With the summer off season now upon us, many programs are entering a critical period of their development.
The investment that individuals decide to make in the weight room in the coming weeks and months will decide the degree of success, or failure, of the program. So why is the weight room play such an important role in the success of a program?
Here's 9 things that a successful strength program instills in players.
1 - Builds an invaluable camaraderie with teammates
Today, many high school kids and parents opt to shell out some money to have their student athlete work out at a private facility with complete with personal trainers doing sports specific training, and while that can be a truly outstanding thing, nothing can replace the camaraderie built by working, sweating, struggling, and setting personal bests alongside your teammates.
2 - Character is both built, AND revealed
There's something to be said about the effect that pushing and pulling heavy weights has in not only helping develop one's character, but also revealing someone's true character. In a wll run and organized weight room, there is nowhere for people to hide, you either find a way to rise to the occasion, or fail in front of your teammates and face the decision to get better, or throw in the towel
3 - Your leaders tends to reveal themselves
The weightroom has a way of bringing out the best in who will prove to be your leaders come fall. Whether it's vocally by getting behind someone struggling in the squat rack and getting others to join in with encouragement, or by example with a work ethic that others want to imitate, your leaders are the people that are there
4 - The weight never lies
You can't lie in the weight room. A 45 pound plate is, and always will be 45 pounds, and once you get under it, 350 pounds is 350 pounds. The weight doesn't lie, and you can't fake strength in the weight room. You've either put in what is required to move it, or you haven't. The beauty of it is that, with the right mindset, the result it isn't final, and depends largely on the work the individual is willing to put in. Tomorrow, and next week, that weight will still be there...waiting to take you on.
5 - The "pretenders" get weeded out in a hurry
Guys that are really, truly committed, are committed in the weight room. The "pretenders" are the guys who A) show up for fall camp thinking they're ready to play, and / or B) guys who occasionally show up in the weight room but only do what they feel like doing, and only how many times they feel like doing it. They're selfish and don't do what is asked, or required of them in the weight room.
6 - You witness firsthand who is willing to put "sweat in the bucket"
The weight room and off season program can be a test of wills. Those that are willing to consistently put "sweat in the bucket" are going to reap the benefits, regardless of where they enter athletically. The weight room benefits all that are willing to pay the price. The price varies from person to person, but coaches everywhere can attest to the 110-pound wiry freshman that came in and rebuilt his body, or the 350-pounder who transformed his body composition and gained a ton of confidence in the process. The weight room has no regard for talent, only thing that matters is those people who decide to consistently put "sweat in the bucket."
7 - Those that value commitment and accountability are evident
The guys who make the conscious decision to sacrifice their mornings, or afternoons, on the beach to instead get better in the weight room demonstrate how important it is to them to get better and bond with their teammates and coaches. The summer off season is full of temptations, and the guys who coaches consistently see sacrificing personal time for time in the weight room goes a long way.
8 - It's the foundation of mental toughness and aggression
I am a firm believer that no place teaches mental toughness and aggression like the weight room. You don't learn either one on the field, they're both instilled in guys well before the moment they're required to dig deep, and in those moments they'll be able to pull from trying moments in the weight room when they were struggling with their last set and had to dig deep to finish, or when they were tired and would have rather been sleeping instead of going through a grueling workout. Fighting through stuff like that is the foundation of mental toughness and aggression on the field.
9 - The harder players work, the less willing they are to give up in the face of adversity
The harder an individual, and team, works in the weight room, the less willing they are going to be to surrender when adversity comes knocking. That's a big reason why quality football programs have invested heavily in their strength guys, because they want to hire the smartest, most enthusiastic guys out there to make sure they're getting every ounce of potential out of every player on their roster so when the fourth quarter, or overtime, or they're facing a huge deficit, there's no way they're going to let all that time invested during the off season go to waste.
If you want to know how successful your weight training program is, a good start may be to ask yourself how many of those 9 can you currently check off with confidence?
Not all strength programs do these things. But you can bet that the successful ones do.