If anyone had told me in 2019 that I’d end up training 900 athletes remotely during one of the toughest times in modern history, I’d have thought they were crazy. Like many other people in fitness, 2020 was a year of reckoning for me. However, with the help of CoachMePlus and remote training, I was able to coach and guide baseball and softball players on strength training and overhand throwing development while all three of my business’s locations were closed.If anyone had told me in 2019 that I’d end up training 900 athletes remotely during one of the toughest times in modern history, I’d have thought they were crazy, says @Wass_Strength. Click To Tweet
The Story Behind High Level Throwing
Every gym, fitness center, and even fitness YouTube channel starts as a dream. Mine started as one to make high-quality throwing training available to baseball and softball players. That was the birth of Wasserman High Level Throwing. We have expanded and currently have three locations across the U.S. in addition to our remote training.
We had always planned to build a remote platform for our athletes as we grew our national following. This idea was not a priority, but we knew we offered something special. We have worked with Power 5 college programs, Team USA Olympians, and individual athletes across the country, and now across the globe. The information shared in our throwing program is unique, and we knew we wanted to offer it to as many people as we could.
Our mission is to teach softball and baseball players how to move efficiently, maximize throwing potential, improve accuracy, and create intent based on position, through constraint training drills and proper progressions. We focus on overhand throwing based on each position—not just pitching—providing an expertise not found in other programs. We work with movement, arm care, injury prevention, rehabilitation, throwing development, and more.
Beyond drills, we have books and videos available for our users. CoachMePlus allows us to share these videos and resources easily.
COVID-19 Hit the Fitness Industry Hard
Many people don’t realize just how hard COVID-19 hit the fitness industry, but each of us obviously does. Shutdowns meant people couldn’t train indoors—and it wasn’t long before gyms had no people and no money. Even the most established gyms were forced to shut down. I’ll never forget the flood of heartbreaking photos on social media showing gyms selling equipment to stay afloat.
The writing was on the wall, and my time had come. I knew that with chaos came opportunity, and I needed to decide whether to focus on the chaos or on the opportunity that comes with it.
Knowing that the end or success of my dream had never been this tangible, I only had one choice: to see the glass as half empty or as half full. I chose the latter.
With my branches in Florida, Ohio, and New Hampshire shut down, I’d never get a better opportunity to transition my business to a remote model. Now was the time. With everything shut down, we knew we needed to accelerate the move to an online platform; otherwise, we wouldn’t survive.
Building with the CoachMePlus Omnichannel Fitness Program
Safe to say, I had tried many fitness programs, but CoachMePlus’s Omnichannel Fitness program completely blew me away. There is nothing I’ve seen like it. It goes beyond program building to allow for in-depth analysis through specialized reports. It has athlete-facing dashboards and allows for the sharing of individualized videos.
Once we decided to go with CoachMePlus, we hustled and built out all our programs in the CoachMePlus app in just a couple of months. This was no easy feat. Getting started is usually the hardest step to take, but we were able to bulk upload our training videos; duplicate sets, workouts, and progressions to build programs; and give limited or full access to all our coaches.Once we decided to go with CoachMePlus, we hustled and built out all our programs in the CoachMePlus app in just a couple of months, says @Wass_Strength. Click To Tweet
This also enabled us to make quick work of onboarding. The support staff at CoachMePlus can help you build out your personalized dashboards, letting you focus on training. In June 2020, we launched our remote program and had between 40 and 50 athletes.
The results didn’t take long to show. Our memberships just started to explode—we didn’t realize the appetite coaches and kids had for this information. By the end of the year, we had doubled usage, and we were at about 80 athletes.
Despite the hardship of 2020, we had a year of learning and expansion. However, nothing could have prepared us for 2021.
Our product just kept exploding. We offer three- or six-month programs that work on overhand throwing. We knew there was generally a heavier focus on baseball throwing or the underhand pitching in softball. When we brought our softball overhand throwing to the remote world, the demand did not subside—in fact, it grew.Since starting with CoachMePlus, we’ve remotely trained 900 athletes across the nation and the world in either our three- or six-month program, says @Wass_Strength. Click To Tweet
We realized how much our unique information and programming was needed. Athletes kept walking in through the “virtual” door and bringing other athletes, who also brought other athletes. Since starting with CoachMePlus, we’ve trained 900 athletes across the nation and the world in either our three- or six-month program.
