In any given high school the students represent a very diverse group regarding their goals, desires and expectations for participation in athletics. Some are interested more about fitness and health benefits, some are there for the aesthetic goals, some have serious goals within the sport and even beyond high school. For many it's all of these reasons.
Working in an all-girl high school I have learned to give some control and autonomy to the students in order to improve the intrinsic motivation and buy-in with the program. One way to do this is to allow the students to choose their path of fitness. At the same time they also understand that the 'choice' comes with expectations for themselves but it also comes with a certain level of commitment, that I as a coach, expect. That said, the student's goal becomes my goal as well and when I know what the goal is I can do my best to help her to get to that goal. So, if your goal is to play in college or get to the Olympic trials you can trust that I will be in your corner helping you towards your goal.
It is not only extremely helpful but also empowering for the student as well as for myself that we are working towards a common and a known goal. I don't want the lack of athletic development and fitness to be the limiting factor on her way to her dream. That is why I ask them to make the choice of their path of fitness.
There are many ways to build ownership and accountability in the program. Some of the strategies are implemented in the beginning, like choosing your path, but also by participating in the planning process of the program design and by agreeing to the rules of the fitness facility. I have created a 'workout card' that is aimed at involving the student already at a planning stage.
The card allows me to collect subjective information about student's goals, lifestyle, fitness level, current/old injuries and to set the stage for optimal programming. I find the subjective questionnaire to be a powerful tool in building ownership and laying the foundation for consistency. However, the card is work in progress and changes a bit each year.
In the next part, I will turn this card over and dive deeper into the details of programming.
Until then, keep moving!