West Jeff athletes: Striving for strong all year long

Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil
Justin Gatley puts his all into a band resistance running drill during a strength and conditioning session at West Jefferson High School.

(Posted Jan. 12, 2017)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

Students are tapping into West Jefferson High School’s strength and conditioning program to get and stay in shape, whether for team play or personal health.

During the Jan. 9 school board meeting, coordinator John Koehler reported on the goals, inner workings and outcomes of the program, which he said is in its infancy.

“We’ve implemented something unique for a school our size,” said Koehler, who designed and supervises the weight training and conditioning program for athletes in all sports.

“The strength and conditioning program is designed to improve an athlete’s overall strength, athletic ability and help prevent injuries on the field,” he said. “The goal is to develop the strongest, fastest, most explosive athletes through outworking our opponents in and out of season.”

Combining weight training and conditioning, individualized workouts are designed for students using the weight room, which opens at 6 a.m. every day for one hour before school starts. It is available again during Rider Hour, eighth period, and then after school.

“We have in- and out-of-season work-outs,” Koehler said. “We’re trying to create the best athletes we can at West Jefferson.

“We also have kids who are not in a sport, but do lifting.”

Workouts include 25 to 40 minutes of weight lifting and 25 to 40 minutes of agility training. Depending on the individual’s athletic schedule, 20 to 25 minutes of body wellness is incorporated, too.

On any given day, 80 to 100 students use the weight room. Koehler reported that statistics on time, distance and weight limits in lifting, running and jumping have stabilized or improved.

If an athlete incurs an injury while playing a sport, Koehler works with athletic trainers in the athlete’s rehabilitation and strengthening. Workouts are adapted to individual needs to get the student healthy and back on the field.

“I maintain individual lifting sheets, individual workouts for athletes, attendance forms, workout schedules and progress charts for all sessions,” said Koehler, who also helps students with specific areas of concern.

“We have a marathon approach,” he continued. “Gradual gains for long-term development. We’re not trying to get them super strong really quick. We emphasize technique.”

School board business

Prior to the start of the regular meeting, the board held its annual organizational meeting to elect officers, set meeting dates and times, establish pay rates for substitutes and tutors, appoint legal counsel, and approve program participation.

Dr. Meg Hiss was re-elected as board president; David Harper was elected vice president. The board meets at 7 p.m. the second Monday of each month.


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