Raising the Bar: THS makes improvements to weight room

Jul. 02, 2014 @ 10:34 AM

When Steve Bare took over the athletic department at Thomasville High School last summer, he made it clear that his desire was to get the Bulldogs competitive in every sport offered. A recent renovation to the school weight room is a step that could help achieve that goal.
Through efforts and funding from the school, Brown Finch Foundation, Booster Club and a chicken dinner fundraiser put on by the football team, numerous improvements were made. A new ultra flooring has been installed, helping to alleviate some of the safety concerns. Platforms have also been spaced out properly to provide a safer environment. The room was painted and ceiling tiles were replaced. A new rack with weights was added, as well as additional plates. Inspirational signs have been mounted, with additional slogans to be painted on the walls in the coming weeks.
“Our point of emphasis is to get our entire athletic program involved with it,” said Bare. “Lots of sports have not seen the weight room as a resource that they can use or should use. We are trying to change the culture a little bit about that. This has been a long time in coming. The kids are really excited. You put a fresh coat of paint on stuff and it tends to create some enthusiasm. All of what is in there is practical and they are using it. For the first time since I have been here, we have kids that are excited about going in there.”
The man currently getting the most use out of it is new head football coach Wes Mattera. With 75 players currently taking part in football workouts, he has gotten positive feedback from the students. Lifting sessions at 8 a.m. in the summer have been filled with athletes that are eager to put in the work in order to be successful this fall.
“It has really helped the guys,” Mattera said. “They have a new atmosphere and a new attitude. They have really bought in and understand they need to be in weight training during the entire school year. The guys are starting to see results and their bodies change. For a lot of them it is the first time they have ever really lifted in a setting like this. It has been good for them.”
It has also encouraged the players to hold each other accountable. Those that are not properly putting in hard work will not be able to hide it. Results are posted on a bulletin board in the back of the weight room. Results in orange indicate no progress made. A result in green shows improvement. When gains are made, players get a photo on the wall with a T-shirt displaying a new level reached.
“Everything is posted so there are no secrets,” said Mattera. “Everybody knows who is stronger and who is faster. If you are not getting it done, everybody is going to know it.”
While Mattera's primary focus at the moment is on football, his other job at THS is teaching weight lifting classes. His hope is to get all teams in the athletic department involved with lifting. Already this summer he has seen athletes from golf, soccer and wrestling attend sessions. There have even been a few females take part in workouts.
“This is going to be the core of what we build our entire athletic program around – not just football,” he said. “We are trying to encourage every athlete and create athletic weight training classes so all of our athletes are working out during the school day together.”

Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or kepley@tvilletimes.com.