Off-Season Athletes Show Grit


Mitch Van Cleave

Athletic programs at Fair Grove High School have always encouraged productive off-season training, but this year they have taken it a step further. Coaches have athletes in the weight room three days a week, before and after school. The before school sessions consist of heavy weight lifting, while the after school classes are focused on speed and agility training. According to weights coach, Ryan Buffington, the mornings average 55 athletes, and the afternoons average 30.

The coaching staff includes high school sport coaches Bill Voorhis, Christian Overstreet, Randy Roepke, Joseph Florez and Brendan Carroll. The overall goal is to offer something to students that can’t fit a weights class into their schedule. Buffington commented, “After school weights is something we’ve always done. This year we wanted to offer something to the freshman class. The problem we have is our freshman that do weights in the summer; they won’t touch a weight over the school year. We really want to teach these younger guys how to lift right; we want these guys to be able to lift for four years rather than three.”

Leaders in the class are also pushing to encourage the younger athletes. Junior football and baseball player Hale Beckley described, “Committing this much time sets a standard for underclassmen, and it sets a bar for the rest of the program. It shows how everyone should be working.”

Beckley is a committed athlete that participates in the morning and afternoon sessions, and as well as a daily weights class. Beckley added, “It’s all of the different people around me in the weight class that hold me responsible for coming everyday. I’m always thinking about how it’s going to pay during the season.”

Off-season practices are held on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. before school and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. after school. Buffington stated, “In the end we really just feel like it is key to offer something to our guys so that they play to the best of their abilities.”