An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Rick Huegli, head strength and conditioning coach

I have always enjoyed manifesto-type articles where the author writes out their belief. I do not think there is anything revolutionary about my position and I know there is a lot of room for discussion, debate, and disagreement. There is also room to develop the list. I think it is a good drill for anyone to create their own belief list. Below are a few items from my “Things I Believe” list.

I believe in fundamentals. With our students and athletes at Lakeside, everything is about establishing foundations and fundamentals. In the weight room, it’s all about establishing basic skill and understanding. It’s all about establishing a culture and a work ethic. Keep it simple and establish tools for competence and confidence. From there, we can progress through the process of training. Which leads me to another belief.

I believe the key question is “what am I trying to accomplish?” This question gives definition and structure to everything we are going to do. From weight room culture to the structure of the program and training design; from orientation to the nuts and bolts of the workout. Where are we going and how will we get there? Besides giving me the keys for designing and running the strength program, this question has taught me a valuable lesson: I learned that I better have a good answer to an athlete or a coach when questioned “why are we doing this drill or this exercise?” If I don’t have a good reason or answer, then I probably shouldn’t be doing it. Which leads me to another belief.

I believe in long term athletic development. There is no quick fix. There is no “give me a workout to make me a better_______.” I am in the construction business. The great part of being a coach at Lakeside is that I get to see young athletes in their foundational and formative stages of their physical, emotional, mental development. I get to build on my beliefs of discipline, accountability, and work ethic, and provide appropriate and progressive methods for developing their total self. There is nothing more rewarding than watching a young athlete grow in confidence as they physically develop. I like to tell them everything they do this year is foundation for what they will be doing the next year.

I believe that the foam roller is the most undervalued tool in most gyms. A tool is just a tool until there is deep understanding of how the tool can be used and what magical change it contains. That goes for a jump rope, a medicine ball, a barbell, a dumbbell, a kettlebell and so much more. Committing to a consistent regimen of deep understanding and practice with these tools will change the athlete.

I believe it’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate. If I tolerate athletes coming to training late, I get lots of late athletes. If I tolerate poor technique, the athlete will be slow to develop better technique. I know that I must be clear in what I expect and can deliver. I can teach a great lesson for an exercise progression, but if I let the athlete use poor technique and I’m not working hard to help them understand and make adjustments, then I am tolerating lousy execution.

I believe everything accomplished in the strength and conditioning program is because the athlete chose to show up and do the work. My ego is not a part of their success.

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