Finish First Sports Performance Blog

Fast. Strong. First.

Effects of Alcohol on Sports Performance (Video)

lance-armstrong-michelob-0710By Jeremy Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES

Due to the overwhelming number of alcohol related posts from the NFL Championship Game last weekend, I wanted to share a video presentation where I talk about the negative effects of alcohol on sports performance.  In addition to these, alcohol is a banned substance (PED).

While I am not a prohibitionist, and anti-alcohol entirely, I still wanted to provide you with this information and allow you to make your own choice (as long it is legal for you to do so).  Remember, the list in the video is related to fitness and sports performance.

(This video presentation is backed by REAL science and results with continually developing elite caliber athletes over the lats 15 years).

CLICK HERE to view the Video Presentation

Be smart. Be informed. Set goals.  Act on them.  Work hard.  Stay focused.  Finish First.

Keys to Physical Athletic Development

JHoy SquatBy Jeremy Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES

For this post, I want to lay out the keys to physical athletic development. Despite all the pseudo science funk you read (and hopefully DO NOT believe) that is flooding the internet related to the subject of fitness and athletic development, I want to share a video presentation that I put together that is backed by REAL science, and results with continually developing high caliber athletes over the lats 15 years.

CLICK HERE to view the Video Presentation

Don’t believe all the crap out there.  Work hard. Work smart.

Physical Training for Ice Hockey


By Ron Cramer, MS, PES

Ice Hockey is one of the most challenging sports in the world. Players distribute their weight on a 1/8 inch piece of steel, move around the ice at speeds up to 30 miles per hour, and must be able to stop on a dime. Some of the physical demands associated with the sport include foot-speed, agility, balance, and the ability to both give and receive impacts at a high level of force.

There are also personal variables associated with the sport such as what type of player someone is, what level they are currently playing at, and what their goals are going forward. Looking at the game as a whole and also on an individual level a coach can personalize a training program to fit the specific needs of the athlete, very rarely are two training programs exactly the same. For example a workout prescribed for a professional will vary drastically from that of a pee-wee hockey player, much in the same way a 4th line player might train differently that a first line skill player.

No matter what the age/level/role are however there are some things which are a constant for every player, such as which muscles and what energy systems are utilized throughout the course of a game. The major muscles utilized in ice hockey are the gluteals (maximus, medius, and minimus), quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, your entire core especially the obliques and the rectus abdominis, and lastly the erector spinae.

As for the energy systems, hockey is unique in the fact that different energy systems are used a different times in practices and games, a breakdown of which ones/how much they are used would be something as follows 10% Alactic, 40% Lactic, and 50% Aerobic, the use of different energy systems is determined by both the amount of energy exerted (shift/practice intensity) and the amount of time that energy is exerted for (shift/practice length).

Once all these variables are looked at, the individual the program is being prescribed for describes themselves as a player; a strength coach can tailor an exercise program that will allow the player to reach their individual goals.

Below is a chart of some of my personal favorite hockey specific exercises that I utilized in my playing career, I have included 2-3 from each portion of the body which needs to be conditioned:

Area of the Body Exercises
“Core” Russian Twists, Medicine Ball Power Toss, Planks (and Variations)
Lower Body Barbell DeadLifts, Barbell Back Squat, Lunges (Multi-directional)
Upper Body Barbell Bench Press, Pull-Ups/Chin-ups, Wrist Curls
Plyometrics Lateral Skater Hops, Box Jumps, Broad Jumps, Hurdles
Conditioning Shuttle Runs, Bike Sprints, Sleds (push/tow)

Each one of the above ex ercises works on strengthening a specific muscle or group of muscles that is utilized a great deal in the sport of hockey. For example Russian Twists and Wrist Curls can help drastically improve a players shot, Broad Jumps and Box Jumps will improve a players explosiveness thus helping them accelerate more quickly, lastly Barbell Deadlifts and Barbell Back Squats can improve leg strength and as a result improve both stride push (force), efficiency, and power.

From my personal experience in the game the most difficult part about training is finding someone who is able to pair exercises together properly to make a player bigger, faster, and stronger. If the individual has the correct work ethic, a strong mental capacity to work, the coaching staff at Finish First Sports Performance can help them reach their maximum potential as a player.

