Conditioning Aids Recovery

<p> "Imelda Garcia is the athletic trainer," strength and conditioning coach Tory Stephens explained, "and we communicate daily ... I don't want to go and counter produce what she's trying to do,and she doesn't want to counter produce what I'm trying to do."

Texas Tech's strength and conditioning coach, Tory Stephens, recently took time to answer questions about the training program he created for the Lady Raiders. While some aspects – foot speed and injury prevention, as examples – are the same for all players, other parts of the program vary among the players.

Not all the Lady Raiders use the same weight or the same exercises in off-season training. Special needs may arise when a player is recovering from an injury.

"Imelda Garcia is the athletic trainer," he said, "and we communicate daily on restricted lifts and rehabilitative lifts. She does a lot of it, and I do some of it in the weight room too, so we've got to be both on the same page.

"I don't want to go and counter produce what she's trying to do," he said, "and she doesn't want to counter produce what I'm trying to do in the weight room. If she's rehabbing ‘em in the training room, a lot of stuff with their legs, the next day they need to recover, but it so happens to be the day that I'm working their legs, then they're never recovering.

"So you've got to communicate, and say, all right, this is what I've done today in the weight room, let's kind of change the rehab so it all fits together. If you don't give it time to recover, it's almost worse than just not doing anything at all on it," he said. "You've got to give it time to break it down, through stress, like exercise, and then you give it full time to recover."

Stephens said his goal is to improve the student athletes' strength and enable them to increase performance. For some, that's a matter of rehabilitation, while others face issues of strength, balance of power, or building themselves a better physique for the demands of their positions.

"They're all athletes, and they all train athletically," he said. "When you train athletes, you train with the athletes, number one. You're not training them to try to change their body type, but you can help them be more athletic."

For example, a player might have good upper body strength but need to develop lower-body strength. "You may break her (needs) down in the summer, and work with her individually and stress lower-body exercises with her. That's about as specific as you'd get with her, but keep in mind that with the team, they're all training together, but they each have their own specific program as well."

A look ahead: Coach Stephens explains NCAA conditions governing nutrition.

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