3 Coaching Lessons I Learned From a PB&J

3 Ways a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Helped Create My Training Culture


 At the beginning of the summer, I started making my athletes (primarily baseball players) bring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or two to every workout.  I did this initially because I wanted these guys to keep weight on during their grueling summer baseball schedule. I knew that if I could sneak some extra calories into their system during the workout, they would have an easier time keeping their weight up.  In addition to keeping weight on, the PB&J break each session has had some other positive effects on their in-season training.

 1)  It made guys prepare/ think about their upcoming training session prior to them walking in the door.

Each night before or morning of training, while preparing for the day, the athletes were now also preparing a sandwich for their workout.  They knew they needed to be ready for their workout, and they prioritized it! Eating enough became vital to their success.  They began to understand that you couldn’t just magically snap your fingers and put on weight.  It has to be a priority, and that means planning and preparation.  Anytime you can get high school athletes to prepare in advance, that is a WIN! 


2)  They became tuned-in to their workouts and as a result, active participants in the process. 

My athletes started coming to the gym knowing exactly what their specific workout would be based off of the week before.  They stopped asking “What’s next? Or How many reps?” and began to take ownership of their program.  My role changed from a drill sergeant who had to walk them through every step of a session, to a coach who could observe and facilitate, offering advice and guidance when needed!


3)  It created accountability and community! 

The guys knew that I expected them to bring food to eat during this 5 minute rest break during their workout.  Guys would rib and joke with a guy if he ever forgot his sandwich. These GOOD NATURED jokes and laughs (even if they are at another athletes expense) are a telltale sign of camaraderie and togetherness.  This friendly joking signaled to me the guys were “buying in”!  Eating a sandwich mid-workout began as a way to keep weight on athletes during their busy summer season.  Not only did this have some effect physically, but it also created changes in their mindset and the way they approached their training.  Creating positive change in behavior


In this day in age it is very common to hear coaches complain about lack of accountability, lack of preparation and a general disinterest in hard work.  I could not disagree with these coaches more!  I have seen athletes prepare, engage, and succeed in the gym and on the playing field.  As coaches, it is our job to find new and innovative ways to keep them motivated and bought in to the process! Challenge your athletes, prepare them for the demands of their sport(s) and watch them thrive!!


Joe ServaisComment