Weights give local football teams a big lift

PVL Pipeline
By: Dave Krizman Journal Sports Columnist
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The foundation for victories on the football field this coming fall has been crafted in the weight rooms during the winter and spring. While it may appear that football is in hibernation, in fact, it has relocated to the all important weight training rooms at the local high schools. Placer High has ‘The Dungeon.’ Del Oro has dubbed it the ‘4th Quarter Program’ and Colfax, with coach Tony Martello’s usual wit, simply calls it the ‘weight room.’ As Casey Taylor, head football coach at Del Oro stated, “If we have a good spring (weight training) we expect to have a good season.” The young men who will start for their respective teams this fall have spent countless hours lifting weights under intense supervision from their coaches in preparation for the upcoming season. Long gone is the stereotype of the muscle-bound freak that looks like some escapee from a body-building competition. Identifying a single muscle and doing repetitions with heavy weights is a relic of the past. Today, the emphasis is on strengthening the core, full range of motion, and creating quicker, stronger athletes. “In a game like football, you are physically stronger and quicker or you are slower and weaker,” Martello said. “We are all fighting the same fight… to make our athlete the quicker and stronger one. Our weight program tries to create athletes that are explosive, agile, and have good balance. We do this by focusing on the body’s core, working full range of motion and developing flexibility.” While the iconic bench press may still be popular in a local fitness club, it does not have much importance in the Colfax program. Instead, the Falcons focus in on the power clean, hoping to max out at 200 pounds. Emphasizing the importance of explosiveness, flexibility, and strength, Colfax has its athletes throw a medicine ball. It forces the athletes to release their hips while creating full range of motion and creating muscle strength. Placer’s Joey Montoya also echoed the importance of full range of motion, and explosiveness. “Today we are more educated in the field of weight training through science and research,” he said. “We are trying to develop the entire body, not just one set of muscles.” All three of the above mentioned programs have had unparallel success on the field. It is no surprise, therefore, that all three programs share very similar views on weight training philosophies. Two other areas where the programs share similar views are in safety of their athletes and in the opposition to steroids. Taylor and his Del Oro staff, “…are continually educating kids on the dangers of steroids and performance enhancing drugs. “We call them team busters… smoking, drinking, steroids and performance enhancers,” Taylor said. At Placer, Montoya and his staff, “emphasize we will not win by cheating. We will not allow our athletes to put their bodies in jeopardy.” Martello also focused in on the safety of athletes. “Weight lifting protects our athletes with muscle mass,” he said. “The game is a violent and physical one. We can protect our athletes by developing muscle mass capable of taking a hit.” For the parents of athletes in these three programs, it must be reassuring to know that their children are in the hands of coaches who are on the cutting edge of proper weight training.