MottFit: An Intro to Warren Mott High School’s Physical Education

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by Chris Sinagoga
Coach T putting in work with the Champions Club

Coach T putting in work with the Champions Club

Shauhen Tahrebandi is the Physical Education teacher at Mott High School in Warren, MI. He is also in charge of the strength and conditioning programs for the Football, Wrestling, Soccer, and Hockey teams. Many of his athletes, especially football kids, take his Lifetime Fitness class over the course of the school day. “Coach T,” as many of his students call him, has a very prestigious background to training and has worked with many athletes, strongman competitors, and even a Biggest Loser contestant. Recently, he was introduced to CrossFit through one of his students, Amy Potter, who also had been training with the Champions Club/CrossFit Athletic Group since November 2012. After getting his CrossFit Level 1 in the late-Summer of 2013, Coach T began to incorporate some CrossFit principles into his classes. Recently, he has been spending much of his time studying on the principles of Kelly Starrett and Carl Paoli and applying them to the movements he taught the kids in his classes.

However, with one coach and 50 kids in a single class, it was difficult to enforce the new methodology. So in February, Coach T reached out to me to discuss the possibility of coming in for a few of his classes as a “guest-coach” of sorts. During my first visit, I stayed for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th hour classes and helped Coach T instruct the students on the lifts for the day. Since then, I have been able to go back to the school at least once a week and seen the kids progress. While the kids are not moving perfect by any standards, we are seeing definite improvement not only in how they move, but their perception of when they are doing it right and when they are off.

Back in late March, we got permission to get video footage from his 3rd hour class. Here’s what it looked like.

00:54 – Technique work for squat and press
04:05 – In the weight room, addressing foot position for squats
06:03 – Addressing knee wobbles in the squat
07:45 – Addressing hip/spinal position in the squat
10:44 – Coach T working with an athlete on the press and midline stability
11:25 – Modifying for injured/limited ROM athlete
14:27 – Relationship of a press to actions on the football field

Now that the school year is over, many of his athletes have taken the good habits they learned in his class and carried it through their Summer sports training. Instead of sitting around waiting for the workout session to start, they go and address mobility pieces they know they need to work on. And during the session, they are being conscious of what technique pieces Coach T is emphasizing for the day. Again, it’s always a work in progress, but the work they put in during the winter and spring months of the school year is starting to pay off as they move into summer activities and fall sports.

Stay posted.

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