By Sports Editor: Danielle Hamilton
How successful a team is over the course their season is not always decided by their record. Success is often measured by how much a team improves. The Howell High School athletic department has recently adopted a new program to assist athletes on improving their performance and ability.
Athletic director, Dan Hutchenson, has been working with the varsity coaches to create a new program, SNAQS (Speed, Nutrition, Agility, Quickness, Strength). This has been designed to provide student athletes with extra attention and give them more professional aid.
One part of this program, the strength focus, gives athletes access to the weight room in the field house. Each sport has been given their own 45 minute session in the weight room with one of the instructors: Erik McKay, Ryan Ash, or Chase Moore.
Instructor Erik McKay is the owner of “No Bull Strength & Performance” in Fowlerville. McKay is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He is also a Personal Strength Coach and a Master Trainer.
The other two instructors are teachers at Howell High School. Ash is a varsity football coach and a gym teacher and Moore is a history teacher at the Howell Freshman Campus. They both have their Master of Science degrees.
Coaches, parents, and athletes are excited about SNAQS. Strength training with instructors who know what they are doing is a great deal.
“I’m most excited about the strength training. When I played softball in college, I noticed a huge difference in my performance once a strength training routine was introduced. I can’t wait to see how our athletes’ performances increase because of their increase in strength,” says Lorrie Chaperon, varsity coach for both volleyball and softball, as well as a Howell Alumni.
The workouts are designed to strengthen the whole body and to target specific areas for each sport. In-season sports get one or two times in the weight room per week, as off-season sports get two or three times per week.
Athletes perform basic exercises which don’t require a lot of skill. Based on the group and individual abilities, new exercises will be added into the workout. Major focuses of the workouts are prevention of injuries and increase in sport performance.
Hard work and intensity are stressed from all of the instructors. Safety while strength training is also stressed to ensure athletes are not harmed and they get the most out of their work out. All of the instructors believe in teaching and coaching the athletes throughout the evidence-based training sessions.
“I also love how the program encourages our female athletes to be in the weight room more than they have been in the past,” says Chaperon.
The nutritional aspect of the program is not yet fully developed, but it is on its way. A new vending machine has been placed in the high school Field House which contains nutritional snacks.
Hutchenson is working with the new dietitian who runs the high school cafeteria in creating a “Game Day” menu. This will include items that will benefit athletes to optimize performance on game days, although it may take a few months for the menu to be in full affect.
“I think that having more nutritional snacks readily available for our athletes is a great way to get them in better habits when it comes to after school and pre-game snacks,” says Chaperon.
Various clinics and presentations will be held for athletes to gain more knowledge on nutrition and other aspects which will help them improve their performance.
Many coaches are not experts on nutrition, or professional strength training. Now that both of these will be provided, Howell athletics is expecting to take the next jump and begin to increase overall performance and outcome.
“This new program should be great. This is the first time since I’ve been here that Howell has ever done anything like this. I think it will really help out everyone and help me to prepare for the strength training in college basketball,” says Tess Weatherly, senior basketball player.