5. What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you first started?
I wish I knew coming into my first year as a strength coach at Laurel that it would take time to earn everyone’s respect. Since I am just a few years older than them, I needed to find a way to earn it. I am a firm believer in practicing what I preach. I am their mentor and coach. I try out their workouts on myself and I train hard like I ask them to. When they watch me put in the work and watch me squat, that is when I earn their respect. Having a genuine interest in their athletic goals and caring about them beyond the weight room is also important for building a
relationship and trust.
6. Do you have anything new or unique to your program that you would be willing to share? (Motivation techniques, assessments, training programs, technology, surveys, communication methods, fundraising, etc.).
Laurel’s strength and conditioning program is unique in itself because we are an all-girls school. As we know, females' bodies are different from males' in the way they react to certain stimuli, recover, and perform in athletics. In consideration of that, focus is placed on ACL injury prevention, nutrition, and creating individual programs for athletes that improve their weaknesses or imbalances. For ACL injury prevention, the simplest way to make sure every athlete is getting in their work is to make the exercises part of the warmup. Some of the exercises we use are single-leg jumps with a focus on sticking the landing, balance exercises and jumping lunges.
In addition to exercises in the warmup, we have a station of posterior chain exercises that consists of a reverse hyper machine, GHR, and Nordic hamstrings. Our programming also ensures the athletes get stronger in their squats, deadlifts and Olympic lifts. As for nutrition, part of our wellness program is to understand the 3 macronutrients and the benefits each of them has on performance and recovery. Many of the girls are not eating enough to sustain their body for a whole day of school and then sport or training. The nutrition education is extremely important to beat the stigmas of the relationship between calories and weight gain. It is important for the girls to know nutrition recommendations and what 2,000-2,400 calories look like. Lastly, as a small school, we are able to watch each athlete perform main lifts and then personalize their program to their needs. Each athlete follows the same program as the rest of their team, but they may progress differently in their main lifts. Accessory work is added to the program if necessary to improve weaknesses. We pride ourselves on being able to individualize pieces of each program depending on the needs of the athlete. We are able to do so because we have two full-time strength coaches, one part-time coach, and an intern.