It's time for the Ohio High School Football Playoffs - London High School faces off against Cincinnati Taft this Saturday. Our weight training is dialed in - the varsity's volume is much lower than the off-season but we keep progressing every cycle and we are lifting the heaviest weights we ever had. The in-season is when I want the kids strongest, biggest and in the best shape. It makes no sense to maintain, regress or (even worse) take time off. Do you want your kids to be at their best in October or March?
In the spirit of the playoffs, here is some advice for strength coaches.
- Don’t coach what you don’t know; this doesn’t mean stop learning but don’t put something into your athletes’ training without knowing the implications or how it effects the athlete.
- Know your program! Know the trap doors, what you can move in/out, how to change it if you need to, know where you can add to it. It is YOUR program; you should be insanely intimate with every part of it and how it relates to each other.
- Learn to communicate; coaching is NOT being a personal trainer. It is not better or worse than personal training; it is just different. Coaching is NOT being a cheerleader. Coaching is part training knowledge, communication, earning respect, developing personal relationships, understanding each athlete and knowing how to control a large group.
- Give a shit, regardless of their worth on the field. You can have a profound effect on kids that won’t ever see the field. But expect the kids to give a shit too. Don’t waste your time and effort with the kids that barely show up or are a distraction. You only have so much to give and if you have 50 or more kids at once, you can’t let one get too much of the attention.
- Athletes do not care about training as much as you do. If they did, you wouldn’t have a job. Your job is less important than you think but more important than many coaches/admins/parents believe it is. Understand that there are a lot of moving parts to any successful season; just because you are a good strength coach doesn’t mean you will win. And just because you win, doesn’t make you a good strength coach. You can point to any dozen of things for reasons for success and failure.
- HS kids aren’t that smart about training. They will make bad choices if left to them and even worse choices as a group.
- Know your role/job. You are not a doctor or physical therapist. It’s ok to not know something and refer them to someone else whose job it is to rehab them/get them healthy.
- The athletes you will have the largest impact on are the average or below average athlete. The freaks will always be the freaks regardless of what they do or what you do. Our job is to make the bench warmer into a contributor, a contributor into a starter, a starter into all-conference, all-conference to all-state and all-state to all-american.
- Understand that there is a lot of stuff you cannot control:
*Their attitude/effort – you do have some control over this but not always.
*Their diet – largely part of the family’s culture.
*Their parents or lack of parents.
Yes, these things you can help mold but we are not alchemists. High school kids are not adults and they will make mistakes. And they are at the beginning of their journey of who they are, what they are and how they will be. You can help guide them but you are only one small part of their journey. Best thing you can do is be a great example through actions and giving them some hope/a chance.