Rusty Fuller first joined PLT4M in 2017. Throughout the years, Rusty has provided us with many insights into how he is building a unified strength and conditioning program at St. Paul High School. In our latest discussion with Rusty, he provided us with an update on the progress he is now seeing.
Proof in the Numbers
When Rusty Fuller first started at St. Paul School District in Nebraska, he was determined to create a strength and conditioning program that would benefit everyone. Rusty wanted to make an impact on every student in the Physical Education program as well as the variety of student-athletes on St. Paul’s sports teams.
As a PE teacher and head football coach, he took steps to plant the seeds for long-term success. From creating a 7-12th grade curriculum plan to introducing technology into the weight room, St. Paul’s program was starting to turn the proverbial seeds into budding flowers.
In 2017, a few years into the journey, St. Paul and Rusty were featured in a success story highlighting the initial stages of growth and progress within their PE and Athletic Department. Students learned the basics of weightlifting in 7th and 8th grade, leading to personal bests and big-time improvements as they worked their way through high school.
Fast forward to today, as St. Paul enters their 8th year of the redefined strength and conditioning program, Rusty continues to celebrate tremendous progress and growth. We checked back in with Rusty to see what stood out to him as he heads into the next chapter for St. Paul PE and Athletics.
Numbers Don’t Lie
To help contextualize the success, both big and small, Rusty likes to use numbers to paint the picture of what the strength and conditioning program has meant for St. Paul.
To start, the pure number of classes that St. Paul now offers has increased from 6 sections to 8, with an additional teacher helping to share the class load. Within the classes themselves, Rusty’s emphasis on form and technique have led to the overall increase of weights lifted for all students,
“At the beginning of the year, we help students to take their baseline numbers and set goals that they can work towards throughout the year. The numbers don’t lie, and both our male and female students have seen tremendous growth that is exciting to highlight.”
To help spotlight the success, Rusty continues to partner with PLT4M to track and monitor student progress. In doing so, St. Paul now has an impressive library of historical data. For Rusty, he is wowed when he looks at the numbers,
“When we first started tracking a lot of this, our numbers across the board were good, not great. But over the last six years while using PLT4M, our entire student body has improved. The names on the historical leaderboards are all from the last few years, and our school averages are through the roof.”
Championship Caliber Success
One of the biggest reasons St. Paul set out on this journey when Rusty first started was to address the large population of multi-sport athletes at the school. Rusty noted,
“PLT4M is unique in that it can serve our middle and high school students. It is why we went with the program in the first place and why we continue to use it. The ability to address the needs of our population of students with the right programs and training options through PLT4M is impressive.”
And as St. Paul has served the needs of their student-athletes in the weight room, the school has relished in the recent championship-level success on the field and courts. Cross country, volleyball, girls basketball, and football have all made deep playoff runs and taken home more championships in the last few years than in any other time frame in school history.
And while the success is celebrated within the small-town, it is also turning heads throughout the state,
“I get calls from fellow coaches all the time asking what we are doing. People have seen the change in our students as they head out to different camps and tournaments across the state. I think it stands out because they are not just bigger or faster, but their overall athleticism has improved from the strength and conditioning program.”
Good Things Take Time
Over the years, St. Paul students have seen several constants in their PE and Athletic program. First, they have had a teacher and coach in Rusty Fuller committed to the development and progress of every student. Secondly, they have had a training program in PLT4M that has complimented Rusty’s overall mission.
The result has been one of continuous improvement and achievements worth celebrating. Rusty, who has championed the program, is happy to see the true fruits of his labor come to fruition,
“These things take time. Now, I have students that have been in the program for 5 to 6 years and have had that fully comprehensive experience. It shows. There is no doubt that we have made the right investments over the years, and we are looking forward to more growth as we go!”