As arguably Minnesota’s top high school football program, Eden Prairie makes winning look easy. Behind its elite status, which includes seven Class 5A state championships since 1996, involves hours and hours of preparation.
We spent a week with Eden Prairie to find out how the team gets ready for the biggest game of the year against Edina, the Eagles’ biggest roadblock to an eighth state title in 17 years.
To prepare, the team meets early on Saturday morning to watch film of the previous night’s game. Coach Mike Grant says film study is an integral learning experience for every player.
“No matter how you thought you played the game,” senior running back Jacob Woodring says, “it’s not the same when you actually see yourself on film.”
Film is just one part of Saturday preparation. After the analysis, players turn to the weight room, where strength coach Jason Reader leads a recovery workout.
The session starts by massaging muscles using a foam roller, lacrosse, tennis or golf ball. Aside from reducing lactic acid from the previous night’s game, Reader says there’s a psychological impact.
“If you think you’re working to feel better, your performance will be better as well,” he says. Players then move to a dynamic warm-up of jumping jacks, jumping rope or stationary biking. The workout varies each week, but exercises sometimes include box jumps, dumbbell pushups and partner med ball throws.
Each athlete also dedicates 10-15 minutes to link training, during which he strengthens his weakest area — be it hamstrings, lower back, hands or ankles.
The workout lasts approximately an hour, and the exercises are “just enough to rejuvenate the body,” says senior wide receiver Elijah Johnson.