Diary of a High School Strength Coach
How one parent’s enthusiasm fired up a high school to transform its weightroom and strength program
Published: Winter 2003
If there’s a walking advertisement for the BFS program, it’s got to be Doug George of Boardman, Ohio. As the father of six, George decided to give his kids a head start on their athletic careers by building a small weightroom in his garage. The space worked great, even if George went so overboard in outfitting their gym that he had to park his cars outside. And he wasn’t done yet.
George’s high school-age children attend Boardman High School. Although it’s a Division I school with over 1,800 students, Boardman’s weightroom was inadequately equipped and its strength program produced minimal gains by the few who used it. George and the school struck a bargain: George would find sponsorships to improve the weightroom and the school would have George as its new strength coach for at least one year. What happened next was the creation of one of the finest weightrooms and conditioning programs in the area.
George is so enthusiastic about BFS that we decided to just stand aside and let him tell his tale. (Honestly, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.)
“Right from the start I said if we’re going to do this weightroom we’re going to do it right! No excuses!
“The BFS equipment we purchased is just unbelievable – it’s all great stuff. We got their super cages, hex bars, 3-in-1 squat boxes, gold bars, rubber bumper plates – we’ve got the best of what BFS has.
“The first time I watched the BFS Total Program video I got the chills. Watching Coach Shepard’s intensity and drive – everything about the guy is a class act. He teaches kids how to win, not just on the field but also in the big game of life.
“Everything that I’ve known I had to do to be successful in business, to be positive and work as a team, I saw in the BFS program. I told my athletes, and I’m always honest with them, that Dr. Shepard and his people are not where they are by mistake. They are where they are because of their positive attitude.
“Mr. Bob Doyle came down and we had our first clinic a week before our first game. It was short notice, but this was all new to our athletes so I thought it was important to get it in. Our varsity football team was one and nine, and we had kids who couldn’t squat the bar. They know that they’re a work in progress, but the goal of our football team is a championship ring – I tell you right now they are going to get that ring.
“I move 45 athletes through our weightroom in 38 minutes a day, and we spend three minutes before the workout with the BFS thought of the day to get mentally prepared – to attack the workout like it was a game-day situation. That’s what Dr. Shepard says, and that’s what anybody who wins at anything knows you have to do. Period.
“We absolutely follow the Be An Eleven program. There are no radios, no do-rags, no jewelry. I tell them if they want to stand out, stand out by being an Eleven. Stand out by winning that state championship.
“About those BFS standards: I was born and raised on a farm, and I used to tell my dad, ‘I did pretty good today,’ and he would say, ‘Compared to what?’ And that’s the beautiful thing about those charts – you can compare yourself with the elite athletes in this country.
“Our girls love the BFS program. If they worry about getting big, I tell them that they have nothing to worry about unless they go off their diet, in which case by the time they reach my age they’ll look like me. But joking aside, I showed my girls the BFS article with that cheerleader Amy Miller jerking all that weight overhead and that really sold them on the program. They were like, ‘Whoa!’
“I have to tell some of my athletes that they may not be great yet, but that with hard work they could be. And you can see it in their eyes. They’re hungry and have a beautiful attitude, and I just know they’re going to be in the BFS magazine when they win the state championship, with a title like ‘From 1-9 to State Champions.’ That’s going to be one heck of a story.”
Coach George, we believe it!