Sports Performance Classes Empower Female Student-Athletes

Preston High School female student-athletes working out.

At Preston High School in Idaho, the female student-athletes are making waves inside the weight room, and as a result, they are seeing results on the field, court, and track. After creating two female Sports Performance classes this past year, Preston High School has seen a dramatic change in how the female student-athletes perform in and out of the weight room. Let’s take a closer look at Preston’s push for getting more female student-athletes in the weight room consistently. 

From Random Lifts To Structured Support


Over the last few years, Preston High School has pushed for all student-athletes and sports teams to get more involved in the weight room. Craig Cunningham, Head Football Coach and PE teacher, explains the goals of prioritizing the weight room, 


“Our goals were to improve performance and reduce injury through a strength and conditioning program. Between myself and former coach Eric Thorson, we strongly believed in the power of the weight room.” 


While the program had caught on with the male student-athletes, Craig says they struggled to get the girls consistently in the weight room. As a result, the female student-athletes weren’t reaping the benefits of the weight room to the level Craig and other coaches hoped for.


Jamie Fuse, a former college strength coach, joined Preston High School and worked alongside Craig to increase the involvement of the female athletes. With the teachers and coaches in place and support from the administrators, Preston High School created Sports Performance classes designed specifically for athletes.


With two male and two female sections, there would be dedicated time for student-athletes to train and work out during the school day. The goal was simple – create a structure that would empower athletes to see progress through consistent training. 

Girls Get Going At Preston High School 


With the new classes in place, Jamie set out to design the strength and conditioning program to support student-athletes at every experience level, 


“Any new athletes that come into the class start with a development program where they practice the basics, learn technique, and slowly start adding weights.” 


For more advanced athletes, Jamie uses the PLT4M app to deliver personalized weights and workouts so that every student can have an individualized experience in the weight room. Jamie says the shift to a more structured plan for the female student-athletes has led to significant progress that is motivating and exciting the girls, 


“The girls love to see their progress. With the different progress charts in the PLT4M app, the athletes can see just how far they have come in any metric that we are working on.” 


Craig, who has been at the school for a few years, says that the addition of Jamie and these classes has been monumental for the female student-athletes,


“The girls are working so hard, and it is awesome to see the excitement and motivation increase. Jamie has done an awesome job with the girls and these classes.” 

Stories From Students At Preston High School 


While Jamie and Craig are happy to share the progress they are seeing inside the weight room, a few students at Preston High School were also excited to tell their stories about the new levels of success they are seeing from the Sports Performance classes. 


Anna May, a senior track and field athlete, explains the impact of the program on her success, 


“I 100% think the workout program has made me so much stronger, resulting in better endurance and overall performance. My freshman and sophomore seasons, I was randomly lifting without a program and stunk. 


Last year, when we started implementing this, I made it to the state and had huge improvement. This year, I’ve been able to break school records and am second in the state of Idaho in the 400, and I totally credit the lifting program.” 


Elly Jepsen, a fellow senior track and field athlete, had similar thoughts when explaining the addition of the PLT4M app and new training approach, 


“It’s helped me train a lot smarter. Instead of trying to go 100% every single day and getting burned out, it’s (PLT4M) helped me to calculate all my weights and how to move up in weight every week, so by the end of a certain period, I’m stronger and faster while also feeling healthy. It’s also taught me with its mobility videos that rest days and flexibility are essential to improving.” 

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image oh student squatting and a phone with graph

Key Takeaways On Preston’s Sports Performance Classes 


Although Preston High School is in the early stages of the new Sports Performance classes, the school is excited by the initial signs of success. For example, Jamie says the track team is breaking records left and right. But beyond the excitement of new school records, Preston is also seeing a significant decrease in injuries, 


“Our injury rates are way down. The addition of strength and speed work has helped to keep our athletes healthy and playing throughout the season, which is often the most valuable thing that can come from the weight room.” 


Craig credits the success to collaboration and commitment to students, 


“We all have different ideas and thoughts about training, but we come together to make the best program for our student-athletes. At the end of the day, we want what is best for our student-athletes, and I think all the pieces we have put together are really accomplishing that.” 


Between supportive administrators, a structured class, collaborative teachers and coaches, and a unified training platform, both Jamie and Craig note that the program is going “great.” Better yet, they are excited by what is to come as they continue pushing for all athletes at Preston to see the benefits of consistent strength and conditioning. 

Different female student athletes at Preston High School.
Different snapshot from inside the Preston weight room.

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