The Madison-Plains football players who showed up Monday for the first official week of practice weren’t noticeably bigger than they were when the school year ended back in May.
But for those who attended summer conditioning sessions regularly, they were in much better shape and ready to get the season started.
Golden Eagles’ coach Jason Hunt has long been a believer that the old school approach of having players lift heavyweight throughout the summer isn’t necessarily the best way to get a team ready for the season.
“We’ve changed our conditioning,” the coach who’s beginning his fifth year at the helm said. “We heavy lift all winter long, but by the time April rolls around we shift our focus to going more of a CrossFit approach where we’re doing a lot more Cardio. April, May, June and July it’s more CrossFit stuff. It’s much better for conditioning.”
“Kids who have been in the weight room all summer probably aren’t going to get much stronger, maybe a little. But this way they’re going to lose that body fat. You have to do that these days, I don’t think you have a choice. The game is faster now, it’s a different game than it was years ago.”
Hunt said he picked up this philosophy during his years of coaching as an assistant at Washington Court House. The coaches there saw the game going to a quicker, faster tempo, one where players would have to rely on more than just brute strength to be successful.
“When I was in Washington Court House and worked for John Enochs, we had some good teams, his emphasis in the summer was we’re not going to get any bigger,” Hunt said. “So let’s get the kids as strong as we can in the bodies they have and get them in shape. That was his philosophy and so my last 10 years at WCH I worked under him and brought that here.
“CrossFit became the new fitness rage, five or six years ago. This is the third year we’ve done it, but it seems like everybody is going to it now. I felt we were a little bit ahead of the game on that.”
Hunt said the majority of his players arrived at the first official day of practice in shape and ready to tackle two-a-day practices.
“For my kids who committed to being here in the summer, the two-a-days haven’t been a problem whatsoever,” he said. “The ones who missed a lot in the summer are feeling it. Sometimes you make your own bed.
“When I played here you lifted hard in the summer and you came in for two weeks of conditioning, where we ran like crazy at the end of July and then got into camp. It’s just different, now we expect our guys to be in pretty good shape when we get started and we’re getting there.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.