This fall, Coach Christopher Collins is expanding his training regimen for Andover students with weekly clinics for fall sports. According to Collins, the goal of the clinics is for athletes to improve their running techniques, such as change of speed and direction.
“The training focus has been on utilizing proper running/sprinting mechanics and focusing on movement efficiency to enhance the athlete’s ability to accelerate (create force) and decelerate (reduce force),” Collins wrote in an email to The Phillipian.
Most of Collins’s training routines center around movements and exercises intended to enhance mobility and prevent injuries.
Collins wrote, “Creating efficient and stable movement patterns plays a key role in injury prevention, which then allows for better and more consistent training which then leads to better performance on the field, court, or track.”
According to Andover Girls Soccer Head Coach and Athletic Director Lisa Joel, Collins’s work is important because athletes of all levels have taken considerable time off from their sports due to Covid-19, making the athletes more susceptible to injury.
Joel said, “A lot of athletes were de-conditioned and had been away from sports for months and months. What we knew is that from professional programs and athletes, when they went back to playing, whether it was the English Premier League or the NFL or the NBA, their athletic trainers and medical folks were identifying that some of these elite athletes were getting injuries because they were de-conditioned and away from sports. [Offering these clinics] is us addressing the fact that we knew many of our student athletes that were returning to campus had been away from gyms and working out in an extensive way.”
According to Joel, the sessions with Collins differ from normal practices in their focus on general strength, speed, and conditioning rather than sport-specific skills.
Joel said, “These strength and conditioning sessions with Coach Collins are really just a complement to what we typically are doing with the different programs. So, for the days of the week the athletes…are with their head coaches, they are working on sport-specific skills. That time they spend with Coach Collins is much more dedicated to just agility work and speed work that is always incorporated into skills and drills.”
According to Collins, he highlights the importance of personal goals, as every athlete has a different relationship with athletics.
“Asking questions, getting to know the individual and trying to understand why and what motivates a person to come in and train is helpful in building connections and realizing that everyone is different and responds differently to the challenges presented,” wrote Collins.
According to Stephen Needham ’21, a member of Andover Football, Collins works to provide specific feedback to each athlete. Needham believes this personal approach benefits athletes, especially in the absence of a competitive season.
Needham said, “It’s really the individual contact with each player that makes him really unique. If he sees something wrong, he will come over to you and give you individual feedback. He’s working on the little things, whether it be your footwork, agility, or explosiveness. This time allows you to put in maximum effort to [your fitness goals] and refer to [them] when your mind is not fully on the actual sport you’re playing or the upcoming game that you have next week.”
As the term comes to a close, Collins hopes to develop a training program that will be open to all students regardless of their athletic background.
Collins wrote, “I would like to develop a program where the individual whether an athlete or just a student trying to stay healthy understands why they are training. That they train with a purpose, are consistent, and do it in a manner that is smart, purposeful and enjoyable, and that allows them to achieve their goal whatever that may be.”