Last night I made the short trip to the D-1Training Center near Columbus to watch some high school players train under Chuck Gresham. Players of all ages worked out for over 90 minutes. Players like Tawain Gordon, Chris Allen Spiller, and Mickey Crum, all of whom I have known for a while. Met a young eighth grade athlete who carries a 4.0GPA, plays three sports. Ran a 54.5/400 last year in track. Also a high ranking wrestler. On the ride home, personal trainers and their impact on high school athletes was on my mind.
My late wife taught the Talented and Gifted program in the Upper Sandusky school system until she lost a battle with cancer. Actually, after receiving her Master's degree, she began the program. In the beginning, she worked hard to convince classroom teachers that the TAG program was not a reward system for straight A students. Teachers had a difficult time, releasing students to go to TAG, because to them, TAG was not an educational time. The TAG program took students with a gift and pushed them to improve that gift. She always used Mary Lou Retton as an example of someone who had a gift. She praised the people who made Mary Lou Retton work "outside of the box." This same thought goes to athletes.
Today, athletes both female and male have more opportunities to work "outside the box" and take their skills to a higher level. Personal trainers for high school students are becoming more and more available to the students. Of course, younger and younger students are taking advantage of these programs. Like evrything else, if the training provided is done right, I am supportitive. But like everything else, there are phonies and wannabe's out there. I have no problem exposing them.
Perhaps my biggest concern is -- what is training an athlete and what is coaching an athlete? If a trainer is making an athlete faster, stronger, and more fexible, I applaude a trainer. If a trainer starts trying to teach technique, then I have a concern. For example, if a wrestler is coached one escape technique by his coach , and a trainer tries to change that - wrong. If a trainer encourages a certain pass blocking technique by his football coach, and a trainer tries to change his feet - wrong. A trainer has to "bite the bullet" and stick with making the athlete bigger, faster, and stronger and not coaching technique.
My friend Mike Mauk runs one of the best high school football conditioning programs aroung the state. But if a football player can get some extra speed or agility training from a personal trainer, go for it. Do not miss team workouts. Do not take position coaching from a trainer. But any training point that can make an athlete faster, bigger, or stronger, he or she needs to take advantage of the information.
From my side, the biggest worry or concern that I have is the the trainer who also considers himself a "handler." This guy will train an athlete, but also try to steer him to certain colleges. He will try to influence the athlete, because many times the "handler" is being rewarded by the college. Oregon is a prime example. Often times financial. Sometimes free tickets to college games. Sadly, some trainers use this (indirectly) in recruiting more athletes to train. If he can get a football player some noise, he can convince others to train with him. I cannot get into detail, but parents have no clue as to what trainers cheat. I can tell you one.
Charles Gresham works part time for me. Watched him work and getting him was a no-brainer. Smart and confident, but most of all, he cares about kids. Not just the high profile kids whom recruiting writers follow, but he cares about all kids with all skill levels. Gresham trains two time Ohio high school state diving champion Olivia Ball. Of course I recommend him, because I believe in him and he works for me.
Mike Robinson has started a training program in Toledo. Must be creditable, because he coaches for Greg Dempsey at Toledo Central Catholic who would not tolerate anything that hurts athletes.. Just met a person who has started a program in the Akron area. Former Ohio high school player and pro player Rocky Boilman has done the same in Cincinnati. Matt Muncey, former Miamisburg and Ohio University player has started a training facility near Dayton. Of course, there are more, but these are just some that I am familiar with.
My name and a dollar (special sale) will get you a free cup of coffee at McDonald's in Upper Sandusky. Point - My thoughts mean nothing. Like everything else - good trainers - bad trainers. If you find a good one, I really see nothing with an athlete working "outside the box" to be the very best that he or she can be.