Volt Family Story: Colorado School of Mines Swimming
How Volt helped give Swimming Coach Nate Rothman confidence that his athletes are training on a program that is rooted in proven, time-tested methods.
Colorado School of Mines
Colorado native Nate Rothman knows a thing or two about swimming. A former four-time high school state champion, Rothman was a consistent top-ten competitor in the Pac-10 while at the University of Arizona, and is now entering his fifth year as head swimming coach and aquatics director at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO. Under Coach Rothman’s leadership, the Orediggers have seen increased success in their Division-II conference—but Rothman knew he would be hard-pressed to give his athletes the same access to resources that he had in his Division-I program, especially when it came to strength training expertise. Until he turned to Volt Athletics.
“Before Volt, I was using my own program,” says Coach Rothman. Admittedly not a certified strength coach, Rothman used his years of swimming expertise to create training programs for his athletes. “[My program] was better than not lifting at all,” he says, “but it was still very basic.” Many collegiate coaches find this scenario all too familiar: without the budget and staff resources of DI programs, strength training is often relegated to sport coaches and department directors without the time or expertise to devote to proper programming. For Rothman, his training program worked—for a while. But strength gains would inevitably stall, along with athlete performance, until the Orediggers adopted Volt’s individualized, expertly-designed training programs. “Now that we’re using Volt, we’re gaining strength and not hitting plateaus,” says Rothman, which is not an easy feat for his academically-focused student-athletes.
[Volt] helps to be able to feel confident when instructing an athlete on how to perform a certain lift, and how to make the proper corrections so that the athlete can move forward with the right technique.
The Colorado School of Mines is renowned for its engineering and math programs, and general focus on academics. With a heavy course load, it is tough for student-athletes to make time for regular practice and competition—let alone for strength training sessions. Coach Rothman, however, has mitigated the potential stress of this time commitment by heavily encouraging his athletes to make the extended commitment. Rothman knows that when athletes buy into a program fully, training becomes a priority. And Volt helps Rothman create that buy-in: “Having a weekly progression has been helpful to inspire buy-in from athletes,” he says. “Now we have a more focused, individualized, and sport-specific program has helped to motivate my athletes, to get them excited [about strength training].”
One way Rothman encourages excitement about the program is by using Volt as a means to simplify time management. He is implementing a performance training platform that allows student-athletes to navigate their academic landscape while having a flexible lifting schedule. “The movement library has been very helpful in implementing Volt,” Rothman says. “For young coaches, the pointers were a great help. It helps to be able to feel confident when instructing an athlete on how to perform a certain lift, and how to make the proper corrections so that the athlete can move forward with the right technique.” After the lifts are introduced, athletes are equipped to access Volt’s Movement Library, which demonstrates proper movement technique through on-screen demonstrations. This allows athletes to do the lifts safely on their own, when their academic schedule allows.
Along with excitement and commitment to the strength training program, Rothman has also instilled confidence in his athletes. “Strength training helps kids get more confident with their bodies with coordination and strength—and this has added to their confidence in the water.” He has seen the benefit as a coach, while his athletes are motivated by utilizing the professionally designed performance training Volt offers. And when athletes train on specialized training programs designed to peak them for competition at just the right time, the results are tangible. Rothman’s athletes are growing stronger, busting plateaus, and becoming safer and more effective lifters with every workout.
Strength training is an emerging phenomenon within swimming but, as with most sports, it is only helpful when correctly utilized. Rothman confirmed this notion, suggesting that strength training has been an asset in developing his athletes through an entire season. Coaching at a small program, Rothman has taken important steps toward using all available resources to improve the success rates of his swimmers. Coach Rothman believes that all athletes should have equal access to proper training protocols and programs—and Volt is helping him bridge that gap.