It is no secret that the weight room is a powerful place for high school athletes. Loyola Academy in Illinois has a thriving strength and conditioning program that is helping to support an athletic program that has made countless headlines over the years. Here is how they keep the strength and conditioning program simple, effective, and efficient to maximize results for student-athletes across the school.
Measuring Strength and Conditioning Success
There are many different ways to measure the success of a high school strength and conditioning program. But most coaches and athletic programs will look to three defining questions to determine success:
- How many student-athletes participate in strength and conditioning regularly throughout the school year?
- Are the student-athletes participating seeing progress and growth in core metrics around strength, speed, etc.?
- Is the work translating to competition? Has the time spent in the weight room led to more victories, fewer injuries, etc.?
By every measure of the word, Loyola Academy in Illinois is succeeding in strength and conditioning. Jeff Lindeman, long-time strength and conditioning coach at Loyola Academy, says that success is happening in every facet,
“We have over 800 student-athletes regularly working out at Loyola Academy. And the results in the weight room are impressive and exciting. Better yet, student-athletes have seen that hard work translate to the field, court, and track.”
.@LAgirlslax set the tone early in its state championship game against Hinsdale Central, scoring four goals in the first five minutes.— The Record North Shore (@TheRecordNS) June 9, 2023
The Ramblers went on the seal the deal by defeating the Red Devils 13-8, earning their 15th overall state title. https://t.co/yp7Cory0tQ
Flexibility To Ensure Consistency
While most of the strength and conditioning happens after school with sports teams, Loyola Academy has created opportunities throughout the school day to get into the weight room. Jeff says that the PE department has been an integral part of the program’s success,
“Many of our younger students get into the weight room during physical education classes. It allows them to grow and develop through PE and eventually be ready to train with varsity teams.”
In addition, Loyola has created time for in-season athletes to lift during the school day. Jeff explains how this helps students with busy schedules to make the most out of a busy day,
“One of the best ways to see progress is consistency throughout the school year. But that can be challenging with hectic schedules. If we can find ways to keep students training, they will see the results.”
Results Stem From Straightforward Training
As a veteran strength coach, Jeff has always enjoyed writing and creating workout plans for student-athletes to help them see results. And while he had used pen and paper like many coaches, Jeff made the switch to a training software over 7 years ago,
“My workouts weren’t changing, the technology was. We were getting kids more engaged through their favorite technology, bringing coaches into the process, and streamlining our administrative tasks.”
While some strength programs have concerns about cell phones becoming a distraction, Loyola Academy has seen the major benefits of adding technology to the weight room. Now in their 7th year of using PLT4M, Jeff says that the program has been a consistent staple of the Loyola Academy strength and conditioning program,
“The students love it because it is simple and easy to follow. And it helps them see their hard work is paying off in real-time. It has been a positive addition to our program.”
Not only has the app empowered students, but Jeff says it has been a game-changer for his coaching,
“It gives me the freedom to coach and spend time working with students. I know the program is set up and ready to roll on PLT4M, so I can spend my time coaching form and technique and spending meaningful time with the kids in the weight room.”
Evolving Not Overcomplicating
Loyola Academy has evolved the strength and conditioning program over the years to maximize results. But Jeff says they have kept things simple to avoid overcomplicating the process for high school students,
“There are a lot of bells and whistles out there for strength and conditioning, but none will replace the power of mastering the basics of strength and speed training. If we can get students working out regularly, helping them with form and technique, and showing them progress, they will buy in and keep working towards improving.”
And that is why 7 years into PLT4M, Jeff isn’t planning on drastically changing his approach any time soon,
“I tell other coaches all the time that PLT4M is the perfect fit for high school strength and conditioning programs. It has evolved and updated just like we have over the years. But at the heart, it supports high school students to work hard and get better in the weight room by keeping it simple and easy to use.”
Loyola Academy’s Success Stands Out
Loyola Academy has made countless headlines over the years for their teams’ athletic accomplishments. Across the department, teams are consistently competitive and in the hunt for championships.
The Loyola Academy football team has won 4 state championships in the last 8 years. In addition, the girls and boys lacrosse teams have won multiple state championships between the two programs.
While much of the success of these teams and others at Loyola can be attributed to great athletes and coaching, the school knows the weight room has played a pivotal role in success over the years. Jeff says as the school continues to strive for athletic greatness, the strength and conditioning program will remain a key factor,
“The strength of our program lies in our ability to work together in the weight room towards a common goal. Our coaches and athletes have embraced that, and we have the right resources in place to maximize our efforts.”