Athlete Success Story: The 2020 Olympics
This success story leads us to one of the most talented members of the High Level Throwing team: Haylie McCleney. To give a bit of background on McCleney, she graduated from Alabama in 2016 and then went on to get her master’s degree in exercise physiology from Florida Atlantic University in 2018. She is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
With her educational background, it only makes sense that McCleney is dedicated to the strength training involved in developing athletes. She has been lifting regularly since she was in high school and asserts that “[Lifting] has been one of the factors that separates the really good softball players from the great softball players.” McCleney has been the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Florida A&M since 2018 and started working as a coach with High Level Throwing two years ago. The most notable part of her experience, however, is her career as a softball player—she played for Alabama all four years of college and then was added to the Olympic roster in October 2019!
Once the pandemic began, Haylie brought a total of six Team USA softball players to train with High Level Throwing’s intuitive remote training program through CoachMePlus. These athletes needed high-quality training to keep them accountable while training opportunities were more limited. The community and challenge of our programs gave them the value they were looking for to prepare for the Olympics.
The CoachMePlus platform helped coaches send videos, documents, schedules, and more to these athletes. The program builder let us easily assign workouts while enabling the athletes to record movements, weights, and reps that deviated from the prescribed plan.
With a platform that allowed completely remote training, we proceeded to also train some amazing women from Team Mexico and Team Austria, officially taking the brand global! Now we are also training athletes in Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia.
The Best Part of It All
With all the changes we had in such a short time, it is easy to look back at the past few years and just see a whirlwind. However, we’ve built an overall great platform for our athletes. From our observations, feedback, and readings of KPIs, our coach-athlete relationships have improved tremendously.
It doesn’t stop there. Our program gave our athletes tangible benefits that they could feel when training. Athletes can track their progress easily. CoachMePlus logs nutrition, hydration, workouts, and the wearable device data of each athlete. From the app, the athletes and coaches can access their data in dashboards. Athletes are able to recognize injuries faster by seeing changes in performance and address weaknesses before there are injuries. (CoachMePlus does offer a Functional Movement Screen integration for those who are certified, but we do not use that service.)
The unique goals of each athlete are now more attainable than ever because of the data’s transparency.
While it took a few months to finalize the building of our omnichannel online fitness program, the results didn’t take as long to show. In less than a year on CoachMePlus, we had expanded to a global audience.
Embracing a Future-Proof and Long-Term Growth Strategy
My business model was based on the conventional fitness model. Like any other legacy strategy, its success was dependent on how long society could keep the status quo going.For each piece of face-to-face coaching we were fearful we had lost, CoachMePlus was able to provide a solution, says @Wass_Strength. Click To Tweet
However, for each piece of face-to-face coaching we were fearful we had lost, CoachMePlus was able to provide a solution. The app supports daily chats between coaches and athletes. It has a comprehensive program builder that schedules the workouts we had been able to work in person. The video library allows us to access all CoachMePlus’s videos, and more importantly, we are able to upload our own videos to include when we assign workouts. The CoachMePlus interface made sending videos and scheduling with remote clients less of a hassle.
Change is not something I fear. On the contrary, it’s something I’ve embraced and look forward to. Our partnership with CoachMePlus gave us a future-proof business strategy, putting the future in our hands and us at the forefront of the transition.
We have already trained more than 900 athletes on our remote platform, and we are continuing to grow and evolve our programming. The CMP platform has created two full-time positions, and another two to three remote, part-time performance coaches are helping athletes reach their goals and communicate weekly on baseball- and softball-specific strength and skill training. Additionally, we had to add another CMP platform (High Level Pitching®) for our softball pitchers and are continuing to build that out to meet the increasing demands.
We are looking forward to working harder, yet more efficiently, for our clients into 2022 and beyond. We’ll continue training and helping through our online fitness channel. As for our platform, we’ll keep optimizing and perfecting the art of fun and intuitive fitness interfaces. From where I stand, the future seems bright and foolproof.
For more information about CoachMePlus and for other inspirational and success stories, contact us today. Our teams will be more than willing to help.
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