Over the past two weeks, many football players and other athletes can be seen limping around campus as most fall and winter sports have started their post-season workouts with Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Jarrod Burton.
In 2012, prior to coming to UVa-Wise, Burton worked and trained with the Olympic bobsled, skeleton and luge teams at the Lake Placid Olympic Center in New York.
“I also trained with them and tried out for the bobsled team; I never made the team, but I got to take a couple runs,” Burton said. “That was important to me and the reason that was important to me is because I wanted to know how our training was affecting them physically, so by experiencing that I had a better understanding of the things that they were going through which gave me a better idea of how to manipulate certain things. This was just an internship; I had no control over those programs so the thing that I could get the most was an understanding of why we did what we did.”
According to Burton, the difference between preseason fall workouts and practices and the spring offseason workouts is the focus. In the spring they focus on making athletes better at what they do while in the fall the focus is on preparing for games.
Sophomore middle linebacker Zack Blair believes that coach Burton’s training contributed to his success this past football season.
“I definitely feel like coach Burton is needed in every athletic program,” Blair said. “He brings the kind of intensity and motivational skills needed to run a sports team. He pushes athletes to their limits and he was definitely one of the biggest reasons I received any of my accolades.”
Burton compares training to a pyramid and says the base of the pyramid is built during a hard training cycle that starts at the beginning of the winter.
“You think of training like a pyramid then you have to build that foundation which is your muscle mass. Once you get the foundation, we want to make those new muscles stronger; that’s the next step. Once we make those new muscles stronger, we want to make them react faster or be more explosive, so that’s the final stage and that’s where we’re at right now,” Burton said. “Right now our reps are very low, our weights are very high and we’re getting ready to max out. During our max out, the goals are to see us jump higher, to have a higher power clean, to sprint faster those things to help you on the field. But you can’t accomplish those things without laying the foundation first, which is what we do earlier in the winter.”
Though Burton’s workouts are tough he genuinely wants the athletes he trains to get better.
Helping his athletes learn not only how to train but how to act in the real world, and watching them accomplish their goals is Burton’s favorite part of his job.
“My favorite part about my job is watching kids come in with no idea how to train physically and sometimes no idea how to act in general, with a very poor understanding of why it’s important to be on time or be dressed appropriately; or focus when their trying to accomplish something, and over time, consistently holding them accountable to those things, they start to take it as important for themselves,” he said. “As that happens you start to see them develop into someone that thinks it is important to do things the right way.”