For more than 100 Smith-Cotton athletes, mornings in the summer involve lifting and conditioning.
Three days a week throughout the summer, Tigers and Lady Tigers have been coming into the gym starting at 6:30 a.m. as part of a conditioning and weight training program designed to prepare them for the 2015-16 seasons in any sport they might be playing.
“It helps people who don’t have camps in the summer to go to and instead of sitting on their couch all day they come lift and they still get the summer because it’s early in the morning,” sophomore Darby Christian, a member of the Lady Tigers softball, basketball and soccer teams, said.
The weight program is varied from day to day as athletes work different muscle groups.
“Our first day will be maybe part arms, part legs, and then we’ll go outside and run,” Jaden Kendrick, football and basketball player, said. “The second day, we’ll do legs and then run a little bit and jump a little bit and the last day we’ll jump.”
Athletes will come in for 90 minute sessions, opening with a 20-25 minute warm-up in the gym followed by 40-50 minutes in the weight room, conditioning work in the gym and, weather permitting, speed and agility work at Tiger Stadium.
“When they get into the weight room, depending on what their sport is, they’ll get their workout and we’ll work them through it,” Ryan Boyer, S-C football coach, said. “There’s three to four coaches in (the weight room) giving them instruction, making sure they’re staying on pace and spotting and using the right techniques.”
Boyer said the Tiger football program has spent summers in the weight room for years, but this summer for the second year, other Smith-Cotton teams are involved as well. Now, football players are going through their training programs alongside Tigers from the basketball, softball, soccer and track teams.
“It helps us strive more to reach our goals,” McKenna Woolery, sophomore softball player and track thrower, said. “There’s always the stronger people and it helps us out more because we get to see everybody, get to know our classmates better.”
Boyer said the benefit of having multiple Smith-Cotton teams in one program is to train the athlete, not train the sport.
“So many of our kids play multiple sports and as coaches we need to share these athletes,” he said. “They weren’t really benefiting going from a football workout to a basketball workout to a baseball workout and then from there to games and summer league stuff. We were over-training. We’re hoping to see the wear and tear decreases and injuries fall off and also just increase participation and avoid the burnout.”
The first week, the coaches stress technique and as the program progresses, athletes are able to put up more weight and are using the correct technique.
“What helps is having the younger kids in here, they kind of become coaches by demonstrating and then pairing up with those kids,” Boyer said.
Terrence Callaway, a sophomore who plays football and basketball, said he is already seeing improvement.
“People are getting stronger, they’re getting faster, jump higher and just being smarter about working out,” he said.