22 July 2013

Getting bigger, faster, stronger

Senior CJ Wynings (l) and sophomore Kyler Norquist part ways on an agility drill
Not long after the softball bats and track hurdles had been put away for summer storage, Tiger athletes turned their attention to their 2013-14 seasons.

Under the direction of strength and conditioning coach Scott Meier and coaches Brad Albano and Shane Wyandt, the four-day a week summer training camp opened its doors for business the week after graduation.

The camp runs through the first week in August interrupted only by the Minnesota High School League 'no contact' period the first week in July..

"Summer is a critical time for high school athletes," Meier said. "Even though there are summer league for some sports, this is really everyone's 'off-season'. It's really the most important time for improvement as far as strength and conditioning is concerned."

More than 200 student athletes in grades nine through 12 have taken part in the training camp this summer, a number than Meier said has increased gradually over the past couple of years.

"We started the training camp in 2000 and we seemed to peak around 2005," Meier said. "After that we hit a plateau but the last couple of years we've seen some nice increases in participation."

Meier said the 90-minute sessions stress weight lifting (one hour) and half an hour of what he terms JAQS training which stresses Jumping, Agility, Quickness and Speed. Two days a week the non-weight training session consists of a "brutal recess" where the participants work with such unique training partners as tractor tires and sandbags.

"It's fun but it's a lot of work," Meier said.

Senior Nick Ruark gets up close and personal with a a jump rope at the 2013 training camp
Of the 200 training camp attendees this summer about 50 percent come from the ninth and tenth grades. Meier also noted that the 2013 camp has also followed a recent upward trend in female participation.

Meir said he is anxious to see what effect the results of the camp will have on the performance of Tiger athletes in the fall. One good indicator will be the results from the annual Ironman competition held the first day of football practice.

The Ironman is a seven-event (40-yard dash, vertical jump, shuttle drill, tire flip, bench press, squat and clean) and over the past couple of  seasons some of the results, especially in the weights, have trended in a downward direction.

"We've seen a lot of big increases as far as lift numbers from last spring to now," he said. "I would expect the Ironman numbers to be up this year."

All in favor raise your left hand