How Athletes Come to College

TAGS: collegiate athlete, strength and conditioning, college, coaching, athlete, strength, strength training, strength coach, Jeremy Frey

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I’m pretty sure I’ve addressed this before in some way, shape, or form. Every year, it still amazes me how athletes come to college, to a Division I university, and are so messed up or neglected when it comes to lifting in the weight room. Absolutely amazes me. Poor overall development, poor movement patterns when it comes to simple and complex movements, and an overall lack of strength in the most important areas.

Year in and year out, this has stayed consistent. It really never seems to get any better overall. So why? Why does this keep happening?


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Lack of money

This is always the argument that most schools complain about. And yes, it’s a valid point, especially at school districts that are public-based. But money isn’t everything. You can still teach student-athletes proper movement patterns even if you don’t have the funds to hire someone or even have a decent facility. As sports coaches, you need to be a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to this. Get out, go to seminars, and read. This won’t do it alone, but it’s a start. The best thing you can do as a sports coach is volunteer some time at a decent university as well — not that I’m saying all universities will have someone knowledgeable, but they will know more than you. Learn.

Lack of experience

Even if a school has the money to invest in someone to oversee some of the athlete training, typically, those hired lack experience. Most of the experience comes from the fact that they were a somewhat successful athlete themselves, so that somehow qualifies them to lead and design training programs. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “my strength coach played football in college,” like that is somehow a qualifying prerequisite. There are not enough knowledgeable individuals working at the high school level, and most of the time, that is due to money.

Unwillingness to accept help

I’ve talked to many high school coaches, and there is one resounding theme — well, a resounding theme among a lot of sports coaches — they do not take advice and are unwilling to change. Head sports coaches are some of the most closed-off individuals when it comes to change I’ve ever known, across the board. What’s the reason?

“Well, this is what I used to do in high school or wherever.”

Wow, that’s great, but you are not your athletes, and just because it’s what you used to do doesn’t mean it was the best thing, either. What I used to do wasn’t the best thing. What I did to become a good powerlifter wasn’t going to be the best for the athletes I train. So, experience or lack thereof, again, is a limiting factor that keeps programs and athletes from moving forward.

This is going to be a part of a series of articles I’m going to do in the coming months. I want to cover how you should start young athletes in the weight room and how they should be progressed. I will touch on technique, exercise selection, volume, and frequency. I will explain why I write what I’m writing and it will be explained in simple terms. If you have questions along the way please send them to me. I will do what I can.

I’m not trashing on high schools necessarily or sports coaches completely. We all have our limitations, and that’s life. But we can and should want better for those whom we teach. And if you are going to make a point of leading others, you should lead them in the right direction.

Stay tuned.

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