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APRIL 2022 NEWSLETTER


In This Issue:

 


FEATURED INSTALLATION:

URBANDALE HIGH SCHOOL, IOWA


When Coach Pete Traynor was first hired as director of strength and conditioning at Urbandale High School in Urbandale, Iowa, he was shown their weight room. It was located behind a set of bleachers in the main gymnasium and half of the equipment was what Pete called “portable.”

Coach Pete Traynor

Whenever there was a basketball game or volleyball game and that row of bleachers needed to be pushed in to free up the court, he had to move the portable equipment to the other side of the room to clear the way. He’d come back the next morning at 4am to move everything back in time for athletes to train.


Fortunately, Urbandale was already making plans for a new weight room—one that would be rated a top high school weight room in the country by MaxPreps in September of 2020.


It was Pete’s very next meeting with Urbandale High School’s athletic director that he was shown the blueprints for a 9,300 square foot space that would become Urbandale’s new weight room. The A.D. told Coach Traynor to, “Make it your own.” With that, Pete knew he wouldn’t be rushing into the planning.


Pete said, “From there forward, I got to go around the country—I went to 39 separate facilities. This was probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I wanted to make sure I did my due diligence.” He wanted the room to serve every student—from their senior football players to their freshmen female cross country runners.


He visited high schools in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Florida. His biggest challenge was finding a high school whose weight room was a similar size to what Urbandale would have, so he also visited some of the smaller colleges and universities in those areas as well.


During all this field work, he was also looking for the right equipment. For Pete at the time, this was a no-brainer.


Before coming to Urbandale, Coach Traynor had been strength and conditioning coordinator and assistant football coach at Simpson College, and played professional football before that. He was very straightforward saying he had been a Power Lift guy because that what he had trained on in college, that’s what Simpson had in their room, and of course Iowa was Power Lift’s home base.


With this being the case, Pete reached out to his Power Lift reps early on and soon had a layout and a quote as a starting point. However, considering this would be voted on and approved by the school board as part of a school bond, the A.D. knew they would need more options to present, so additional sources were investigated.


The fact that the budget was already established became another critical factor as to what equipment would fill that room. “For me, I had to make sure we were outfitting the room with as much as we possibly could. It’s not good for us to have this giant room and only a handful of equipment in it. We needed to make sure of the flow, the functionality, the efficiency.” With an expectation of over 700 students flowing through that room, this was a critical factor.

Luke Reiland, Push Pedal Pull

While reaching out to additional sources, Pete connected with Luke Reiland at Push Pedal Pull. He had worked with Luke before at Simpson College to replace some cardio equipment. When he shared the blueprints, his budget, and his vision and asked Luke what he had for a solution, Luke came back with Dynamic Fitness & Strength.


“I’ll be honest,” Pete said. “I knew of Hammer Strength, I knew of Power Lift, I knew Samson, I knew of those other companies. I had never heard of Dynamic before.”


Luke showed Coach Traynor how the basic equipment specifications between companies were essentially the same. The presentation and customization, however, was not. “What Dynamic truly did for us then was personalize it so when somebody walks into our room, they know that they’re walking into Urbandale High School, they’re not walking into just any other weight room.”


Luke worked with Dynamic Fitness & Strength’s Great Plains Territory Manager Nick Weiss, who together with the Dynamic team of engineers and rendering, worked through multiple layout versions with Pete until locking in on the final layout. It featured 26 power rack stations with 10 Annex storage units spread out between them. Four of the racks had lat pulldown and hi-lo cable column attachments. Finishing out the room were 8 GHD hyper combos, 2 Inverse leg curls and 2 belt squats.

“The cherry on top was the bridge systems that really truly bring our room together,” Pete said, “so when people walk into it, it gives us the wow factor, but yet it’s completely functional and something we’re going to use in everyday training.”

Nick Weiss, Dynamic Fitness & Strength

Nick Weiss saw the success of the room design as a coordinated effort between Dynamic, Luke at P3 and Coach Traynor. “It’s easy to just throw equipment in a room, but it takes a team to build something one-of-a-kind like this facility.”


Installation was complete by the summer of 2020. The Dynamic Fitness & Strength equipment became part of a new, state-of-the-art facility for the Urbandale J-Hawks that, at the time, was reported to be the most advanced high school training center in the state. And training started in earnest, despite a global pandemic wreaking havoc on school athletic programs.

