04-10-2009, 11:42 AM
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Chiefs Pump Up Team Conditioning
Apr 10, 2009, 8:33:43 AM by Bob Gretz - Outside, a cool April wind blew through the the Truman Sports Complex and slender little rain drops fell from the sky. A jacket was necessary to ward off the spring chill.
Not for Jarrad Page. As he sat inside the Chiefs offices, a river of sweat formed on the forehead of the Chiefs safety and trickled down the side of his face. He's already taken a shower after one of the team's off-season conditioning workouts, but his metabolism was still humming.
It may be chilly outside, but inside the Chiefs practice facility, things are very hot.
"They are working us," Page acknowledged. "The whole idea is that this hard work in April is going to pay off in the fall.
"They are pushing us right now, pushing hard."
Three times a day, four times in a week, the Chiefs have sessions that feature weight lifting and running at the team's facility.
Under new head coach Todd Haley, these have become tightly choreographed affairs. There's only so many different ways for an athlete to throw around the weights and run to improve his lung power.
But as much as this is for building individual players, these sessions have also become about building a team.
"Oh, there's more going on right now that just throwing the weights around," said Page. "We are in there working together. Nobody is done before anybody else. Nobody is lagging behind. We start together and we end together."
The groups go off twice in the morning and once in the afternoon. Each one has about 15 to 20 players taking part. While the lifting of weights and aerobic exercises are done individually by each player, they are done in the framework of the group.
"Every lift we do, every drill, everything is the group together," said Page. "Everybody starts at the same time. Everybody moves on to the next thing at the same time. Whether it's on the field running or in the weight room, it's done together."
Togetherness/teamwork is obviously being stressed. Another by-product of these sessions under strength and conditioning coaches Cedric Smith and Brent Salazar is competition. Within these groups, players are lifting and running not only with, but against each other. Pull together 15 professional athletes doing the same things at the same time in the weight room and the competitive level naturally gets ratcheted up.
"Because we are doing things together, you get to see each other do these things," said Page. "You get to see what another guy does and that just drives the next guy to match what he did, or do it better. And the next guy sees that and wants to do more.
"There's no doubt that the competitive side of this is being stressed. You can't help but notice. The whole atmosphere around here is about competing. It's the word you hear most often."
Focus right now is on the physical. For instance, Page has had only the briefest amount of time with defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast in learning the team's new defensive scheme. He knows it's the 3-4 instead of the 4-3, but not much else.
"He (Haley) made it very plain that right now, this is time for us to be together as a team," Page said. "It's time for us to handle the things we do with Cedric and Brent. He told us that's important now and that at some point the coaching staff will come in and we'll get going on that side of things as well.
"When it's time to work out, it's time to work out. It's an important part of the whole package and that's what we are concentrating on right now. Right now, everybody's on point. Everybody is on board."
Mmm...better. Much better.