Coaching High School Athletes

I used to predominantly make my living as a Strength and Speed Coach to athletes from all sports.  Mash Elite Performance was founded on athletes from every sport on earth.  I have coached athletes from football, softball, baseball, wrestling, swimming, water polo, track, MMA, basketball, soccer, and just about any other sport that you can imagine. Now most of you know me as a weightlifting coach, but I still love my athletes. I still have some amazing ballers that I work with.

If you are a qualified coach, strength and conditioning is a great field.  Nothing is better than watching these kids grow into adults while helping them reach their athletic goals.  There are a lot of smiles and a fair amount of tears, but everyday is rewarding. 

If you own a CrossFit, strength and conditioning is a great supplement.  The keys are having a qualified coach, and the desire to want to do it.  Weightlifting and powerlifting has pretty much taken over my life, but I still make the time to coach some very special athletes.  Sarah Johnson, CSCS still coaches several athletes at our gym. I coach our D1 Prospects and all are college bound.  They are a stud crew, and I enjoy every second of working with them.

Lately, I have been talking a lot about the condition of high school strength coaching throughout America. All the talk inspired me to write this article. I think that there are several of us out there that are ready to see some change. This article is a way of introducing coaches to some of the necessities of a solid program.

Vertimax Training

I am friends with some top Strength and Conditioning Coaches in America like Coach Joe Kenn, Dan John, Zach Even-Esh, John Welbourn, and Joe DeFranco.  All of them have their own take on things, but we all agree on some basics.  Unfortunately, those basics are missing from most programs.  Those basics will be present in our program at Ashe County High School.  Here they are:

1.  Power Production- we will use the Olympic lifts and plyometrics to master this phase.  However, you don’t have to use the Olympic lifts.  If you don’t know how to teach them proficiently, then stick to plyometrics.  Joe DeFranco has proven this point over and over.

2.  Absolute Strength-  You have to get strong.  Absolute strength and power production go hand in hand.  We will use basic squats, bench, presses, and pulls to handle this phase.  Our guys are going to be the strongest players on the field.  Genetically athletes in the mountains seem to get strong fairly quickly, so we are going to harness that advantage.

Back Squats

3.  Relative Strength- this is your ability to control your own body.  Relative strength is a major key to speed.  If your squat gets stronger, your mobility gets better, and your relative strength gets better, then you will get faster.  That is a fact that I have witnessed over and over.  The best way to test this factor is with a simple strict pull-up test.  Obviously nutrition is a big key to this one, so that leads us to #4

4.  Nutrition-  If you want a big advantage over your competition, this is the area that most high school athletes will overlook.  How bad do you want it?  If you want to be something other than mediocre, you will take responsibility for your own nutrition.  We are going to supply the tools and information, and we are going to encourage food journals.  I want to change lifestyles not only for improved athletics but also for improved life.  The mountains of North Carolina have an abnormally high rate of cancer that is no doubt partly due to diet.  I want to help affect my hometown in the biggest possible way.

5.  Mobility and Movement- Strength without movement is useless.  Ronnie Coleman would be a terrible football player.  This is another reason that I like the Olympic lifts because if they are performed correctly, mobility is a big part of the lift.  We will also start each day with a dynamic warm-up that will encourage movement.

6.  Goal Setting- to get the kid’s buy-in it is imperative to get their goals on paper.  Then the program becomes a part of their toolbox for reaching the goals that they have determined.  I want them to learn to dream big, but plan even bigger.  Then Zach and I will teach them the work ethic to work the absolute hardest. 

7.  Mindset- mindset and goal setting have to live together.  I want to determine each athlete’s view of reality, and then each day I will chip away at shifting that paradigm up a notch.  FYI your view of reality is a complete lie.  It is some imaginary state that you have formed in your brain because of the external input that you have received from friends, family, society, media, etc. 

Reality is whatever you allow yourself to believe.  If you believe that you can be all-state, then you have a chance.  If you don’t believe it, then you won’t.  It is that simple. 

8.  Mash Jacked-  this is just a funny way of saying that I want to make these athletes battle ready.  I want to give them the best chance possible to not get hurt.  We will focus on muscular balance, core stabilization, and joint stabilization. 

These are the basics, and this is what we are bringing to the mountains.  I can’t wait!  It has been a dream of mine for a longtime to affect my home.  Now is the time.  We are going to change Ashe County High School while making the whole town a better place.  You guys can do the same thing with these basics!

Saturday Feb. 9th we are hosting a Clinic at our facility here in Lewisville, NC. Tommy Bohanon, starting fullback for the Jacksonville Jaguars will join me for a day of education.

If you’re interested in attending the clinic, email us at and we will get you the information. We will have the information on the site by tomorrow.