High School Weight Training vs. Training at a Gym

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Question: My son is a tenth grader who played varsity at his high school this year. I was going to take him to a trainer to help him be his best for next season but his coach prefers that the players use the school program exclusively. Can a school workout prepare a player to realize their full potential?

Answer: Coaches always want to insure that their players are indeed training, and the most effective way to do that is to require players to workout exclusively with the team or at the school. This way coaches can be sure that the players are, at least aware of, what they should be doing in the off-season. The problem with that is there are usually so many players that it can very easily become a social event for the players with only a few actually working out while the others get in a set of whatever exercise is on the workout menu. Little attention is placed on form and usually the only time coaches actually see the players is if they are being graded for the class, or they have a “Max-Out” day.

Now there are a couple of schools who have balanced workouts, but the number of athletes in the weight room, and the time between sets interrupts the training intensity and dilutes the potential results.

There are also other school teams who set up the training parameters for the players but the programs they use have little benefit since the coaches don’t have the knowledge or equipment to be as effective as they need to be.

Here are some questions you can ask the coach to determine if the team program is going to effective for your son:

  1. What is your program?
    1. The correct answer could be that the program is set up in phases beginning wit:
    2. An assessment phase,
    3. A strength phase,
    4.  A conditioning phase,
    5. An explosive speed phase and,
    6. The beginning of the next season.
  2. What are the goals of your program?
  3. Will my son become a number in the group or will his individuals training needs be addressed?
  4. How frequently are the players assessed?

With that being said about schools, you need to recognize that not every gym is a training facility. Some are gyms and others are just fitness centers with people disguised as trainers whose knowledge is limited to how to turn on a treadmill.

One parent who trains with us has her son at a gym that was recommended by his coach for speed work. She had questions about what he should be doing and if his workouts were effective. No baseline testing was done in the beginning to determine speed and strength levels. No assessment of running form, starts or finish speed was done. No assessment of food/fuel was done. Without a baseline comparison how can you know if the program is actually working or not.

Another parent called about his son who is 14, 155 pounds and a very good pitcher. The young man had been doing dead-lifts with a trainer and had been injured trying to lift 300 pounds. The questions that come to mind are why was he trying to lift 300 pounds? Deads are a good training tool but in no way should a 14 year old be trying to lift that much weight. It’s not going to make his pitching better. A moderate weight using crisp explosive form for the exercise would improve his overall athleticism but not heavy singles.

Ask questions: Is the program your son using one that will translate to make him more effective on the ball field, court, golf course, etc.?

God bless and keep training,

Daryl

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