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June 11, 2019 • CoachingStrength & Conditioning

Strength & conditioning goals for high school student-athletes

{Sponsored} When students learn the discipline of showing up and working hard during voluntary strength and conditioning sessions, they bring that discipline to all other facets of life. By holding the student-athletes accountable for attendance — and by not spending time tracking them down to get them to attend — coaches instill in players the drive to succeed and work hard. This includes a solid sprint.

Strength and conditioning coach John Garrish, of North Broward Preparatory School (NBPS) in Florida, seeks to impact student-athletes’ lives not only through athletic improvement but also by preparing them to be leaders in life. Garrish believes that at the high school level, striving for individual improvement with the metrics a sport coach chooses will lead to a more well-rounded athlete and student, rather than pushing student-athletes to hit specific numbers in order to maintain eligibility.

How does Garrish help student-athletes accomplish this goal?

A few simple standard moves can be given to any athlete for overall improvement. Since many of the student-athletes at NBPS participate in more than one sport, it is important that they have well-rounded strength and conditioning training.

Garrish recommends all athletes be equipped to do the following: a standard squat a press or pulling pattern, a hip hinging pattern and maximal sprinting.
While many sports do include sprinting in their sport practices, Garrish also utilizes sprints for strength and conditioning — a newer trend. “A solid sprint will build a bigger engine athletically, regardless of the sport(s) student-athletes play, even if sprinting isn’t a performance indicator for their sports. We look at sprinting as a task and skill. As task, it is the single most potent central nervous system activity. It’s the best way to build a bigger engine,” Garrish said.

John Garrish discusses the importance of a sprint with student-athletesThe key to a strong sprint is posture. “We look at it very specifically at potential for injury in the weight room — and we focus on biomechanics and technique. We look at it the same way in a sprint. It’s the absolute way to prevent injury likelihood for hamstring, quad, hip flexor through reacting to the ground and producing force. The methods for achieving this are plenty,” Garrish said.

Wicket Drill

Beside progression and standard sprints, Garrish’s student-athletes participate in a wicket drill. In a wicket drill, a series of mini hurdles are placed on the field, and athletes must sprint at top speed while essentially stepping over the wickets. At the same time, they must maintain their posture, striking the ground vertically and keeping the sprinting action in front of the hips. This drill helps student-athletes find this pattern and improve overall posture.

Garrish knows that an athlete’s journey has ups and downs, but he wants to be the coach that puts a smile on student-athletes’ faces. “The opportunity to work with more kids for more time than anyone else on campus has extreme value to me. Not only to do things to better them as student-athletes on the field, but (to) equip them with accountability, the ability to work through fatigue, teach them to work tirelessly at our craft, giving them the opportunity to develop as not only athletes but also as people,” Garrish said.

© 2019 Hammer Strength


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