Editor’s note: This is the third story in a monthly series about fitness.
By Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT staff writer
The offseason may be the toughest time for an athlete to train. Staying focused, sometimes without the direction of coaches, can lead to players getting complacent, or out of shape.
“I think it is more beneficial when players stay through the summer and work out,” said Malcolm Butters, a senior defensive lineman for the Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds. That’s why the football players at Portales High School and Eastern New Mexico University have offseason workouts put together by coaches.
Portales High School football coach Jaime Ramirez has a speed and agility program set up for his players aimed at making them faster and more agile.
“We not only want to gain strength but also functional agility. We don’t want our guys to be stiff out there,” Ramirez said.
The program is broken down by day, with different workouts each day. Plyometrics are jumping exercises that increase explosion. Ladder drills and cone drills increase foot speed and lateral movement, according to Ramirez, who is looking to improve on a 2-9 record from last season.
“We want athletes who can move laterally and not just run a good 40-yard dash time,” said Ramirez, in his second year at Portales
The ENMU football team is also hard at work this offseason. A combination of lifting weights and running drills have kept the team busy all offseason.
Defensive coordinator Oliver Soukup designs their workouts, with players having the option of showing up for either a noon or 5 p.m. workout session.
“We work out from Sunday through Thursday, with Friday and Saturday off,” Butters said.
The Greyhounds lift weights on Sunday and Tuesday, run on Monday and Wednesday along with agility training and position training, and Thursday they do both with lifting and speed training.
“These workouts are meant to build strength, speed, and agility,” said strength and conditioning coach Larry Varnado Jr., who also trains athletes from other sports at ENMU.
“The workouts our coach gives us really shows on the field. We do a lot of explosive workouts, such as box squats, push press, cleans, and snatches,” said Butters, who has 22 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks in a Greyhound career hampered by injuries to his shoulder, knee and biceps. “We also do stabilizer workouts, which basically require you to keep your balance.”
In addition to team workouts, some players choose to do their own offseason training.
“I been running extra, just to work on my conditioning,” Butters said. “I’ll sprint 300 meters a few times, just a straight sprint. I just try to stay active and eat right.”