4. Be accepting and unassuming
This goes along with providing options. My athletes are not scholarship athletes. I’ve had some athletes explain to me they won’t be able to join a gym over the summer because of how much they’ll be working (to pay for school) and interning. Not everyone is free from the stress of school when they leave for summer. Let your athletes know that this is perfectly acceptable and be flexible. Additional body-weight or at-home routines can be a great workout and are surely better than nothing. This cooperation lets the athlete know that you understand their situation beyond the weight room and care about them as people (a value that may keep them receptive to you in the future).
5. There are 24 hours in a day.
If you’re not going be there to coach your athletes, spread the focus of your “programs” to include the other 22 hours when they won’t be training. As we’ve decided, the summer might not be the time to get too complex with the lifting, but it is definitely a time when your athletes can make better nutritional and recovery decisions. However, if you don’t have a Registered Dietician available, don’t try to be one. Don’t confuse your athletes with percentages, ratios, and biochemistry. Make suggestions on how to make better decisions. They can still eat peanut butter and jelly; just teach them how to improve the ingredients and the time when they eat it!
6. Spring into summer.
Our athletes are our clients. Their success under our program is largely due to their attitude towards our program. Much like a personal trainer should design programs to keep clients enthusiastic about returning, so should strength coaches. This applies to summer training as well. It doesn’t matter how well our athletes test at the end of spring; that doesn’t make us good coaches. The real test comes after they leave. Do your athletes continue following your programs over the summer, or are they sick of you? Have you burnt them out over the last few weeks during finals and exams? The spring is really a time to coach your athletes’ attitudes as much as anything else.
There is no secret to summer programming. Keep it safe. Keep it practical. Accept that not every athlete will be able to follow the same schedule. Make it all encompassing and make sure that your athletes are enjoying their time in the weight room before they leave for the summer. Your summer programs should be a continuation, not a deviation from your original plans. A program is paper without a coach, but hopefully these guidelines help to keep both coaches and athletes on track over break.