Big Cats and the Truck Stick (2024)

Big Cats and the Truck Stick (1)

Feed the Cats celebrates speed and athleticism. The development of “Apex Predators” requires 1) sprinting fast, 2) lifting heavy, 3) jumping high, and 4) jumping far. To create apex predators, coaches must prioritize performance over “the grind”. Grind as a verb refers to crushing or grinding things into smaller and smaller particles until there is almost nothing left. THE GRIND (noun) refers to dull, hard work. In order to value performance over “dull, hard work”, you must build a foundation of rest, recovery, and sleep. Tired is the enemy, not the goal. Never let today ruin tomorrow. Don’t burn the steak.

Football coaches celebrate speed and athleticism, but sometimes that love of athleticism begins and ends with “skill players”. Offensive linemen are often treated as beasts of burden or affectionately referred to as “hogs”. Football coaches who were not speedsters as players often reject the speed argument, knowing that they, themselves, were good players without being the fastest on their team. Big fast guys are terrific football players even though they will never beat the wide receiver in a race.

Among offensive tackles invited to the NFL combine (6’5”, 320 pounds, and good football players), only the fastest will go high in the draft. Fast offensive tackles are great performers, play at a higher level when fatigued, and have much longer careers than slow offensive tackles.

In spite of this FACT, high school and college football coaches do little or nothing that can be considered speed training with their bigs. I’ve been told that up to 90% of the offensive linemen at the high school level lift and condition, but do NO speed training. Some programs claim to lift weights and do sprints, but their sprints are repeat sprints with incomplete rest, and never timed. This is NOT sprint training. This is conditioning, and conditioning detrains speed.

In a FTC program, players are timed, jumps are measured, and everything is recorded, ranked, and published. Speed is celebrated with MPH wristbands. My track team wears 20, 21, 22, and 23 mph wristbands. Of my 35 sprinters, only two have not earned the entry-level wristband (20 mph). Sprinters that can’t run 21 mph typically don’t travel with our team.

But, how do we celebrate the big cats? Our best thrower (6’2” 237, starting offensive tackle in football) sprints at 20 mph. 20 mph is no big deal in the sprint world but it’s freaky for a big guy. If speed is a KPI of football’s big cats, how do we train, promote, and celebrate it?

Garrett Mueller is the head football coach at Stewartville H.S. in Minnesota. Stewartville is a school of 600 kids whose football team finished last fall’s regular season undefeated.

Coach Mueller runs a Feed the Cats football program (aka, Sprint-Based Football). In order to create speed motivation for his bigs, he’s come up with the Madden-influenced idea of the “Truck Stick”. Big guys who move fast can create tons of momentum. Would you rather get hit by a 150-pounder going 21 mph or a 250-pounder going 20 mph? Let’s reward the big guys. Let’s understand that gravity prevents the fastest big cats from running as fast as the skinny wide receivers.

Garrett Mueller simply plugged numbers in the physics equation for momentum, p = m x v. Momentum equals mass (kg) x velocity (m/sec). It’s pretty easy. If someone weighs 220 pounds, that converts to 100 kg. It’s super easy to convert using Google or you can simply divide pounds by 2.2. To get velocity in meters per second, I would use google to convert mph to meters per second or simply divide mph by 2.237.

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For those of you new to mph, you must time a “fly” with Freelap or some other timing device. Make sure you allow a FULL run-in (25-30 yards) or top speeds will never be reached. For a 10y fly, 20.45 divided by 10 fly time = mph. For a 10m fly, 22.37 divided by 10m fly time = mph. For 20y flys, double the number (40.90).

What’s a good number for “Truck Stick”? This is what Garrett Mueller has found…

To be an impact varsity player, offensive and defensive linemen need to be 700+, big skill positions (RB, LB, TE) need to be 650+, and small skill positions (WR, DB, QB) need to be 600+. To be an all-conference player, those numbers need to be 800, 750, 700.

We have an offensive lineman who is 6’3″ 252 lbs and just posted a 1043 truck stick (the unit of momentum is kg⋅m/s or newton-second, Ns). That’s a 6’3” 252 big cat running 1.00 in the 10y fly which converts to 20.5 mph! This is the biggest Truck Stick we’ve ever recorded at Stewartsburg H.S. He was a first team all-conference left tackle last year and will be a freak for us next fall.

