11 Proven Strategies to Motivate Your Team for Offseason Workouts - Part 2
5. Organize and Lead Offseason Workouts
While many coaches are not allowed to work with their athletes during the offseason, you and your teammates can get together to organize practices and workouts. Captains and core team leaders can play a major role in keeping your team focused and motivated in the offseason.
Get together with your fellow team leaders to talk about the things you and your team to accomplish in the offseason. Many teams will have "captain's practices" where the team captains are in charge of running and monitoring the team's workouts. Obviously, you must be a respected and credible team leader who understands and embracse your program's standards and goals if you want to have meaningful results.
6. Minnesota Football Coach Jerry Kill's Warrior Elite Program
Here's an amazing team building, discipline, and competitiveness program used by Coach Jerry Kill and Minnesota Football to forge a championship team in the
See how you might be able to adapt this concept to your team:
The Warrior Elite -- The Forging of a Champion
- Each player votes for five student-athletes who they consider leaders. Votes are counted and the top six are made platoon leaders.
- Platoon leaders draft their teams.
- Each team begins with 5000 points. Points can be earned or lost each week according to performance in the classroom, off-season training, and community
service. If a team disputes points earned or deducted, the platoon leaders resolve
- The top two teams at the beginning of spring practice have no conditioning (run-
ning) for four weeks.
- The team that finishes last each week will have extra conditioning for each week
they finish last. This is done in an attempt to prevent teams from giving up.
- The team with the most points at the end of the semester is declared the winner.
The winning team receives a plaque to be placed in the locker room and will be
served a steak dinner for their first meal in fall camp.
The Warrior Elite--Point Values
Beginning point value in each Team's "Bank": 5,000
Deductions from Point Total
- Missed breakfast 200 pts
- Quit a workout early 50 pts
- Miss a workout 200 pts
- Missed workout due to injury 100 pts
- Improper workout attire 100 pts
- Short Study Table hours 50 pts per ½ hour
- Missed Tutor Session 200 pts
- Late for class (Tardies) 100 pts
- Missed class 200 pts
- Missed Rehab Appt. 200 pts
- Any Miscellaneous Tardies 100 pts
- D's on a 6/12-week grade report 50 pts
- F's on a 6/12-week grade report 100 pts
Additions to Point Total
- Made Tutor session/appointments 50 pts
- A's or B's on any 6/12-week grade report 50 pts
- 0 absences AND 0 tardies on 6/12-week grade reports 50 pts
- Extra Study Table hours 50 pts per extra ½ hour
- Community Service hours 100 pts per hour
- Greatest Weight Room Improvement by a team 1 pt per pound of max lift
NOTE: Team Leaders will have the ability to speak to the head coach about the
removal of a group member who is a detriment to his team's ability to compete for the overall team Championship. The head coach will have the final decision.
Removal of a chronic problem team member: 500 points
7. Accountability Partners
Start the offseason with accountability partners when training over break. Partners are responsible for holding each other accountable, especially on the days when one partner doesn't feel like working out. If your teammates are all in the same general area, pair up with someone who lives nearby for the convenience of working out together. If your teammates are spread across the county, state, or world, you can use technology to keep connected and accountable through texts and Skype.
8. Teammate Jersey Exchange
The Carolina women's lacrosse team has had their players exchange practice jerseys over their summer break before heading back to their respective hometowns. Each time they worked out, the players brought a teammate's jersey with them. While obviously the teammate wasn't there physically, the teammate's numbered jersey served as a consistent reminder that someone else was counting on them to get better and stay fit. It also helped them feel like they were not alone in training because they had a partner in the form of the jersey watching them. Thus, work with your team to find something you might be able to exchange over break that symbolizes another teammate.
In her blog post, Olympic softball player Jessica Mendoza talks about cross-training as a great way to keep your offseason training fresh and new. Jessica mentions taking a spin class, playing water polo, and swimming as ways that she uses to break the monotony of offseason training.
Similarly, you can also set up different cross-training activities. Ultimate Frisbee, Ultimate Football, floor hockey, and Dodgeball are terrific ways to spice up a workout. It is a lot of fun, and gives you a chance to compete against one another in a new way, and get in a great cardio-vascular workout.
10. Attendance Charts
Here's a great idea courtesy of Ridley High School assistant football coach Brian Bowden: Coach Bowden writes, "At the start of our out-of-season workouts, I post an attendance chart on the wall. On it is posted every player's name and the corresponding out-of-season months. Each month a player achieves perfect attendance, with one allowed excused absence, he receives a small sticker of our team mascot placed to his name in the appropriate month. Those that achieve one month of perfect attendance receive a green ribbon with our mascot on it and an inspirational slogan. Two, three, and four months perfect attendance earn players a different pin for each month achieved, with each pin being more elaborate than the last.
Finally, those that reach five months perfect attendance receive a pewter football helmet key chain. As players see what they had the chance to earn yet missed, comments like 'I'll get that next year' can be heard throughout the crowd. In addition to our Monday, Wednesday, and Friday lifting schedule, we hold a voluntary plyometric clinic on Tuesdays and Thursday that lasts for 12 weeks. Those who have a perfect attendance for the entire 12 weeks, with one allowed excused absence, earn a green team lanyard. It is a truly coveted item. Again, those not earning it this year already began making comments to me that they will definitely get one next year. What more could I ask for: players already planning for, and excited about, the next out-of-season workouts.
11. Build Your Team's Cathedral with the Power of Purpose
When you can connect your teammates with the ultimate purpose of your workouts you convert mundane and monotonous tasks into important investments. For example, you have probably heard the famous story about the three bricklayers. When asked what they were doing, one of them remarked, "I'm laying bricks. The second one said, "I'm putting up a wall." And finally the third one said, "I'm building a cathedral." The third bricklayer was building with a clear sense of vision and strong sense of purpose in mind. He knew his hard work was contributing to some larger and more meaningful purpose.
What is the cathedral that you and your teammates are building? Does your team connect the hard work, conditioning, and drills they do with the bricks they are laying for your team's cathedral?
To help them keep in mind the cathedral your team is building, you can put up a picture of the championship site for your team (provided that your team has a shot of getting there). Basketball teams can put up a picture of the Final Four arena, softball teams can use a picture of the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, and baseball teams can picture Omaha. This picture of the "Promised Land" is the ultimate cathedral your team wants to build - and it is up to them to lay a layer of bricks each day.
Champions are indeed made in the offseason. See how you might be able to incorporate some of the 11 strategies above to make sure you are getting the most out of your extended breaks and offseason training. As Henry Clay reminds us all, winter will soon be asking what we have been doing all summer.