With high expectations and an entirely new coaching staff, UCLA's new Director of Football Performance, Frank Wintrich, is looking for creative ways to build a strong and healthy team.
Time is always the most precious resource for a coach, so this offseason Wintrich has been working with former UCLA lineman Mike Jolly, to implement Iron Neck training to improve the team's efficiency in the weight room and reduce concussion risk in his athletes.
Training the Coaches
"The coaches picked it up pretty quickly," says Jolly. "Once I trained the coaches, they immediately started coaching eachother as if they were a new player trying to learn it."
Wintrich put an Iron Neck on each of their dozen power racks so it is something that will work into every athlete's rotation.
"The players love it," says Wintrich. "The coaches love working with it."
"Now coaches can track improvements in neck strength and ROM throughout the year," explains Jolly. "This was never possible with partner-assisted manual resistance."
An Innovation with UCLA Roots
Jolly invented Iron Neck in 2012 as a way to reduce concussion risk in athletes by strengthening the neck in every position.
"I played with guys like Mark Tuinei and Luis Sharpe," says Jolly who played for the Bruins 1977 - 1981. "Seeing the impact concussions had on them following their long careers was hard to watch and concerned me with my own long-term brain health."
Jolly spent four years coaching offensive line at Santa Monica College and West Los Angeles College. It was here where Jolly saw the threat of concussions and discovered a growing body of research focusing on neck strength as a possible solution.
"Kid's necks are just so much weaker so we have to start building neck strength when they're young to mitigate the collective damage and strain of head impacts over a long period."
Interested in learning more about implementing Iron Neck training into your program? Click below.