By Bryan Burns, FNF Coaches Contributor
Perhaps more than any other improvement project, a visually pleasing, well-organized locker room can have a tremendously positive impact on a high school football program.
Since a large chunk of a team’s time is spent inside the locker room, it’s important for players and coaches to have a comfortable facility.
Check out these trends in locker-room enhancement projects that can turn old-fashioned into state-of-the-art:
Ventilation System: Mold, mildew, condensation and foul odors are serious concerns for any locker room. Besides creating an unpleasant environment, they can lead to increased maintenance costs when warped benches or rusted lockers have to be replaced. Modern locker rooms are equipped with ventilation systems that wick moisture away from helmets, shoulder pads and jerseys so they’re dry in time for their next use.
Team Meeting Room: Whether an auditorium-style arrangement with projectors and video screens or a rearrangement of the locker room itself so all lockers are focused toward a common area, a centralized meeting location is a must so coaches can communicate effectively to all players at one time.
Retractable partitions within a team meeting space allow coaches to meet with offensive and defensive players simultaneously, or to break the team down further by position to view game film.
Equipment Room: Maximizing space is a big issue for football programs, especially when it comes to equipment storage. Even with small equipment rooms, there are creative ways to utilize as much space as possible.
Rolling storage shelves are popular because they allow coaches to access equipment easier while sliding back unobtrusively when not in use. A hanging, electronically powered conveyor similar to those found at a dry cleaner is also becoming standard issue for storing uniforms.
Lockable Lockers: Gone are the days of an individual locker consisting of a couple of hooks and a shelf with chicken wire separating each stall. Custom-made hardwood cabinetry with plenty of shelf space and cubby holes for storage is all the rage in current locker-room construction.
Electrical outlets in each locker allow players to listen to their favorite warm-up music or breakdown film on their laptop before games. And with players storing valuables like jewelry, iPods and wallets in their locker before heading out to the field, a lockbox in each locker or the ability to individually lock each locker can prevent theft.
Flooring: Traditional concrete floors give locker rooms a cold and impersonal feel. Plus, they can be dangerous. Outbreaks of staph infection are becoming more prevalent and the bacteria that causes staph infection can grow on a concrete floor among other locker-room items.
Non-porous rubber flooring is naturally anti-bacterial and can hold up to the constant pounding from football cleats. Plus, they’re slip resistant, which eliminates the off chance of a player falling and breaking a bone on hard concrete.
Branding: In marketing terms, branding is when an identifying image, logo, name or slogan is used repeatedly so the product becomes recognizable to an increasing number of people and is distinguishable from similar products.
What better way to create a unique locker-room environment than by splashing a school’s name and logo in as many places as is visually appealing. Walls, floors, benches, stools, nameplates and the lockers themselves are all good places to add a logo to create a unifying look and help build a team’s brand.