Alternate methods of training vary for county athletes

Bob Hough
Contact Reporterbhough@capgaznews.com

Most county high schools have adequate weight training facilities to give their athletes plenty of resources to stay in the best shape possible leading up to the first day of tryouts each season.

Athletes have been gathering at their schools all summer and participating in various weight training programs, most put in place by their coaches.

Knowing that other athletes across the county and region are putting in similar work, what can the athletes do to step up their workouts a notch in an effort to stay ahead of the competition?

Naturally, the answer is to push cars or swing heavy sledgehammers.

Talk to just about any coach at high schools in the county and they'll tell you about the alternate methods of training they're using. Sometimes it's just to break up the monotony of bicep curls or wind sprints, while other times the various workouts serve a specific purpose.

"We mix it up," said St. Mary's football coach Jason Budroni, who oversees his team's four workouts per week, which included an early-morning workout on the Fourth of July. "We do a lot of pushing and pulling with the sleds and tire pushes and flips. We do a lot of strong man training. We'll pick up and run around with 200-pound sandbags and do lots of workouts with medicine balls."

The workouts at St. Mary's aren't much different than what's being done across the county. Several schools incorporate things like the large tires, sledgehammers and even cars.

Three times a month at Broadneck, football coach Rob Harris has his team gather in the back parking lot to push cars. Sure, the players could probably do a similar workout in the weight room, but Harris says the players enjoy it and it helps to break up the workouts during the long summer.

"We like to push cars as it is fresh and different and keeps the kids engaged," Harris said. "It is tough for them and we rotate through a bunch of different cars."

Northeast coach Brian Baublitz, who is entering his second season as head coach of the Eagles and first with a full offseason, has his players doing as much as possible to prepare for the season. In addition to the normal workouts and 7-on-7 practice, Baublitz entered his team in a strong man competition at St. Mary's earlier this summer.

"They had a blast," Baublitz said. "It was a lot of fun. It was great competition between the kids."

The competition included log lifts, medicine ball tosses, cradle walks and tire flips.

At Annapolis, head football coach Nick Good-Malloy doesn't have his players doing much outside of lots of lifting, running and competition. He describes the training as pretty intense and designed to build physical and mental toughness along with a highly competitive spirit. The training also includes sessions on nutrition education, injury prevention and teaching of discipline and accountability.

"We know that elite effort during the summer gives us an outstanding opportunity for a successful fall," Good-Malloy said.

Meade football coach Albert Jones has his players doing similar workouts to what's being done around the county. While they don't push cars, he did say the players push his truck as part of a workout.

Jones says he'll tailor the workouts to the players. He uses two tires for tire flips — one that's 250 pounds and another that's 180 pounds.

"If we have a kid who weighs 150, he might not be doing the same workout as someone who weighs 225," Jones said. "My goal this year was to be more detail-oriented."

Jones also took his players to a sand pit to run, which provides more resistance than running on the turf or track.

"There's a number of different things that we do," Jones said. "Everybody has their different training tidbits, but what we do is nothing that's really out of the ordinary."

South River football coach Ed Dolch says his players don't use sledgehammers, but like a lot of other teams, he has his players use tire flips for a workout. He puts a premium on flexibility and hip mobility by having his players use PVC pipes and kettle bells.

A lot of schools around the county hold combined workouts where players from any of their teams can gather to work out together. Chesapeake volleyball and track coach Mike Gimon and tennis coach Grant Yinger run three practices a week that average around 40 athletes per session.

"One thing that sets us apart at Chesapeake is that our program is for all athletes from any of our 23 sports. As such, we really do have varsity football players working right along side JV field hockey players," Yinger said. "The challenge is to provide a meaningful workout for all of those athletes who show up."

Not all teams hold structured workouts, but that doesn't mean the players aren't expected to do what they need to do to show up in the best shape possible on Aug. 12.

Northeast's Chris Dyke, who in addition to coaching track and wrestling also coaches the cross country team, has a specific workout for his runners to follow throughout the summer.

"It's more about getting their mileage in so on that first day we're ready to roll," Dyke said. "We can always tell on that first day who was active over the summer."

As a multisport coach, Dyke encourages multisport athletes. Eight of his wrestlers will run cross country this year, so they're juggling different workouts over the summer.

"I have some who manage three workouts throughout the day," Dyke said. "It keeps them occupied so they show up in shape."

Dyke's cross country workout plan has the athletes doing different types of runs each day. While the distance might be same on most days, the pace will vary. Once the calendar hits mid-August and the runners are ready to report for the first day of fall practices, Dyke's hope is that each runner will have covered 500 miles over the summer.

"I don't put too much pressure on them over the summer," Dyke said. "Once August hits, it's every day for them."

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