Offseason strength programs heating up
Published 12:01 am Saturday, January 26, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Football season is still eight months away, but the work never really ends.
The Callaway, LaGrange and Troup football teams are all well into their offseason strength and conditioning programs.
While LaGrange began its offseason program in December, shortly after the season ended, Callaway and Troup kicked things off when the students returned to school in January.
Callaway has been one of the most consistently-successful programs in the state for a decade, and head coach Pete Wiggins believes the offseason program, which focuses heavily on weight lifting, is a big reason why.
Callaway is coming off another ultra-successful season that ended with a close loss to Rockmart in the Class AA semifinals.
“We feel like the weight room is the key to winning ballgames,” Wiggins said. Our after-school program has been instrumental in helping us grow, and succeed on the field.”
When school resumed following the Christmas break, the players from not only Callaway High, but also Callaway Middle School, got to work.
“We started the first day we came back from school, with the high-school guys and the middle-school kids,” said Wiggins, who has a 126-45 career record since taking over as head coach in 2005.
“Our participation has been really good for the first three weeks. We think it’s the foundation of what we do.”
Wiggins believes the lifting program does more than just create stronger and fitter players.
“I feel like the weight room brings many things to the table,” said Wiggins, who has led Callaway to three trips to the semifinals since 2013. “Obviously number one, the kids get bigger and stronger. There’s a discipline that comes from the weight room, with the pure repetition day in and day out. There’s also a camaraderie that comes with working through adversity. The kids are pulling for one another.
“There are good days and bad days. Seeing each other make progress brings about a lot of good things on our team. We feel like all those ingredients are really important on being successful.”
At Troup, the offseason program is going strong.
“Every year’s a little bit different, but it’s almost like it’s on auto-pilot a little bit now,” said Tanner Glisson, who is heading into his fifth season as Troup’s head coach. “Everybody knows what we’re doing, and the expectation.”
What the Tigers are doing is working.
The Tigers were 1-9 in Glisson’s first season in 2015, but they’re 29-8 the past three years.
Last year, Troup finished 12-2 while setting a program record for wins in a season, and it reached the Class AAAA semifinals where it lost to eventual state champion Blessed Trinity.
“It’s huge,” Glisson said of the impact of the offseason program. “We like to say this time of year, and through the summer, is when you’re building your football team. Once you get into August and September, you’re just putting a new coat of paint on. You want to continue to get better, but you’ve got to have everything done.”
In a few weeks, the players from Long Cane Middle School will also be a part of the lifting and conditioning program at the high school.
“We’ll start in February with Long Cane coming up here and lifting weights,” Glisson said. “They’ll go four days a week this year instead of two. And then before you know it it’ll be spring break. And when you come back from spring break, it’s all prepping to get ready for spring practice.”