Northwest football team springs into preseason workouts


Catherine Gray

Football players warm up to get ready for a tough workout. The football team spends January through May working out in order to get ready for their season in August.

Montana Murphy, Staff writer

To be able to lay it all out on the field, this is why every week from January until May, up to 60 Northwest football players find themselves in the weight room and on the football field preparing for the season that lies ahead.

The football team doesn’t mess around. In order to get their bodies and minds right for their season in August, the football team begins working out months ahead of time.

“We started in mid-January, somewhere around that time,” varsity head football coach Jared Rolfes sai

The football team comes together in the weight room three times a week until April when they begin working out four times a week during a more competitive period. To help structure the workouts, they are divided into three phases.

“We do different phases, so we have what we call phase one, phase two and phase three,” Rolfes said. “We just ended phase two and started phase three.”

The different phases allow for a shift in focus during the varying time periods. Phase one focuses on the basics.

“Phase one is very preliminary so we have to plan more for the fact that a lot of kids are new and haven’t lifted before,” Rolfes said. “We’re doing a lot of teaching and it’s a lot of lower weight, higher reps.”

Phase two is a more hard-core part of the preseason.

“When we get into phase two, we feel like they’ve made progress enough that we call that kind of a crazy period where we do really hard stuff,” Rolfes said, “like they’re sore every time they work out.”

In phase three the focus is on competition. This gives the players a chance to build skills while having a good time pushing one another.

“Phase three is like a competitive phase which is what we’re in now,” Rolfes said. “All of them require a lot of planning, but this one requires the most because we break them up into teams. For four weeks they’re in a team of five and they compete on weight and speed elements against other teams. It’s still weight training and stuff but it’s more competitive based.”

Being able to workout months in advance of their season puts the athletes in a better position to be able to perform in games and contributes to unifying the team.

“I think the big thing is safety, so that they’re more sound in regards to the physical part,” Rolfes said. “Obviously [a benefit to being able to workout before the season is] athletic improvement, both strength and speed and agility giving them a better edge when it comes to their opponents. I think that’s where the big pieces come to play. Plus, I think almost an even bigger advantage is the team comes together in the weight room because they have to work together and spend so much time together.”

Though the preseason workouts are very beneficial, there are restrictions that come limit what can be done during them.

“We can’t do anything where we’re directly coaching them with footballs involved,” Rolfes said. “They do stuff on their own but we’re not allowed to do anything where we’re there present and coaching them, outside of that we can do weight training, speed training, agility and all of that stuff that we do in the weight room.”

As May ends, the restrictions will loosen up and the team will be able to get more game-like practice in.

“[Spring practices] are the weeks of May 16th and May 23rd, the last two full weeks of May,” Rolfes said. “It’s basically ten total days. The state gives you that number but you have to kind of do them consecutively throughout the course of that two week period. You can’t do full pads, so we’ll wear shoulder pads and helmets but they have to wear shorts, so you can’t do full contact. There are limitations on the amount of time, I think three hours on the field is the limit. You can’t do contact and that sort of thing but outside of that it’s really good because you get the whole team together and start to implement things and start to build a team culture and that sort of deal.”

The team is able to bond throughout the trying workouts and they form comradery that will be essential to the way they play on the field.

Players enjoy getting to participate in preseason workouts as they’re able to notice self-improvement while seeing the entire team benefit.

“Personally, I feel like I’ve improved a lot as an athlete and football player because of [preseason workouts],” sophomore football player Jacob Leonard said. “We’re getting a lot stronger and faster as a team and more physically able to be dominate on the football field.”

Working out months before the season builds up anticipation amongst the players and gives them an edge up during games.

“Everyone is getting a whole lot stronger,” junior football player Thomas Hennigan said. “Outside of everyone growing strength wise, it’s kind of sparking a competitive spirit in everybody that’s going to become important throughout the season.”

Here come the Vikings.