Jun 2, 2017
Insights on Efficiency

The importance of workout efficiency at the high school level cannot be overstated. With all of the information that coaches have access to, it can be easy for them to be overwhelmed. They recognize the importance of preparation, technique work, the workout itself, cool down, and recovery. But how do they get it all factored into the workouts with the limited time that they have?

Matt Chandler, MS, CSCS*D, RSCC*D, USAW-1, NASM-CPT, has been an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Oregon, and currently serves as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Servite High School in Anaheim, Calif. Through his varied experiences, he has learned a lot about how best to work with athletes. In the following, he offers insights into how coaches can make sure that they are using their athletes’ weightroom time efficiently.

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Create a focus: It can be easy to overcomplicate a high school program, Chandler explains. Instead of basing workouts on college or professional programs, coaches should focus on areas that their athletes need to improve. Coaches can do this by observing the athletes in practice, during the day, and in the weightroom, and noticing their weaknesses.

“We need to ask ourselves, ‘what do I really need to focus on?'” says Chandler. “To me, high school athletes need to understand how their body actually works. They are so good at their individual sport, but once you put them in a ladder or cone drill, they look like they have two left feet. From there, you can figure out each athlete’s specific needs and what most requires improvement.”

Be flexible: If you notice that athletes need extra work on something during a specific workout, it’s okay to move in a different direction. “To be an efficient coach you have to constantly be evaluating,” says Chandler. “So maybe we are squatting today. Let’s watch the take off and landing and see what’s happening. There is no rule that says you can’t alter and adjust a workout right in the middle of it. Don’t be afraid to go off the path to the benefit of the athlete.”

Keep them active: Unfortunately, coaches may not always have time to focus an entire practice on one particular aspect of improvement. When this is the case, Chandler suggests having athletes engage in other movements while waiting to do an exercise. “Let’s say I’ve noticed a student is very deficient in his upper back,” he says. “While someone else in his group is doing cleans, I can have him do some Scap Shrugs. I’ll basically sneak in the corrective work during those times.”

“The same idea works for building core and trunk strength,” continues Chandler. “I don’t have a lot of excess time to focus on just that. So while athletes are waiting for their turn on the clean, they might also be doing a bridge. We can get this stuff done between sets because it’s not neurologically depleting, but it’s adding a lot of benefit while also keeping the athletes active and attentive.”

Group by ability level: A lot of times you will have a mixed group of kids that you are working with

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