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Think of the first person that made a real difference in the landscape of your athletic career. Hopefully, it was someone who was positive and understood the motivation and courage necessary to just come out and compete with the team. As a person that gets to influence many people in a controlled and private environment, I have the luxury of not dealing with the "Mommy & Daddy ball" BS that unfortunately infiltrates many high school and youth sports teams.

One of the best parts about my role as a strength + conditioning coach is that it gives me the opportunity to teach young people that anything is possible with consistent hard work and effort. In the gym, as well as in life, hard work and effort is rewarded with results. From a basic training environment to the most advanced – it should not be pretentious, intimidating, and should never deter the average person. Phones off, music turned up, hard work being done.
The job is simple. Create an environment that fosters learning, patience, being fundamentally sound, and above all, accountable. When athletes know that their coach is accountable, and they are held accountable as well, trust is built and becomes the catalyst for a successful program. Build the foundation for the athlete to be a strong minded person! The sports come and go, but mental strength and a positive attitude is primary for life long success.

My parents never counted on the scholarship. They never called the coach when I got benched or cut from a team, which happened. They set the precedent that quitting was never an option. They signed me up for teams and let the coaches, coach! This allows young people to develop the thick skin necessary in team sports that serve them well their entire life! Building a high level youth athlete starts with the mind, they must believe. Program events that are easily measurable, and don't let them bite off more than they can chew - at least right off the bat. Along the way, change the “standard”, expect more, encourage often, and have unwavering confidence in the athlete to achieve all tasks.

Build the relationship. When you genuinely care more about the progress of your athletes as opposed to your own agenda, personal development and progress, that’s when you've truly bridged the gap to becoming a real coach. I'm more apt to discuss state champions, college football success stories, NFL athletes than my 2k row personal best or max squat. I'm in the business of helping others achieve success. Their success is my success. This isn’t a free pass to being a bum either, building the trust and belief is 50% of the deal. An athlete who knows that you've done it yourself, and can still can do it, builds immediate credibility.

Coach with intent, go the extra mile, spot with conviction, all the time. Lead from the front, forever forward.
It is important to note the volume in this plan is quite high for a high school level athlete. The weights were very moderate with a large emphasis on ZERO failed reps in any main exercises. This program was administered by our staff to over 60 contact sport athletes coming out of their sports season. Over the course of the 10 weeks all participants saw increase in strength, speed, and improvements in overall body composition. To take a look at our full year round periodization for the contact sport athlete please visit

Dan Goodman is the Co-Owner of Varsity House Gym and Founder of Varsity Highlights HD. Dan was a Full-Scholarship Student-Athlete and graduate of the University of Rhode Island. While on the Gridiron, he was a two year starter and appeared in over 30 collegiate games. Dan has traveled extensively with the specific purpose of learning from some of the best Strength and Conditioning Coaches and business leaders in the industry. During the last five years, some of the seminars he has worked and attended include Gym Jones, Westside Barbell, Ohio State University and many others. Prior to the Varsity House move to 337 Blaisdell, Dan has coached close to 10,000 hours on the gym floor.

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