Last Friday, St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) defeated then-No. 1 Manatee (Bradenton) 35-18 in the 7A semifinals. The Raiders head to the state title game this Friday hoping to capture the school’s seventh championship, the last of which was won in 2010.
Strength coach Rob Biasotti says his team is hungry and ready to hit the field. And after dedicated and intense offseason training, the Raiders will set out to prove just how well prepared they really are.
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We caught up with Biasotti to find out about some of the training that prepared the Raiders so they’re ready to roll.
Tell us about the team’s training at the beginning of the season.
Biasotti: We did a Navy Seals test. I have huge admiration for the Navy Seals and their physical conditioning. [The test] was a series that involved swimming 500 yards, a 10-minute break, a number of pushups, situps and pullups within a minute followed by a minute break [between each exercise]. You get a 10-minute break, and then run for a mile and a half. We did it as a way to say ‘we’re all in this together.’
What’s core to your training program? How do you look to improve each year?
We bring in anybody and everybody who we think can help us. We’ll do Pilates, yoga, and we had mental health guys come in and talk to the team.
What else about the team’s training is nontraditional?
We play games as an incentive for things like giving 100 percent in the weight room. It elevates the mood of the workout.
During a two-hour lifting or conditioning session, [we’ll] play 30 minutes of games that are extremely competitive. In the middle of our conditioning program, I’ll ring a bell and all of us run into the wrestling room for an impromptu game of dodgeball or tag.
The games bring a level of contagious enthusiasm that adds to the strength and conditioning period. Plus, players look forward to coming to the workouts.
What else contributes to your workouts?
We have student volunteers who tape workouts. We’re looking to correct training techniques [and] players respond to being videoed because they might make the highlight reel. It motivates them. We have three or four cameras going at once. Players might take a [camera] to their station and tape — it’s kind of a documentary.