Coach Traynor’s program runs four students to a rack, with barbells, dumbbells, plates and other equipment accessible around each rack to serve that number. He has the students work in pairs, with two athletes inside the rack while the other two are outside the rack, then they rotate. He can then transition them to the track and turf behind the racks to do routines such as split squats and lunges, among other movements.


When Coach Traynor was envisioning this weight room, he was also recognizing that his students’ attention spans were short. “So we have to keep them engaged. How I set the room up was to be as efficient as possible so when the kids come in that room, ideally, we should be walking out in 45 minutes.” Any longer, Pete explains, and the level of attention and engagement lessens.


Dumbbells are stored throughout the room, starting with 5-pound sets on the ends and increasing at 2.5-pound intervals until the heaviest in the center. Urbandale also invested in over forty 15-pound training bars that they use in transition classes with middle-school students. It’s something Pete started when he first took the position because he didn’t want his first time working with a freshman student to be the first time they ever touched a bar. “We have to make sure these athletes are moving properly. Technique and form trumps weight any day.”


In September of 2020, MaxPreps ranked Urbandale’s weight room a top high school weight room in the country. “I think we ended up at number 2 on Max Preps, so we were close!” Coach Traynor said.


“When we were looking for new equipment, we wanted something that we knew was going to be the best that we could possibly get for our student athletes,” Coach Traynor said. “It was also going to have durability because we knew it was going to need to stand the test of time. Something that we wanted to have pride in, and Dynamic truly did that for us.”


 

Watch Coach Traynor talk more about his program, his coaching career, and how this weight room came together on the February, 2022 episode of Dynamic Discussions.




 

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

DYNAMIC LISTED ON TEXAS AND NATIONAL BUYBOARD




Dynamic Fitness & Strength is thrilled to have recently been awarded membership by the BuyBoard National Purchasing Cooperative. The BuyBoard serves to streamline the purchasing process for schools, municipalities and other public entities both in Texas and across the nation. Membership in the Cooperative is free and open to all types of local government agencies in all states.


BuyBoard is available throughout the United States wherever use of purchasing co-ops is allowed. It is member-focused and member-governed by a board of directors and has been serving school districts and state and local governmental entities nationwide since 1998. More than 70 contracted vendors provide a wide range of offerings—from pens and pencils to fire trucks and buses.


Being an awarded vendor will allow Dynamic Fitness & Strength to offer a full range of fitness solutions to thousands of potential organizations. Customers can submit purchases through its streamlined procurement process with vendors that have been stringently vetted. BuyBoard’s RFQ functionality allows members to request pricing on volume needs from multiple vendors. This convenient and efficient process can be finalized in a matter of days instead of weeks or months for a typical formal bid/proposal process.


BuyBoard vendors have met state and local purchasing requirements through the interlocal purchasing agreement. It offers simplified purchasing for schools because all vendors are competitively procured and vetted so members don’t have to go out for bid.


You can visit the BuyBoard website at www.BuyBoard.com.



 


FEATURED ARTICLE

HOW STRENGTH COACHES CAN BUILDER STRONGER RELATIONSHIPS WITH ATHLETIC COACHING STAFF

By Joe Kenn, MA CSCS RSCC*E SCCC MSCC

Vice President of Performance Education Dynamic Fitness & Strength



It goes without saying that a strength coach should have a strong working relationship with their head coach and athletic coaches. What isn’t talked about enough, however, are some simple but important things a strength coach can do to build on that relationship. Keeping in mind that the sport, program, objectives and coaching staff always presents unique expectations for the strength coach, here are a couple suggestions that can make a world of difference—to interactions with the head coach, athletic coaches and, by extension, the athletes.


First and foremost, if a strength coach wants a stronger relationship with athletic coaches, the strength coach needs to understand and remember what his or her actual role is within the sport. That will change depending on what the head coach considers important in strength and conditioning. And believe me, what the head coach believes to be important will trickle down to the athletes. To maximize the athletes’ conditioning, there must be one hundred percent buy-in from them in the strength training program.



IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THE WEIGHT ROOM

The number one way for a strength coach to build a strong relationship with the head coach and the team won’t be in the job description and it’s something not enough strength coaches are doing. Strength coaches need to get to practice. It can be hard if juggling a lot of teams, but they must make the time to at least be seen at practice. Every day would be ideal, but just showing up when possible—especially when no one is expecting it—makes a strong impression to coaches and athletes. Moreover, watching practices will help reveal what needs to be focused on in the weight room.


