Let's EAT: Strength Training at North Augusta High School
JIM BOB BRYANT
“Let’s EAT!” Jim Bob Bryant, the head football coach at North Augusta High School in Aiken County, South Carolina preaches this to his players to show the connection between hard work in the weight room and results on the field on Friday night.
His first head coaching position came at Greene Central High School in North Carolina. He then moved to Havelock High School in eastern North Carolina where he was the head coach for nine seasons, posted a record of 118-16 and won three state titles.
Finally, an opportunity created itself at North Augusta High School in South Carolina where he had the opportunity to design his own weight room and locker room, while coaching in an area with high level incoming athletes as well as a supportive and caring community.
“The Culture at North Augusta is EAT- Effort, Accountability, and Toughness,” explains Bryant. “The man who is unwilling to work shall not eat. If you’re not willing to work Monday through Thursday, you’re not going to eat on Friday, and be successful on Friday.”
The effort portion covers the idea that every play on Friday night, every drill, and every lift has a starting and ending point. In each of these activities, athletes have one job of getting from point A to point B, relentlessly, for 4-6 seconds.
To Bryant, accountability is players showing up to all meetings, building character before anything else, and building toughness. Through daily competition and drills that push players to become better, Coach Bryant instills this toughness.
The Yellow Jackets start their spring training utilizing a chart to measure the amount of weight each athlete should be lifting over time. At the beginning of this five-week period, the team lifts heavy weight, but allows players long rest periods in between sets of about two minutes. This rest time is then shortened to a minute and a half and players are retested on their strength abilities. After this five-week period, a new one begins which coach Bryant calls the four corners of football, or “CrossFit for football.”
Players are put into lifting groups based on their max bench, squat, and clean. These groups work together to move quickly between bench, squat, and clean stations with the goal of completing 24 sets in 14 minutes. This form of training not only incorporates the anaerobic effects from lifting, but also mixes in cardio so players are in shape going into spring practice. Coach Bryant includes a variety of different techniques to make sure his players are well-rounded and ready to compete as the team approaches a new season.
The minute Bryant walked into North Augusta High School he had a plan of how he wanted the weight room to be laid out and what would give his athletes the tools to be successful. With the help of Hammer Strength, he was able to create his ideal gym. HD Elite Power Racks and dumbbell racks are the emphasis of the gym and cover much of the floor to allow the team to all workout at the same time.
The open floorplan in the middle of the gym is perfect to roll the weights out and do cleans, deadlifts, and snatches with ample space. The North Augusta Yellow Jackets are ready to attack the 2021 season with relentless energy and build players’ strength and agility in the meantime with their newly designed gym. Added Bryant: “Thanks to Hammer strength we now have one of the best facilities in South Carolina.”