• Coaches Corner with Mike Favre
    Mike Favre is the Director of Olympic Sports Strength and Conditioning at the University of Michigan. Previously, Favre was with the United States Olympic Committee as a strength and conditioning coach/physiologist for over five years, where his chief responsibilities included wrestling, judo, and taekwondo.
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  • CoachesCornerBannerCoaches Corner | Mike FavreMichael Favre, MEd., CSCS,*D, RSCC*D, USAW-2

    Mike Favre is the Director of Olympic Sports Strength and Conditioning at the University of Michigan where he oversees the physical development for over 30 sports programs. All areas of long- and short-term planning/periodization, testing, education, and physical preparation within the Olympic Sports Department fall under his direction. 

    Previously, Favre was with the United States Olympic Committee as a strength and conditioning coach/physiologist for over five years, where his chief responsibilities included wrestling, judo, and taekwondo. Favre has also presented and published at the national and international level. His 18 years of experience includes collegiate, professional, and elite international coaching positions. 

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    Coach Favre was the 2011 recipient of the NSCA's College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year Award. 

    Are you an NSCA Member? If so, check out Mike Favre's two exciting Career Series! 

             

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    1. How long have you been working in the field of Strength and Conditioning?
    Seventeen years.

    2. What is your philosophy on training?
    “The philosophy of the University of Michigan Olympic Sports Strength and Conditioning Department revolves around the predominate use of ground-based multi-joint movement patterns during the weight training portion of the program, while concurrently addressing the specific metabolic demands of each sport. All aspects of the performance enhancement programs adhere strictly to industry accepted, scientifically supported methodologies.”

    3. How has your philosophy evolved over the years?
    It has evolved through continuously gaining a better understanding of the science underpinning specific physical adaptation and its application.

    4. Who has influenced you the most throughout your career and why?
    First, Rich Wenner from Arizona State University—he is the person that gave me my first shot in this profession. He taught me what it means to be a collegiate strength coach and the responsibilities that go along with it. Second would be Dr. Mike and Meg Stone. They both took me under their wing, so to speak, and showed me the value of having a strong grasp of the science underpinning adaptation. Their influence extends well beyond the theoretical to include a vast amount of hands-on work in applying the science in the weight room. I really do not believe I would be the professional I am today without their tutelage.

    5. How do you adapt your programming to fit the needs of each athlete you work with?
    By performing a “needs analysis” of the specific sport, position, and athlete. I accomplish this needs analysis with the cooperation of the sports medicine staff, coaching staff, and athlete. Coupling this with my knowledge of adaptation, I then put together a program that focuses on long-term development.

    6. What do you think is the most overlooked concept in the field of strength and conditioning?
    There are two things I come across often: periodization and proper technical execution of the exercises. Effectively enhancing the various needs of our athletic population requires a focused, long-term approach to planning. Strength, power, and endurance are not developed in just one session, but through consistent, progressive, and systematic work done over an extended period of time gains in these areas can be made. Yet, I have seen programs being thought up at the moment and written on a dry-erase board. A good deal of this incompetency stems from the lack of standards in the hiring practices within our profession. Very little assessment is done on the specific coaching competencies (as outlined by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)) necessary to oversee an effective and safe program during the hiring process. Periodization is not a new concept, and is fairly easily understood if one commits the time and effort to learn it.
    In regards to improper execution of exercise, I am not speaking about perfection, but rather that one should at least demonstrate a minimal level of proficiency. This is so the athletes under their care will have a good visual representation of what they should be doing. 
    How can you teach what you do not know how to do? The degree to which one can receive the benefits (not to mention safety) of the various lifts we prescribe is correlated to the precision to which we execute them. It often appears as if some coaches have not even bothered to try to learn or practice. As “professionals” we should continuously endeavor to be extremely knowledgeable in all areas of our field. To say you do not know how to do an exercise properly yet still prescribe it is tantamount to negligence, and highly unacceptable. Where in life are you rewarded for performing a skill or job poorly? Perfection is perhaps an ideal and not always a reality, but to encourage and allow athletes to recklessly lift is unconscionable.

    7. What resources do you use the most when it comes to getting continuing education as it pertains to the field?
    Attending conferences, especially those that focus on scientifically sound methodologies. Finding time to sit down with other coaches and “talk shop” is an invaluable method of expanding ones perspectives and knowledge base as well.

    8. What is your take on "specificity" of training and how (if so) do you apply it to your programming?
    Specificity to me means identifying the particular requirements and demands of a given sport and the population you are working with, and then addressing them accordingly. I do this when I put together the needs analysis.

    9. What is your favorite tool in your tool box?
    Periodization: Plan the work, and work the plan.

    10. What are your 5 favorite exercises?
    1. Squats
    2. Cleans
    3. Jerks
    4. Presses
    5. Deadlifts
  • Disclaimer: The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) encourages the exchange of diverse opinions. The ideas, comments, and materials presented herein do not necessarily reflect the NSCA’s official position on an issue. The NSCA assumes no responsibility for any statements made by authors, whether as fact, opinion, or otherwise. 
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      This article just gave me hope that it is possible for me to grow into a professional in this field I just need to get my foot in the door. I am graduating with my degree in exercise science and in the progress of studying for my CSCS

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