BY RUSSELL HUFFMAN
More than 75 athletes showed up for strength and conditioning camp at the high school Monday and with the start of the sports season only six weeks away it looks like Stephenville is hitting the ground running when it comes to preparation.
“We had a couple guys that didn’t look too well after the first round,” Coach Greg winder said. “Overall we look pretty good and are only going to get better physically.”
Winder is obviously pleased with the numbers of athletes who are showing to get into playing shape and a couple of athletes “sucking wind” was the exception. The coaching staff even have a good grasp of who is working, in camp or on vacation as they expect to see the numbers rise.
“We have got several out today for a variety of reasons,” Winder said. “But, these are good numbers for the first day.”
Winder positioned himself on the far side of the workouts as he watched three groups of athletes who were running sprints in the early morning heat.
“Way to go Carrillo!” Winder encouragingly shouts. “That’s the way to do it.”
Everyone showing up certainly did appear to be giving their all with a couple of upchucked breakfasts dotting the field to prove it.
Six weeks is a long time for coaches to supervise running sprints, weight lifting, shuttle runs and more as athletes work themselves into shape in preparation for their sports. It’s even longer when you can’t touch a volleyball or football during your training time at school.
“We’re going to mix it up for everybody,” Winder said. “We won’t be doing the same things day after day. We will go to Tarleton and play sand volleyball. We’ll go to the city park and run up the hill. You’ve got to change it up for these guys.”
This year is something different for players and coaches because there is no outside group coming in and overseeing conditioning as there have been the past three years. While the system was working it was also costly to athletes who had to pay to attend and quite frankly it was boring for Stephenville coaches who were present at workouts but not “working/coaching.”
“We wanted to be hands-on,” Winder said. “We think out kids work harder and respond better when they are working directly with us. We needed to make a change and this is what we have come up with.”
The physicality of the workouts reminds one of basic training for the military with each step along the way getting a little harder and more challenging both physically and mentally in preparation for their real training.
There are three groups of athletes attending conditioning this summer with high school girls and junior high athletes all taking part.
“That a boy Lane!” Winder calls out. “We are going to have more than this come out.”
After several 100-yard sprints, the group takes a water break and Winder gathers them around and encourages their attendance.
“We did pretty well today,” Winder. “We all need to be here tomorrow and the next day. It’s not going to do you any good to be at home tomorrow eating potato chips on the couch and then come out the next day or day after.
Sprints, weight training, circuit training and more have left a few legs weary, but there’s no let up when the group breaks for the day.
“Jog out of here! Run! Let’s go!” coaches call out.
The mindset never stops because time is ticking and what was six weeks away is now only five weeks and four days.