In 2021, seven of our top eleven truck stick numbers were all-conference picks. All ten of our all-conference players were in the top 25 of our truck stick rankings.

Obviously, Truck Stick numbers go much higher at elite levels of football.

The best OT in the NFL this year was Trent Williams of the 49ers. Everyone went crazy when Kyle Shanahan lined Trent Williams up in the backfield and ran “18 Zorro”. Williams motioned from left to right and proceeded to truck stick #52 Rashan Gary of the Packers (Gary is 6’5”, 277). High school coaches all over America made note, thinking… “Maybe we will do that next year”. However, we must ask ourselves, was the success of “18 Zorro” due to the play or the player?

Trent Williams ran 4.81 in the 40 at 315 pounds. My research says you must hit a top speed of around 20.7 mph to hit 4.81 in the 40y dash. 315 pounds = 142.9 kg. 20.7 mph is 9.25 m/s. The equation is p = m x v. Therefore, Truck Stick for Trent Williams would be 142.9 x 9.25 = 1322 Ns. 1322 is a dangerous football player.

Jonathan Taylor was the NFL’s top running back this year with 1811 yards. At 5’10”, 226, Taylor ran 4.39. My research indicates that you must hit 23.6 mph to run 4.39 in the 40. That’s a Truck Stick of 1085. By the way, Jonathan Taylor has verified speed, having run 10.49 in the 100m and 21.53 in the 200m in high school. Taylor also ran track at Wisconsin. Nobody questions Jonathan Taylor’s speed, but his momentum is nowhere near the momentum of Trent Williams. MPH may define Jonathan Taylor, but MOMENTUM defines Trent Williams. #TruckStick

Andrew Peterson of Fillmore Central H.S. (MN), learned about momentum from Garrett Mueller’s presentation at the Track Football Consortium. Coach Peterson took momentum to another level creating dog tags for his athletes. To win a black “HIT STICK” dog tag, you must reach 600, the silver “TRUCK STICK” requires a momentum of 700, the gold dog tag, “JACKED UP”, 800 kg⋅m/s.

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On a technical note, you may wonder why we use kilograms and meters instead of pounds and yards. Well, you CAN use pounds and yards but your truck stick numbers will not be 600, 700, 800, and 900 for high school kids (1000 is a high school super-freak). The 252 pound offensive tackle that runs a freaky 20.5 mph would have a truck stick number of 2500 lbs⋅yd/s. I like those easily recognizable 600, 700, 800, 900, and 1000 lots better than 1500, 1750, 2000, 2250 and 2500.

On a second technical note, the record keeping is easy. Weigh your kids at the start of the month, that’s their weight for the month. Enter their weight in pounds into a spreadsheet. In the next column, enter the pounds to kg formula (and fill down). Then enter their 10y fly time or 10m fly time. Next column write formula for mph conversion. Next column mph to m/sec. Next column write the formula for truck stick (kg x m/sec). Sort the team. Sort by linemen. Sort by big skill. Sort by small skill.

Record, Rank, and Publish.

Wristbands for miles per hour, dog tags for momentum.

I think we might be onto something.


Big Cats and the Truck Stick (4)
Big Cats and the Truck Stick (5)

This article was written forHEADSETS, Volume 2, Issue 2, the online football magazine produced byKenny Simpson.

Here’s my football content on CoachTube:Feed the Cats Football Bundle

Courses:Tony Holler at CoachTube

Bio: Tony Holler

♦ A coach’s son for 62 years
♦ 41st year of coaching (football, basketball, track)
♦ 38 years of teaching Chemistry
♦ Writer (approaching 300 articles) – book coming in 2022
♦ Co-Owner of Track Football Consortium (along with Chris Korfist)
♦ #1 Best-Selling DVD 2019 and 2020 – Championship Productions
♦ International speaker
♦ Two sons coaching (Alec and Quinn)
♦ Owner of “Feed the Cats”
♦ @pntrack♦ 630-849-8294

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Big Cats and the Truck Stick (2024)


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