Immediately after last year’s final snap, the Pitman and Turlock High football teams were already looking into the upcoming season, with a focus on conditioning in the off-season.
Pitman High began their conditioning and weightlifting program Jan. 7. The Bulldogs were hitting the weight room and running conditioning drills a few days after their final game against Pitman late last year.
“Our conditioning started the second we stopped playing last year,” Turlock head coach James Peterson said. “If you’re not in another sport we are conditioning after school including lifting weights. Once school ended, we combined our skills with everything to get in the best football condition. It is all football-based conditioning.”
“The reality is our program is year round, but our mentality and our season starts on Jan. 7. What we do is look at the calendar and the last playoff game and work backwards,” Pitman’s conditioning coach Chris Wolfley said. “We looked at Dec. 6 and see what we want from the kids at that point. It gives us a systematic approach to get ready for the season.”
Coming off a 4-6 year, Turlock looks to turn it into a winning season by working on speed — something the ‘Dogs needed to improve on for this up-coming year, Peterson said.
The Bulldogs are doing more than the standard summer conditioning and 7-on-7 football. They're implementing tire flipping, ladders, pulling sleds, lunges, running, and Olympic power lifting.
“We try to mimic the movement that we will use during the game,” Peterson said. “We also run on Canal road, a nice path and we work on endurance that way. These kids worked hard all summer and we got everything we could this year. We’re all excited and proud as a coaching staff.”
Pitman has been working on their conditioning since the beginning of the year to be in football shape when they open up the season against Enochs on Aug. 31.
“We have our components of the strength program to vary exercises without changing them. Our biggest key is to balance the body. We don’t train for a specific sport; we really train our athletes to be a better athlete,” Wolfley said.
Another thing Pitman has been doing to prepare for this next year is using Coach Wolfley’s technique of becoming physically and mentally ready for football.
“A few things that have been key, has been to cluster exercises. We want to maximize the work load in a short span of time,” Wolfley said. “Our conditioning in everything we do is to develop as much explosive speed and movement as possible. If we talk to football coaches, we talk about getting them in shape, but there are so many meanings of that. But, it means fast, explosive and fast, play after play.”
This week also marked the beginning of the first regular season practice for both squads including the introduction of helmets and pads.
With just over two weeks left before the beginning of the season, coaches and players alike are growing eager with anticipation, waiting for the chance to shine under the Friday night lights.
Hold on to your seats, because football season in the Valley is here.