By Shayla Kelley | Reporter
The strength and conditioning staff plays a huge role in Baylor football’s success as the players find themselves in the midst of long games throughout the season battling opponents. However, not only do they create physically strong players and prevent injuries, but also, create a mentally strong team.
Andrew Althoff, director of applied performance, has worked long hours for the Baylor football team for eight years come February.
“In season, we work probably 60 to 80 hours a week, and during the summer, it’s probably between like 40 to 50 hours,” Althoff said. “Not very often are we less than 40 hours.”
Although this may seem like a lot of hours, each hour is used efficiently.
“Training sessions in the morning, training sessions at night and also a lot of prep work goes into it as well,” Althoff said. “In the winter, they will lift three days a week, but we will train five days a week.”
If these athletes don’t stay healthy and in good condition, they are not be able to perform at the highest level.
“A big part is keeping them healthy,” Althoff said. “Injury prevention, and also, you know football is a physical sport, so the stronger that they can be, they are going to be able to do more, and be more physical in the line of scrimmage.”
Chris Ruf, director of athletic performance, says that strength and conditioning prepares the athletes for the demands of the game.
Gatesville junior linebacker Tyler Jaynes said that strength and conditioning has helped his football performance immensely.
“I am very thankful for the strength and conditioning program here,” Jaynes said. “They really emphasize athletic performance and making sure every lift, exercise and movement can translate onto the field.”
Althoff said the football team’s common goal is to win the national championship, and in order to accomplish this, the staff has to be prepared and organized.
“Our role in doing that is to help them maintain their strength, speed and power throughout the season,” Althoff said. “We want them to peak at the right time.”
Keeping the players motivated all season is also a job for the athletic staff.
“We talk to our athletes a lot about them being more intrinsically motivated than extrinsically motivated,” Althoff said. “So, you know, the extrinsic or external would be like us yelling at them, or the fans or their uniforms or music. But what we really talk to them about is being intrinsically motivated, so doing things for themselves and holding themselves to a high standard, whether that be for God, their family or for themselves.”
Althoff said the team motto is, “Start fast, be smart and finish strong.”