By Lizbeth Solorzano
In the competitive game of volleyball, the ball bounces back and forth off the arms of the players and over the net. The gym roars with benched players on both teams shouting and cheering, sitting on the edges of their seats to get a glimpse at where the ball will fall next. The visiting team sets the ball high in the air while the outside hitter approaches to swing, but the team creates a successful stuff block. The crowd’s cheering comes to an abrupt stop when they witness the blocker coming down from her jump and landing badly, resulting in a painful sprained ankle.
This athlete sat out in the next games, unable to walk or play. Injuries as serious as this one could be prevented by consistent practice in the weight room located in the back room of the gym. The man training these student athletes is Coach Farzad Jalilvand.
Jalilvand, more commonly known as Coach Faz, works with a few of the many sports teams on campus including basketball, baseball, dance, and soccer. He trains the teams to be able to run faster, perform better, and gain muscle. The conditioning these teams do allows them to stress their muscles so they can adapt and become more resistant to injuries as well as perform better in their sport. The exercises vary from lifting weights to running on the football field.
Not all sports participate in weight training, however. Sports like volleyball and cross country do not receive conditioning. Even if all coaches were interested in enrolling their teams for the training, Jalilvand can only coach so many players and does not have enough time to get through all of them because he only works part-time.
The varsity baseball coach Matthew Matuszak has his players train with Farzad for 50 minutes twice a week.
“In baseball, strength is important and a big component of the game. Weight training allows recovery and injury prevention,” Matuszak said.
Matuszak tests his athletes on their explosiveness when it comes to jumping by measuring both their vertical and broad jumps. He has seen improvements after implementing conditioning to their weekly practice schedules.
“The sport is a game of power, and the numbers tell us how successful an athlete is going to be,” Matuszak said.
Varsity soccer also practices with Farzad to improve stamina and coordination when running on the field. Coach David Huish, implements weight training in his weekly practices as well to prevent injuries like tears of the anterior cruciate ligament, a major ligament in the knee.
“It’s not just for strength. They learn balance, and balance is huge because when you don’t have the balance you’ll hurt yourself,” Huish said.
Along with the value the coaches see in conditioning, the student athletes truly enjoy weight training and feel healthier after working out. The athletes train and sweat as a team, but focus on improving their individual goals.
“It’s not the weight training itself, it’s the outcome. I’ve definitely developed a lot more muscle and got faster. You get to bond with teammates and develop as players together,” sophomore Isabella Velazco, a player on varsity girls soccer team, said.