My training days are long gone…when it comes to sports that is, but I will never forget the long and grueling practices. Hours were spent perfecting plays and running drills on an open field or inside a hot stuffy gym until the coach blew the final whistle. Those moments pushed you so beyond your comfort zone so that it was almost impossible not to become a better, more well-rounded athlete.
Head Coach Tom Maderia can relate. Formerly a football player at Mount Union College in Ohio, Maderia has been instructing the game for the last 28 years. After coaching at his alma mater, he has worked with West Virginia University and United States Naval Academy before settling down in South Jersey at Holy Cross High School in 1992. He is now entering his 18th season at Burlington Township High School.
When asked why he decided to pursue coaching he says;
“I loved the game, I loved the competition, the physicality, the toughness. But most of all I loved the camaraderie amongst the players. Guys who went through the same thing you did at times when you didn’t think you could do it anymore. I really believe football prepares you to deal with life… discipline… Getting knocked down and getting back up.”
During my interview with Tom and in light of the current pandemic, he told me about the different rules enforced by the athletic department:
Phase 1: The team could only meet in groups of ten, no switching/mixing of players, and no football is allowed to be used.
Phase 2: The team could meet in groups of thirty, again no switching/mixing of players, but allowed to use a football. They were also allowed to use the indoor weight lifting facility.
Phase 3: No physical interaction with players or coaches, only virtual. This was done to get the students adjusted to the new school protocol.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic uprooted preseason training, high school football is still underway with new regulations in place. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) has switched to a six game schedule with two undetermined games, but no playoffs. “With everything going on, if our kids get to play eight games I will be really happy,” says Maderia.
1. Play because you love the game… don’t play for a scholarship or your parents.
2. Your education is the most important thing… get your degree.
3. Be there best you can be… regardless of your ability. In football…in school…or at work. If you always give your best effort you will always be a winner.
4. Enjoy these Friday nights, they go by way too quickly. For many, their high school football career will be the end of their football career.
5. Play multiple sports… do not be a “one sport” player if possible.
One more tip for parents; encourage and support your child…don’t add pressure to them and let them stand on their own two feet.
For more guidance, follow Alexandra, NASM Certified Personal Trainer on Instagram at @TipsfromAFitChick