Jan 29, 2015
World Wide Workouts

By Ryan Johnson

Contributor Ryan Johnson, CSCS, is Coach Practitioner and Strength and Conditioning Coach at Wayzata High School in Plymouth, Minn. This week, Johnson shares his experience with developing a strength and conditioning-specific Web page on his school’s site.

A couple of years ago at a staff development day, I signed up for a “Build your Web site” training session. Shortly thereafter, I was able to create a rather meager page devoted to our high school weightroom. It was the day before spring break and I wasn’t exactly in the frame of mind to come up with anything earth-shattering at that time–it was a single page that included the weightroom’s hours of operation, my telephone number, and my e-mail address.

However, this past winter was long and slow, and I had plenty of time to make some substantial upgrades to the site. I started out rather small, but the better I got at Web design the more content I was able to add. The ideas for new content were born of necessity based on the needs and wants of our current and former athletes.

Every year around the first week in December, I start to see former athletes who are on winter break from college showing up in our weightroom. Some are collegiate athletes and some are former high school athletes who still love to train.

Toward the end of his winter break, one of our visiting alumni asked me if I could draw up a workout packet for him to use at college. I gave him one, but he forgot to take it with him when he left. So the kid contacted me when he got back to school and asked if I could e-mail him a copy, which I did. Now this is nothing new–I have been emailing workouts to kids for years. But the volume of requests has gone up recently and it was getting harder to honor all of them. For example, a couple of days later, another of our former athletes at a different school asked if I would email him one, which, unfortunately, I forgot to do. My forgetfulness demonstrated a need for me to try something different.

After speaking with one of our athletic secretaries, I surmised that I could handle posting this type of information on our Web page. All I had to do was create a PDF file of the workouts and upload it to the site. This wasn’t a big deal, as our school’s word processing system has a PDF creator on its print settings.

I simply opened the document, selected the “print” tab from the file menu, and as the print options window opened selected the PDF creator icon. A few clicks later I was able to put a basic workout on our high school Web site that anyone with Internet access could download and use. After a few days, I was also able to post an athletic workout as well as a description of both workouts, followed by conversion charts and a brief overview about our repetition philosophy.

Later I added pictures, which was a surprisingly easy process. I also began experimenting with different ways to add information to the site. For example, I found that for small amounts of text I could write on the Web page itself, but for longer items I typed in a word processor and then uploaded the text just like I did with the pictures and workouts.

Most of the information I put on the site pertained to our summer lifting program: dates, times, cost, sessions, descriptions, etc. This summer we are expanding the program to include our middle schoolers and I knew there would be a lot of questions about the program. So now, in an attempt to make that information more accessible and to keep repetitive phone calls to a minimum, whenever I get a question from a parent I try to add that information to the site as part of a Frequently Asked Questions section. In the past I would run off copies of our summer registration form and deliver them to coaches around the building. Now, I just send an e-mail with a link to the Web site, which is very effective in spreading the word.

While doing all of this, I happened to stumble across another very useful tool. One of our track and field coaches, who was training his athletes off-site, recently sent me an e-mail asking for some pole vault workouts. I directed him to the Web site, and he found what he needed. He was able to print out the information and give it to his athletes. This was not something I had planned on doing, but it ended up working out great. I am starting to do this with a lot of my teams, because our coaches teach at different buildings around the district and hold practices away from our school and have limited access to me.

Methods of use for our Web site seem to increase weekly for me and I cannot believe how quickly it has taken off. Our school secretaries were all for anything that reduced phone calls to their office, and I have to admit the same holds true for me. In three months we have gotten over 1,100 hits on the site. That’s not a ton of traffic compared to commercial Web sites, but if half of those hits replaced phone calls that we never had to field, think of all the time we saved. This is just one aspect of technology that we have been using at Wayzata, and believe me, there is more to come.

Getting started really wasn’t that hard–it took just a little bit of initiative on my part. Those efforts, which weren’t very labor intensive, have been very worthwhile. The site really has made things a lot easier for me and has become a very useful tool. To see more about how we conduct our program, go to: www.wayzata.k12.mn.us. And please feel free to e-mail me with any questions at: [email protected].

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