Coach's Corner: Joel Applebee 9/16

Joel Applebee

By Joel Applebee Mill Valley Head Coach
Posted: September 16, 2010 - 7:54 PM



Zero hour is a class that meets daily, one hour prior to the beginning of the school day. Strength and conditioning skills are taught during zero hour. Other academic classes can be offered during this time as well. The focus of this column is to show the importance zero hour strength and conditioning and how its successes can carry over to student athletes’ successes, both, on and off the field.

As most coaches will agree, high school sports is more about learning life skills and less about winning on the scoreboard. Zero hour provides coaches additional face time with players to help teach these vital lessons. A coach reminding players the importance of academic work prior to the school day starting is much more powerful than a reminder 15 hours in advance.

Zero hour is not only beneficial for the strength and conditioning of student athletes, but teaches players self-discipline, hard work, and team camaraderie. Zero hour requires student athletes to sacrifice their time and as teenagers, their most valued commodity, which is sleep.

While their peers are grabbing a pop-tart running out the door five minutes before the first bell, players at zero hour are already working towards their future. The vast majority of players will find careers that require them to be up and ready to go early in the morning. With the morning workout players need to be prepared for their entire day before they step out the door. Zero hour is just a glimpse and a practice for their future.

In a society where childhood obesity makes the news on a weekly basis, zero hour gives students an opportunity to stay physically fit without taking away from their academic day. In the typical block schedule, some students would have a strength and conditioning course every other day. On certain weeks, that is twice a week. Not to mention if they are sick at all, they’re down to one or no workout at all.

Additionally, students getting to school early guarantees they will be to school on time for academic classes. All of this hard work teaches young men and women what is necessary to succeed in life beyond their academic years.

Lastly, team sports force players to trust the man or woman next to them. With shared sacrifice, players create a bond that strengthens them as an individual and as a team. The more players invest in their sport and in their teammates, the more success means to them. As the old adage goes, “Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy.” The more time you can get players working together, pushing each other to get better, the more they will be able to lean on each other during a game in crucial situations.

Zero hour requires a lot of commitment from both players and coaches, but it is worth it in the end. My goal, as any coach’s goal would be, is to see successes carry over on the field, in the classroom and in everyday life. Zero hour can help accomplish this goal.