Duane Hall interview

9 07 2010

I was able to sit down with new Western Kentucky strength and conditioning coordinator Duane Hall for a bit yesterday to discuss how the summer is going for the WKU football squad in the weight room.

Hall talked at length about how he intends to make a change on how the Hilltopper football team trains in the offseason, mainly focusing on the group’s overall mental toughness.

Pretty interesting talk with a rather interesting and pretty motivated guy.

Here are some of his thoughts:

What’s happening right now with the team in the weight room?

“Right now is more about work capacity, trying to develop a base that you can make more specific as you approach camp time. We’ve done a lot of volume training in the weight room, a higher range than what we’ve done in the past. We’ve done a lot of conditioning, we’ve got days where we’ll line up and have the guys do some different things involving agility and then there are days where we’ll just line up and run a raw volume of yardage trying to get to a goal and progress to get to the point where we can handle something that will carry over well to a massive output on the field in the fall.”

“We have eight hours a week and we’re getting up to that two hour limit every single day, which I don’t know that we’ve done in the past. It’s about understanding that there aren’t going to be any days that they’re just in and out, it’s going to be filling the allotted time that we’ve got for four days a week.

“We’re doing four groups a day which allows us to get more coaches involved and get more feedback.

“It’s the whole process that’s making us grow and develop. It’s a lot of attention to detail. If I want a drill done a certain way, we’re going to do it that way – and if it isn’t done right, we’re going to start over and do it again.

“That’s an adjustment for us right now, and we’re getting better. But they have to think all the time on the field and they’ve got to do it when they’re tired. We’ve added mental cues, teaching them to hear things one time and go. Listen the first time, be more attentive mentally and make adjustments from there and work better when you’re tired.”

How special is it for you, a longtime WKU strength staff member, to now play a large role in Willie Taggart’s rebuilding process?

“I’m a Hilltopper. I’ve been here a long time, my family’s been in this area a long time. I’ve had opportunities to leave but the grass was just never greener than it is here in Bowling Green for me. This place is special.

“(Taggart) knows I’ve got his back and that my No. 1 priority is taking care of WKU football and also with the entire strength and conditioning program across the board. We were on the same page immediately and I think that helped. I know what we needed, I know coach Taggart and we’ve got the same goals.”

What are you trying to accomplish this summer?

“At the end of the day this is a results based business and for us, it’s about producing a more mentally tough and more conditioned football team.

“It’s about building a team that can go out and play hard and fast all day long. We want to get guys stronger and do other things, but we’ve got to be in shape to play football. When I turn them back over to coach Taggart – I want camp to feel like ‘Club Med’ after I’m done with them.”

“It’s a no excuses type mentality. We tell them everyday, ‘you’ve got to get it done.’ It’s not going to happen in a couple weeks, it’ll be an evolution. But my mentality is very blue collar, I come to work, myself and my staff are going to work hard – long hours, every day, coaching our butts off every day and they’ll see it.

“The guys know it too. They see us grinding it out up here every day and I think they appreciate that. When they see you grind, they’re going to want to do it to and put it all out there. It’ll always be a process, and you’ll always have people that have an excuse, but we’ll keep putting them in tough situations and we’ll overcome them and be successful.”

“We have a lot of kids that want to be great football players, great students and great members of the community. We need more of those guys to step up and help others make that happen, leadership opportunities develop in here when guys have to respond to adversity – it’s also team building and unification.

“In the past it felt like we’d get into the latter part of the game and I’d look at our sideline and those (fourth quarter) signs came up a little too lightly for me. Those four fingers are going to come up with authority in 2010 because our young men are going to know what time it is. They are going to be ready.”

For a full story on Hall and WKU’s summer training, see Friday’s Daily News.

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