Regardless of the end goal, consistency is a key ingredient of success. This is especially true in athletics.
It is a simple, yet powerful, principle that requires an individual to do the little things right over and over again, not just when they feel like it.
Ryan Rezac is no stranger to the power of consistency. As a coach and teacher at Estherville Lincoln Central in Iowa, he seems it’s impact time and again:
“It is always rewarding to see students put in consistent work and effort that leads to them being starters on their varsity team or being recognized as an all-district player in their sport.”
While much of the hard work Ryan describes is on the playing field, the weight room has also played an integral role in the school’s overall development and success as an athletic department.
Similar to skill development in sport, the weight room is a place where consistency is a prerequisite for success.
Multi-Sport Athletes & Coaches
With roughly 400 students 9-12, Estherville Lincoln Central has many multi-sport athletes and coaches. While not uncommon, it does present a challenge for fostering consistency.
Based on the sports that student-athletes play at the school, everyone hits in-season and off-season at different times with differing weight room needs.
On top of the rotating students, there is no designated strength and conditioning coach that is always in the weight room. Therefore, different coaches collectively need to share the responsibility and act as weight room supervisors.
For most high schools with no dedicated coach and many multiple sport athletes the strength and conditioning program becomes inconsistent. Ryan Rezac knows the challenges well.
“It takes a lot of time and effort to build out workouts. And that is on top of all the other responsibilities and duties we have as coaches and teachers. And not only that, many sports coaches don’t have a background in strength and conditioning, which can lead to some people wanting to avoid it altogether.”
And while this type of set-up can easily lead to many high schools having a ‘coach-by-coach’ strength program, Estherville Lincoln Central has built a department wide, unified approach that collectively supports all of their male and female athletes.
A Unified Strength & Conditioning Program
To come together and remain consistent, Estherville Lincoln Central partnered with PLT4M in the weight room. In doing so, they found that they were able to bolster their consistency in three key ways.
- Training Plans & Workouts
- Technique & Safety
- Technology & Accountability
1) Consistency of Training Plans & Workouts
Because so many athletes are playing multiple sports, Estherville Lincoln Central doesn’t want confusion or competition among teams on what program they should be doing in the weight room.
There is no football workout, basketball workout, volleyball workout, and softball workout, leaving multi-sport athletes having to choose between the sports they play. Instead, through PLT4M’s training plans, Estherville Lincoln makes an ‘in-season program’ and ‘off-season program’ available:
“The instant access of workout options we have as coaches to give our athletes is extremely beneficial. We can meet our student-athletes with what they need throughout the entire year without having to spend countless hours trying to come up with workouts.”
In the weight room itself, in-season head coaches take their athletes into the weight room, while supervisors and other coaches support all off-season athletes. Everyone has a clear plan and workout as they enter the weight room.
2) Consistency of Technique & Safety
On top of the clear program options, Estherville Lincoln makes it a point to emphasize appropriate technique and safety throughout any student’s career.
Starting as early as middle school, 7th and 8th-grade students all go through an onboarding program that equips them with the proper form and mechanics for movements and lifts that they will do in high school.
In addition to this onboarding period, Estherville Lincoln Central often taps into the instructional videos that come paired with every exercise on PLT4M. Ryan describes this as one of the biggest game-changers,
“The most important thing for us in using PLT4M has been the videos and written explanations tagged to every exercise. This keeps everyone on the same page with verbiage and expectations of different movements.”
This unified approach from 7th through 12th grade has led to progress and improvement while keeping kids safe and healthy.
Check out one of PLT4M’s in-depth movement breakdowns.
3) Consistency Of Technology & Accountability
To get the PLT4M training workouts and videos to athletes, Estherville Lincoln Central allows each student to use some sort of technology in the weight room. Most students use their phones, but Coach Rezac says they also have tablets for anyone who needs them.
Coach Rezac explained the advantages of technology in the weight room, “Kids use technology all the time, and they are good at it. So we might as well tap into that, especially because it helps us eliminate the pen and paper that can become hard to manage from time to time.”
In addition to delivery, the PLT4M app is also collecting students’ workout metrics and data. In doing so, student-athletes can keep track of their progress and, in turn, be more accountable for their training throughout the year.
The weight room at a high school does not have to be complicated. It can be something everyone is a part of, so as long as you uncomplicate the things around it.
Estherville Lincoln Central has taken steps to uncomplicate the weight room and therefore has student-athletes showing up and working hard throughout the entire year. As a result, both male and female athletes come to the weight room knowing the clear and unified plan.
Estherville Lincoln has seen the weight room become a place for consistent growth and progress for their student-athletes by working together as coaches and investing in the right resources.
Plenty of things as a high school coach can be hard, for Rezac the weight room is not one of them,
“Taking the steps we have with PLT4M and our approach has made my job so much easier.”
Now Rezac and the other coaches at Estherville can spend more time focusing on what matters most— working and engaging with students.
When things become less complicated, being consistent becomes possible.