By Ben Gleason
Meg Stone and I initially contacted Science Hill High School athletic director Keith Turner and football head coach Stacy Carter in April of 2013. They agreed to meet and discuss my internship in the weight room over the summer, working with football athletes from rising 9th graders to seniors. I began the internship in May 2013 and stayed with them until formal practices began in August.
For the first summer, I found the experience to be of the highest quality. The coaching staff allowed me to independently design and implement the entire summer lifting program. At least one coach was on hand to assist at all workouts, and the staff was excellent to work with.
High school athletes are both challenging and rewarding to work with. I took kids who had no skill level with the lifts we use, and established competence in a few weeks. This was some of the hardest coaching I have ever done, as the athlete to coach ratio was very high. The athletes gained considerable strength over the course of the summer, and most had very fast buy-in to our methods.
Because the experience was so good, I decided to return to Science Hill to run a second summer lifting program in 2014. This time Hugo Santana (2nd year PhD) and Jeremy Sommers (undergrad) joined me to implement the workouts. Coaching the group was much easier with the other ETSU student-coaches helping. The summer went very smoothly.
I asked Coach Carter if I could conduct my fall semester internship with Science Hill football through the season, both helping with the lifting program and coaching on-field. I was assigned to coach the 9th and 10th grade linemen, and oversee the lifts for freshmen through varsity. On Friday nights I was asked to assist with varsity sideline management and other tasks as assigned. I frequently find myself acting as a consultant to Coach Carter regarding fatigue management and getting the volume of practice programming right—a very valuable and rewarding situation.
Overall I have found the experience working with the Science Hill football program to be as good as it gets. I highly recommend the experience to other students—the staff highly respects our program and the training we receive, and have used us as valued resources. The coaching staff provides a quality environment for the kids, and it is a good athletics program to be associated with.