This article is authored by Erik Schwager. Opinions expressed may not be that of SMARTER Team Training, STT sponsors or constituents. Coach Schwager is currently the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Hartford. Erik designs and implements training programs for numerous teams for Hartford Hawks. Before becoming the assistant at the University of Hartford, Coach Schwager owned his own business in Tampa, Florida. He also spent time working in the minor leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals with their single-A affiliate, The Batavia Muckdogs, as well as interning for numerous Division I institutions such as The University of South Florida, Michigan State University, and Princeton University.

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Often times many teams graduate their leaders and athletes who are willing to give you everything they have to give. Who are your next leaders in line and will they be able to step up to the challenge? How do we figure out who are leaders are in the weight room and on the field?

As strength and conditioning professionals a lot of times we have a unique opportunity to help sport coaches figure out those questions by the things we do on the field and the weight room through all sorts of different activities that put our athletes in high-pressure situations where they must react quickly and be able to direct.

I believe most people can direct a group of people, but the big question is, “Will people follow?” Leading is about taking ownership, accountability, leading by example, giving direction and others following you.

This is just one of the drills I have used with our athletes here at Hartford to see who will take charge and lead their team to the right path. This drill is meant for a whole team large or small and takes a great deal of direction for the team to do this properly.

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This drill will take a lot of direction from a teammate and will cause confusion if many people are talking and giving direction. This is a great way to see who is starting to step up into the fire to lead your teams to victory! More Leadership and Team building drills to come!

Erik Schwager believes that strength and conditioning is both training the mind and the body. Athletes need to be physically prepared to perform on the field, but if they are not mentally prepared it can be just as detrimental to performance as not being physically prepared. You can contact him at