The majority of weight rooms are strictly business. Rows of weights, racks, and machines line the mirrored walls, black rubberized flooring, beige walls, etc. The traditional philosophy has been to ‘get in, work hard, and get out.’ While this utilitarian template has worked well enough in the past, it can lead to uninspired workouts where athletes simply go through the motions.
High performance on the field starts in the weight room, but it can sometimes be difficult to keep athletes motivated. Programs that provide a positive environment, clear expectations, and goals, create a weight room culture that inspires. Here are a few ways you can help energize your athletes in the weight room leading to more effective workouts and ultimately better athletes.
Create a Culture
When you listen to top-level college coaches you often hear them talk about the culture of the program. It is widely believed that culture plays a large role on how a team performs. How individual team members feel about their program greatly influences how they think, behave, and perform on the field or court.
There are many things that affect the culture of a program. One of the easiest ways to make positive impact is by improving the various physical environments where your players spend the most time. One of these locations is the weight room. Because of the important place it hold in the off-season, it’s the logical place to start.
There are several graphic elements that can be added to a weight room to increase its visual appeal. Simple motivational signage is a great first step. These small, affordable signs can help reinforce core beliefs of the program and highlight inspirational words of past players and coaches.
If you are looking for something on a larger scale, wall graphics can make a huge impact. You can incorporate pictures of previous athletes or program motto. If your motto is “One Team, One Dream,” put that motto on a large wall graphic with images of players who have gone onto play in college programs. Inspire younger players by showing graduates who once stood there and have achieved greatness.
Another option is a simple logo graphic hung in a key location such as the entrance. Remind them of who they play for and what is expected every day as they come in to workout. This can be done with a more traditional sign or a die-cut mascot sign for more visual interest. We often see mottos or barbells incorporated into the school logo to really brand the entrance of the weight room.
Inspiration isn’t always found through a motivational quote, sometimes it is simply setting the expectations for the weight room. Telling the athletes what you expect is one thing, but laying out the rules on a physical sign reinforces your message and helps ensure the tone is set and there is no confusion.
As my old lifting coach used to say, “It’s a great day for a great day.” Workout of the day boards are perfect for setting expectations and ensuring athletes know exactly what they will be doing that day.
Many of the things listed in this article discuss long-term goals of the program, but everyday counts in the weight room. Setting daily goals and expectations leads to long-term positive effects on the program leading to more “great days.”
Give Your Athletes a Goal
Goal setting is a key to every program. However, telling someone to get better and lift heavier weights isn’t always a message that really gets through to an athlete. It’s important to set benchmarks for your program.
Nothing sets a weight room up for success like a strength record board. Having current leaders and all-time records listed right on the wall helps to push everyone. Current records push athletes to not just think of their own personal best, but the records of everyone around them.
Historical records push your best lifters to strive for even higher numbers. Younger players will follow the path of your best older athletes helping to creates a positive culture of competition.
Setting high goals for players can also be done with “club” boards. The 350lb bench club, the 400lb squat club or even the combined lift 1,000lb club are great ways to motivate athletes. Giving players bragging rights among their peers pushes them to reach goals they may have thought were unobtainable.
Unlike a record that can be broken, these achievements offer a chance to be immortalized on the weight room wall along with the other past athletes that have reached the goal.
Could your athletes use a little more inspiration in the weight room?
Reach out today to speak with one of our reps. They will be happy to answer questions, highlight the options available, and send you a custom proof and quote.