Strength Performance Network

Just wondering how some coaches keep their athletes motivated in a high school weight room during in-season training.  I am finding that a few of my varsity football players are not putting in the effort that I am looking for.  I have some kids that really get at it, but others that are just going through the motions and might not be completing their lifts.  I do have workout cards for them to fill out with weights filled in that I want them lifting.  It can't get much eaiser for them.  I can't always get on these kids when I am busy coaching the others. We meet 1-2 times per week.  Just looking for some insight on how other coaches handle these types of situations.

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In the first place, the in-season isn't the time to be focused on the weight room except to maintain...not to build.  This is the mistake so many coaches make.  The weight room should be the focus of the pre-season...and the in-season should focus on maintaining energy through good nutrition and flexibility.  Your cards should be ideas for good nutrition and a good stretching program. 

I treat so many athletes, especially high school football players whose coaches can't think of anything else but the weight room.  A sjprt 2X a week routine might be ok especially if it focused on core and not squats, cleans and other football grunt work.

I believe you must clearly establish your in-season goals and present the "why" to your athletes. My belief is that in-season objectives should be to sustain strength and power that was developed off/pre-season as well as maintain mobility and assist in overall regeneration of the athlete from week to week.

The athlete must be first "bought in" to the plan before he will consistently deliver the effort your looking for.

 I work my guys in "teams" (i.e. position groups), introduce a mobility w.o.d.(workout of day) each session,  and use a movement based day with a strength based day to keep things fresh.

Has your program established a leadership group or adopted weight room captains?? This has been very effective for us.

Don't waste your time on kids who dont want to work hard. If you do that you wont get nothing done. One thing we do is play music in the weight room or while we are stretching we turn out the lights and they listening to a motivated videos like this one.

 

http://www.strengthperformance.com/video/secret-to-success-by-eric-...

 

Bruce DeWalt CSSE; CPR/AED/First Aid; MAC; USAW
Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach
Prattville High School
Prattville, AL
334-318-6822

 
 
  
“There's difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something you do it only when circumsatnce permits. When you're committed to something you accept NO excuses, only RESULTS.”

I gave a speech at the NSCA National Conference this year on Motivation, Leadership and Mental Strategies for the High School athlete.  If you e-mail me at kevin.vanderbush@wayne.k12.in.us I would be glad to send you a pdf of the power point that I used.

A quick answer to your question above.  I use workout cards - that are color coded by groups - and a time clock to structure the program - which I think helps keep the players on task and accountable to complete the required lifts/program.  The structure makes supervision much easier - even with large groups.  As for in-season football, I feel that a majority of high school age athletes can improve their strength in-season.  If we play well, we will have a 15 week season.  I don't want my guys to just maintain for over 3 months of the year.  (if multiple sport athetes, they are always in-season) If you continue to gain strength throughout the season you will have an edge on your opponents (who go with the maintenance philosophy) come tournament time.  One of the ways we hold our guys accountable is that we do a 1 rep max on bench, squat and clean during the season.  We have just completed testing this week after 7 games - and will have a regular season game tonight and next week, and will start the state tournament the following week.  We have been very successful with this approach, and have used it for the past 28 years, so have a lot of data to back up the effectiveness.


         Hi,

I have shared many common frustrations in the past while working with lazy, unmotivated athletes. It is much easier to get frustrated and simply ignore these types of athletes when problems arise. While working at the collegiate level, I had the opportunity to work with some very talented athletes as well as some not-so-talented ones. And then there are always the kids who knew everything or didn't want to work hard and rarely showed up to training sessions despite being aware of the "reminder" conditioning work that was to follow their absence.

Being part of a developing S&C program at a smaller university was very difficult when trying to establish our core values and expectations within these somewhat undisciplined athletes. Going from "running the show" in high school to being low on the food chain is quite the adjustment for some athletes. This brings frustration and withdraws from these athletes. All of this is even before we start thinking about training sessions. I cannot even count how many times I wanted to throw a dumbbell through the mirror and just lose it, but I couldn’t let them see my frustration or my lack of confidence.

