June 19 marked the first day of a six-week strength and conditioning camp unlike any other sports camp offered this summer in the Prosper Independent School District.
Separated into three morning sessions four days a week, middle school and high school kids involved with Prosper Eagle athletics have the chance to learn the fundamentals of lifting and running with a staff of a dozen coaches, led by assistant football coach Tony Cooper. The camp is open to both boys and girls from all sports.
“We’re just trying to enhance everyone’s ability to be successful,” Cooper said. “That includes injury prevention, strength and mobility for their individual sports.”
This is the second year Cooper has overseen the camp. Once school starts again, he will not have the chance to be hands-on with every single student athlete. However, he was worked with numerous coaches of other sports to put together individualized workout plans to continue building on the good habits they build this summer.
“Our goal is to get the fundamental structures for all of them down, especially for middle school kids,” Cooper said. “If we can teach them how to lift and run correctly, that pays dividends for us as coaches once they get into high school.”
Each day features different focal points and intensity progresses each week. When it comes to lifting, Cooper has designed the camps to focus on safety first, followed by technique and increasing the weights. Once the fundamental baseline is established, the intensity tapers upwards to put the campers in the best position possible to succeed once their individual sports season begins.
Overall, the camp isn’t just about improving physical performance. Cooper and his staff also incorporate overarching themes and lessons by creating a family atmosphere and consistently giving the kids new challenges to take on. In the long term, Cooper said he hopes to help athletes improve their work ethic and become accountable, responsible adults.
“I tell them to embrace something uncomfortable every day so they can get better,” Cooper said. “When they run into those situations in life, whether its sports or academics, they’ll know how to work through those. I don’t feel like kids get that sort of training enough these days.”
About 340 students have been in attendance the first week. That number is expected to rise to about 380 once the camp resumes on July 10. It will conclude on August 3.