By: Josh Caredeo, Sports Editor
The Merriam Webster dictionary gives two definitions of the word “strength.” “The primary emphasis is improving athletic ability.” As a noun, it is defined as not only “the quality or state of being physically strong,” but “the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way.” Both of these qualities can be found in Lyndon State College’s Strength and Conditioning program.
Dr. Zane Pfefferle, professor in the Exercise Science department, implemented the program last year for each of the varsity sports teams on campus. With this program, Pfefferle wants to enhance the athletic performance of each student athlete. “It is not the strongest person who wins, it is the person that is most powerful,” Pfefferle said.
At the beginning of the last academic year, Pfefferle, who went to graduate school to study strength and conditioning, was approached by several of the varsity coaches in regards to such a program for their respective teams. “Seeing how it was my first year as a professor here, once [my class schedule] was taken care of, the [Exercise Science] department found an opportunity for me to [implement this program].”
Although It is not a requirement for exercise science majors to participate in this program, there are several students that help Pfefferle as part of the practicum. “We look at it as an opportunity for students to gain hands on experience in the field before going for an off campus internship,” he said. Dr. Pfefferle told me that prior to his arrival, there were two Strength and Conditioning coaches at the college who tried to put in such a program. But for whatever reason, it was not successful because they couldn’t get student athletes continuously going to the gym and train.
Each sports team is required to have both have an off-season session and in-season session. During the offseason, teams meet three days a week for over an hour. In-season, they will typically meet for one or two days. The routine includes warm-up drills, followed by 30-45 minutes of squats and olympic movements. Depending on the day, each team could partake will in 15 minutes of strength and agility training. Pfefferle said he would also do conditioning or cardiovascular training in hopes of producing energy for when teams are playing on the field.
“In the past there has been issues with athletes getting injured repeatedly; I have spoken with [head athletic trainer] Avida Sandoval, and she acknowledges that the teams that have come into strength and conditioning have less non-contact injuries and they are in much better shape [physically and mentally] during a game.”
Pfefferle wants to provide to the student athletes a high intensity environment that he loves, and ultimately he wants them to enjoy themselves. He also noted that once the women’s lacrosse and track and field teams are more solidified, then there will be programs for them.
There is a clear difference between exercising and doing formal training with a team. But the strength of the players and the strength of the team will lead to success on the field.