Jun 30, 2017The Right Atmosphere
Do you ever feel like something is missing from your athletes’ weightroom workout? Maybe your players are moving extra sluggish today, or they haven’t been making it to their workouts on time. At the high school level especially, this can become a problem, as students are usually coming to practice tired after a long day of classes.
Matt Chandler, MS, CSCS*D, RSCC*D, USAW-1, NASM-CPT, has witnessed this in his current role as Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Servite High School in Anaheim, Calif. As a former Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Oregon as well, he has seen how having the right atmosphere can completely change an athlete’s attitude. In this blog, he offers steps to creating an environment where athletes will be excited and ready to engage in the weightroom.
Stay upbeat: It’s important for coaches to show that their athletes’ improvement matters, and they can do this by coming in to the weightroom ready to get right to business. “The program is only as efficient as you want it to be based on your attitude,” says Chandler. “Your attitude is the athletes’ attitude. If I’m having a bad day and I walk in acting not very energetic, the kids are going to be that way too.”
“When that happens, we are not going to be very efficient,” he continues. “Maybe they are taking a little too long to get through their sets. Or maybe they say ‘Coach Chandler is really not into it today. I hate doing corrective work, so I’m not going to do it.’ I think coaches have more to do with efficiency than they realize. It’s pretty important that you go in there with the right attitude all the time. It can be hard, but it will really help things go smoothly.”
Connect the dots: A good atmosphere happens when the athletes connect what they do in the weightroom with what they are going to do on the field or court. The ideal situation is for both a strength coach and sport coach to collaborate on the program.
“If sport coaches speak the same language as strength and conditioning coaches, then they can relate it during practice time,” explains Chandler. “This creates more eyes and ears in the weightroom speaking the same language, and more kids will be catered to. And when athletes see their coach’s face, they will understand that it’s important to him or her, and it will become more important to them.”
Keep athletes accountable: Make sure to explicitly describe your expectations to the student-athletes. No matter the time of day, they need to know that you expect them to be prompt and get ready for the workout as quickly as possible. Otherwise, they are wasting valuable time.
“You have to draw your line in the sand and tell them what you accept, and what you don’t accept,” says Chandler. “Sometimes at the end of the day, athletes will be dragging to get to the locker room, but that can’t happen. I’ve always said, a forest fire starts with one spark. If the coach has to be that spark that’s fine because then the attitude and accountability becomes infectious. If you show it’s important to you, then you are going to get the guys and girls around you to do the same thing.”
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