As coaches, we always talk about how we want our guys to constantly compete. I am a firm believer that the best way to do this at the high school level is to encourage your athletes to participate in multiple sports when at all possible. I also believe that you must work to foster competition in workouts and practice each day. This can be difficult if you are in a small school situation. Most of the time depth is an issue, and there is a large disparity in athleticism between your first team and second team guys. There is most likely going to be a large gap between these two groups in your strength and conditioning program as well. How do you create competition when trying to juggle all of this?
The summer is a great time to promote competition and change things up a bit if you are in a situation where your kids are participating in your program all year long. At Battle Ground Academy, we have a draft before the summer with our seniors as captains. I rate each student by using the star system. It is just like the rivals set up that most are familiar with. An athlete may be a 1 star to a 5 star. This rating is not tied to athletic ability only. A big portion of if it is whether or not the guy is dependable and shows up every day. If someone is a great athlete, teammate, and shows up every day, it is probably where you would see the 5 star rating. This rating system helps guide our captains through their draft progress. We use a points system in the summer that rewards attendance, work ethic, and has specific measures such as team competitions, testing numbers, etc. I also try to make sure I create a variety of competitions that highlight different strengths that our athletes may have so they draft wisely.
We then draft and divide up into teams for the summer. We use SEC teams because we live in the heart of SEC country. The kids get excited, and I usually try to attach the captains to their favorite college team. The point totals are posted each day at the end of the workout so each team knows where it stands each day. Our guys do a great job of reaching out to any of our athletes who are missing because it affects their team in a negative manner. We attach a steep penalty to a no-call, no-show. The guys handle a lot of our phone calls to absent players through our team system in the summer.
Another way we create competition is in our “Get Big Thursday Strongman Circuit”. The staff gets together and decides which team gave the greatest effort in the 45-minute circuit each Thursday. We then give that team bonus points by a staff vote at the end of the workout. This is by far our most difficult day of training and our kids absolutely love it. There is a lot of bonding that goes on during this time. It is the one element of our program there is no way I can alter because of the popularity it has with our athletes. I have attached some of the information on this, and please feel free to contact me with any questions. There is much more to the process.