MHS offers unique strength and conditioning program

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Mon., Feb. 21, 2011
Chris Simmons spots for Jevon Lawrence as he does squats on the balance platform. Photos by Martha Marteney.
Chris Simmons spots for Jevon Lawrence as he does squats on the balance platform. Photos by Martha Marteney.

Manchester High School offers its student athletes a unique opportunity to improve their strength and conditioning throughout the year. “We’re one of the few schools in the state that has a strength coach,” explained Mike Jones, MHS’ strength and conditioning trainer/coach.

“My job is to give them [the student athletes] safe and effective strength and conditioning programs specific to the needs of the sport and the athlete,” said Jones, who has been working with the MHS athletes fro 14 years. Prior to that, the coaches provided for their teams’ needs.

“It’s constant teaching,” said Jones, “because you’re always getting a new group throughout the year.” He works with more than 50 athletes every afternoon and designs four-week programs specific to the individual. The training room is open year-round from 2:30 to 6 p.m. for both in-season and out-of-season athletes. Jones estimated that some 20 percent of the athletes commit to year-round training, not only because they enjoy the routine, but also because they like the results.

MHS junior Carlos Deleon is a receiver on the football team. He trains with Jones year-round. “It keeps you in shape, and gets you ready for the season,” said Deleon. By doing explosive exercises, such as jumping up onto a 3-foot box, he is now able to jump 5 inches higher.

Jones works with Mary Cardarelli, the certified athletic trainer at MHS, who treats injuries and assists with rehabilitation. “It’s important to take care of the injury properly the first time,” she explained, so that the injury does not follow the athlete through the rest of his or her life. “We need to do more prevention,” she said, which involves educating both the coaches and athletes on the need for weight training.

For injured athletes, Cardarelli designs a rehabilitation program that might include the use of stationary bikes for the legs or arms. She also uses the pools at MHS. Cardarelli looks to develop a program of “active rest,” which finds some type of cardio exercise that can be tolerated by the athlete and the specific injury.

According to Cardarelli, the difference between a good team and a great team is year-round strength training for the whole body. By building muscle mass, the athlete is better protected from impact injuries. Jones added that for basketball players, in addition to whole body conditioning, he focuses the strength exercises on the knees and ankles. Football players, on the other hand, need to develop stronger shoulder and neck muscles.

Seniors Liz Moran and Emily Anderson are on the cross-country and outdoor track teams. They said that Jones designed work-outs for them, including exercises that were totally new to them. “He’s very motivational,” said Moran.


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