Jan 29, 2015Elements of Motivation
By Ryan Johnson
Though the weather outside is frightful, at Wayzata (Minn.) High School, the winter strength and conditioning program is in full swing, and the results have been quite delightful. We’ve simplified our training approach, actively recruited new participants, and have cultivated program-wide pride among all of our teams.
It’s been a busy winter up north, the Vikings and Brett Favre are hot (Ed. Note: they were hot), but outside it’s cold–angry cold. It’s the type of cold that hits you in the face and makes you want to punch back.
It’s the kind of weather that drives a person inside and keeps them there most of the day. For our athletes, the weightroom has been the primary indoor destination. We have never had so many athletes training after school as we do right now.
For me, there is hope of escaping the cold however as I will be attending the NSCA SSTC in Orlando, Flor. the first weekend of January. We are looking to improve and add to our summer speed training and I welcome any insights from our readers.
In my last blog I talked about our new summer curriculum emphasizing the “Core of Four.” This approach combined with our latest winter strategy has pushed our facility to the limits.
Recently, our program began “teaming up” like never before in an effort to establish a new set of norms in our facility. In the past, we had multiple teams doing several different workout programs at one time in the room. It had its advantages and disadvantages along with good results for a handful of people. But ultimately, it was a little overwhelming training 40 to 50 athletes at a time, with each using different programs.
That’s why we recently adjusted our lifting protocol with an eye on streamlining our collective efforts. We did this by taking a page out of our summer program, and now each team does basically the same workout, with minor modifications based on the competitive demands of each sport.
Deciding to “condense and conquer” was step one in the process of building our weight-training program. The second was to go out and find some athletes to train.
At the conclusion of our football season our staff felt there was a tremendous amount of untapped talent walking around our hallways, and it became my job to go out and get them involved. So I started pulling kids out of the hallways and talked to them about contributing to a team and the rewards that would follow. “If you put something in, you will get something out,” was my main message. I also talk to them about the possibility of athletic scholarships down the road provided their grades are up.
I also started distributing free T-shirts with our program logo on them. Ever been to a sporting event and watched the crowd turn on each other when the t-shirt cannon comes out? It’s amazing what you can get people to do for a t-shirt.
I’ve found that many of these kids need to be grabbed by the hand first, and once you win over their heart, you have true believers. Needless to say, our after school participation numbers skyrocketed.
Another thing we did in the weightroom was to start talking about the Challenge Cup. The Challenge Cup is an awards program designed to recognize Minnesota high schools for excellence in athletics and fine arts activities. The Cup is a cumulative award given to the high school that earns the most points based on their participation and finish in section and state fine arts and athletic tournaments.
Most of the athletes had never heard of the Challenge Cup, as the school did not promote it very heavily. And in reality, many of our athletes only cared about their own sport, and hadn’t given a program-wide award much thought. But this mindset has been changing fast.
We have begun to start a culture of what it takes to win and preach to the athletes daily about this mindset. Winning doesn’t just happen; we have a banner that reads “Enjoy life now and sacrifice later, Sacrifice now and enjoy life later.”
The new winter Trojan Power program has generated a firestorm of activity here at Wayzata. We now train around 80 to 100 athletes at a time after school using one basic workout. The terminology is growing, the technique is improving, and the teamwork is off the charts–it is not uncommon to see offensive lineman assisting the girls’ track team with technique.
The mindset has really become one that more closely resembles a collegiate training facility–it is no longer just a football weight room. We are all getting on the same page, and getting better in the process.
As the snow melts and the weather opens up, our workouts will begin to specialize and vary, but for the time being we are becoming one team with one dream in our weight room. And the best part is we are keeping it very simple: Push, pull, repeat.
You can reach Wayzata (Minn.) High School Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Ryan Johnson with your questions or blog ideas at: [email protected].