By Josh Ortegon
Getting Coaches to “Buy In” to Your High School Strength and Conditioning Program
Having sport coaches support your strength and conditioning program is essential for the High School Strength and Conditioning Specialist (HSSCS). A high level of “buy in” from coaches is important in order to creative cohesiveness in the program. This can be easy for a coach who has been in the program or the community for a long time and has created solid relationships with coaches. However, for the new HSSCS, it can be difficult until the program and relationships are established. Here are a few tips for the HSSCS to help foster that buy in and build the foundations of a great program.
Track Your Results
Nothing will create a strong belief in your program by sport coaches like results. While every coach wants to see improvements in speed, agility, and vertical leap, tracking other screens like the FMS or the Hop and Stop test are important, as well. Showing coaches the increases in speed and power will help demonstrate the effectiveness of the program. Similarly, showing how you are helping keep those athletes healthy and on the field will help demonstrate how you are taking the program to the next level. After all, speed and power are wasted if the athlete is on the sidelines due to injury.
Meet with Sport Coaches to Explain Your High School Strength and Conditioning Program
Nothing shows your care about the program like taking extra time to meet with coaches. This, for me, has been invaluable in creating strong relationships with coaches and demonstrating the goals of the strength and conditioning program. Many times, sport coaches have no idea what the goals of the high school strength and conditioning program are and therefore have no way to support the program and encourage their athletes to participate.
Provide Sport Coaches with Ideas for Practice
This goes hand in hand with the previous tip. When you meet with sport coaches, go over extra work they could do with their athletes during practice. You can also both get on the same page with other important subjects like nutrition and sleep habits. I would recommend to go as far as to visit a practice and go over warm-ups, cool downs, and in-practice conditioning. One example would be to meet with the girls’ soccer team and the coaches and go over a specific warm-up to help prevent ACL injuries.
Work with Your Certified Athletic Trainer
Injury prevention is within the scope of the High School Strength and Conditioning Specialist and should be a priority within the program. Working with the school’s Certified Athletic Trainer to track injuries and their trends within the school is important to create “buy in” not just with the coaches but with parents as well. You and the AT can go over strategies to prevent these injuries and how to transition injured athletes back into the strength and conditioning program. Being able to document that your program is decreasing injuries in the athletes that participate will help to further validate your program.
Ask Sport Coaches for Their Input
Asking sport coaches what they feel their athletes are lacking helps them feel like they are a part of the program. Simply asking, “What do you feel your athletes need to work on?” can make them feel like you are all on the same team and help strengthen your relationship with the coaching staff. Everyone wants to know their opinion is valued. Even though most coaches are not educated in the area of high school strength and conditioning, they may provide insight as to what they have seen in the past. Whether it is noticing the team is tired in the fourth quarter or they are not mentally strong, coach feedback will help you customize your programming and further build your relationship with that coach and the team.