We had four coaches on our staff and we all shared these frustrations especially with the football program. Despite this, we found some way to weather the storm and stay on the path and believe in our program and our athletes. It was my goal to take the laziest, most undisciplined kids and make him/her change something for the better. Whether it was getting them to show up on time with their shirt tucked in or whatever, this was my goal. I knew in my head that just one thing would turn this kid around and get him going in the right direction.

I am so proud of the guys and girls that stuck it out and dedicated themselves to doing something great. Now 4 years old, the strength program is better than it’s ever been. Off the ground and running on all cylinders, people respect the coaches and not just because of our position. They realize the hard work that was put in to get where they are and they realize who the leaders were that stood by them the entire time. The leaders who believed great things could and would happen. Many of these individuals are now champions. In fact they all are because they stuck it out and against all odds they succeeded. They changed that one thing that set the course for improving themselves each and every day. There is a new sense of pride towards the program and they have themselves to thank for it.

I wanted to mention this story because I know what it’s like to be frustrated with athletes. Some just don't want to work hard period! Some do not want to show up on time, let alone early! Some want to tell you off and get in your face because they know it all. I think the way in which we, as coaches, respond to these situations defines who we are and what we are about. I have had the distinct privilege of getting to know and learn from so many great coaches in my life and they have taught me these important things.

 

-As coaches we are in the business of changing lives!

- Don't take coaching for granted; prepare the absolute best you can so you can best serve your athletes! Be a good example, show up early, be ready to go, and coach your A%$ off!

-Against all odds and despite all your frustrations, you are a leader, mentor, friend, counselor, and motivator.

- If kids aren't buying in, be creative in your methods of getting them to buy-in. Be clear, concise, and positive!

-Attack each day with reckless sense of inspiration!

 

Thank you for reading

Corey Gray

Thanks for all the great info Larry, Richard, Bruce, Kevin, and Corey.  Just what I was looking for. Kevin, I will e-mail you here soon. I would love to see those power points.  I will take all of this info in when I'm preparing my future programs.    
Could you send me the power point? bryan.craig@bcsemail.org

Kevin Vanderbush CSCS*D RSCC*E said:

I gave a speech at the NSCA National Conference this year on Motivation, Leadership and Mental Strategies for the High School athlete.  If you e-mail me at kevin.vanderbush@wayne.k12.in.us I would be glad to send you a pdf of the power point that I used.

A quick answer to your question above.  I use workout cards - that are color coded by groups - and a time clock to structure the program - which I think helps keep the players on task and accountable to complete the required lifts/program.  The structure makes supervision much easier - even with large groups.  As for in-season football, I feel that a majority of high school age athletes can improve their strength in-season.  If we play well, we will have a 15 week season.  I don't want my guys to just maintain for over 3 months of the year.  (if multiple sport athetes, they are always in-season) If you continue to gain strength throughout the season you will have an edge on your opponents (who go with the maintenance philosophy) come tournament time.  One of the ways we hold our guys accountable is that we do a 1 rep max on bench, squat and clean during the season.  We have just completed testing this week after 7 games - and will have a regular season game tonight and next week, and will start the state tournament the following week.  We have been very successful with this approach, and have used it for the past 28 years, so have a lot of data to back up the effectiveness.

In my experience, to keep the kids interested with in season lifting comes down to keeping the lift quick and simple.  So more of a circuit type of lift twice a week focused on maintaining strength.  This ensures that all of them should be involved with a lift/exercise the whole time and preventing downtime for them to get distracted.  Also, finding those kids that already buy in and coupling them with the unmotivated can create a spark where needed.  One other thing that can be done is letting them pick the music they listen to when they lift because at the very least they have some control over their surroundings.

We are unique I guess, but my guys are motivated by eachother.  We do a lot of work year-round in team building...not letting the next guy down.  Having good senior leadership is important as well.  I had to go watch my 5-year-old daughter's soccer game to go to and I didn't even turn to a coach to help me out...I just asked the senior leaders to take care of it for me. 

Another thing I think helps is that we have a few lifts that the kids really like and the understanding fo the purpose of inseason lifting help as well.  They love landmines, olympic lifts, bands and sand bells.  We do quite a bit of circuit training with "fun" lifts for them and they push the tempo for you. 

Of course we just put a new sound system in too...so every lift is a stinkin rock concert.

