Tips for Improving Weight Room Culture
In order to fix bad weight room culture first a coach must know there is such thing as a culture in the weight room. Culture in the weight room can be defined as a team’s personality. Work ethic, attitude, intrinsic and extrinsic drive, team work (or lack of), are all pieces to the culture in a weight room. And most of the time this culture is directly related to the leaders and coaches surrounding the team. And we, Team Sports Performance, see the changes in cultures everyday because of our jobs. We see the teams that win and the teams that lose. And there are definitely some common denominators in why these teams are winning and losing.
Why is weight room culture so important?
We spend 12 months in the weight room. Most of the benefits that we get or miss doesn’t come from just lifting weights. It comes from learning hard work pays off and the mind can can overcome what the body cannot if you let it. Weight room culture is where winning and losing start. This is where intensity comes to life and where we learn that life is hard work and overcoming challenges is at the heart of success.
Invest in Mind, Body, and Soul
There should be a change in attitude in a weight room. For most this is about business and focus. For some its about having a relaxing atmosphere. And for others its about competition. But despite what the atmosphere is the attitude and spirit should definitely change from a normal setting outside the weight room. Most great weight room coaches have one thing in common. They know the weight room is much more than about lifting. It is about development of the mind, body, and soul. And coaching that into them just takes an investment from you. Spend 2 minutes a day focusing the athletes on characteristics that define what success or “winning” looks like in the weight room. And even what it DOESN’T look like so they know what NOT to do. Invest in the overall athlete and NOT just what they can do for you and the results will find you. Serving and helping should be the motto.
“People don’t care until they know how much you care”
Most young people today are NOT held accountable for what they do. Some coaches like to make the athletes part of the accountability of the team and that is fine BUT if the coach doesn’t keep the team accountable the athletes will spend their time learning what to get themselves out of than get themselves better. Team Sports Performance did some research for a coach that wondered why their athletes weren’t getting any stronger. That coach put the blame on what we were doing in the weight room claiming that it was just “stretching” (because we did a lot more movement based training than he was comfortable with). This coaches complaint was they weren’t getting stronger. So we went back and looked at the attendance. The attendance showed that ONLY 10% of the athletes were showing up over 90% of the time. And of that 10% we showed that they increase on all the big 3 (clean, squat, bench) a minimum of 30% gains from the previous test. The athletes that showed less than 60% showed little to no increase on these lifts.
So the moral of this story. If you don’t keep the athletes accountable they cannot be good athletes. And testing can help keep athletes accountable! There are great software programs that give daily feedback for athletes and help coaches to track numbers.
We use a software called Teambuildr. Its great and affordable.
Building a spirit of competitiveness is important in any environment. Especially in the weight room. Teams can improve and learn from each other. It is a way to build what is needed for what the demands are in competition. For example, if you run a face pace offense gearing the workouts to being a fast pace, high intensity workout can help what is required of the team in the offseason.
We have also been successful at dividing the team in small teams and having a Game Day competition. We give points for the top 3 teams that finish in each drill just like a track meet. We post each game as an opponent of the team and even have goals for winning and point goals. Team Sports Performance also appoints team captains for Game Day. At the end of the cycle, phase, or season there is a bowl game or championships between the top teams.