Staff Lift

January, 2019
There is a teaching and coaching philosophy in strength and conditioning that I subscribe to. I have always believed that as a coach or coaching staff, you should always be able to perform at least one rep of whatever you are asking your athletes to do.
I found a lot of success using this philosophy. It doesn’t mean you must do it with the same weight, reps, speed, intensity, or even range of motion as your top athletes. I can’t imagine anything more embarrassing than an athlete asking for a demonstration and you or anyone else on the staff can’t perform the demo. To save embarrassment, and more importantly to increase credibility, we started what we called “Staff Lifts.”

I realize it’s not a novel idea or term, but at the time we were one of the few staffs who made these lifts a priority. Staff lifts weren’t just about lifting together just to be great demonstrators though, it became about so much more.

Staff lifts are about camaraderie, learning, teaching, exploring, competing, building competence, etc. We used a multi-leveled system where levels 0 through 5 were where the athletes trained (see the Level System Breakdown article for more details).

For staff lifts we also implemented two additional levels: Level 6 was what the staff was doing – more advanced exercises and methodologies. At different times of the year and our careers, we would change training regimes. Sometimes we focused more on strength, or mobility and stability, power, volume, explosiveness.

I remember one time we were doing some crazy plyos before a big football game, in retrospect, we shouldn’t have been doing. We learned the hard way about our limitations – one staff member ended up rupturing a patella tendon!!

Level 7 was about all the information that was available. We always found there were more questions than answers. Level 7 was about learning, growing, and pushing the envelope. Things that we learned and ideas we wanted to try went into level 6 before we ever tried them with our athletes.

Once we knew where something fit (or not, in many cases), we would incorporate it into our athletes’ training. Our athletes would see us training and ask, “Coach, when do we get to try that?” We always made sure they could see us trying new things.

Role modeling IS the most effective way we learn! I encourage you to find times when your staff can grow and train together, even if only for a short time before lunch. If you’re willing to make it a priority you can even call it professional development and get it on the calendar every single week (if not more!).

“you should always be able to perform at least one rep of whatever you are asking your athletes to do.”


I am available by email at performance@pativey.com, on social media, or the contact form below.


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