Sports Coaches Supporting S+C
Championship Level Success Happens In Strength and Conditioning
In so many different settings, I have people in our community come up to me and say how great our strength and conditioning program is. They usually have something to say about the impact it has had on the success of our kids and sports programs.
As a proud strength coach, I am always quick to thank them for their generous words. But I would be extremely mistaken not to give the immediate response of, “Thank you, but it is all the athletes, coaches, and administration and their investment that really make it great.”
It is without any hesitation that I say to anyone who talks about the strength and conditioning program and its effectiveness that none of it would be possible without everyone within the school being on the same page.
It starts with the unwavering support and belief from our administration to make the program possible. It is strengthened by the absolute and full buy-in and investment from our coaches to make it a priority for their programs. And it is solidified by the unrivaled work ethic and commitment from our student-athletes to make the program grow and excel every day at a championship-caliber level.
Within the 27 sports programs at our school, each coach places a unique emphasis on how the strength and conditioning program fits within their programs. To spotlight the various ways in which programs approach strength and conditioning, I asked our coaches to share their thoughts.
Boys Hockey – Consistency
In 2019 our boys hockey team made an unprecedented run to an undefeated state championship season. Coach Brian Shuman, USA Today National Coach of the Year, said,
“In our hockey program, our strength and conditioning program is the number one way we promote to our players to improve in the off-season and how to stay ahead of and more prepared than our competition during the season. Our strength coach is arguably the most important member of our coaching staff.
We remind our players every day of how important their work and effort are in training and how it provides a huge edge over teams that either don’t train or teams who do not train with the same level of intensity as we do.
In the first season of working with our strength and conditioning program and coach, we won a state championship and played our best hockey in the playoffs, playing faster and stronger than in seasons past. This was no coincidence, and that championship was absolutely connected to our training in our strength and conditioning program.”
Behind great success lies excellent commitment and focus. As is evident with the incredible run of our now defending state champion hockey team, the level of buy-in and emphasis placed on strength and conditioning had a direct and immediate impact on their championship level success.
While some might look at one championship season as an anomaly in which a perfect storm and special team lead to a state championship, we have found that not to be the case. Canton is building something very exciting across the board.
Girls Volleyball – Confidence
Following up on our hockey team, we saw another exceptional and unrivaled run by our volleyball team the following fall.
However, their drive for excellence did not start in the fall. The volleyball team topped the charts on off-season work and attendance as a group. They worked tirelessly through the off-season as a group leading up to their season.
Head Coach Pat Cawley has always made the weight room a significant emphasis. Cawley stated,
“The volleyball coaches have emphasized strength and conditioning since the inception of our program in 2001. We constantly have discussed with our players the value and importance of strength and conditioning in helping us to reach our ultimate goal of winning a state championship.
Historically our girls felt uncomfortable working out at school. Through constant conversations regarding how fortunate we are to have the best strength and conditioning coach, great equipment, and access to team-oriented training sessions, our girls have finally developed a level of comfort around strength and conditioning that has attributed to our championship success.
The strength and conditioning program at Canton High School has been a real game-changer for our volleyball program. Many of our players have embraced the opportunity, and it is evident not only in their play but also in their self-confidence. Coach Hughes not only helps the girls be their best physical self but also helps them to be stronger mentally.
Much of what we say as coaches gets reiterated in the gym during training. Because of the expertise in our strength and conditioning program, our coaching staff can spend more time at their expertise of coaching volleyball. I firmly believe that Coach Hughes and the strength and conditioning program played a huge part in our very first-ever state championship this past year.”
Boys Basketball – Camaraderie
With teams seeing success at Canton, they now look to build on it. Strength and conditioning serves so many different benefits, but one of which that cannot be understated is the team camaraderie that can be developed in training together.
The boys’ basketball program has seen success carry over from one season to the next. They claimed back to back league titles after they started training together in the weight room. Here is what Head Coach Ryan Gordy has to say about the program,
“Strength and conditioning is an emphasis year-round with our program. In-season training is a part of our practice schedule and in the off-season we encourage our guys to get in as much as possible to help build and grow our program culture.
The impact has been terrific and having this program in-house has allowed great consistency in the type of training our players need to be successful as well as it has promoted a great program culture because our athletes are doing their workouts together and building chemistry that they wouldn’t get if they were training on their own off-campus.
I can’t speak enough about how important strength and conditioning and PLT4M have been for our program.”
Want to see how schools like Canton are utilizing PLT4M within their weight rooms?
Boys Lacrosse – Culture
All athletes are committing to making training as part of their everyday life and process to become better and more prepared for their sport. As a result, the level of success and expectation for greatness has grown throughout the school.
Now programs that are looking at building similar championship runs also turn to the weight room. Newly appointed boys lacrosse coach Tim Taylor has come in and instilled an immediate focus on the culture in his program, starting with the emphasis he places on strength and conditioning. Taylor had this to say,
“As a coach, my approach towards promoting the strength and conditioning program is for the players in the program to see the bigger picture in how strength and conditioning helps them not only physically but mentally as well.
I started by utilizing past losses by one point and emphasize how training in strength and conditioning as a team can help transform those one-point losses into one-point or more wins for us moving forward. I emphasize the importance of coming to strength and conditioning as setting a championship culture and level of expectation.”
All In – Canton
With true commitment and buy-in from our coaches across the board, our student-athletes at Canton have become better fueled and charged to compete in their sports.
Committing to training through our strength and conditioning program has given our athletes a heightened competitive level. It has helped them to approach every day, practice, and game environment with a mindset that pushes and challenges them to work to become successful. The level of buy-in across the board from our administration, sports, coaching staffs, and athletes has been truly exemplary.
As an entire school community, we have come together and embraced strength and conditioning, and the results are inspiring.
MEET THE AUTHOR: ADAM HUGHES; B.S., M.S.ED, CSCS, BMC, CPT
- Health and Wellness Teacher
- Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
- PLT4M Coaches Club Ambassador
Check out Adam’s Bio to read more about his background in strength and conditioning and education.