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Coaches urge off-season training

Greg Hott

ELKINS — Coaches say strength and conditioning strides in the off-season can “only make you more prepared” for the actual slate of games to come, no matter what sport it is to be played.

“Studies done show that the stronger you are, the less susceptible to injury you can be,” veteran Elkins High School football coach Greg Hott said.

“Dedication to strength training is the number one way to avoid getting hurt.

“Across all sports, time in the weight room can benefit any athlete,” he said. “It can help you run faster, jump higher, throw harder and a lot more.”

Officials say training can even lessen the possibility of an athlete receiving a concussion.

“One of the best ways to reduce the potential of receiving a concussion is to strengthen the neck,” Hott said. “We all have to lead with our heads, but the smaller the neck, the bigger the chance of receiving a concussion is. A stronger neck carries that part of the body better.”

The Tigers coach also stressed the importance of adhering to a strength-building program as a simple but key part of life for years to come.

“Weight-lifting, no matter how big or small the weight, can become a lifelong activity that benefits you for many years,” he said. “Statistics will tell you that as you age, other than vehicle accidents, falling down incidents also represent a large number of the most serious injuries suffered by human beings day to day. Physical exercise improves one’s agility.”

Hott was asked about the importance of strength training for linemen playing in the trenches in football.

“It’s extremely important to have a strong line,” he said. “You hear a lot of people talk about Bridgeport. They have a very solid strength-training program. If you look at them from the hip down, they are sculpted. You look at a lot of college and pro athletes, it’s all the same. Strength training builds an athlete’s body.

“A lot of that is from the squatting exercise. Being dedicated to doing proper squats is a big part of establishing great power, explosion and speed,” he said.

Hott said some EHS athletes are finally buying in, and noted it showed with some of the Tigers holding their own better against the BHS Indians this past year.

“Evan (Hott) has really taken over the weight program this year, and is trying to build on the core exercises,” he said. “We have some team leaders in place to try and help lead the younger athletes in lifting drills.

“Proper form is key to get the most out of the exercises. We have groups set up, with group leaders. Yesterday, even using just the bar without weight, the leaders were showing the others how to do it right,” he said.

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