Dec 2, 2016
In the Trenches

Contracted through Community Health Network, Carol Happ, CSCS, is Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis. Previously, Happ spent eight years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Minnesota, where she worked with women’s track and field, women’s cross country, and women’s tennis. Prior to Minnesota, Happ spent two years at Ball State University as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach.

She says she now loves working with high school athletes because the progress they make is so dramatic. She also enjoys watching them grow. In the following Q&A, she shares her thoughts on making a high school strength program the best it can be.

What’s your training philosophy for high school athletes?

My programming philosophy is very similar to what I did at the college level. Every athlete starts with the fundamentals, and I keep it pretty basic. After they learn the fundamentals, we might get a little more specialized, but my program is not as sport-specific as when I was in college.

How is your program structured?

I teach 90-minute strength and conditioning classes at Lawrence North, which is when I implement most of my program. I teach three classes a day, and athletes attend two or three classes each week. I also do supplemental work with them after school. They all do the same program for the most part, but I change up the sets and reps depending on whether they’re in-season or out of season.

What do your workouts entail?

My program is almost completely Olympic-based. The athletes start each class with foam rolling, and then progress to agility footwork drills and a dynamic warm-up before proceeding to a full-body workout. I don’t do bodybuilding programs, and I don’t really use machines — it’s all barbells and dumbbells. We do a push and a pull, a squat variation, a glute exercise, core work, and we do explosive work with cleans, snatches, and kettlebells. Each workout finishes with static stretching.

How do you motivate high school athletes?

Athletes must know they have our full attention when they are working out in the weightroom. This means giving continuous feedback. I’m also very honest, and athletes appreciate that. I make sure to follow every criticism with something positive. Athletes understand I’m hard on them because I know they have great potential, and I tell them as much. That can be a very powerful thing to hear.

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