Archive for Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New weight-training program caters to all BLHS students

January 10, 2007

Weight training classes are no longer just for conventional high school athletes.

According to Ross Schwisow, new strength and conditioning coach at Basehor-Linwood High School, the program he designed is beneficial to all students.

"It's not just about the football player or star athlete," he said. "It's geared towards athletes and non-athletes."

Schwisow, who came to BLHS in June, gave a presentation of the new strength and conditioning program offered at the high school at the school board meeting in November. Previously a strength and conditioning coach at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., Schwisow said he saw a great opportunity to start such a program at the high school level in Basehor. The program boasts not only weight training to build strength, but how to execute lifts safely, speed and agility training and overall nutrition. He said the things students learn through the program build self-confidence within the various sports and activities they are involved in as well as in their overall lives.

"What we're trying to do is bring the kids in, make them not intimidated by fitness and training and teach them some skills that they can take on when they finish high school," he said. "It's teaching them how to train their body and take care of their body."

He also brought a representative group of students involved in the program to the board meeting to tell board members how the program has helped them personally.

Maggie Herbster, senior and captain of the Dazzlers dance team said the program has been so beneficial that she is envious of the underclassmen who will be able to receive the training throughout their entire high school career. She said that although the physical activity of dancing has not been considered a varsity sport in the past, this year has been a little different for some of the dancers.

"This is the first year we've really been made to feel like athletes," she said. "I've seen great improvements in the girls that are in weight training."

While Jefferson Boor, junior, said he was not involved in school sports, his main focus is riding bulls. He said the leg strength he needs to stay on the bulls has been improved because of the class.

"We don't just focus on the three core lifts," he said. "It's about being able to move with your strength and use your flexibility and agility."

During class, the students often take the time to watch and encourage each other. Schwisow attends to each pair of students and gives them advice on how to improve their technique. Students have also taken advantage of the weight room before and after school. Schwisow said an average of 180 to 200 students utilize the weight room each day.

Another non-conventional athlete, Joshua Toothman, junior, has been bowling since he was about 8 years old. He said the program has helped him get into shape.

"I started out with a 13-pound ball and after I came here, I have a 16-pound ball," he said. "The arm workouts have really helped me out a lot."

Schwisow said the diversity of students and success of the program at the high school so far gives him hope of someday extending the program to the junior high level and the community.

"I don't want to run a cookie cutter program," he said. "I want to do something unique that nobody else does. I want to make the students feel like exercise is not something they have to do, but something they want to do. If you teach them that, they can carry it on and make it a habit in adulthood."

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