TRAINING

How to Instill Phone/Device Discipline

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor

Editor’s note: This story originally ran in the Summer edition of FNF Coaches.

Time with players in the weight room is always at a premium. It may be even harder to come by this summer and fall due to limitations on the number of players allowed in the weight room at once. Make sure athletes have device discipline to keep them on task.

Brush High (Ohio) strength coach Ryan Dugan started using the TeamBuildr app in 2016, so he’s been through all of the trials and tribulations that come with giving high school athletes devices and phones in the weight room. Gaffney High (S.C.) coach Tony Smith has been using Perch, which measures velocity-based training with cameras through an app, for the past year.

The two coaches offered these tips for coaches looking to instill phone discipline.

Collect the phones at the beginning of the workout.

“The phone app is phenomenal,” Dugan said. “When they come in, they put their phones in an egg crate. We work out in eight- to 10-minute blocks. Then I give them 2 1/2 minutes to get water and enter their numbers. If you coach and control it, you can avoid the typical high school issues. If I let them carry their phones around, SnapChat would be up.”

Provide feedback after the workout.

“With Perch, we record the reps so what I can do is watch film on my computer cloud,” Smith said. “I don’t have to stop and say, ‘What’d you get?’ That saves time on the workout. They’re moving through it, but I can still have a conversation with the kids after the fact. If they’re lifting 80 percent and not hitting the target velocity speed, we’ll have a conversation.”

Prepare videos for the players to watch in advance.

“If an exercise isn’t in the database, I can film the exercise and upload it to YouTube,” Dugan said. “From TeamBuildr, you post the exercise. That’s been the nice part; I’ve done that over the break.”

Stress the importance of focus for safety reasons.

“We have to set the tone,” Smith said. “Tell them why you don’t want them on their phones. It’s for their safety. They get to see the results after if they do what we’re asking for the day. Educate them and take a bit of time to explain why. It creates a great environment in the room.”

Use the percentage of max lift option.

“If a kid’s max squat is 350, it will tell him 80 percent in the app beforehand. I don’t need to post charts. That was the first thing that drew me to it. I know people are old-school, but kids are better with tech. They can quickly pull up their phone before the workout so they know how much weight to put on for a superset. There aren’t pens and pencils everywhere. It just gives more versatility.”

Prepare the Players

One way Coach Dugan avoids weight room confusion is by setting expectations for each and every workout by communicating through the TeamBuildr app.

Rather than blow up your players’ phones with constant texts and emails, post your updates on the strength training app’s dashboard.

“The communication aspect of it is nice. It has a team feed like a Facebook homepage. I post challenges to kids. They can post the videos wearing their gear. We had a lip synch battle. You can private message and that keeps from having a text go to everyone. It’s kind of like HUDL that way.”

Smith has taken to video conferencing for pre-workout communication.

“We Zoom with a couple of kids,” Smith said. “We text, email. We might send them a challenge to see who can send the first video doing a push-up contest. Kids are always good about sending videos.”