Unified PE & Athletics – Owensboro’s S&C PE Classes

Owensboro students working out in physical education class.

Finding time for student-athletes to participate in a strength and conditioning (S&C) program can be tricky! High school students have busy schedules, which means strength and conditioning typically falls by the wayside. But at Owensboro High School in Kentucky, S&C PE is opening doors for male and female student-athletes to take part in weekly training sessions.

6 Sections of S&C PE 


Owensboro High School has a diverse student population from different socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition, as a school of 1,400 students, they have many student-athletes that play multiple sports throughout the year. 


Each year, coaches will send their team rosters to the guidance office, and the school will work to schedule as many student-athletes into an S&C PE class. As a result, Owensboro High School has six total sections of the S&C PE class – three girls’ and three boys’ sections. 


Blake Roberts, the PE teacher and strength and conditioning coach in charge of these S&C PE classes, says that almost 80% of student-athletes end up in a section of the class, 


“The classes have anywhere from 20 to 40 students in each section. And because we pull from the entire school, we have a mixed bag of grades and different sports, all coming to the same class for S&C PE. But with this class, we know our student-athletes can get consistent strength and conditioning into their schedules.” 

A student holds a barbell in the front rack during a high school strength and conditioning physical education class.

3 Major Challenges of a Mixed Bag S&C Class 


When Blake first took over the class 4 years ago, he was excited by the opportunity to work with a diverse range of students. However, as he worked with the S&C PE classes, he noticed three significant challenges for which he needed a solution.  


First, because students had very different experiences in the weight room, some needed to be taught from square one, and others were ready for advanced workouts. 


Second, students were in and out of season at different times throughout the school year. This meant that he needed multiple workout options for students based on the time of year and if they were currently playing a sport. 


Lastly, Blake was trying to manage all of these different challenges with excel spreadsheets and printed workout cards. While Blake loved what he did, he knew there was a better way to manage his classes without spending countless hours buried in spreadsheets and paperwork. 

Blake Roberts coaches football players during an Owensboro football game.
Blake Roberts is a PE teacher, strength coach, and football coach at Owensboro High School.

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A Solution for High School S&C PE 


As Blake set out to address the challenges of high school strength and conditioning and PE, he considered how technology could help, 


“We knew going digital would help manage all the unique challenges of high school strength and conditioning.”


After researching, Blake decided to use PLT4M with his students. It didn’t take long for Blake to see the effects of the program taking place, 


“I can’t put into words how much time it saved me as a teacher and coach. But on top of that, PLT4M helped solve all the unique challenges of high school strength and conditioning and allowed us to give students individual plans to meet their needs.” 

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A Closer Look at Owensboro’s Classes 


Before class even begins, Owensboro student-athletes are expected to watch short instructional videos that are a part of the workouts. Blake says this resource has been tremendous for building confidence in the weight room, 


“The weight room can be intimidating, especially for some of our female student-athletes. The instructional videos give students a straightforward mental checklist for proper form and technique.” 

Students use the PLT4M app during a fitness lesson in PE class.
Every exercise is paired with an instructional video students can access on any digital device.

Once students start their workouts, they have personalized weights for all barbell and dumbbell movements on the PLT4M app. Blake says that this has been the most significant advantage of using technology in the weight room,


“It has moved students from guessing what weights they should do to walking up to the plates or dumbells and knowing what weights are right for them.”

A screenshot of the PLT4M app and workout view.
Each student gets personalized weights for every barbell and dumbbell movement.

When it comes to accessing all the personalized workouts and videos, Owensboro has tried incorporating technology in various ways. Blake says it all depends on knowing the group and what will work best,


“Every student and group is different. Some students can go right on their phones and get to work. For other students needing a bit more guidance, we use Chromebooks and PLT4M’s rackview feature to share devices and hold each other accountable.”

A student performs a barbell back squat in a strength and conditioning physical education class.
A student performs a barbell back squat in a strength and conditioning physical education class.

A Unified Approach To PE & Athletics 


Because of the S&C PE class, Owensboro has created a unified PE and athletic program. Blake described the advantages, 


“With our class and PLT4M, student-athletes have all the resources they need in an out of the weight room to be successful. On top of that, when coaches want data, it is easy to get them everything they are looking for.” 


While high school strength and conditioning can often feel disjointed, Owensboro High School has shaped a program that empowers all student-athletes to have time for S&C. Blake is excited by what Owensboro S&C PE has created, 


“We have something for every athlete to succeed. Whether they are brand new to the weight room, in the middle of a season, or pushing through the off-season, we have them covered. I can give students a wide variety of options that will meet their needs and help them achieve their full potential.” 


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