Mar 23, 2017
Strong Leadership

Leadership in the weightroom is just as important as leadership on the field. That’s why when Rusty Whitt became the Strength and Conditioning Coach at Texas Tech University, he and his staff appointed a group of players to hold the team accountable. These players make up the leadership core of the football team. Their charge is to always be working to make themselves and those around them better.

Don Williams of A-J Media met with Whitt and asked him about his ideas on motivating players through peer leadership. “When we first came in, our first approach, my staff and I, was basically to set an accountability standard in everything we do and it was very different for a lot of the guys who’d been here for a long time,” Whitt told A-J Media.

“The two things I tell these guys they can control is their daily attitude and their daily effort. That’s the only thing you can control about your day is your attitude and your effort,” Whitt added.

To put his leadership core into place, Whitt chose eight of the most consistent upperclassmen and asked them set a behavioral standard for the entire team. “We let the players set the accountability rules, from academics to performance, and we’re getting a lot more team leadership from the players, which is so critical now,” Whitt said. “[Player leadership is] really, really important and we’re trying to really put a lot on the kids and let them control their destiny.”

The eight team leaders are in charge of their respective groups based on position, which has helped make training run more smoothly. When players have a problem or a question, they are encouraged to first talk with their team leader. Most of the time this is all it takes to resolve a situation and has helped establish closer relationships among the players.

Whitt has found that this player leadership has been key to establishing the right kind of weightroom culture at Texas Tech. After just a short time at the university he has already seen major improvements in their strength training and has gotten buy-in from his players.

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