Beginning, Approaching, Meeting, & Exceeding.

The Hilltoppers return to in-person, indoor athletic performance training this week for the first time since November 2019.  In an effort to organize the dozens of athletes grades 9-12 of varying skill and strength levels, to get them through their training in an efficient manner, we will group them using a rubric often used in education.  Competencies or expectations are measured in education by four categories: Beginning, Approaching, Meeting, Exceeding.  We will group our players based on their competency in the weightroom so that we have all of the players who need the most instruction together and players of similar strength grouped together so that little time is wasted in plate changes on racks.

Inspired by the book I am currently reading, “Into Thin Air,” and a recent hike my wife and I just did to the top of Mt Washington, (along with the fact that we are the Hilltoppers!), we will use a climbing theme to name our lifting groups and their respective racks in our weight room.  All of the beginners will be known as “Base Campers” and will work in the two racks labeled Base Camp.  Those approaching expectations of a varsity football player will be known as “Climbers.”  Players meeting expectations will be labeled “Mountaineers,” and those who exceed expectations are our “Hilltoppers.” 

Players will be evaluated throughout the summer on a weekly basis to see if they are ready to move from one group to another. Just as climbers help one another along their journey, our groups will support and encourage each other as they confront the challenges of summer training. Together, we look forward to rekindling the pride in belonging that underpins our culture and success.

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time! 

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