Weightroom Cornerstone of Gridiron Glory at Staples
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Dana Rappaport ’11
Web Opinions EditorAlthough the football field is glazed over with a coat of frost, the football players still manage to stay warm in the Staples’ weight room.
Just as soccer players can condition and hone their skills on an off-season team, the football team’s players use the weight room as a foundation for the next year’s success.
The Wreckers’ football program has developed substantial off-season routines for its players according to an assortment of players. Each day, the players lift, run and jump rope for about one to two hours.
Mondays and Thursdays are dedicated to strengthening the upper body, whereas Wednesdays and Fridays the players commit to working on their lower body muscles.
“[The weight room requirements] are not a huge time commitment, but enough to keep our strength up during the off-season,” said quad-captain Chris Coyne ’11.
There are players who play on teams during the winter and fall seasons; however, they are by no means reprimanded for this.
Football coach Marce Petroccio “encourages [us] to play other sports,” said Chester Pajolek ’11.
Many two-season and three-season football players would agree that participating in the off-season weight room practices only helps their abilities in other sports.
For example, Coyne continues to run track during the winter and spring, qaud-captain Matt Yeager ’11 remains a leading player on the Varsity lacrosse team, and Pajolek believes that lifting benefits his baseball game.
“I am definitely stronger because of it, and that can’t hurt for any other sport. It can only help,” Pajolek said.
Petroccio said that for players who do another sport in the off-season, the weight room workouts are not mandatory. However, he does recommend to those players that they get into the Staples or any other fitness center on their own time.
All the endurance the players build, however, does not include the use of the aerobic machines. The athletes are split up into two groups, in order to maintain crowd control in the fitness center. While one group is building muscle through anaerobic activities, the other is staying fit by running; then the groups switch. In the end, each player receives a balanced workout.
“Weight lifting is great, but they don’t score back,” said Petroccio.
With this in mind there are also seven–versus–seven scrimmages held at the South Norwalk field house on Sunday nights; this provides the athletes with the opportunity to play against other players in the FCIAC.
Yeager knows other players in the FCIAC and has definitely noticed a greater amount of strength and endurance in the Staples players.
“[Other athletes from Fairfield County] do not put in nearly as much time in the off-season as the football team does here,” Yeager said.
A catalyst for the Wreckers’ strong off-season program was the 2008 defeat to Norwalk on Halloween.
“We realized after the loss in 2008, we had to rearrange the weight lifting program. We did too much running, but not enough strengthening” said Petroccio.
The team has made significant progress since their defeat against Norwalk. Last year, the Wreckers finished seventh at the 33-team State Weightlifting Championship.
This event gave Staples the opportunity to see how they compare to other Connecticut football programs.
Petroccio has also set up a friendly competition within the team. A big board is hung in the weight room that shows the strongest players in three categories: bench press, squat and power clean. The board has been a huge motivator for the team. Coyne said he’s already seen the benefits.
“The board builds competitive spirit, encouraging people to work harder and make their way to the top of the board,” said Coyne. “Overall, it just makes people want to work harder.”
The Wreckers’ off-season lifting program has proven to be very successful in the past and continues to improve the reigning FCIAC champions.
While it may only be February, the Staples Wreckers football team has already made huge strides in preparing for next season.