I hope some of this helps.

 

Are you serious?  Do you know how boring the season would be if we “MAINTAIN”?  If a program is ran right you would have no more injuries, in fact fewer.  Football coaches want to win in the post-season, not get weaker and slower.  Football programs should be written to peak your athletes for the playoff run.  “Maintain energy through nutrition and flexibility?”  What?  I’m sorry I usually don’t call people out but advice from a LMT about In-Season training doesn’t help.  Leave that to the strength coaches.

 Dustin, you are doing everything you can do.  I have found that letting your players PT reflect their effort in the weight room.  If you are only meeting 1-2 times per week and that’s all you can get, keep that up.



Larry Warnock. LMT said:

In the first place, the in-season isn't the time to be focused on the weight room except to maintain...not to build.  This is the mistake so many coaches make.  The weight room should be the focus of the pre-season...and the in-season should focus on maintaining energy through good nutrition and flexibility.  Your cards should be ideas for good nutrition and a good stretching program. 

I treat so many athletes, especially high school football players whose coaches can't think of anything else but the weight room.  A sjprt 2X a week routine might be ok especially if it focused on core and not squats, cleans and other football grunt work.

I have tried several different schemes in the weight room for in season lifting. I agree that weight training is maintain when you are in season. We workout 2 times/ week. The varsity lift with a card workout on Mon or Tues and Sat. Saturday morning (day after game) is our hardest workout. We warm up, followed by flush out sprints. When go to to the weight room, we do a circuit. Each station is 30 sec. The stations are a mix of free weights and machines. The normal circuit is about 24-27 stations. Injured players participate as able (core exercises is the alternative). When our players go through the circuit, they can see how hard each is working. They have to hold each other accountable. The accountability is held 2 ways: effort and strength maintenance. All the weight is set so that every player can achieve successful reps, the variable will be the number of reps.

Our Mon/ Tues workout is free weight with cards. But it is low key. The players have had a difficult practice and sometimes mentally challenging work. 

The JV lift 2 times/ week. Both are free weights with cards. Their intent is to make gains in the season.

Food for thought.

I think that this is a great topic for debate/discussion, its one that will/has lead to conversations here and many other venues. As with all things S&C, there is no one way (i.e., "right way") to do anything. Everyone will see things differently, so in my short time as a young S&C coach I have learned this for sure from the mentors that I am lucky enough to have. "Coach what you know and do it to the best of your ability. Don't try to be something that you are not, kids will ALWAYS see through that." I am in no position to tell another person that they are "wrong" to be doing what they are doing with their kids. For in their mind they are doing what they know and do so with best intentions. That's not to say one should not continue to evolve and look to better themselves. My situation is going to be different than the person next to me, smaller school vs bigger school, commitment level of administration, etc. So one can't say that one systems works best for all. We are not made that way, and neither are our programs. We want to do right by our kids, if not then we would not be doing what we are doing. We are in a "people" business model, so the issue of motivating is a huge obstacle. Yet it is one that can send you on a great journey of self improvement and growth if you take the time to learn how to get the most out of your kids. I read so much more now than ever before, and it is books that I wish I had know about sooner. For if I had, maybe I could have reached the kid that I missed.

Back to the topic on hand, Coach Meyers. For me and our goal, we do not lift to maintain while we are "in season", sir. We do not so because being at a smaller school, we all share our athletes. So as someone stated earlier, they are always "In Season" and so with that being said. We don't have the luxury of maintaining, our kids must continue to improving and better themselves. Its the nature of the beast when you are at small school (500 or less for us, sir). Some of our kids play 3/4 sports, so we have kids that are dedicated and willing to work. Again, that is what works best for us and where we are at. We do 9 wks cycles and that allows us to rest our kids while getting what we need as a coaching staff as well.

Coach Meyers, being on here is a great start. So good luck with your journey and remember. Coach what you do know and do it to the best of your abilities. Continue to seek out knowledge and don't be afraid to reach out for the sake of always bettering yourself. 

Please feel free to reach to me if you would like, sir. 

Good luck to everyone, and thanks for your time.

Adam Jaimez

Swain Co. HS

Bryson City, NC

ajaimez@swainmail.org

828-399-0139

   

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