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Volt Family Story: LJCD Football

How Volt helped Head Football Coach Tyler Hales develop team culture and increase buy-in.

La Jolla Country Day
CA High School

When Tyler Hales was promoted to Head Football Coach of La Jolla Country Day, an independent high school in San Diego, the team was looking to restore its championship ways. Coach Hales had served as the LJCD Torreys’ Defensive Coordinator for the previous four seasons, and was a natural fit for the promotion to Head Coach—even though the job came with its fair share of pressure. With the team coming off a 5-6 season in which the Torreys were ousted in the first round of the Division IV playoffs, Hales knew he had his work cut out for him. But the Torreys’ Athletic Director was confident in his decision to hire Hales. “[Coach Hales] played his football at Colby College, the kind of school many of our kids [go on to] attend,” says LJCD Athletic Director Jeff Hutzler. “He knows firsthand the rigorous academics and athletics our students must balance, and he is perfect for this job.”

Bringing his background in college football to the helm, Coach Hales knew the foundation for his team’s success would be built in the weight room during the off-season. If his athletes developed strength, size, and power in the off-season, they would transition better to the physical demands of the pre-season, and enter the in-season more prepared. To do this, the Torrey football team would need a sport-specific strength and conditioning program, individualized to every athlete in each position. Even with La Jolla Country Day’s veteran strength coach on campus, this was a tall order—creating personalized workouts weekly was extremely time consuming, and labor intensive.

Hales saw this as an opportunity to bring Volt to his school’s strength coach, Kevin Reaume. “He saw the value of Volt, and knew it could make his job a lot easier when implementing individualized workouts,” says Hales. “Also, our Athletic Director is a former head coach. He actually thanked me for bringing Volt to the school because he saw the value of bringing a more consistent strength program to the whole school.”

Getting that buy-in from the LJCD athletic department helped lay the foundation for the Torreys’ 2014 success. “We changed a few things [in the 2014 off-season],” says Hales. “We started our Monday and Wednesday practices in the weight room—to help hold guys accountable.” Accountability is one of the four “Roots of Torrey Pride.” The program emphasizes perseverance, accountability, integrity, and enthusiasm as players and coaches strive for excellence in meeting the high standards that Torrey Pride demands.

Those roots were solidified in the weight room. Having a consistent, organized strength program for student-athletes to follow helped Hales keep his players focused and enthusiastic during training sessions. “[Volt] allowed for us to up the tempo in the weight room: rotating guys through workouts, keeping them focused, and helping them get after it.” says Hales. “We already had a well-established off-season and in-season strength program. What Volt did was make workouts and results more transparent.” Volt’s metrics tracking features helped Hales and his athletes see that the program was working, and that they were getting stronger. “The [Volt] training has been a huge deal for our team and made our training extremely productive,” he says.

[Volt] allowed for us to up the tempo in the weight room: rotating guys through workouts, keeping them focused, and helping them get after it.

Hales’ coaching staff encouraged competition throughout off-season training by creating ordered strength boards, and rewarding performance with “Power Club” t-shirts and helmet stickers. “It set the tone for the regular season,” says Hales. “Once we got into the season, guys were physically prepared.”

And it showed. The Torreys, under Head Coach Hales, won La Jolla Country Day’s first ever 11-man CIF title in 2014. In fact, the Torreys outscored the #4, #1, and #2 seeds 156-41 in their three playoff games—talk about peaking at the right time! “Volt had a big [role] in our championship season,” says Coach Hales.

Sometimes after a championship, there can be a taper in athlete effort in the weight room—but not at La Jolla Country Day. In their second off-season with Volt, the Torreys are committed to improving last year’s results.

And that improvement starts in the weight room. “As a team, we tested players together so that they were both encouraging each other and competing with each other,” says Hales. “This team calibration worked really well to push players to their full potential.” Hales and his staff also grouped together players with similar strength numbers during their Volt workouts. “Naturally, players will compete with each other to finish their lift when they see their teammate lifting the same weight,” says Hales. By leveraging his athletes’ competitive drive in an encouraging team training environment, Hales ensures his players are preparing physically and psychologically for the upcoming season.

When asked about the importance of strength training for his football team’s success, Coach Hales says, “Strength training is absolutely necessary for all high-school athletes for a number of reasons,” especially for injury prevention. “To me, there is no better way to protect players and keep them safe—especially in a sport like football—than by getting them stronger,” says Hales. But strength training does so much more for athletes than just help prevent injuries. “Getting student-athletes involved in strength training will undoubtedly help them form healthy habits as they become young adults,” he says. Not only will it help student-athletes achieve the  “fundamental strength baseline [needed] to be more successful and competitive in college,” strength training can help instill intangibles—like the four “Roots of Torrey Pride”—in young athletes, traits they will carry with them into adulthood and beyond.

Coach Hales emphasizes that Volt helped strengthen accountability on the LJCD Football Team, one of the four "Roots of Torrey Pride."

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