The other day I invited classroom teachers from my school (Bingham Middle School, Independence School District) to come down and visit my students as they worked out.
Actually, I had the students invite their teachers to come down to the weight room… sometimes a scary place for a classroom teacher… lots of noise, metal clanging, occasional shouts, etc… I told my students it was…
“National Invite Your Classroom Teachers to the Weight Room to See How Hard You Work on Heavy Squat Day in Strength and Conditioning Class”, day.
OK, I made the day up, but…. we did get a few teachers to venture down to the weight room.
My purpose… I wanted their classroom teachers to see how hard these students work … daily… in this class… and I wanted them (their teachers) to see their students in a different light, and a different setting than they were used to seeing them.
One colleague who came down watched in amazement as the students worked out… and did the little things that they do daily… and do pretty much on their own.
- Reading their workout cards
- Calculating the weight needed to be put on the bar
- Disciplined behavior
- Putting the weight on the bar
- Adjusting the rack
- Transitioning from one lift to the next
- On task
- Coaching one another
- Seriously training!
These are 8th graders.
He asked “How long did it take to get them to this point?”
It is an excellent question. At this point in the year, into the 4th quarter… the class is very low maintenance…. I am sure it appears that it is an easy class to teach… and at this point of the year, it is! I spend very little of my day, and very little of my time each hour babysitting, redirecting, disciplining, or managing behavior. I get to spend the majority of my time teaching, coaching, and motivating.
But as you know, it does not happen all at once, or by magic. The heavy lifting (pun intended) of the class is front-loaded. I spend a great deal of time in the first 6-8 weeks on every small detail including…
- Introducing the Core Lifts and teaching correct technique
- Introducing the Supplemental and Changeup Lifts
- Introducing and managing the Workout Card
- Setting clear expectations
- Teaching correct spotting techniques and safety
- Making sure everyone is engaged
- Teaching muscular-skeletal system basics
- Care and use of the equipment
After that first couple of months, it just becomes reinforcing the good stuff… fine-tuning a few things each day by constant assessment of where they are with their technique, knowledge and strength level.
At this point of the year, the class is a well-oiled machine.
It is just like the football program that makes reeling off winning seasons, conference championships, and playoff appearances look easy.
It is not easy… it is not ever easy… It is a result of hours, months and years of hard work… concentrating on every bit of minutia… every detail in the program.
Being a good teacher is hard work… being a good coach is hard work…
But it is so very worth it.
If you have not had the chance, I hope can read my post from last week, The Case for Middle School Strength and Conditioning. If your District offers this class, kudos… if not, this may persuade you to hop on a soapbox.
You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org