Twelve years ago, in 2006 I was gearing up for my first college summer training program. I was 29 years old and the proud owner of a new gym. I was ready to conquer the world! Varsity House was just a two-car garage with barely any equipment, and one employee, me. If I remember correctly we had about six athletes in total. Yes, I said six! One of those athletes happened to be my future business partner, Dan Goodman. Our first crew was small, but that summer will go down in VH history as one of the most memorable times in all our lives. The training that summer created a bond that lasts to this day. Every time I see one of those athletes the first thing they say is… remember that summer?
A decade later, Varsity House has grown into a world-class training facility with some of the best coaches in the industry. This summer we expect to have well over fifty (50) collegiate athletes training. Over the years, one thing has always remained the same, my approach to summer preparation. My team and I dedicate months planning the summer program to ensure that we deliver the best quality product in the world!
Here is my five-step process for dominating your summer training program and delivering killer results for your athletes.
- DESIGN YOUR TRAINING TO BE FLEXIBLE - The old adage of “one size fits all” could not be more incorrect when it comes to physical preparation. Simply put, all athletes are different. They have different needs, different abilities, and play different sports. You must have a plan of attack, but you also must be flexible. Design a base plan and add variations in exercise selection, volume, and load to accommodate different athletes.
- ASSESS YOUR ATHLETES – To get somewhere new, you must have a starting point. Physical assessment is key to understanding your athletes needs and abilities. Depending on your program you can design some basic movement and strength assessments that will give you comparable data. We like some basic functional movement screening, a max rep push-up, a max rep pull-up and a single leg split-squat test.
- CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE – Let’s face it, I don’t see too many people hitting 600lb squats at the local 24hr Fitness! Your facility and staff need to be dialed in for one purpose and one purpose only, creating SAVAGES! Loud music, weights banging, yelling and clapping, tons of coaching and queuing, and most of all, FUN. At the end of the day athletes want to train somewhere they can let loose and have fun while getting JACKED and FAST! Remember it’s all about them. Put your phones down and crank up the intensity!
- COMPETE – Sports are about having a killer instinct and winning mindset. We pride ourselves on planning each day’s competition. It can be as simple as a push-up challenge, but every day we compete. The athletes will push themselves more and the training atmosphere will be off the charts. We also end each week with our now infamous “Jailhouse Friday”. Your athletes might not remember what they had for lunch that day, but you can be sure they’ll remember who won the Strongman Competition!
- TRACK EVERYTHING – If it’s not written down it’s not training, it’s just a workout. Training leads athletes from point A to point B. You want to be in control of as many training variables as possible. You need to know the reps, sets, and weights to track overall volume. You as the coach need to be able to tell an athlete they need to add more weight or take some off when trying for a PR. You are the general of your athlete army.
- Coach Joe Strong
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