McHenry High School Case Study
GETTING STARTED WITH WEIGHT ROOM TECHNOLOGY
Coach John Beerbower is the Director of Strength & Conditioning at McHenry High School in Illinois. He has been coaching for a long time and has been at McHenry for 20 years. He’s seen weight room fads come and go, and he’s pushed himself relentlessly in the pursuit of continuing education to better serve his athletes and community.
John first came across Perch a few years ago. He had been using Teambuildr for his programming tool and saw how athletes were gravitating more and more towards technology. As he started to adopt more technology, he learned about a new tool to implement velocity based training; Perch.
Familiar with existing forms of VBT like Tendo and other LPTs, John loved that this tool was tether-less. In a high school setting with athletes of all ages and abilities, not having something attached to the barbell was significant.
“To have the camera be mounted in the rack and I could focus on the athlete and the coaching, it’s very user friendly, and their ability to engage and get feedback on intent was phenomenal."
John is no stranger to weight room technology and became on of the first users to activate the Perch and Teambuildr integration. McHenry High School uses both daily to monitor fatigue, reduce injuries, and increase motivation year round.
IMPLEMENTING WEIGHT ROOM TECHNOLOGY AT MCHENRY
John will be the first to tell you that his athletes took to the new technology easily. When lifting, they were quickly motivated by the objective numbers on the tablet. screen from Perch. He was able to set velocity zones for them and give them goals and targets to aim for. And set up leaderboards to create even more of a competitive atmosphere on the big TV.
True to his educational roots, John believes in leveraging the community to create a better experience for students and student athletes, “At a school, at an educational institution, we should be looking for ways to innovate.”
He was able to get weight room technology like Perch and Teambuildr in his room by appealing to the community and making a case for why it improves overall athlete health, wellbeing, and education. His weight room is a classroom and “how that sports science can then take athletes onto the classroom when they are focusing on a physics lesson and looking at power output, all those dynamics are enhanced by technology integration.”
It worked and the community responded with support. And he notes that his athletes are incredibly appreciative of “the investment by our community in the importance of training.”
“As soon as I saw Perch, I fell in love with it. Our kids loved it, seeing how they interact with it, I knew it was something.” ~ Coach John Beerbower
WEIGHT ROOM TECH CULTURE
McHenry has around 750 athletes that train every day. Some are student athletes, some are training in their educational courses. But with that immense volume, he needs his room to function incredible efficiently.
With Teambuildr, John was able to increase compliance with athletes and their programs. With Perch, it’s more of the same for him in his weight room.
“What makes Perch unique is the information right on the display that athletes are able to interact with. It’s not me on the backend. A lot can be done right on the device and give that immediate feedback and that’s what’s most important to me as a coach.
With the Perch and Teambuildr integration John continues to reiterate the importance of seamlessness in a high traffic environment like his weight room. With the integration, there’s no manual input, there’s no switching back and forth, there’s no paper and pencils, there’s no tethers or bar mounted sensors. All of the data he needs is immediately output and stored on the back end.
OUR TIPS & TRICKS
Find what works for you. In his crowded weight room, John needed efficient tools that could seamlessly integrate into what he does daily with 750 athletes.
Use the weight room to build relationships. Hard work is a developing skill for high school athletes. Let them encourage each other and if you can use tech tools to motivate them, do that too.
Let the tech motivate your athletes If it is a good user experience, the technology will motivate. Let them learn it and give them the autonomy to be motivated by it and their peers around them with the competitive data.
We is bigger than me Your community will support you if you can rationalize what’s needed to improve athlete experience and performance in the weight room and in the classroom and tie them together.