By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor
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.
In an interview with FNF Coaches on Friday, he offered three tips for coaches who are considering using a strength training app in the weight room.
1. Collect the phones at the beginning of the workout.
“The phone app is phenomenal. 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.”
2. Demonstrate the proper technique in videos.
Many coaches express reservations about using a strength training app because they don’t want to turn over the design of the strength program to an app. That’s not a problem with most apps, including TeamBuildr, which allows coaches to customize strength programs to each player. Even if TeamBuildr doesn’t currently have a particular lift in its library, a coach can enter it and load an example video.
“If an exercise isn’t in the database, I can film the exercise and upload it to YouTube. From TeamBuildr, you post the exercise. That’s been the nice part; I’ve done that over the break.”
3. Use the percentage of max lift option.
Most high school weight room are filled with charts that break down percentages of max lifts, along with weight lifting sheets and pencils. With an app, none of those things are necessary.
“If a kid’s max squat is 350, it will tell him 80 percent in the app. 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 and put on the weight for a superset. There aren’t pens and pencils everywhere. It just gives more versatility.”
4. Communicate through the dashboard.
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.”