McHenry High School's virtual mindset speaker series features well-known sports professionals

  • Well-known health and fitness experts and coaches from across the country made special videos for McHenry High School students to provide motivation during digital learning.

    Well-known health and fitness experts and coaches from across the country made special videos for McHenry High School students to provide motivation during digital learning. Courtesy of McHenry Community High School District 156

 
 
Updated 1/20/2021 7:17 PM

With the 2020-21 school year starting remotely due to COVID-19, McHenry High School physical education teachers knew focusing on students' social and emotional learning would be a challenge in a digital environment.

So they brought in some high-profile help from well-known sports and athletics professionals from around the country.

 

The eight-part Warrior Mindset speaker series is wrapping up this month with videos from Chip Smith, a Georgia performance coach who trains many NFL players, and Jim Radcliffe, head strength and conditioning coach at the University of Oregon.

All eight professionals made 10-minute videos specifically for McHenry High School students to help keep them motivated while learning from home. The videos were featured throughout the 2020-21 school year.

John Beerbower, director of McHenry Strength and McHenry High School District 156 assistant division chair for physical education, health and driver's education, said the inspiration for the idea came about through his participation in Zac Woodfin's Power Conference.

Woodfin, director of strength and conditioning for the University of Missouri, is also one of the eight speakers.

"Our focus is about supporting total student-athlete wellness," Beerbower said. "This includes physical, mental-emotional, and social health. Virtual learning may have caused some of our methods to change. But, our mission of encouraging students never changed."

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Beerbower said McHenry PE teachers have been using the videos during classes and creating activities to go along with them. He said the feedback has been better than he imagined.

The hope is the inspirational messages from coaches across the country can help replace some of that personal social and emotional learning that comes from in-person coaching from teachers.

"I have always known that some of the most important aspects of high school strength and conditioning are about much more than lifting weights," Beerbower said.

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