At St. Paul High School in Nebraska, a smaller school comprised of just a few hundred kids, Rusty Fuller serves as the Physical Education director for grades 7th through 12th, and is the Head Football Coach. Like many schools across the country, St. Paul has recently initiated a school-wide approach to fitness and physical training. The goal was to bring all students together, allowing them to work side-by-side, while still allowing for personalization and varying goals.
To accomplish this, Rusty initially utilized the Bigger Faster Stronger computer software, ‘Beat The Computer’. Having used it with his Football team, he did his level best to modify the program for kids with various levels of training experience. However, this was not without its challenges.
“Running a successful class training session with 30 kids of varying ability is hard. You’re trying to adapt things on the fly for different kids while also teach and instruct on proper form and mechanics.”
When online strength and conditioning programs started cropping up a couple of years ago, Rusty turned to them in hopes of streamlining this process. He wanted something that offered instructional content to every student, programs for students and athletes alike, and allowed him to track a host of different data. Ultimately, Rusty went with PLT4M, first leveraging its athletic development programs for his football team both during the off-season, and while they competed in the fall. He recognized the value straight away.
“What’s great about PLT4M is that every kid has access to their personalized program – right on their phone. They have all the instructional videos and guidance they need. This frees me up to work with the kids who need the most help.”
As is the case with many small schools, a lot of the kids at St. Paul are multi-sport athletes. Rusty and his principal saw the value in PLT4M’s holistic, multi-sport training approach and worked to bring the entire student body on board. This allowed Rusty to place students on certain programs dictated by competitive seasons, as well as teach fitness to students not engaged in athletics.
St. Paul has established a comprehensive, yet flexible Physical Education curriculum that caters to each student’s individual needs. 7th and 8th graders start with PLT4M’s Fit 4 Life program, which establishes proper movement mechanics and a foundation of holistic fitness. They then graduate to ‘Introduction to Weight Training’ – a great bridge into barbell oriented resistance training.
With the curriculum set and programs in place, Rusty allows the PLT4M system to collect the training data. Kids logged their workouts and results each day, and at the end of a semester, Rusty can run a progress report with a few clicks. He then submits that report to his administrators, and uses it to grade kids with hard data. Not only has that been a game changer for him, but he says the kids love seeing their progress.
“The ability for students and athletes to have access to not just the training programs and videos, but also their training data – that is huge!”
With the recent release of a new PE weight training curriculum – Advanced Weight Training – Rusty has yet another arrow in his quiver. “PLT4M has come a long way in the three years since I signed up. It just keeps getting better with every new year,” Rusty notes. And isn’t that the goal – to constantly strive for improvement? Whether you are a coach, teacher, student or software company, we certainly believe it should be.