How to Train the Athlete Who Trains Everywhere

How to Train the Athlete Who Trains Everywhere
Rashad Roberts, MS
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Pine Crest School
I recently attended a district meeting with other high school coaches for a “round-table” so-to-speak, where we were able to ask industry-related questions to others in our field.  The question that took center stage was, “how should we lift an athlete that plays on one or more school teams, trains outside of school, and may play for a club team as well?” In an increasingly competitive culture, this type of athlete has become the rule as opposed to the exception.
In my transition from coaching on a professional level, to coaching at a high-school level, this has been a new obstacle for me to navigate.  At a professional level; the athlete plays one sport, and trains with the teams coaching staff for the majority of the year.  This allows for centralized training practices and a more focused regimented program.  At the high-school level; athletes play multiple sports, train with multiple outside sources, and have not had the opportunity to utilize a strength and conditioning program until recently.  Below is a list of ideas that I put together and have implemented when programming for this type of high-school athlete:
* MEET WITH COACHES – With an athlete involved in various sports throughout the year, maintaining contact with their coaches will help you gain insight into the goals and vision that the coach has for the athlete/team.  If strength training is a relatively new program for your school, as it was for mine, this will also help facilitate a relationship with the other coaches who may feel threatened or are skeptical of what you are able to bring to the athletic program.  It will be much easier for the athlete to progress when you are on the same page as the coaches.
* COLLECT ANNUAL/QUARTERLY CALENDARS – Annual calendars are a great tool to use when outlining your schedule.  They include holidays and testing days that are in place helping you to see what days to work around.
* HAVE A VISION – It is important to keep your audience in mind when communicating this vision.  Your expertise will speak for itself when getting other coaches “on-board”, but it is always easier to communicate and execute a vision that is well-planned.
* SET GOALS – With a vision in place, set realistic goals for weight room accomplishments and communicate these with the athlete.
* DETERMINE WHAT OTHER TEAMS AND TRAINING THE ATHLETE PARTICIPATES – This allows you to supplement the other training and exercises with your own program.
* MAKE IT APPEALING TO THE ATHLETES – It is your goal to have the athlete/team buy into your program. If it’s not appealing to them, they will not be motivated to achieve their potential.
* HAVE TEAM AND INDIVIDUAL AWARDS – Awards are a great incentive to get athletes going and tend to encourage better effort and performance.  It will also provide a platform for healthy competition among fellow-teammates which may motivate each of them to work harder.
   While this list is not exhaustive, it has helped me navigate the new hurdle that high-school coaching has presented me, and will hopefully provide you with the same.  It is not until your program is set and the cycles have begun, that our jobs have too.   It will be at this juncture that the work you have put in will take shape and you will be able to determine how well your program fits your goals.  Big House (Joe Kenn) said it best, “We live in the age of REGURGITATION from books; put that knowledge into PRACTICE then tell me what you THINK.”