Julia Mills ’22 NEWS Reporter
Since the winter term has resumed virtually, Mercersburg Academy has been working hard to continue its programming in new and innovative ways. One of the programs that has had to adapt the most is the Athletic Department and its PGA groups. While PGA leaders have taken different approaches to conducting fitness regiments, some have chosen to utilize PLT4M, a training app with which the school has partnered.
PLT4M is popular among many athletes, as some use the app independently or even started using it over the summer. Paloma Tellez ’22, a member of the girls soccer team, explains that PLT4M’s features include daily workouts, a leaderboard, and a way to record personal records.
Sarah Firestone ’13, who oversees the lifestyle fitness program, adds that the workouts on PLT4M are customizable depending on what areas the coach wants to target, but that the daily workouts typically include both power and movement exercises.
Its features also include a weight-tracking system and links to video demonstrations, which Finn Sipes ’22, a starter on the girls volleyball team, describes as “super helpful.” She also notes that one of her favorite features is the journal space, which allows her to write about her workout experiences.
As for PLT4M’s role specifically for this term, Firestone said, “The [athletic] program writing is actually pretty similar to when we’re in person. However, it’s a little tough not going through or doing the workouts with the kids.”
This difficulty has prompted the wrestling program and some lifestyle fitness groups to rely heavily on PLT4M for accountability. Aiden Lorson ’22, a three-year wrestler, said that the majority of his PGA commitments are fulfilled through the PLT4M app. In addition to workouts, wrestling coach Nate Jacklin uses the personal-growth features to help motivate his athletes. Lorson said, “I wouldn’t say we compare statistics, but I would say that [Jacklin] is a big motivator and wants everyone to do their absolute best. He might throw out a challenge sometimes, but overall he cares about everyone and wants to give the athletes a motive.”
According to its users, PLT4M is a good addition to the athletic program. “I’m gaining a lot of strength and I feel a lot healthier. They have workouts for injury prevention too, which is very cool,” says Lorson. Tellez agrees. “I think I had a good experience with [PLT4M]. I enjoyed the demonstrations and videos on how to do some exercises.”
As for the future of PLT4M at Mercersburg, Lorson is in favor of continuing, adding that “some athletes don’t have a good workout, and using PLT4M will show you the workout routine, and I think this is very beneficial. There are no real disadvantages.”
Firestone said that its long-term use isn’t set in stone. “I’m not sure if it’s the be-all, end-all program that Mercersburg will settle with, but right now it’s getting the job done!”