What role does a team’s off-season workouts play in their quest to win a state championship? For this school in Massachusetts, it made all the difference.
Each year, a select group of teams from across Massachusetts gets the opportunity to play their state championship games at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. When Randolph High School took the field this year, not only was it their first time at Gillette, it was their first time playing for a state title.
And when the final clock hit zero, the Randolph Blue Devils won their first football state championship in school history.
The team celebrated with parades and fanfare in town, and head coach Jonathan Marshall was recognized as the New England Patriots Coach Of The Year and nominated for the Don Shula Award.
In his second year as head coach, Marshall saw a notable change this past off-season that sparked his team’s first-ever state championship run,
“When we look back, our new off-season approach had a lot to do with our in-season success. It showed on the field in a lot of close games when by the 4th quarter, we were stronger and better conditioned than many of our opponents.”
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Winners Do More
The Randolph Blue Devils had always embraced the weight room as a necessary component of the off-season. The energy and intensity of team workouts has always been present.
The team motto stapled across all their team apparel was “Winners Do More.” Coach Marshall knew that this applied to more than the intensity level. They needed to maximize their workouts. One thing preventing this was the lack of personalized workouts.
“Kids were often left guessing what weights they should be doing and trying to self-prescribe what would help them get stronger. It created the potential for unrealized gains.”
Coach Marshall wanted to have a detailed plan that would allow his athletes to keep the same energy and intensity while also putting some data and details behind it. To do so, the team had 3 key elements to their off-season plan.
3 Keys To Randolph High School’s Off-Season Plan
Randolph High School’s off-season goal was to help athletes get ready for all of the different elements of a high school football season. That meant working on and off the field to improve physically and mentally in order to be prepared to compete as a team on Friday nights. The Blue Devils had four keys to every off-season workout to do so.
1) Workout as a Team
Before the summer, Coach Marshall polled the group to determine what would work for their schedules. By doing so, the team had a group of over 30 kids show up consistently to workout together. This meant they were pushing each other and bonding as a team in the process.
An important element of building this team based approach was improving the accountability metrics the staff used. Tracking attendance on sheets of papers always made it hard to tally up athlete’s participation and reward those who put in the work.
Using PLT4M’s automated data tracking, the Randolph staff was able to track attendance and performance gains. With a wide array of reports at their finger tips, athlete commitment increased.
2) Personalize Workouts With PLT4M In The Weight Room
After their on-field work, the team would transition to the weight room to get in their core lifts and daily workout completed. Using PLT4M, a digital training app, athletes used their phones to access personalized weights. Now, instead of guessing, athletes knew precisely what weights they should perform on every set.
On top of personalization, Coach Marshall looked at the programs’ videos as a key component to a smooth workout in the weight room.
“I was able to tweak instead of teach. The videos were one of the biggest resources that helped us be efficient and effective. Better yet, I could spend more time with the athletes who were newer to the weight room.”
3) Train to WIN with Finishers
To finish each training session, the entire team would regroup and perform the final part of the PLT4M workout together. These finisher were typically some sort of metabolic conditioning in the form of a competitive style workout.
Coach Marshall saw the finisher as an opportunity for the athletes to have one last mental and physical challenge. By competing in these timed finishers, kids learned to push past their mental limits and hone a winning edge.
Kids could then see their place on team leaderboards displayed through PLT4M.
Using Data To Build Buy-In
With the new plan in place, the Randolph Blue Devils started to see significant improvement across the board. Coach Marshall was excited to see his group of athletes bought in,
“The team totally embraced what we were doing. The quantitative data coming in through PLT4M paired with the qualitative results we saw and felt was the perfect combination.”
Because the team was using PLT4M, the athletes would log their workouts on their phones each day. Using the PLT4M app, athletes also were tasked to log different test results throughout the week. By doing so, they could start to see their weights increase and were excited with the real-time analytics.
Not only that, the team saw a dramatic increase in their version of the 1,000-pound club (Squat, Bench, Deadlift, Hang-Clean). Randolph’s club had previously consisted of 3-4 kids but by the end of the off-season now had 15 members (including a coach or two who had wanted to take part!)
More than just the numbers improving, Coach Marshall saw his athletes developing as better movers.
“Within the workouts, PLT4M makes a point to be technically sound. That goes a long way with high school athletes. It helps them know the importance of good form and technique and supports them to improve.”
And while Coach Marshall was happy to see things like the hang clean improve, he was even more excited to see it translate to the field.
“It wasn’t that we just got bigger and stronger. We started to really move well. I think we were one of the best tackling teams this year, and it has a lot to do with what we do in the weight room.”
Key Takeaways To A Successful Off-Season
The Randolph High School football team had a successful off-season that launched them into a state championship. For Coach Marshall, a young head coach, he wants to be sure to take note of what helped them have such a successful off-season so that he can replicate it in future years to come,
“When you typically only have one coach in the weight room, you need to be sure you are maximizing both you and your athletes’ time. That is what PLT4M allowed us to do.”
On top of that, a well-developed plan is only as good as a team that is bought into it,
“Our team was invested. We knew we had a great group, and we wanted to do everything it took to give ourselves a chance to be in the championship hunt. In the end, we brought home a state title for the first time!”
Building On Success: What Comes Next?
Now that Randolph High School has celebrated the state championship, they are eager to be in the hunt for future years to come. With a growing team and culture, Coach Marshall is ready to adapt,
“We expect more kids to come out for the team, and so if we need to get creative with different off-season groups, we can. With PLT4M, we can know everyone will be on the same page as we continue to grow.”
On top of growing the high school program, Randolph recently added a middle school program that Coach Marshall is excited to get set up with foundational training to come to high school ready to go.
Throughout the town of Randolph, folks are starting to buzz about a program that aims to build on their historic championship run!