Following the abrupt staff changes in May, the Commerce High School football program now has its “feet on the ground,” and coaches plan to trudge forwards at a steady pace this summer.
Throughout June, the Tigers are holding an organized morning practice once a week and conducting strength and conditioning training at least twice per week. Coaches also said they were planning to enter some seven-on-seven passing leagues towards the end of June, but no plans are currently finalized.
Head coach Mike Brown said that he has been pleased by the attendance at summer training thus far.
“We’ve had great attendance,” Brown said. “We’ve had about sixty kids show up for weight training.”
Brown also noted that over 35 players have regularly showed up to the varsity-only practice sessions.
Brown pointed out that a solidified staff has made summer practice sessions go more smoothly than in the spring, when the Tigers had only four coaches.
“We’ve got seven coaches now, so we are a lot better off than we were,” he added.
Among those seven coaches is returning defensive coordinator Will Peters. Peters was offered a coaching a job at Clarke Central, and planned to accept it prior to spring training. But after former head coach Marvin Justice resigned, Peters decided to stay with the Tigers.
“One of the big reasons is I’ll be moving over to the high school (from the middle school) with my teaching job,” said Peters. “I’ll be working as the strength and conditioning coordinator and that’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a while.”
In addition to Peters, the Tigers have added David Nichols to the coaching staff Nichols has helped with Commerce football in previous seasons and also plans to help coach wrestling in the winter.
Brown, who was the offensive coordinator in 2012, will continue to call plays for the Tigers this season.
While the 2013 season opener is months away, Tiger coaches are adamantly stressing the importance of an early start to their players.
“The whole purpose of our strength and conditioning program is to develop our kids as athletes,” said Brown. “When we set up our program, we look at the trainable attributes of athleticism and target in on those things that can be improved.”
Coaches are focusing on increasing strength and then conditioning players to their specific positions.
“Number one, we want to increase their strength,” said Brown. “A bi-product of that is increased speed. We want to increase their flexibility, balance, coordination, power – there’s a lot of things that really go in to it.”
“Overall general strength improves the performance of any athlete,” added Peters. “But we are also focusing on the movement required of each position. I like to call it movement training or position specific training. It’s geared towards getting the players better at the position they are playing.”
The Tigers will bump up to three practices per week in July and continue weight training while working towards installing offensive and defensive schemes.