BUILDING A PROGRAM

How a New Jersey coach established culture with body weight exercises

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor

Tony Grandinetti led the Wall High football team to an undefeated (7-0) season and New Jersey Shore Conference championship in 2020. Over the last two seasons, he has led Wall High to a record of 19-1.

He recently shared with FNF Coaches how he established a winning culture last spring with at-home, body-weight workouts.

How much of a factor was your program’s culture in holding things together during a turbulent fall?

“I really think it was everything. Our culture is one that we take pride in. It carries us through everything we do. Any time we have an opportunity to work out or practice, we know it’s important. We knew our decisions this fall impacted not only our families, but also our football family. We all had goals in mind going into the season. We held each other accountable to follow through.”

How were you able to establish a culture last offseason if your players weren’t in school?

“When we shut down, nothing really changed other than us being able to meet in person. For us, our culture is built in the offseason. Our culture is built in the weight room. Up until the pandemic hit, we were in the weight room every day. We went into quarantine, but we continued to meet and do workouts; they were just virtual. We still talked about our goals all of the time. We re-enforced our culture of working hard and taking pride in our work ethic.”

How did you continue to establish a culture in the weight room when guys were working out on their own?

“I thought of the players with nothing — no weights or access to anything — and designed body weight workouts that guys could do in an open space. They could do workouts in a 5 x 5 space. It was a Zoom workout with 70 guys. I did it with them. We did body weight workouts. They were very challenging. We did it together. I think that helped us build a bond as best we could. That was definitely on our minds, and we didn’t want to give them a workout and say, ‘Let me know how it goes.'”

Were your players able to maintain their strength and conditioning with body weight exercises?

“I actually think in certain ways the program helped them gain strength. We might not have been using weights, but we were controlling our body weight and engaging other muscles. I noticed that they had more endurance because of the cardiovascular work. Our endurance was fantastic from Game 1 to Game 7. We usually take pride in that. The workouts we were doing enhanced that.”

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk