Apr 25, 2016
What Message Does Your Strength Training Facility Send?

By: Bill Jacobs

The quality of your school’s strength and conditioning room speaks volumes not only in terms of recruiting at the college level and attracting team members at the high school level, but it also sends a message to the parents themselves about the value you put into developing your athletes once they come into your program.

Does your facility say “We get by?” or “I have that facility?” A great strength room definitely sends a positive message about your team or athletic program that will pay dividends in competition. What message do you want your strength room to send?

The best rooms are built for physical development; not power lifting, not Olympic lifting, etc. They are built not just for the current players and coaches. It is for all that will be using the facility now and for years to come.

Step One – Questions that need to be answered before anything else

1. What are your objectives for building this facility?

The best rooms are built for physical development; not power lifting, not Olympic lifting, etc. They are built not just for the current users, but also for all who will use the facility in years to come!

2. Why are you building or renovating this facility?

Is it to better train your athletes through new forms of strength and conditioning? Expand the number of users who can work on strength training and conditioning at one time? Or is it to help with recruiting?

3. Who is using this facility?

Is it just for the football, or for multiple teams? How many athletes will use the facility per week? How many team training sessions do you need to accommodate? Will the facility be used by athletic trainers for rehab?

4. Who is going to be in charge of this facility?

Is there going to be one person fully managing the training program for the users of the facility or will it be a joint effort between several people? Who will be responsible for the training protocol, maintenance, cleaning, equipment repairs, safety checks and procedures, scheduling, nutrition, rehab protocol?

Step Two – Developing the Vision

The answers to the questions above should dictate how you build or renovate your strength training room.

1. Decide on Facility Size

This is based on maximum time and maximum number of people who are going to use the facility (5,000 square feet of space would be my minimum guess).

2. Prioritize your Equipment Needs

The key components are: Flooring, Racks, Platforms, Bars, Plates, Bumpers, and Machines. Plus, other Items: Med Balls, Trx Straps, Plyos, Ropes, Chains, Bands, Etc.

3. Determine a Budget for Equipment Purchases

Buy right or you’ll end up buying twice! You want the room to look as good in 10 years from now as it did the first day it opens. Buying equipment on the “cheap” is not really cheap–you’ll end up spending a lot more money and needing to replace the equipment if it is not of high quality.

4. Determine a Yearly Budget for the Facility

This should include equipment replacement and repair, adding miscellaneous products. This part of the cost analysis is often left out.

Note: The needs of the coaches and the athletes should dictate the layout of the room and its strength training components, not the other way around.

Step Three – Selling the Dream

1. Let people and the community know what you are trying to do!

Publicize your facility room expansion through email blasts, social media, emails or letters to alumni and parents, newspaper releases, etc.

2. All Donations Big or Small are Valued!

In asking for contributions to fund your facility improvements, guarantee people that their money goes to the project and not going to a general fund. You want as many people as possible to feel ownership. A nice way to honor contributors is to present them with plaques & gifts based on their giving level.

3. Sell the Vision on How This Facility will Improve the Athletes in ALL Sports

The “Weight Room” is the foundation of the development of any athlete and sport. Developmental issues should be a priority for all sports. Physical Development, Nutritional Development, Educational Development, Safe Equipment, Training & Rehab are keys to quality athletic development for all sports.

4. Sell the Vision on the Impact of Recruiting for All Sports. The quality of the room speaks volumes not only to the Recruits, but also to their parents and coaches on the value you put into developing the athletes once they come to your school.

Know the Pitfalls

No. 1 – Losing Vision

  • No vision of the future. Will your facility allow for growth?
  • No vision of needs. Talk to those who have gone before you.
  • No vision of real cost. The ‘Building’ is only half the job.
  • No vision of funding. Look at the “Now & Future” for the entire project.

No. 2 – Losing Focus

  • Distorted Objectives. Of those who lack vision, cost, funding, space, equipment, future etc.
  • Distorted Why’s. “Just because” does not work.
  • Distorted User Profile. Was it planned to be a strength training facility for just football players, but things evolved so that other sport athletes were using it?
  • Distorted Ideas & Needs of Others. Was there a failure to get the proper input from the appropriate people, in areas such as maintenance, budget, rehab, pre-hab, nutrition etc.?

Bill Jacobs is a true coaching veteran–raised by a coaching father, playing the game of football and devoting his career and life to coaching in all aspects. Bill is now a mentor,, adviser, consultant, and instructor who helps schools expand and renovate their strength conditioning programs–in terms of adding new training programs, redesigning strength rooms, and purchasing the right products for the facility. Bill has 49 years of dedication to the game–don’t underestimate the years of the knowledge behind an ‘Old Pro.” Contact Bill for weightroom needs and purchases.

Call Bill at (513) 277-1938, or email him at [email protected]

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