Team Training – School Spotlight: North Attleboro
North Attleboro High School has a history of winning. But in recent years, as more athletes have gone to personal trainers and private gyms, they have felt their winning edge start to slip.
We sat down with Head Coach Don Johnson and Coach Kevin Mahoney to talk about the value of team training that goes far past getting a good workout in. Listen, Watch, or Read to find out what these coaches had to say!
The North Attleboro Red Rocketeers pride themselves on being an elite football program in the state of Massachusetts.
Since the state’s inception of the Super Bowl playoff system in the 1970s, North Attleboro holds the second-best record in the entire state.
Don Johnson, North Attleboro Class of 1979, has been a coach and teacher at the school since the early ’80s. Since the school first opened, he remembers the weight room always being an integral part of the team’s success,
“It became part of the culture here. You came here, and you lifted with your buddies.”
Now Head Coach for the last 11 seasons, Coach Johnson firmly believes that the weight room is still one of the great places to come together and build toughness as a group.
While Coach Johnson always believed in the weight room for his team, a cultural shift started to happen within his program over the last decade.
Athletes were starting to pass on strength and conditioning as a team and heading off to personal trainers and private gyms hoping to gain the best ‘competitive edge’.
And while Coach Johnson does not think this problem is unique to North Attleboro, he knew that it was starting to take a toll on his program.
“We have had a lot of success in our program, so we would let it go, but recently I think it got to a point where it was working against us.”
So much so that North Attleboro suffered their first losing season in program history in over 26 years.
More Than Just Weights
Even though athletes were looking to get that ‘competitive edge,’ they were losing out on the camaraderie built in the weight room.
Coach Johnson knew that they needed to put the emphasis back on the North Attleboro weight room but with many responsibilities at the school, he knew he would need help.
North Attleboro turned to a volunteer coach looking to give back to the program where he had gotten his start.
Kevin Mahoney, North Attleboro Class of 2005, looked at the weight room as a place he could make his biggest difference,
“We are trying to let the kids know the importance of being in here with your buddies, working out together. Not just getting bigger, faster, stronger, but building that trust, teamwork, and culture that we are trying to build here.”
Now all the coaches make it a point to emphasize the weight room’s importance both to athletes and parents. And not just any weight room, but North Attleboro’s. Because of the recent losing season, athletes are listening and starting to come back to team training.
Urgency – Not Rushing
As North Attleboro has begun to see more athletes show up to the weight room, it does not mean they are looking to rush any athlete into a program they are not ready for.
Coach Mahoney starts small by introducing movements and getting younger athletes feeling confident in the weight room. The goal is to make sure that everyone knows that technique comes first, and more weight will come as a result.
“I let the younger guys know, ‘You’re starting this foundation now, and in 4 years you are going to be really good at this and teaching everyone else.'”
Even for the more experienced athletes in the weight room, Coach Mahoney was mindful of reinforcing good form and technique as they started to work into the PLT4M 3 Day Off-season program.
As everyone starts to move in the right direction of training, and training together, the team is taking shape.
Looking for the competitive edge in your training? Check out PLT4M!
Signs of Promise
The early signs of the reinvigorated program are promising for North Attleboro. A place in their training that Coach Mahoney and Coach Johnson see the team growing as a group is through the different variations of PLT4M metcons.
“PLT4M Metcon Test”
- 20m Shuttle Run
- 10 Burpees
- 20m Shuttle Run
- 10 Air Squats
- 20m Shuttle Run
- 10 Sit-Ups
Coach Mahoney has taken this workout and others from PLT4M and put his twists and changes on it, but the goal for the Rocketeers is simple: 1) High heart rate 2) High intensity, and 3) Embrace the shared feeling of tough workouts.
Although many of the athletes struggled at first to complete these workouts, Coach Mahoney saw it as an opportunity for growth. These tough workouts were challenging athletes the same way they would be challenged physically and mentally come fall Friday nights.
“It humbled them a lot, but gave them something to look forward to and get better at.”
Getting better is the main focus this off-season, and for many more to years come. The Red Rocketeers understand that training as a group goes far past checking the box of a daily workout. They have created an emphasis and importance on team training.
“That is what we have created here. Those guys in here working their butts off every day together are not going to want to get defeated Friday nights in the fall.” – Head Coach Don Johnson
And so while the season might still feel like a long way away at times, the commitment to the weight room today, tomorrow and next week will be what makes the difference come the 4th down, 4th quarter or final play.
Be on the lookout for this team that knows the weight room is a place to get back in the hunt.