The secret of their success
Want to know why the Washington football team is preparing to host its first home playoff game in six years?
Look no further than the school’s weight room.
“We spend all hours in here so we can play 48 minutes out there,” Washington head football coach Randy Schrader said as he pointed toward the Case Field turf that lies outside the weight room doors.
Except the Demons don’t spend all hours in the weight room. In fact, they spend barely more than 30 minutes a morning on their lifting routine.
“Our philosophy is not about the quantity of time they spend in here, but the quality of time,” Schrader said. “We want it to be high speed with good technique. We want to get them in and out of here. When we start at 6:35, we want to be done at 7:10.”
“It moves pretty quick,” said Scott Danielson, Washington’s strength and conditioning coach.
Does it ever. Everything is timed. And the players have just 10 minutes to do their core lifts, which includes squats, bench press, clean, incline, towel bench and barbell complex. Blink and you’ll miss it.
“The big thing is to get them in here, get stronger, be safe and get out,” Danielson said.
Washington’s football players aren’t the only ones using the weight room to improve themselves. The Demon volleyball players and cross-country runners also work out before school starts.
“The weight room is a neutral environment where everybody comes to get better,” Schrader said.
Weightlifting is also considered a class, and non-athletes are also involved. Proper technique is taught to all who work out. Progress is charted. The class earns juniors and seniors college credit.
“It works out great for them,” Danielson said. “They get a college credit and don’t have to pay for it.”
Because nearly 130 student-athletes rotate through the weight room between 6 and 7:30 a.m., things have to move quickly.
“The coaches really emphasize our tempo in here and in practice,” said senior Justin Hoffman.
Hoffman, a starting wide receiver and free safety, said that he can see the difference the weight room has made in him.
“Last year I probably put on 10-15 pounds,” he said. “Each year I’m just getting bigger and bigger.”
Left guard Tommy Peterson, a 6-foot-3, 315-pound sophomore, hasn’t gotten bigger, but has noticed improvement in other areas.
“I’m faster,” he said. “My hands are faster and my feet are faster. That has a lot to do with the conditioning we did in the summer, too.”
The Demons lifted throughout the offseason and the summer to get ready for this football season. And because they have kept lifting during the season, something many teams do not do, they expect their strength to be, well, a strength in the playoffs next week.
“The nice thing is we keep getting stronger through the season, which will help us this week and in the playoffs,” Danielson said. “Most teams don’t lift much during the season.”
The Demons do. It’s the secret of their success.