Jan 13, 2017Keeping It Simple
Richard Lansky, CSCS, has been a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Physical Education Teacher at Manatee High School in Bradenton, Fla., since 2010. He’s also been an Advisory Board Member for the Florida High School Athletic Association and served on the NSCA’s Florida State Advisory Board, as well as the USA Weightlifting Board of Directors. Prior to his time at Manatee, Lansky conducted an NFL Draft preparation program and designed offseason strength and conditioning workouts for various professional athletes.
Why did he come back to the high school level? “I had coached at Sarasota’s Booker High School in the early ’90s and really enjoyed working with that age group,” Lansky says. “I eventually realized I wanted to get back to the high school level. I love this setting because I’m able to expose athletes and non-athletes alike to strength and conditioning principles they can use their entire lives.”
Here are his thoughts on developing high school athletes:
What is your training philosophy?
It’s important to keep things simple with your training. You can have a very basic program, but your athletes will improve if they consistently do it with 100 percent intensity and effort. The reverse is also true: You can have the greatest program, but it won’t have much of an effect if your kids won’t buy in.
What do your workouts entail?
Lansky: The bulk of my workouts center on free weight training — multi- joint, ground-based exercises and Olympic lifts. I have spent a lot of time on the USA Weightlifting Coaching Committee, and I have extensive experience teaching Olympic lifts. We use a bunch of 15-pound bars and plastic plates to teach proper bar mechanical position for Olympic lifts because we won’t load athletes if they have faulty movement patterns. Most kids start with bodyweight exercises, then med balls and light barbells before we start loading them with weight.
How do you motivate high school athletes?
Lansky: You have to get to know each athlete as a person and learn what makes them tick. Whether it’s wanting to move on to the next level, getting noticed for hard work, or even living up to an older sibling’s legacy, each athlete responds to their own motivational hot button.
How can coaches expand their programs?
Lansky: I would recommend finding resources that can assist your program. Maybe a parent of an athlete has a nutrition background, or another works at a grocery store that can donate day-old bread for post-workout peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You can also call a nearby college or local fitness facility and see if they’d be interested in donating older weight equipment. You won’t know until you ask.