When Rusty Fuller first started teaching and coaching at St. Paul School District in Nebraska, he was determined to create a strength and conditioning program that would benefit everyone – regardless of what sport they played, or we simply a Phys Ed Student.
He began by creating a 7-12th grade curriculum plan. Then, he introduced technology into the weight room to help measure the effectiveness of that plan.
As St. Paul enters their 8th year of the redefined strength and conditioning program under Rusty, we caught up with him to explore what he’s learned and how he has improved his system using data driven decisions.
Tracking Student Progress
To help contextualize the success, Rusty likes to use numbers to paint the picture of what the strength and conditioning program has meant for St. Paul.
To start, the pure number of classes that St. Paul now offers has increased 33% from 6 sections to 8, with an additional teacher helping to share the class load. Within the classes themselves, Rusty’s emphasis on form and technique have led to the overall increase of weights lifted for all students,
“At the beginning of the year, we help students to take their baseline numbers and set goals that they can work towards throughout the year. The numbers don’t lie, and both our male and female students have seen tremendous growth that is exciting to highlight.”
To track and monitor student progress Rusty leverages the PLT4M training software. In doing so, St. Paul now has an impressive library of historical data. For Rusty, he is wowed when he looks at the numbers,
“When we first started tracking a lot of this, our numbers across the board were good, not great. But over the last six years while using PLT4M, our entire student body has improved. The names on the historical leaderboards are all from the last few years, and our school averages are through the roof.”
While many coaches understandably avoid trying to track students over the course of their careers, PLT4M has made it easy for Rusty to do so. Through the use of the app, all data and progress is automatically captured, allowing Rusty to run Reports anytime for his teams, classes, and individuals.
Championship Caliber Success
One of the biggest reasons St. Paul set out on this journey when Rusty first started was to address the large population of multi-sport athletes at the school. Rusty noted,
“PLT4M is unique in that it can serve our middle and high school students. It is why we went with the program in the first place and why we continue to use it. The ability to address the needs of our population of students with the right programs and training options through PLT4M is impressive.”
As St. Paul has served the needs of their student-athletes in the weight room, the school has relished in the recent championship-level success on the field and courts. Cross country, volleyball, girls basketball, and football have all made deep playoff runs and taken home more championships in the last few years than in any other time frame in school history.
And while the success is celebrated within the small-town, it is also turning heads throughout the state,
“I get calls from fellow coaches all the time asking what we are doing. People have seen the change in our students as they head out to different camps and tournaments across the state. I think it stands out because they are not just bigger or faster, but their overall athleticism has improved from the strength and conditioning program.”
Change Takes Time
Over the years, St. Paul students have seen several constants in their PE and Athletic program. First, they have had a teacher and coach in Rusty Fuller committed to the development and progress of every student. Secondly, they have had a training program in PLT4M that has complimented Rusty’s overall mission.
The result has been one of continuous improvement and achievements worth celebrating. Rusty, who has championed the program, is happy to see the true fruits of his labor come to fruition,
“These things take time. Now, I have students that have been in the program for 5 to 6 years and have had that fully comprehensive experience. It shows. There is no doubt that we have made the right investments over the years, and we are looking forward to more growth as we go!”