Starting a High School Powerlifting Team, Pt. 1

by Chris Dertz Planning and Considerations The year was 2016. My son, Eli, was in 8th grade. A multi-sport athlete, Eli had been working with athletic performance specialist Jeff Lyrenmann since the 4th grade. One day after we were done training, Jeff showed Eli a photograph from years before. In the photograph, a young Jeff…

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Illinois Return-to-Training Support

Illinois, we’re heading in the right direction! There are so many exciting moments to come as we seemingly turn a corner in this pandemic. That is, if we take up the charge of ensuring a thoughtful return to training. Coaches across the state agree that the goal of the spring athletics experience in Illinois is…

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Strategies to Connect During the Pandemic

with Nicole Brinker, by Chris Dertz Nine months after first emerging in the United States, it is clear that the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are both unprecedented and wide-ranging. The raw data is grim. Currently, 22,000,000 Americans have been infected with the virus and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is projecting…

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Changing the Culture of Indiana Football

with Indiana University Head Football Coach Tom Allen On December 11, 2020, Tom Allen gave a keynote presentation at a virtual conference hosted by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association. His guiding thesis was something all coaches, regardless of sport, would benefit from understanding: Mindset drives expectations and beliefs. Indiana football had not been…

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Texas H.S. Football Player Knocks Out Referee

Millions have seen the viral video of a high school defensive lineman from Texas clobbering the referee after being ejected from a football game. It is a signal that the “sports-gone-wrong” concern has yet to be resolved. While his name can be found all over the internet, we will keep it anonymous here. Check out…

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Gratitude (and Honor?)

When a child is hungry, they eat. As that child ages into maturity, sensations as simple as hunger take on different significance. What they eat begins to matter, so does their method of procuring food. When a toddler steals a mashed handful of beans from his parent’s plate, people laugh. When a high school senior…

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Challenge Gone Wrong

Challenge is necessary. Stress is necessary. When they occur in appropriate doses and are balanced by proportionate recovery, challenge and stress create growth. Elite coaching cultures balance challenge and support, stress and recovery, in a way that makes growth not only a consistent possibility but an expectation. As a young coach I didn’t understand that,…

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Return-to-Training Opportunities

Slowly but surely, coaches are returning to training alongside their athletes. Zoom meetings and Google hangouts have helped bridge the gap, but there’s nothing quite like being together with your team, sharing time and space with your athletes, and working alongside one another toward a common purpose. In many states, by mid/late June, we will…

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Maximizing Potential through Strength Training with Jason Pullara

By Jen Foust Potential is defined as “a quality or ability that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.” In a strength and conditioning setting, the lessons taught in a weightroom can have a direct and lasting impact on an athlete. It might be the perfect place to maximize potential. It is…

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The Role of Locker Room Talk in Systemic Racism

The overwhelming majority of conversation in the coaches locker room is positive, supportive, and fun. It hinges on strategy, planning, and getting the most out of young people. The coaches’ locker room is not a dark and dangerous place; rather, it offers an opportunity to bond and connect. Locker room talk, from my experience and…

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