Strength coaches have likely participated in one or more sports, yet many may find themselves working with a sport they’ve never played or been associated with. By attending practices, they have the opportunity to watch the techniques and fundamentals of individual drills. This offers a tremendous amount of knowledge that can be used to put together a more relevant and effective conditioning program instead of simply running general movements. Additionally, athletic coaches will notice an investment in their program, so they will be more inclined to trust the strength coach and what they are doing in the weight room.


When starting out at a new school or with a new team, the strength coach should get to practice as soon and as much as possible. Focusing attention on one specific position each day can be really effective. A new strength coach should pay attention not only to movements and patterns, but also to the terminology used so they can lock on to the lingo of the team and coaching staff. A new strength coach will mesh with the coaching team much quicker when referring to plays and patterns by how they name them, not what you called them at your last school.


It should be a no-brainer for a strength coach to get to practice as often as possible. If any strength coaches reading this are already doing it, great job! For many strength coaches, this isn’t happening. When getting to practice, though, it’s also important for strength coaches to remember: When on the field or on the court, you want to be seen, not heard. There are far more appropriate and necessary times for communication.



ASK QUESTIONS

Another way for strength coaches to build stronger relationships with the athletic coaching staff is to ask questions. There will certainly be the “right” questions to ask based on the sport and the training, but sometimes even if a question is asked that the head coach doesn’t feel is relevant, it can still be vital intel for the strength coach, who now has a better idea what that coach does and does not prioritize. When asking the head coach questions, strength coaches should make sure to present them in a way that respects the head coach as the expert of the sport. Always remember: it is the head coach’s team, NOT the strength coach’s.


With that said, if the right questions are asked—in the right way—a strength coach can further establish his or herself as the expert in strength conditioning and enhance their relationship with the head coach and athletic coaches. “These are the movements I think we should be working on. What’s your take on that, coach?” A question posed this way can have great effect in building respect and trust.


The more a strength coach can stimulate conversation at the appropriate times, the greater the relationship will be. Conversely, the greater the relationship, the more conversations happen. The relationship grows and conversations increase when athletic coaches see the strength coach caring about more than just what happens in the weight room. And this trickles down to the athletes as well, which increases their buy-in of a strength and conditioning program.



KEEPING THE DOOR OPEN TO YOUR WEIGHT ROOM

Just as it is important for a strength coach to be at practice, it can be just as important that the head coach has an open invitation to the weight room. It’s a fact--every time a head coach steps into the weight room, there’s an automatic increase in effort by the athletes. When athletes see the head coach in the weight room, it can increase morale by showing cohesion between the athletic and conditioning programs, as well as helping with the evaluation of the strength and conditioning program.


One must be aware, however, that occasionally an assistant coach may step into the weight room and pull an athlete out of their routine to talk ball. A strength coach needs to try to remember that the assistant coach likely isn’t trying to sabotage the strength program, but simply not realizing they are being disruptive. A good response to this? The strength coach should keep it light and fun, but direct. A good response to this is, “Hey, Coach. If you don’t mind me talking weights during your individual periods, I’m okay with you talking ball during lifts.”



WRAPPING UP THE SEASON

The season is coming to a close. As strength coach, you went to practices, you built up relationships with the head coach and the assistant coaches. What now?


If the strength coach had the productive conversions with the head coach and was observant at practices, they should be prepared to provide a summary report to the head coach. This includes what the head coach wants to know, as well as what the strength coach wants the head coach to know, such as:

  1. What were the successes for the year with strength and conditioning? How were strength levels maintained or exceeded? What was the team’s power output, measured by daily readiness tests? How did that translate to the team’s performance? Do performance stats reflect this?

  2. Was there a common injury over the course of the season? What were the mechanics that led to that injury? Is there something that can be done in the weight room to enhance the protection from that injury?


IN CONCLUSION

Everything presented here is not an absolute. I’ve been with programs where I’ve had a great relationship with the head coach and that coach had never stepped foot in the weight room. Keep these tips strongly in mind, but apply them appropriately to your situation and team.


At the end of the day, it’s not what the strength coach thinks is right or what the athletic coaches think is right, it’s about what the best formula is for each athlete to not only have athletic success, but to keep them out of harm’s way by protecting them with the proper movements and proper field work.

 

Coach Joe "House" Kenn is a 31-year coaching veteran and has coached at the high school, college, professional, and private sector levels. He is recognized for developing the Tier System Strength Training Program as well as the Block Zero Concept. Coach Kenn joined the Dynamic team in 2019 after completing a nine-year stint at the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. He heads our educational outreach as well as being a brand ambassador and a resource to the schools and coaching professionals we serve.






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