By Kevin Traynor
A bit militaristic, the alarm sounds at cheery 5:30 AM inside L2 in Lower New. Marco Veintimilla stumbles out of bed, puts on his sweats, and treks across the barely lit campus green en route to McCann to grab a lift with the football team.
It’s only Monday.
Along with 30 or so guys, Marco wanders into the basketball gym where the Strength and Conditioning Coach, Coach White, leads the team through dynamic stretches.
“Cocky walk is my favorite,” Veintimilla said. “Although, I’m not really sure what it does for you, but it sounds sweet, and I just get to wave my arms and bounce.”
After stretching, some of the assistant coaches and Coach White set up some drills that build strength and speed. The drills vary from dot drills to tire flips.
“The tire flips are actually easier than you’d think,” Veintimilla said.
The morning is only half over at this point. Now it’s time to hit the weights.
In the beginning of the off-season, Coach White distributes a specific sheet to the offense and defense, which lists the day, the exercise and the repetitions. Each player is responsible for their own sheet and to write down the amount of weight accomplished per set.
To give you a perspective, on Day 1, the defense starts with box squats, OH squats, bench press, seated military press, reverse flys, low pulley external rotation, and then they finish with shoulder pre-hab.
“We usually finish up in an hour or so,” Veintimilla said. “It’s pretty remarkable what you can accomplish in an hour of work. Coach White hassles us throughout the lift to make sure we do each rep, and do it right.”
This trend continues through Tuesday, but obviously with different exercises. However, Wednesday is a different story altogether.
“Wednesday is conditioning day,” Veintimilla said. “We go in the basketball gym again, and do a bunch of cone drills followed by 16 minutes of running.”
The 16 minutes of running is regulated by a coach’s whistle. The team runs for 16 minutes straight. The first whistle means you have to sprint. The second whistle means slow down into a jog.
“Some kids complain about it, but it really isn’t that bad,” Veintimilla said.
Meetings follow Wednesday’s conditioning, but the meetings aren’t all film and rhetoric.
“We do some bonding in those meetings,” Veintimilla said. “Coach makes us get up and talk about ourselves a little bit now and again. It’s a big team, so it’s important to get to know everyone.”
Thursday and Friday is more of the same, as the team continues to stretch, work in the big gym and lift.
To keep the team upbeat and competitive, the coaches provide some incentives. The team is broken down into six teams. They compete in different excercises for the best times and stats. The winners earn dinner at Red Robin.
“People take it pretty serious,” Veintimilla said. “It gets pretty heated. Everyone wants that free dinner.”
Division 1 athletics is not all glamorous. Hard work defines success, and these guys put in the time.
“Sure, it’s hard work, and it can wear on you, but when the Fall rolls around, and the lights are on, it’s all worth it,” Veintimilla said.