Coaches’ Choice: Favorite Workouts

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Maren Neunfinger and Royce Dickson-Child

All sports are different—and with that, athletes must train differently to improve tactics, conditioning, and resilience. We asked the coaches of varying sports what their favorite workout is to strengthen their teams both physically and mentally.

Coach Grubb, the cross country and long distance track coach, focuses on drills that “challenge and sharpen stamina, aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, and muscle power.” By incorporating fartleks, short periods of an increased running pace, into a moderate distance run, athletes learn to use their speed by changing “gears,” stimulating the mental toughness required in a race. Fartleks develop the athlete’s ability to respond to different race courses and distances through strategy, as long distance running “is not simply about going out at max effort and desperately trying to survive.”

Coach Yocke also uses running to physically and mentally condition his baseball team. For a total of twelve minutes, athletes run liners that vary from 5 to 60 yards in increments of 60 seconds. The addition of a running clock creates a motivation to complete the required distance in a shorter amount of time in order to earn more recovery before the next timed set.

Coach Lavelle, the women’s water polo coach, described his favorite drill to develop tactical skills and stimulate game situations in the pool. He calls this drill “Jamathon” and it involves two athletes who compete for physical positioning. In pairs, they face each other at one end of the pool and at the first whistle, they begin to challenge their teammate by using their legs and arms to defend their control. At the second whistle, the pair break contact and race to the opposite side of the pool, practicing the game element of cutting off an opponent.

Across the Mitty athletic program, sport-specific training is used by coaches to build skill, strength, confidence, and endurance, and helps Monarch athletes mentally and physically prepare for practices, games, and drills.