February 1 "Let the punishment match the offense." -Cicero
About this time coaches all over America are watching their weight room numbers dip a little. As the weather takes a turn for the worse and kids are not thinking about their sports, especially if it is football. (I mean come on... it still 6 months away!)
Although kids' minds may be thinking that way a coach operates on a different calendar. We need our athletes in the weight room on a consistent basis. Getting kids to buy-in to what you are doing is part of the coaches job and weight room participation is a major player in a team's success.
Obviously, strength gains are the biggest reasons we want our kids in the weight room but there are many intangibles that cannot be overlooked. First, coaches can quickly determine who are the dedicated players he can count on once the season arrives. Also, players build relationships of accountability as they sweat together. These "fringe" benefits are just some of the additional reasons coaches should establish weight room sessions for their athletes.
The problem is. "How do coaches get the players to attend these sessions?" The answer is not so easy and a coach should put careful thought into how this is done. Ideally, a school may offer weight training for the students and all the athletes are allowed to register. Many schools offer these classes but limit them to upperclassmen. A drawback to this is that many of these environments are also co-ed which can be troublesome for teenagers to concentrate on training. Also, too many schools have PE teachers who are not trained in strength training fundamentals and can do more harm than good for your programs.
In order to allow for all of his athletes to train together a coach has to operate outside the regular school hours. Several coaches make weight room training mandatory, resigning all non-participants to JV squads. Others use attendance charts and try to motivate by peer pressure or recognition. Whatever you decide it is important that a coach stay consistent with his policy. If adjustments need to be made to the "rules" it is always wise to change them next season. This allows for your dedicated kids to be rewarded while setting a tone for your younger impressionable kids. However, it is important not to cut off your nose to spite your face. Meaning, there is always a kid who can help your team who will not step 1 foot in the weight room. These kids need to be thought of as you write your policy. It can be working additional weights into your in-season conditioning for that athlete or additional conditioning. Some coaches reward their weight training athletes to watch as those who skipped training run extra sprints once the season starts.
We would love to hear your team's or school's policies on motivating athletes to attend work-out sessions.