Summer weightlifting underway at ECHS

Published 4:08 am Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ECHS football coach Royce Young shows the proper technique to some of his players during Monday’s offseason workout.

ECHS football coach Royce Young shows the proper technique to some of his players during Monday’s offseason workout.

Even though the start of two-a-days practice is still a month away, members of the Escambia County High School football team have already been putting in the hours in the weight room.

ECHS football coach Royce Young said that all students who play sports at the school are required to attend offseason workouts in the summer months. The girls typically work out from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., and then the boys come in after 8. All athletes also participate in some conditioning drills after the weight-lifting sessions.

The sessions are typically Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and athletes are required to attend 75 percent of those days in order to play sports at ECHS. The weight lifting schedule began June 8 and will continue through the end of July.

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“We initiated this program last year for all sports, and we’re continuing it this year,” said Young, who is also the athletic director at ECHS. “The key is that all of our coaches are on board, and understand the benefits of our summer program.”

Young said there has been an average of 50 to 60 football players at each workout, although that number does include some middle school players.

Athletes at Escambia County Middle School are welcome to attend the summer workouts as well, so the lifters include everyone from seventh through 12th grade.

“To be competitive, you’ve got to do the work,” Young said. “We know that the schools we play are lifting throughout the summer, so we’ve got to do it as well.”

Young is recommending that all sports participate in the workouts, including activities such as cheerleading and color guard. Although building strength is one obvious benefit, Young said the summer program also helps prevent injuries and acclimate the athletes to the heat.

Each of Young’s football players records weights that have been lifted, and they “max out” at least once a month, he said.

“The workouts are tailored toward the individual player,” he said. “They’re competing against themselves, rather than their peers. We have so many different body types and age differences, but it’s important that everyone improves compared to where they started.”

Young said that plans are in place to create a girls-only weight lifting facility, and hopefully it will be open by the start of school.

The Blue Devils football team is also scheduled to participate in two 7-on-7 competitions. In a 7-on-7 competition, there are no linemen, so it allows quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs to practice their skills with a more open field.

The Blue Devils will play July 17 at J.U. Blacksher, and July 28 at Flomaton. Both competitions will feature three other schools.

The first day of football practice is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 3.