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Overcome Summer Programming Hurdles [High School]

Overcoming Summer Programming Hurdles

Programming for the high school athlete during the summer has its challenges. Does it seem like the summer is getting shorter and shorter?

Here are 6 hurdles you will see if you work with high school athletes. More importantly, check out the Pro Tips for ways to overcome them!

Hurdle #1: Vacations

Families want to use the summer for vacations and let’s face it, they can’t always plan it around a strength and conditioning program.

Often they are planned around work schedules and other siblings. As a performance coach, it is challenging to adjust for every athlete when there are 30, 40 and up to 100 kids involved in summer programming.

summer-814679_640Pro Tip: Set the expectations at the beginning of the program. For example, expect athletes to make a certain percentage of the summer workouts.

You can also give athletes a supplemental workout for vacations, so they are still getting the benefits of your program, even if they can’t attend.

Hurdle #2: Sports Camps

It’s summer camp season, which is not a bad thing. However, it can have its challenges for the performance coach. Consulting with parents and players about which camps the athlete attends is very important.

Too many sports camps can have a negative outcome, not because they are a “bad camp”, but because it can be too much in combination with a summer strength & conditioning program. There is a balance, which will reduce the risk of over-training and burnout.

Pro Tip:  Work with the athlete and parents to find the balance, be flexible and do your research on opportunities that are appropriate for your individual athletes. Be sure to know when the athlete will be gone and adjust for that in their programming.

Hurdle #3: Lifestyle

Summer days often take kids out of any sort of routine. Sleeping habits, eating habits, etc. can all change. Let’s face it, it can get pretty sloppy.

Pro Tip: Provide morning workouts! Athletes that train in the morning will start their day off on the “right foot”. This “Get Up and Train” mentality will ultimately provide athletes with a structured morning routine that will also prep them for their respective sports.

Hurdle #4: Summer Teams

catcher-377677_640Summer travel teams are full-force right now. It is necessary that it is acknowledged. This will be a challenge in respective athletes’ programming, but don’t fight it…look at it as an opportunity to educate parents and players!

Pro Tip: EDUCATION! This is the most important thing you can provide your athletes in their programming. They will play on travel and club teams, but do they understand how to balance practices, games, skill and their strength & conditioning? This is where you provide valuable insight and knowledge.

Don’t be a “my way or the highway” coach. Communicate and educate athletes, parents and even other coaches on the value of athletic development as they progress through their high school careers.

Hurdle #5: Summer Jobs

Summer jobs are something to encourage. This is a great time for athletes to get a glimpse of the real world. They will learn to balance their time and set priorities.

Pro Tip: Help athletes find the balance between work and training. This may mean they need to leave early or come late. Don’t discourage this opportunity, they can do both.

Hurdle #6: Transportation

Lastly, some will have transportation issues. If they can’t drive themselves, they have to rely on someone else.

Pro Tip: Suggest car-pooling and have flexibility.


There are many challenges that performance coaches can face during the summer months. These 6 show the possible hurdles in participation, and ways that they can be overcome.

About the Author: Joshua Ortegon

Joshua OrtegonJoshua Ortegon
Joshua currently consults and programs for athletes of all levels. He operated Athlete’s Arena for 10 yearsa sports performance and fitness center in Irmo, SC and sold that business in 2015. Josh is currently Director of Performance at Dual Threat Training Group in Albany, GA.

His career highlights include training over 100 athletes who moved from high school to college and 15 professional baseball athletes. He also developed 36 return to sport programs to help bridge the gap between rehab and performance for the athlete. He can be reached at JoshuaLOrtegon@gmail.com.

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