Garrett Giemont addresses the coaches
With the growth and popularity of youth and high school football comes the development of new weight training and conditioning techniques and proper nutrition and diet tips.
That is why the Pittsburgh Steelers expanded their Youth Football Program to include a Strength & Conditioning Clinic for youth and high school coaches that was held at Heinz Field.
Steelers conditioning coordinator Garrett Giemont and conditioning assistant Marcel Pastoor ran the clinic which focused on the approach they take in the Steelers weight room both during the season and in the offseason.
Giemont provided an overview of the Steelers conditioning program, from the basic philosophy of strength and conditioning to what a normal week is like in season, while focusing on the importance of planning a program based on the age group you are working with.
"Any time you set up your practice schedules and what you are trying to accomplish to bring people along, whether they be young kids or professionals, the key is to have your core beliefs, philosophies and think through them and organize a program that is going to work on a day to day basis and make adjustments off of that to continue to get improvement," said Giemont.
"My core beliefs are the same ones that Coach (Mike) Tomlin has with the team, which are common sense, competition and respect. If you can set your program up around those styles of beliefs then you can have your philosophies come through. Our philosophy in the weight room is what we would call a functional bar-based system with nothing more important than game day. We are always preparing for game day. We get that blue printed in our football DNA during the offseason and season."
Pastoor focused on safety in the weight room, which ranges from the use of equipment to how the weight room is set up and flows.
"From day one you start setting the stage and setting the tone of what we can do, what we shouldn't do," said Pastoor. "If nothing else taking precautions and being safe about what type of training you are doing and how much you are actually doing with them."
The other big safety factor is not overdoing it with kids, pushing them too hard too soon.
"There is a whole lot of fear in that," said Pastoor. "There are certain situations where you can not develop the plates, kids can stunt their growth. If from a young age you are out playing multiple sports and being active, anything the kids are doing is a body weight type of plyometric. That is good for kids, not necessarily being in the weight room as a kid, but being active."
The clinic also featured advice from UPMC's director of sports medicine nutrition Leslie Bonci, who also provides the Steelers with nutritional guidance, as well as a weight equipment trade show to introduce some of the newest equipment and provide the proper methods to use the equipment.
"The way things are changing in athletic training and fitness, things like this are valuable," said Bob Jacoby, the head football coach at Bishop Canevin High School. "You get ideas from other people on nutrition, balance and strength. At the high school level you have kids who are all sizes and abilities and you are always looking out for new things.
"In reaching out to the high school coaches they give us an opportunity to identify with the game as a whole. The Steelers have always been very community oriented and this is just another part of it."