Becoming a better athlete takes work and dedication, including during the offseason. Smith-Cotton High School wrestler Blake Pomajzl said he finds motivation to work in the offseason by imagining himself earning a state medal.
“When I think about myself being the best and standing on top of the podium at state, it drives me to work harder,” he said.
High school athletes are encouraged to work out during the offseason of their selected sport and Pomajzl does exactly that. A state qualifier this year, Pomajzl lifts weights two to three times a week and practices three times a week; his workouts are very intense, but not long. Explaining his workouts, Pomajzl said: “I (practice) moves over and over again until they are perfect, and I usually do a cross-fit circuit for conditioning. Also, I run long distances to stay in shape.”
Pomajzl, who will be a sophomore next school year, has multiple people who inspire him, including his father, Michael, and Anthony Robles, a wrestling national champion who attended Arizona State University. Pomajzl’s dad inspires him because Michael has been his son’s coach for every match he has ever wrestled; he supports his son whether he wins or loses and pushes him to be his best.
Robles was born with one leg but didn’t let his disability affect his career. Pomajzl uses Robles’s accomplishments as inspiration and motivation to not make excuses and always push to do what is best for him even when things get tough. Pomajzl not only uses this inspiration in his wrestling career but also his daily life. He said he sets his goals high and does whatever it takes to reach them.
“I know that offseason workouts make in-season champions, and that is what motivates me,” Pomajzl said.
Smith-Cotton head football coach Ryan Boyer said that to motivate his athletes, he and the other football coaches ask the players if they could still win in the offseason. For football, offseason workouts start in January and stop toward the end of July. Players work out three days a week for one hour during the winter and spring, and in the summer they do three days a week for one hour and 45 minutes.
“We promote them to be in other sports so they don’t over work and hurt themselves,” Boyer said. His goal is to motivate players to be better athletes both in and out of season.
Most high school sports have offseason workouts for those athletes who want to get better for their in-season goals. This includes swimming, which is coached by Jerry Tankersley and Michelle Steger. They have offseason swimming workouts going on from the beginning of May to the end of July.
Their workouts consist of not only swimming conditioning and drills, but also plyometrics and running. Tankersley’s favorite part of the summer swim program is that he gets to work with younger kids and individuals from out of town. He said summer work helps improve swimmers’ conditioning and gives them more experience.
“It’s more laid back,” said S-C girls swimming team member Kaitlyn Puentes. “It gives you the opportunity to work on individual strokes that you want to get better at.”
Boyer said his favorite part of offseason workouts is “being able to see the improvements and also being able to see the relationships that form.”