BLHS closes out another strong summer of conditioning
Perhaps no teacher looks forward to the summer like Basehor-Linwood High School strength and conditioning coach Ross Schwisow.
Summer is strength season at Basehor-Linwood. Schwisow coordinates the BLHS summer strength and conditioning program in which 200 to 250 students attend workouts on a regular basis.
“The summer is my season with these students,” Schwisow said. “I treat each day like a practice or a game. We have three game days in the summer. We try to treat it like a full season.”
Game days are basic test days, where the students are tested on different activities. The tests are designed to show progress from the first workout to the next. Each week of the program gets more difficult as athletes get into better condition. Students are tasked with trying to improve each day.
Not all participants in the program compete in sports at Basehor-Linwood — a fact that Schwisow has always been proud of. In addition to preparing students to compete in sports, the program helps students develop healthy habits regardless of what activities they participate in.
Students who attend at least 90 percent of the workouts qualify for the school’s annual Beast Feast. Basehor-Linwood had 113 students who made every workout. In addition, 144 athletes made it to 90 percent of the 28 workouts.
“We had 113 kids not miss one single day. If they missed a day, than they made the day up,” Schwisow said.
During the dinner, students and guests toured the new health and wellness center and also viewed the new field turf on the stadium.
Schwisow showed a highlight video of the summer workouts. A picture was taken of the athletes who had made the required number of workouts and will be turned into a poster.
The summer program has multiple benefits for Basehor-Linwood’s teams and individuals. It conditions athletes for the upcoming sports season. The work the athletes do in the summer will prepare them for when the workouts are completed and the practices start.
“This has a huge impact of what will happen in fall sports,” Schwisow said. “Those kids need to come in and make themselves stronger individually. They need to be in shape and improve what we have done with fall seasons. We focused on conditioning and becoming a better athlete in the summer.”
BLHS players have bought into the program, which has helped numerous teams realize new levels of success. The school’s football team set a record for wins in a season in 2009. The boys basketball and girls softball teams have each won state titles in the past two years. The powerlifting team, while a non-sanctioned Kansas State High School Activities Association sport, has dominated in state competitions. Schwisow said the summer program is a piece of the success.
“The roots are getting stronger into athletics,” he said. “By any means we are not there yet, but we are getting better day in and day out. I like to think strength and conditioning has an impact on that. We strive to do it our way, different than everyone else. I think it is the right way. We design workouts to push everybody. I think that gives us an edge.”
One difference is that the boys and girls teams all lift at the same time.
“I can’t speak to what other schools have, but we try to have everybody in there. It pushes everybody,” Schwisow said. “My ultimate goal is one of speed and strength. We want senior girls to be better than freshman boys. It motivates our girls and our boys. It creates a great competitive atmosphere.”
The school also had a lifting session for incoming freshman this year.
“Those younger students, they really came in and worked,” he said.
He said the freshman class showed a lot of promise, and the athletes’ dedication should pay dividends in future years. He also said it will be rewarding to work with this class and watch it grow from incoming freshmen into athletic leaders and athletes during high school.
“It is rewarding to see certain kids who are younger and don’t understand it,” he said. “We had a couple seniors make big (improvements) in this summer and they could have big fall seasons. It is tough to commit to a full eight weeks. They realize they don’t get the results they want by not being here. I feel excited about those guys. You work to get everybody and sometimes it takes a while to get them sold on the program.”