Summer — the time of evening barbecues, family vacations and extensive workout regiments?
For the student athletes at Christian Heritage Academy (CHA), that isn’t a misprint.
The complete overhaul of the athletic program at the school wouldn’t be complete without staying true to what works, and what worked in preparation for the 2016-17 sports seasons was the summer workout program undertaken by local trainer, Tara Holley. This year, Holley added one of her fellow Obstacle Course Race (OCR) competitors, Alice Smith, to help develop and train the athletes at CHA again this summer. Holley will be coordinating the workouts, as Smith handles the hands-on conditioning.
The program will take place every Tuesday at 6 p.m. from June 13 to Aug. 8. The only Tuesday off will be July 4. Crunches will be encouraged in between fireworks.
“I’m thankful last years summer workout program was considered by CHA and it’s athletes as a success and that we have been asked to return to help again,” Holley wrote, talking about this year’s program.
Smith assisted as as substitute trainer last year, working with the athletes only a few times. Now that she can serve fully alongside Holley this time around, the effectiveness should be at its utmost capacity — especially considering the students won’t be doing the exercises alone.
“Our goal as instructors is to provide a fun and challenging atmosphere that will improve the athletes abilities to perform,” Holley said. “Yet also give them skills and drills that they can take home and use to workout in any setting.”
“The training that I do with the athletes is very similar to the training I use myself for OCR racing,” Smith added. “I enjoy that I get the opportunity to come up with a variety of workouts that push myself just as much as it does the student athletes.”
Strength, agility and stamina will be the most sought after attributes of the athletes at summer’s end, with exercises aimed at maximizing all three. Keeping the athletes “moving during the summer months” when the tendency is to veg serves as another attitude to combat.
But those are just the attributes that go on the flyer — the underlying goal of the summer months is to teach character traits that transcend the sport they’re playing. Innate and interpersonal growth through athletics — that’s the Knight way.
Allow Smith to elaborate:
“I also want them to grow confidence in themselves, when at the end of the summer, they are able to look back at how far they have come,” she said. “Lastly, I want the students to have the opportunity to bond. …It gives the older athletes the chance to role model behaviors to the younger ones who look up to them when they are training side by side.”
Additionally, the continued excitement for the basketball team has welcomed the sight of the new head basketball coach, Tim Wilson. Directly after Tuesday night conditioning, Wilson will be leading both returning boys basketball players and those potentially interested in open gym practices. The double dosage will only be on Tuesday, as open gym will also be held on Thursday nights at 7 p.m.
Girl’s basketball open gyms will begin Monday nights, beginning on July 3, from 6-7:30 p.m.
All of the hubbub isn’t without excitement from the student athletes themselves. The flexibility and open-idea atmosphere Holley and Smith have created bodes well for the student athletes. When the distractions can be at an all-time high, with no school assignments due and with few outside responsibilities, the Knight pride emanates from the participants and highlights all facets found in the core principles of CHA athletics.
“The enthusiasm with the students has been fantastic. I told them at the beginning that they will ‘get what they give’ from my workouts,” Smith wrote about the athletes. “They definitely have been giving me 100%. …The athletes motivate each other and keep the atmosphere fun even when it is challenging.”
An atmosphere like this cannot be found within the confines of a desk, which is why the summer conditioning and athletic participation in any sphere is doubly encouraged by the trainers and the administration alike.
“We believe that competitive team sports can shape the character of young men and women in ways that simply can’t be accomplished in the classroom,” headmaster Tony Quist said of the importance of athletics at CHA.
And in no time at all, the first volleyball will be served up to begin 2017-18 athletics at CHA — and after a summer of rigorous training — it should begin a year of athletics to remember on the Southside of Rocky Mount.