Arousal and Performance


By Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES

In this post, I’m going to briefly introduce the concept of the ‘inverted U’ and explain how it relates to performance.  I decided to do it differently and make video presentation, with slides to show you what I’m talking about while I discuss the concept as it relates to performing better.

You can Click Here for the Free Video (this link will take you to another page on the Finish First website…scroll down to the middle of the page and click on the video to play).

This video is specific to mental toughness, emotional control, emotional resilience, and focus in regards to performance, whether it a competition, practice, workout, school exam, etc.  Please take about 10 minutes to watch the video presentation I made (click the link above).

If you like what you see, please share.  If you have questions, contact me.  If you would like to leave a comment, please do!

A Funny Story with Hidden Meaning…

By Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSbirds-falcon-bird-HD-WallpapersCS, PES

Over the last few weeks, I have been busy writing new training articles, new content-packed-web-pages, and working on FREE training and coaching videos to share with you.

This extra work has been part of the plan all along, which was created after setting goals for myself, and for my Business.

As you set your own personal goals, write out your steps (action plans), and act on them, you will be headed in the right direction towards goal attainment.

Unfortunately, as you attain your goals, not everyone in your circle of friends will want to celebrate with you.

Dr. John C. Maxwell, in his book “Your Roadmap For Success,” says that there are two types of people: firefighters, and firelighters.

Firefighters are those people who want to put out the fire you have for your dream. They have negative and poor attitudes about your success.

Firelighters are those you want to help you and are willing to do what they can to take your success to a higher level. You will need to embrace those who are firelighters and surround yourself with positive thinkers and positive attitudes.

Dr. Maxwell gives a funny story to illustrate this point.

Funny Story…. 

“A Canadian bird decided that it was too much trouble to fly south for the winter. He said to himself, “I can brave a winter. A lot of other animals do it. It just can’t be that hard.” So as all the other birds flocked away toward sunny South America, he stayed behind and waited for winter.

By the end of November, he was having serious second thoughts. He had never been so cold, and he couldn’t find any food. Finally, he broke down and realized that if he didn’t get out of there soon, he wasn’t going to make it. So he started flying south all by himself. After a while, it began to rain. And before he knew it, the water was turning to ice on his wings. Struggling, he recognized that he couldn’t fly any longer. He knew he was about to die, so he glided down and made his last landing, crashing to the ground in a barnyard.

As he lay there stunned, a cow came by, stepped over him, and dropped a plop right on him. He was totally disgusted. Here I am, he thought, freezing to death. I’m about to die. I’m on my last breath, and then this! What an awful way to go.

So then the bird held his breath and prepared himself to die. But after about two minutes, he discovered a miracle was happening: He was warming up. The ice on his wings was melting. His muscles were thawing out. His blood was flowing again. He realized that he was going to make it after all. He got so excited and happy that he began to sing a glorious song.

At that moment, the farm’s old tomcat was lying in the hayloft in the barn, and he heard the bird singing. He couldn’t believe it; he hadn’t heard anything like it for months, and he said to himself, “Is that a bird? I thought they’d all gone south for the winter.”

He came out of the barn, and lo and behold, there was the bird. The cat crossed over to where he was, pulled him gently out of the cow plop, cleaned him off—and ate him.”

Dr. Maxwell points out three morals to this story:


  1. Not everyone who drops a plop on you is your enemy
  2. Not everyone who takes a plop off you is your friend
  3. If somebody does drop a plop on you, keep your mouth shut

The same things can be true for you as you realize your goals. Some of the people you consider your friends will be the firefighters (fighting your success), while others will be the firelighters (supporting you). Don’t let the firefighters get you off track in your journey to goal attainment.  Stay focused, on track, and relentless.

Famous Fitness Chili Recipe


Due to the freezing cold temps that I am dealing with at the moment, I feel like now is the perfect time to share an awesome chili recipe that my family has enjoyed for several years now.  This famous recipe was provided by Dr. John Berardi, a very well known fitness and sports nutritionist, and can provide you with a healthy nutritious meal (with leftovers to spare!).

I’ve followed the recipe as outlined, but also substituted lean ground turkey, venison, elk and other lean meats for the beef…and the resulting product was the same every time…DELICIOUS!!!

If you need something to warm you up, or just want to try something new, go ahead and make it and let me know how it turns out.  Feel free to pass the recipe along to others, and add some comments below!



