Getting high school athletes to train during vacations and breaks can be a real challenge. As a coach, I've tried a number of motivational approaches. Here are some that work best.
Set a time of day when they are going to train.
I usually just ask them to train at the same time we train when school is in session. That way, it becomes a habit. The more things stay the same, the less likely athletes will miss sessions.
Get them to commit to never going more than three days in a row without doing something.
This could include running, bodyweight exercises or weight training. My philosophy is: It takes 21 days to create a good habit and three to create a bad one. If they go three days without working out, they will have an easier time missing workouts.
Use bodyweight exercises to get stronger.
I want my athletes to know that in a hotel room or on the beach, they can do things to get stronger even though they don't have access to a weight room.
Have them use a football, basketball or other piece of everyday sports equipment to get a workout in.
Using a ball to do abs or conditioning is a great way to train without it seeming like work. One thing I have learned over the years is that if you give an athlete a ball and a field, he or she will condition longer and harder because they are having a little fun. Also, if you have a good training facility in your area, you can encourage them to train there if they can swing it.
Use social media to keep them accountable.
You can have them put up a Vine of their workout, or tweet or Instagram a picture from their workout. Or they can post a photo on Facebook with a status update of what they did. Putting it online somewhere keeps them accountable to you and their teammates.
Educate them on the reasons for staying in shape during breaks and vacation.
When they're aware of the benefits, they tend to stick better to the plan. I share with them that the more they can do when away, the easier it will be when they get back.