March 15, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Before spring football practice begins, the winter phase of strength and conditioning must conclude. University of Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle is excited about the growth he has seen from the Hawkeyes since January.
"We have made outstanding strength gains, we track that year-in, year-out -- we have 15 years of data that show our progress in the offseason," Doyle said. "The results we've had this winter are encouraging, but it's a long road. It's a process and this is just the beginning. We had a young football team in 2012, and young teams typically progress faster. We have seen that this winter, and we're eager."
Spring camp opens March 27 for the Hawkeyes, who are rebounding from a rare season with no bowl appearance and a sub-.500 record. Even though student-athletes characteristically attack off-season workouts with vigor, there was more intensity than usual during this winter phase.
"We have made outstanding strength gains, we track that year-in, year-out -- we have 15 years of data that show our progress in the offseason. The results we've had this winter are encouraging, but it's a long road. It's a process and this is just the beginning. We had a young football team in 2012, and young teams typically progress faster."
UI football S&C coach
What exactly is the goal of the winter phase strength and conditioning? Unlike in-season training where position-specific peak power is addressed, the offseason is a time to pour the foundation for physical and mental development.
"In the winter, we're trying to build foundational size and strength," Doyle said. "Our focus is strength, power, lean body mass gain and corrective exercise. When you complete a season, guys can get banged up, and we need to help correct some of those imbalances throughout the winter months."
Doyle begins his 15th season at the UI under head coach Kirk Ferentz. The Hawkeyes return 39 letterwinners and 16 starters.
"The closer we get to spring football, the more eager the guys are to get out on the football field," Doyle said. "They came here to play football. They aren't weight lifters, body-builders, or track stars, they came here to play the sport of football.
"The longer we train, the more eager they are to get back on the field and block, tackle, run with the football, and attack the football. Our guys have worked hard and expectations are high; they can't wait to get on the field and experience some of the success of their hard work."
Doyle's program is nationally-recognized as a forerunner in player development. Results from this winter will add to that reputation.
"It's tough-minded people that are willing to put forth physical effort to change their bodies and change their futures," Doyle said during a video highlighting Iowa's history of player development. "As they gain physically, they become more confident."
To watch the entire three-minute strength and conditioning video, which features interviews with Doyle and several Hawkeye student athletes, click HERE.
Iowa opens the 2013 football season Aug. 31 by hosting Northern Illinois inside Kinnick Stadium.