Strength clinic might help to inspire a summer of lifting
More than 180 Eudora High athletes participated in at least one sport last year.
Of that number, about 60 took part regularly in the school's summer weight-lifting program.
Football coach Aaron Barnett would like to see that number rise. The success of his football program depends on it.
It's one of the reasons he is organizing a strength and conditioning clinic for Eudora High athletes male and female.
The clinic, which will feature award-winning strength coach Tom Cross from nearby MidAmerica Nazarene University, will be Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon in the Eudora High gymnasium.
Cross has been recognized for his work in weight training and is given much of the credit by coach Mike Redwine for the Pioneers' rise in both the Heart of America Conference standings and the NAIA rankings.
He will bring with him a number of MNU athletes, who will demonstrate weight-lifting techniques and then work with Eudora High athletes as they take part in the drills.
"This is a great teaching tool for us," Barnett said. "That they will learn from someone who they perceive knows more about it than I do will only help them to buy into what we are trying to do."
When Barnett arrived at Eudora two years ago, he opened the weight room on summer mornings for those athletes who wished to work out.
Last year, about 60 athletes took part in a more structured program that featured the same daily workout for everyone and the same dismissal time.
This summer, he hopes to build on that and take it to the next level. The goal is also to have many more athletes involved in the summer weight program.
"I'm a big believer in time investment," Barnett said. "It's harder to lose when you put a lot of time into it. When you put your time into it, you've invested something.
"You just don't want to lose."
It's not just about adding muscles and becoming stronger, Barnett said. Flexibility plays into it as well and with that comes the prevention of injuries, which Barnett said is the most important role of weight training.
"It's important for all of them," he said. "It's important for strength, but I don't care how strong you are. The biggest thing it helps is in preventing injuries.
"If you can stay healthy in a game, you can practice hard the next day and make yourself better."
Cross teaches Olympic-style weight lifting. Simply put, athletes are asked to do two or three different movements during this type of weight lifting, as opposed to some lifts that require an athlete merely to life something and put it down.
For example, a clean-and-jerk lift requires an athlete to use his legs to lift the weights to his or her waist, the arms and wrists to get the weights under the chin and the shoulders, back and arms to lift the weights above the head.
"I've talked to (Cross) a lot and we're changing our training philosophy in that direction," Barnett said.
The clinic is being co-sponsored by the high school and the Eudora Booster Club.