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Beating the heat

“Beating the heat” has been the main conditioning factor for the Florala Wildcats’ workout program this summer.

Since June 8, the Wildcats have been meeting three days a week to work on core lifts on bench, squat, power cleans and overheads. On Tuesdays during those weeks, they work mainly on auxiliary lifts and biometrics that focus on the small muscle groups.

“We’ve been doing that since the second week of June,” Florala coach Stan Gooden said. “Our attendance has been good, but it’s not where I want it to be. It’s been consistent. We’ve got a lot of kids playing summer ball and so I’m having to work around that.”

Gooden said the team has also been working on 7-on-7 preparation with quarterbacks, receivers and backs. The team has also practiced shotgun snaps.

As far as the heat is concerned, Gooden said the players are just trying to get in better “competing shape.”

“Of course we don’t have anywhere to go but up since last year,” he said. “We’ll be improved in a lot of areas. You know, they’re a year older and they’re a year stronger and hopefully a year wiser.

“We have had some tremendous gains in the weight rooms,” he said. “We’re not blessed with a lot of big kids and speed, so we’re going to have to make up with that hopefully with our conditioning and be in better shape when we play.”

Gooden said working out in the summer is essential for the team because they would not be prepared for the fall.

“It’s important due to the fact that if you didn’t do anything your kids would about die from when you started,” Gooden said. “It’s important that they get acclimated to any changes that we’re going to make in the fall. We’re going to make a few. It’s important to get that team chemistry and working together.

“You want those kids to enjoy their time in the summer, but you’ve got to concentrate on their athletics,” he said. “Being a small school like this, we’re not just preparing for football with most of our guys. We’re preparing for the whole year. A lot of our kids will go right into baseball, basketball and track and things like that. The summer program is you’ve got to do it. If you didn’t do it, you’d be so far behind it would be tough to compete at any level.”

Gooden said the improvement he has seen since the beginning of the summer mainly comes from how much his players are lifting on the bench.

“A lot of our kids have really gotten a lot stronger,” he said. “When I started last summer we didn’t have one kid that could bench over 200 pounds. Right now, we’ve got close to 10 that are benching close to over 200 pounds.

“That’s a 1,000 percent improvement from last year,” he said. “The kids see that and they see that physically and they notice some changes in their body. Hopefully that’s a motivation for them.”

Overall, Gooden said the team has improved at a great amount, especially with the linemen continuing to get better running times.

“We’ve improved each week and we’ve knocked our times down to push the kids to get better and they’ve responded and it’s been a real positive aspect of the summer,” he said. “Our main focus is to be in shape and be ready for that heat where it won’t kill us on Aug. 3.”