When Oregon State beat #1-ranked USC in September, most observers agreed that the Beavers out-muscled the heavily favored Trojans. That was satisfying, but not surprising to OSU’s first-year Director of Strength and Conditioning Bryan Miller. The Beaver’s strength and conditioning program is being transformed under Miller, who was promoted in his third year at OSU when Jeff Macy left to become Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Milwaukee Bucks. With the help of a new facility featuring state-of-the-art Samson Equipment, Coach Miller and his staff now have a more efficient program that is, as the USC win demonstrates, more effective as well. AFM recently asked Miller about his training philosophy and OSU’s choice of Samson Equipment for their strength and conditioning facility.
AFM: Moving into the head position at the Oregon State Strength and Conditioning department, what are the major challenges you are facing?
Miller: The major challenges I face are making sure that my staff and I continue to create a positive and safe training environment that gives all of our student athletes the opportunity to develop and prepare for their sport. As a staff, we always aspire to deliver the best “product” possible so that the individual sport coaches have every possibility to put their athletes in a position to be successful.
From a football perspective, what are your keys to a successful strength and conditioning program?
Having the complete support of our Head Coach, Mike Riley, is paramount. From a football training perspective, step one is being able to identify any deficiencies, imbalances or weaknesses in our players. This is crucial for their long-term health and development. Step two is using our knowledge and ability to address their deficiencies and correct them. Specifically, we want our football players to be able to train and perform like Formula One race cars. They all must have a gas pedal to accelerate, a brake pedal to decelerate, high miles per gallon to be in shape for four quarters and a 5-year bumper-to-bumper warranty to be healthy.
How do you and your athletes approach inseason training during football season?
In my opinion, in-season training is a critical component to managing the stress and wear and tear of the long football season. Our players understand and value the importance of inseason training for physical development, injury reduction and recovery. Maintaining strength and our level of conditioning is only as good as our ability to recover from each practice and each game. So along with working on our overall strength levels during the season we do a ton of deep tissue work, myofascial release, joint mobility work and pre-habilitative exercises to try and keep their bodies as fresh and as healthy as possible.
You and Coach Macy worked closely with Samson on the product selection and layout of your new strength training facility. What has it been like working with Samson Equipment?
Coach Macy and I worked together extensively on the layout, design, and equipment selection for the new facility. The reputation of Samson Equipment speaks for itself; tailormade, durable, functional and guaranteed. Scott Schroeder and the Samson team are outstanding. They flew our staff to their headquarters to see the production of the equipment first-hand and to make any changes we felt were necessary. When the equipment was delivered, Scott and his staff personally assembled it. Then they stayed for another two days, trained on the equipment and attended our spring football game. That shows their focus on customer satisfaction by actions, not just words.
How does your new equipment compare with what you had before?
Our previous facility had equipment from several different manufacturers. A general lack of quality and not having enough similar equipment created training limitations from a programming and productivity standpoint. Our new facility, with 22 Samson platforms, allows us to be virtually limitless with how and when we want to train our athletes. It also serves as a major asset in recruiting our student-athletes.
What have you and your athletes’ experiences been so far with your new equipment?
The Samson equipment has significantly contributed to our ability to motivate and encourage our athletes to consistently train hard. Samson’s equipment allowed us to design a training facility that matched our training philosophy, which in turn keeps our athletes excited about training. Our motto is “You must WIN today, to WIN on game day”.
Does having such great equipment from Samson make your job easier and help make your athletes more successful?
Without a doubt, Samson equipment makes our job easier. Because of the versatility of the equipment we are able to accommodate more athletes each day, so we are more effective and efficient with our coaching. Our training philosophy revolves around our athletes’ ability to learn and master the Olympic lifts (snatch, clean and jerk). The Samson platforms, racks and technique blocks not only assist us as coaches with our teaching progression but, more importantly, they give our athletes the opportunity to train at their own specific rate of development.