Aug 18, 2017
Using Metrics, Part Four
Gary Schofield Jr.

For the past three weeks, I’ve covered the why and how behind incorporating sport science into a high school strength training program. In this last installment, I’ll talk about stumbling blocks. (You can read Part One here, Part Two here, and Part Three here.)

Despite our good fortune using advanced metrics at GACS, the use of technology can pose many challenges to the high school strength and conditioning coach. Perhaps the biggest obstacle is the cost of software, products, and equipment. While expense can be a limiting factor, we can’t stick our heads in the sand due to the cost of technology. If we do, we’ll already be behind the learning curve when the price drops in a few years.

You’d be amazed at what you can do for little to no cost. Look at the chart we used to track how many bottles of water our players drank each day. All we needed to make it was a piece of poster board and a marker. Plus, the MyFitnessPal app and many like it are free to download and use immediately.

Another challenge with implementing sports science at the high school level is the “technological gap” between many coaches and today’s athletes. It would be easy for us to shy away from technology and claim it is not needed because we are unfamiliar with it. However, that is an excuse. It is our job to educate, and we must continually learn and grow as professionals. Technology is simply a tool that will allow us to do so at a more productive rate.

However, there is also a “technology trap” that we can easily fall into. When it comes to advanced metrics, evaluating the data we collect at GACS could suck up my entire day if I let it. Having a system to collect and manage the metrics has freed me to use the data to directly impact athletes’ training without taking too much time.

The point to take away from including technology in high school strength programs is its ability to better connect the coach and athlete. While I was speaking in Ireland this past year, I could observe the lunch selection of a GACS offensive lineman using MyFitnessPal. I saw he was going to order an unhealthy option, so I immediately texted him to choose a better selection. His parents e-mailed me the next day explaining how their son could not “believe that his coach would care what we ate at lunch while he was in another country!” I could not have impacted him in this way without the aid of technology.

As sports science, technology, and advanced metrics continue to grow throughout strength and conditioning, it is vital that the high school professional attempts to understand and apply these methods. Technology will never replace the art of coaching. But a coach who ignores the opportunity of technology limits their ability to impact the development of the young athletes we are blessed to serve.

Gary Schofield Jr., LAT, ATC, CSCS*D, RSCC*D, is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, Ga., and serves as the NSCA's Southeast Regional Coordinator and Vice Chair of the High School Special Interest Group. He was named the NSCA's National High School Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year in 2012, and his program at GACS has won the Strength of America Award for seven consecutive years, which is presented by the NSCA in conjunction with the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.

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