Matt Chapdelaine has one guiding principle when dealing with young athletes.
“Kids really don’t know what you know until they know that you care, and they can’t know that you care unless you’re truly authentic about how you carry yourself,” he said. “More than trying to flaunt my credentials or the knowledge that I have, I try to show them that I’m approachable, and I’m human and I’m creating a comfortable and safe environment.”
That approach will serve the Abbotsford product well as he dives into a new partnership with G.W. Graham secondary school. The co-founder (along with wife Kelsey) and head coach at Theorem Performance and Lifestyle will play a major role in the development of the school’s elite athletes as he crafts sport-specific strength and conditioning programs and works directly with students, teachers and coaches.
Chapdelaine brings 16 years of experience training amateur and professional athletes, and it’s an exciting opportunity for a man who describes himself as a geek when it comes to designing workouts.
“I love to nerd out when it comes to creating programs and coming up with innovation solutions for different goals,” the W.J. Mouat grad laughed.
The challenge at G.W. Graham will be in the sheer amount of programming he has to come up with. Formulating sport-specific on and off-season training regimens for football, basketball, rugby, soccer and volleyball is a tall task.
“And you’ve got a varsity and a junior varsity side to things,” Chapdelaine noted. “But for me, that’s really exciting to develop that many programs with that many considerations in mind.
“It’s like a giant puzzle.”
Chapdelaine plans to actually go one step further with his work. Not only will he be creating sport-specific programs, he’ll be tailoring those to the way the team wants the team to play.
For example, he’ll talk to Grizzlies football coach Luke Acheson to get a sense of what style that team will employ.
“Some football teams want to be more of a hard-nosed running-offence and five-man fronts on defence type, and their program should be built on size and strength,” he explained. “Other teams might have a strong quarterback and fast receivers and they play a three-man front on defence with a fast secondary. Now we’re looking at building a program that still works on size and strength, because you need that for football, but also tries to take advantage of the speed they have and build that forward.”
Chapdelaine is also the strength and conditioning coach at the University of the Fraser Valley, where some of these GWG athletes may end up. It’s a great opportunity for him to instill proper technique and work habits before they make the next-level leap to UFV or another university program.
“It’s extremely exciting for me because one of the things we find when we get athletes at the university level is that it’s a bit of a surprise bag,” Chapdelaine said. “We hope most kids will have a working knowledge of what’s expected of them, but the reality is strength and conditioning is a field that Canadian high schools are just starting to catch up on.
“With G.W. Graham doing this, they’re ahead of the curve and I think it’s fantastic they’re providing their young athletes the opportunity to be prepared.”