4 pounds extra lean ground beef (96%)

4 cans kidney beans (15.5 oz per can), drained and rinsed

2 large onions, chopped

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced

4 bell peppers: 1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange, cut into 1/2-inch squares

6 cloves garlic, chopped

Two 46-fl oz bottles V8 vegetable juice, spicy hot

Cashew meal

Spices: 4 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 2 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon celery seed, 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (for a quicker version, you can use 3 packages chili seasonings mix, but it won’t quite be the same!)


In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, one pound at a time, over high heat together with the garlic and onions. If your skillet is large enough (i.e., a wok), you can brown the beef all at once to save time. On the last batch, add the spices after the beef is browned, and continue frying for another couple of minutes. Add the browned beef to a very large pot with a lid, and then add the beans, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, and V8 juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.

To make the cashew meal, process the cashews in a blender in short bursts, until a grainy meal is formed. Do not process for too long or you will have cashew butter. Stir-in the cashew meal, cover, and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

Prep Time: 1 hour

Difficulty Level: Easy

Servings: 10

14 Rules for Teenagers in 2015

By Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES


With a new year upon us, and the ‘2015 Lists’ flooding the internet, I think it is only appropriate to throw a jab in the direction of responsibility, especially for our children. And, as a parent of 4, I feel these rules are great for keeping kids moving in the right direction, and on a path towards accepting responsibility and learning to appreciate all that they have.

The following Rules were taken as an excerpt from “Leadership and Training for The Fight,” by Paul R. Howe:

Accepting Responsibility for Your Life

Points from “Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write or Add,” by Charles J. Sykes. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teaching created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair. The average teenager uses the phrase “It’s not fair” 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realized Rule No.1.

Rule 2: The real world won’t care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It’ll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain that it’s not fair.

Rule 3: Sorry, you won’t make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won’t be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn’t have a Gap label.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait ‘til you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he’s not going to ask you how you feel about it.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren’t embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.

Rule 6: It’s not your parents’ fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of “It’s my life,” and “You’re not the boss of me,” and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it’s on your dime. Don’t whine about it, or you’ll sound like a baby boomer.

Rule 7: Before you were born your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way by paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn’t. In some schools, they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone’s feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters, and you don’t get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For at least 8 hours. And you don’t get a new life every ten weeks. It just goes on and on. While we’re at it, very few jobs are interested in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization.

Rule 10: Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in thirty minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

Rule 12: Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you’re out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That’s what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for “expressing yourself” with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.

Rule 13: You are not immortal. If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven’t seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.

Rule 14: Enjoy this while you can. Sure, parents are a pain, school’s a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you’ll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now.

You’re welcome.

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Accomplishing More in Life





Productivity Stock Image

By: Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, USAW


If you’re looking for a way to be more productive and accomplish more during 2013, or during any time in the future, then one place to start is to maximize what you get done during your “normal” work day. As an entrepreneur, I am aware that for many, there is no such thing as a normal work day, but that is the life we have chosen and that is what we’ve come to know as “normal.”  This new normal, like so many others that have ventured off on their own paths, comes with its long list of distractions that could easily cut into the productivity of any one on any given day.  Success expert, Brian Tracy, in his book No Excuses: The Power of Self-Discipline (I highly recommend reading this book—it is jam packed full of useful information and action steps on getting more done, setting goals, and disciplining yourself to accomplish more), offers suggestions on increasing productivity at work, and as a result, increasing your pay check.




Excerpt from the book, pages 134-135:


“The key to doubling your productivity and output—and eventually your income—is to really work all the time you are at work.  Simply put, when you work, work.  Don’t waste time.  Don’t delay.  Don’t chat with coworkers or sit around drinking coffee.  Don’t read the newspaper or surf the Internet.  When you come into work in the morning, put your head down, and then work all day long.




The biggest time wasters in the world of work are other people who want to talk with you, distract you, delay you, and take up the time that you should be spending on high-value tasks. When a time waster approaches you and says, ‘Do you have a minute to talk?’ you reply by saying, ‘Yes, but not now.  Why don’t we talk at lunchtime, or after work?  In the meantime, I have to get this job finished.  I have to get back to work.’




