For people in my industry, this is becoming more and more of an issue.  You get an inquiry about your speed/strength services or you are coaching a current athlete and they tell you they are doing training with their team now.

Their team started doing speed or strength workouts and they need to do the workouts with the team.

I was a strength coach at a high school and junior college for 5+ years so I get it.  But, let me tell you how a lot of this plays out for the athlete.

  • If the team has a lot of athletes on the team, your athlete might (and I emphasize might) not get the best instruction for each exercise you have to do.
  • If there is one strength coach, maybe you will have some coaches from the sport helping out. But they aren’t experts.  They are assisting the strength coach and sometimes they might give advice or help that could contradict what the strength coach is trying to accomplish for that workout.
  • If there are not a lot of eyes on your athlete, then he/she might not know how to push themselves. That might be left to upper classmen who have been in the program to “teach” that to your athlete.
  • You will do speed drills that might even be similar to drills I do, but it might turn into a conditioning drill as opposed to a speed drill. Essentially not making your athlete faster.
  • The strength coach might be able to help with running mechanics, but how often is that enforced and will it be enough to help the mechanical deficiencies of each athlete.
  • Finally, you might get some individual attention in the beginning, but will you be able to get it when you need it to still progress the way you need to. Some kids need more help than others.

Like I said, I understand why teams have team workouts.  Especially, if they have the luxury of having a strength coach work for the school.  Let me be clear, I am describing a strength session or a session that works on “speed development.”

But, the fact of the matter is sometimes the private coach can do a much better job for that athlete than the team workouts.  Too many people to focus on in a session and people slip through the cracks.

Your athlete might be one of them.

If the goal is to have your athletes ready to go by the start of the season, you would think more coaches would embrace the idea of having your athlete get trained by a private coach.

What about being with the team and team bonding you might ask?

I understand that, but if most of these kids are doing travel (supposedly elite) sports anyways, the assumption is the parents want what is best for their kid.  If this is what is best for them in their development, let them do it.

I know soccer kids that don’t show up at all until fall pre-season starts.  Why force them to come to the school workouts if you know they might have the means to do it outside of the team and do it effectively.

Besides, there are other ways to do team bondings.  Open fields or gyms, sport specific skills training, actual conditioning, etc.

As a high school coach as well as a private coach, I tell my athletes I don’t care what you do in the off-season I just want you ready to go when the season starts.  I set up liftings at the school for them with the strength coach.  If they desire to do workouts on their own because they have a private coach, that is fine.  Just be ready when the season starts.

I know that isn’t what happens with all teams.

Point being, as a parent you might want to look into deeper the team workouts.  I know you want your kid to have face time with the coach.  Great!  Do that with the open fields/gyms or the team skills sessions.

Most of the time the head coach isn’t even part of the lifting or speed work.  So I’ll ask you.  You think a coach wants someone who did all the liftings and speed sessions with the team and is alright compared with everybody.

Or, will the coach be blown away once practice begins with someone he/she didn’t see during the lifts and is running all over the place better than what he/she did last year?

Yeah!  I’m sure the coach will get over the fact that you went to a private coach to get faster/stronger as soon as you display your awesome new abilities.