Before we used PLT4M, our student athletes were recording their BFS workouts on paper. Each teacher had their own way of teaching movements, and workout plans became very siloed. Our goal was to create one unified Strength Training program for the student-athletes to buy into.
Now that we're entering our 3rd school year with PLT4M, it has helped us in more ways than one. Below are 6 insights I wish someone shared with me on day one:
1) Student Buy-In Took 6 months
At first, our students were not thrilled with the idea of getting their workouts off their devices. After about 6 months of students logging their weights, they started to see results in the numbers, and it was accessible to them. Rather than coaches housing their data, the data is transparent for both the coach and the athlete to see. Once they saw their progress in PLT4M, they were bought into the program.
2) Use Rack View to pair Varsity & JV athletes
Yes, this feature limits the number of devices needed in the weight room, but it also provides an opportunity for us to pair our varsity athletes up with the younger, less experienced athletes. During our training sessions, the varsity athletes are asked to form a group with a handful of younger athletes. The group will use Rack View to access each student workout in that group. Now, we've created an environment of leaders, learners, and less devices.
3) Increased visibility in participation
I use the Activity tracking in PLT4M to keep tabs on the student-athletes. Perhaps I didn't witness every set each athlete performed, but I can check to see what they logged in PLT4M. When I see them in the hallways, I'll give them a shout out for a set they hit, or for showing up. This let's them know that someone is watching, that they are getting credit for the work they're putting in.
4) Students are more comfortable weight training
We've noticed students becoming a lot more comfortable trying different movements. Through PLT4M, students can access video and written movement instruction anytime. We don't have the bandwidth to always have an experienced strength coach in the weight room at all times, so being able to provide this additional resource for our students has helped break down some barriers, specifically with our female athletes.
5) Logging weights in PLT4M
Coming from BFS, the ability to track student maxes in PLT4M has been a huge timesaver for our coaches. Coaches are no longer making weight calculations on their own, as the program automates this for them. The biggest piece for us is that students are logging their weights. We don't get too hung up on whether or not students are logging the entire training session properly. If a student doesn't want to carry a device around with them while working out, we'll just ask them to log their weights after the session.
6) Preparing middle school students for the weight room
We've structured our middle school curriculum so that we have 4-6 weeks in the Fall, and then another 3-4 weeks in the Spring dedicated to getting students comfortable in the weight room, and familiar with PLT4M. Now, when they get to high school and enter into our Wellness Club program, it is not their first time in the weight room, and we can get right to teaching movement with proper form and technique.