HILLTOPPER STRONG!

Head Strength and Condition Coach Jim Nowell gives an indepth look inside the Hilltopper in-season strength program.

A football player's body endures much during a season. Players prepare for months so their bodies will allow them to compete at the highest level. But what happens once fall camp arrives? What do the Hilltoppers do to maintain the strength they have earned through many hours of hard work?

WKU's Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Jim Nowell is one of the best in the business. Coach Nowell gave WKU Insider an inside look at what the Hilltoppers do in-season to maintain and even build strength. Highlights of Coach Nowell's interview are available below. To listen to the entire interview, just follow the link at the end of the highlights. .

WKU Insider: How do feel the preparation in the summer prepared the players for fall camp and if you had to give a grade what would that grade be?

Coach Nowell: I think its very important for our kids that they were here all summer becaue it takes a while to get adjusted to the heat and the amount of work that they were doing not only in the weight room but also in the conditioning session. So when fall camp did start it was not a big shock for the kids. I think we had a great summer and I am always very optimistic and I always see the glass half full as opposed to half-empty. But to give it a grade, I am always shooting for A's. I want my kids to have straight A's. I like straight A's and for me to be the head strength coach I don't know if its for me to say or not. Obviously, I feel strong about the summer we had and well just see how that carries over into the playing season. Like I have said before when we have spoken, I want to do all I can from my standpoint and from what I do. I want help our kids be successful not only on Saturday but also the other days of the week. Whether in the classroom or their social life or what have you. We have some really good players and I think we've got some really, really good people. I enjoy being around them and I need them as much as they need me. If I had to give it a grade, I would certainly give it an A. Kids showed up every day and they worked hard, they had a good attitude and they had fun while they worked. You know the price of success has to be paid in advance and I think we paid a big price this summer so hopefully we'll be able to go out and play hard.

WKU Insider: I have been here all fall camp and watched the kids play and practice. I'd them an A. I didn't see anyone fall out from extreme heat. I was extremely impressed with their preparation coach.

Coach Jim Nowell: A lot of things we go through in the sport of football and life is mental. Your body is never going to go where your mind doesn't want to take you. So we also try to condition our kids mentally as well as physically. Many times your opponent is every bit as tired as you are, and I think its important that we stand tall in the huddle and we don't ever bend over, we don't put our hands on our knees. I want it to be a mirror image, from our strength and conditioning standpoint, exactly what is Coach Elson's philosophy. I want it to mirror everything that he's about and his program and we want it to coincide with one another. We talk about the same things up here that he talks about as far as playing hard, playing smart and playing together. Having a lot of pride and never letting people know when you are tired and being able to handle adversity such as the heat. I think it was very beneficial to have the extreme temperatures during training camp.

WKU Insider: How do you maintain the teams strength during the season so when the season is over you're not starting back from ground zero. What are your philosophies for in-season strength work?

Coach Jim Nowell: You know Sarge, I could talk for hours about that one topic. Anytime that I ask to speak at a high school or camp or any type of speaking on training, strength and conditioning, if given my choice I always choose to speak on in-season training. Number one it is the longest period of training of the year uninterrupted, it is going to last 16, 17, 18, weeks before the season is over. It's very, very important. A lot of people go into the season with the attitude well you know we just want to maintain our strength, we need to do this, we need to do that, I never use that word. Obviously, you got a lot of guys that are involved in real physical practices, physical games, and you are going to have to train around injuries, set backs and some guys may maintain their strength but I tell you a lot of our kids gain a lot strength in the season. Especially the kids that are going to be redshirting. What we try to do in season is number one you can't be afraid to train heavy. You have got to be smart and you have to be able to communicate with players' everyday. You have to ask them "Hey guys, this is our workout. Is there anything I need to know about before we begin?" In other words, my back is a little tight today, I sprained my knee I've been down in the training room getting treatment. If your right knee is hurt then we are going to make adjustments in our workout so that you will be able to lift. An injury doesn't excuse you from the workout. We're going to do what the Hilltoppers are doing and if one Hilltopper is working then they all should be working out.

Follow this link, , to listen to the rest of Coach Jim Nowell's dynamic interview!

WKU Insider.com Update: The Training Room is a new forum on WKU Insider.com. Fans can now post questions concerning strength and conditioning specifically for Coach Nowell and he will answer them for you as quickly as his schedule will allow him.

Coach Nowell, thank you for making this possible!

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