When you tell people that you are under the gun, that you have to get a task finished for your boss, they will usually leave you alone.  If you do this often enough, they will develop the habit of leaving you alone and, instead, find someone else with whom to waste time.




Keep yourself motivated and focused by talking to yourself in a positive way.  Your mantra from now on should be, ‘Back to work!  Back to work!  Back to work!’




Whenever you find yourself slowing down on a major task, begin repeating to yourself those magic words, ‘Back to work!’”




A few things I’d like to add to the list of distractions is your smart phone and all its time wasting apps, like Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media sites that employees are checking and updating frequently throughout the day.  Buckle down, stay focused on getting work done (or GSD as some would say), and as one highly intellectual comedian once said (yes, that may be an oxymoron), “Git-R-Done!”


Meet the Intern: Chad White

imgresBy: Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, USAW

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you another one of our excellent interns for the spring of 2013.  He is new to our program but comes to us very prepared for his role and to help coach the athletes in the Finish First system.  If you’re in the area, please stop in and say hello.


Here are some questions that we had him answer to hopefully let all of you get to know him a little better.



Name:  Chad White

College:  Slippery Rock University

Program of Study/Major:  Exercise Science, Pre Physical Therapy


Where are you from (if you’ve lived in several cities, please describe)?

I am from Murrysville PA and have lived there since I was in 4th grade. I moved from Penn Hills to Murrysville in 4th Grade


What sports did you play growing up?

I played soccer and hockey growing up. When I was in 8th grade, I decided I wanted to focus more on hockey so I stopped playing soccer. I have been playing hockey since I was 5 years old and I continue to play today.


What sport(s) did you play in college?

I played both roller hockey and ice hockey in college. I enjoyed playing roller hockey but my passion is for ice hockey. I love the competition and the camaraderie involved in ice hockey.


Please list or mention any athletic accomplishments you have made?

My Franklin Regional Varsity ice hockey team went to the Penguin Cup finals my junior year in high school and semifinals during my senior year in high school. Furthermore, I was named assistant captain of my varsity team and Captain of my Junior Penguins ice hockey team in 2009.


What made you chose your major in college?

I have always been interested in the body ever since I was little. I enjoy studying kinesiology and physiology and finding ways to apply that knowledge to sport performance training. Also, I knew that Slippery Rock’s Exercise Science program was a top notch program and that it was one of the best programs to prepare students for Physical Therapy school.


Please list or mention any academic accomplishments you have made?

Dean’s list Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012


Have you interned anywhere else or studied under any other coaches?  If so, where?  This is my first internship opportunity and I am looking forward to the experience.


Briefly describe some of your coaching philosophies (hint:  if you don’t really have any yet, just mention some of the science you use behind your decisions)?  Basically all of my decisions are based on a combination of science and past experience. When I find exercises that work, I often look into the science behind the exercise and continue to expand on the knowledge. I can’t really say I have coaching philosophies yet simply due to lack of experience.


Do you have any areas of specialty? (areas of specific research or concentrated training?)  I would say my area of specialty in sports training is with hockey players simply because I have been playing for so long and most of my training experiences are with hockey players.


Why did you choose Finish First?

I am very interested in performance training and when I viewed the finish first website, I noticed that there were a lot of hockey players trained at the facility. I felt that I would fit well with many of the coaching philosophies and training methods. Moreover, I saw such a variety of teams and athletes featured on the website so I thought it would be a good opportunity to work with athletes from a variety of sports.


What are you looking forward to the most during your internship experience?

I do not know a lot about speed and agility training and Jeremy had mentioned that one of his areas of specialty is speed and agility. I am hoping that I can develop a strong understanding for the methods of speed and agility training.


What do you hope to learn from your internship experience?

I hope to become proficient in all areas of sport performance training and find an area that I maybe enjoy most. Since I have little experience training athletes other than hockey players, I would like to learn how to develop more sport specific programs.  Aside from the sports performance aspect of finish first, I would like to learn a little bit about how to run a business. I would like to make a positive impact on the business and I am looking forward to doing so.


What motivates you?

First, I really enjoy learning new things. I get excited about new opportunities and I realize that sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort zone to learn. Also, I am motivated to help others because I enjoy seeing them achieve their goals. There are so many people who have dedicated their time to help me and I appreciate it more than anything. I would like to help others the way many have helped me in the past. I want others to realize their full potential.

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