Welcome to a new year and a new episode of Facility Finders! In this one, we follow the renovation at another incredible high school committed to offering a first-class facility: Ozark High School in Ozark, Missouri, run by Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Corey Roy.
Video 1. Virtual tour of Ozark High School’s newly renovated weight room.
What I love most about many renovation-type projects is how the coach can really put their personal touch on the space based on their philosophy and the overall floor plan. This project started with Coach Roy reaching out to the booster club and athletic department to see if this was something they saw as worth the investment. After those conversations, they gave him the green light to remake the space he envisioned for his athletes and his training program.What I love most about many renovation-type projects is how the coach can really put their personal touch on the space based on their philosophy and the overall floor plan, says @johndelf99. Click To Tweet
What ultimately came to fruition was a weight room offering the ability to train a large number of athletes with easy sight lines. Each rack has a uniform look, so athletes don’t have to run all over the place to find and use what they need. Here are the coach’s words when I asked him for his thoughts on the design process:
“When it comes to designing a room or looking at new equipment, I feel the first thing a coach should do is know what they want out of their room,” Coach Roy said. “Decide what is important and what are your non-negotiables.”
I really love the initiative from Coach Roy to instill pride via the signage in the weight room. The graphics on the walls and entrance go a long way toward making a simple space something very elegant without having to spend a bunch of money. His goal was to make the space somewhere the athletes wanted to be and also highlight the teams that won regional and state championships.The graphics on the walls and entrance go a long way toward making a simple space something very elegant without having to spend a bunch of money, says @johndelf99. Click To Tweet
As a coach, I love hearing from other coaches when they buy equipment to learn WHY they choose the companies they use:
- Was it the price?
- Is it a popular brand?
- Did they have a cool connection?
Coach Roy wanted to have a product that would stand up to the wear and tear of continuous and long-term use at his school and a company with the good customer service quality that he got from Powerlift during this project. This process is extra hard at times because you have to get everything you want under a particular budget but still get quality—having a company like Powerlift to make that process easier for Coach Roy was invaluable.
“Our area contact has been so good to work with and made this process very simple,” Coach Roy said when I asked him more about Powerlift. “They care about the customer and always make it right. The product speaks for itself, but the people make it what it is.”
Along with Powerlift, Coach Roy bought auxiliary equipment from companies like Rogue and Perform Better, including training boxes, medicine balls, and hurdles. These are pieces of equipment that Ozark athletes will use every day, so they bought these pieces from reputable companies that will be available for them in case the equipment breaks and needs replacing.
Some of the specialty pieces that Ozark has include:
- Glute ham machines.
- Chains for bars or sprinting.
- Hex bars for the racks.
Combined with proper coaching, these are all pieces that can help improve the overall training QUALITY at Ozark High. Chains are a great tool for accommodating resistance as well as for sprinting. The glute ham machines can be used for back extension, Nordic hamstring curls, and reverse hyper-extensions—which are critical for the posterior chain and a primary focus for the athletes trained by Coach Roy.
Some things that are not typically “special equipment” in the weight room are the coaches’ office and proper storage. The worst thing a weight room can have is clutter—and a stressed strength coach! Gear all over the ground and not properly stored in closets or on shelves can ruin flow in the weight room and make it harder to keep clean.
A dedicated office for the strength coach seems very elementary but is often missed. This is a place where coaches can decompress from training, meet with athletes when they need a place to come and vent in a safe place, or hold discussions with other coaches about training during their seasons/off-seasons.When it comes to facility design and renovation, a dedicated office for the strength coach seems very elementary but is often missed, says @johndelf99. Click To Tweet
Takeaways from Coach Roy
Renovations enable schools to improve and invest in their athletes without asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations and space to build new construction. Coach Roy, who is finishing his second year at Ozark and has more than 20 years in education, used his experience to meet with the athletics staff and booster club to advocate for his athletes about the need for the upgrade, and they agreed. Sometimes, the hardest part is asking for help and then allowing that help actually to come—we tend to try and do everything on our own to show how good we are.
Finally, branding is obviously what many schools try and capitalize on, but the PRIDE aspect that Coach Roy focused on was successful because it added more drive for athletes to continue to win. Those triumphs will give them the opportunity to be in the weight room forever as part of the images and graphics on the walls and doors.
Thank you again for taking the time to allow me to check out your awesome facility, Coach Roy!
Since you’re here…
…we have a small favor to ask. More people are reading SimpliFaster than ever, and each week we bring you compelling content from coaches, sport scientists, and physiotherapists who are devoted to building better athletes. Please take a moment to share the articles on social media, engage the authors with questions and comments below, and link to articles when appropriate if you have a blog or participate on forums of related topics. — SF