When athletes should consider a performance coach—and why it’s critical to keep their high school coach in the loop

By Stephen Spiewak | Posted 6/1/2017

The desire to learn, compete and improve is certainly a commendable trait in athletes.

But before a football player decides to pursue a performance coach to help them achieve their athletic goals, there are a number of factors that the athlete and their family should consider.

Bill Parisi, founder and owner of Parisi Speed School, believes that communication is crucial to all sides of personal training, to ensure that the athlete, the high school coach and the performance coach are all working toward common goals and keeping athlete wellness at the forefront.

While many high school football programs operate speed, strength and conditioning training regimens, performance coaches can be an option for athletes who need to improve in a particular area. Whether the school's program is not overseen by a qualified strength and conditioning professional is another consideration.

Performance coaches can help athletes zero in their own personal biomechanics, muscular balance issues and movement patterns, and create a tailored program to address those specific issues for that particular athlete.

But it comes down to keeping the high school coach in the loop.

“Transparency is important,” Parisi said. “If you're going to a trainer for more individualized technique coaching, let your coach know. Let them know what you're doing and be specific.”

COMING SOON: USA Football’s Speed Training courses 

Keeping your high school coach in the loop serves as more than just a courtesy. It’s an absolute necessity to prevent overtraining.

“The last thing you want to do is bust your butt for your high school coach, then do extra training on the side, and then you get injured because you’re overtraining,” Parisi said.

Dr. Joe Eisenmann, USA Football’s director of High Performance and Education, agrees that overtraining is a serious issue that all parties involved need to consider.

“One thing I have a big concern about is the cumulative training load,” Eisenmann said on the USA Football Coach and Coordinator podcast. “It can be common for an athlete to be training with two or three teams or coaches in a single day. There may be a morning football lift, afternoon basketball practice and lift, and personal training session in the evening.  More is not always better, and the body needs time to rest and recovery for proper adaptations. And how you get to this training load is also important. “

If workloads are managed properly, Parisi believes all athletes can benefit from individualized training, much like the way that most students could stand to gain from personalized individual training for the SAT.

However, he recognizes that it’s not a fit for everyone.

“I would say absolutely pursue it, if playing high school sports is a top priority,” he said. “If it's not, and you want to have fun and being a starter or making all-conference isn’t all that important, then no, you don’t need to do it.”