quality that has little room for improvement?
CD: Without question there are genetic limits of speed BUT that is well after an athlete has worked for years to achieve that maximal potential. Most of my athletes who play professional football not only radically improve linear speed under my work but more importantly improve field performance through enhanced agility, reactive speed, proprioreception and sport specific skills. What is truly extraordinary is when you see a young high school aged athlete train properly over a number of years and witness their development into a quality of athlete that few considered possible.
JH: What type of nutritional regimen do your athletes generally follow?
CD: The nutrition program is a multi-tiered program. First and foremost proper diet habits need to be put into place. Once I am comfortable we have established a solid and reliable eating pattern, I will begin to implement a supplement program. The first stage of the nutritional program concerns itself with recovery and make use of such items as L-Glutamine, Branched-Chain Amino Acids, Acetyl L-Carnitine and Phosphotidyl Serine.
JH: What are the key qualities one must have to survive Renegade Training?
CD: This is possibly the easiest question you could ask because within the soul of an athlete a fire must burn with an insatiable desire to overcome adversity. Nothing means more to me about an athlete than their will and a simple belief that they will not be defeated. Nothing means more to me when one of my athletes breaks through the confines of how good he thought he could be and decides to never be vanquished again.