Making It Work

Strength and conditioning—quarantine edition

Beth Spadaccini ’11

The premature halt to the NCAA spring season in March during the initial surge of COVID-19 cases in New York and across the country, was jarring for collegiate athletes everywhere. Training for the Saints athletic teams suddenly transitioned from their campus workouts to their home kitchens, backyards, and garage gyms. Strength and Conditioning Coach Jared Hatz, who joined the athletics department in September 2019, was forced to get creative in keeping Saints athletes moving and immediately implemented a remote training program. 

Hatz expanded on a training regimen using TeamBuildr, a strength and conditioning app that allows him to deliver custom workouts to teams and provides opportunities for interaction among athletes, keeping them engaged and focused on improvement.

“What I’ve implemented for a lot of teams is a beginner, seven-week body weight program,” says Hatz. “The first two weeks are three days a week, and the remaining five weeks are four days a week. It progresses in difficulty using sets, reps, and time underneath tension, as an increase in volume.”

Twenty-seven teams in the department have made the move to TeamBuildr under Hatz’s direction this year, with a number of teams jumping on board when students left campus to stay connected.

While Hatz uploads the workouts, student-athletes upload pictures of themselves getting creative with their training; everything from what household items they’re substituting for weights to how they’re staying on track with nutrition. There’s an accountability component, but it also creates healthy competition within each programs.

Regardless of the content, Hatz says the most important thing is to provide student-athletes with a support system during these challenging times.

“TeamBuildr has been a tremendous asset for our team throughout the year and particularly since our season was halted,” says Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Mike Mahoney ’93. “Jared did a great job of providing workouts that did not involve equipment, and for our guys, it was as much about breaking up the monotony of workouts and also providing a positive physical release during a very frustrating period of time.”

Moving forward, TeamBuildr could prove useful as athletics staff and athletes alike adjust to the “new normal.”

“The use of TeamBuildr can not only help organize and distribute workouts, but it can also be used as a wellness check-in that has the ability to help in this current COVID-19 situation,” says Assistant Athletic Director and Head Athletic Trainer Brian Atkins. 

Atkins has been exploring how the athletic training staff could utilize TeamBuildr for student-athletes to report in on how they are feeling each day and utilize that information for the health and safety of the student-athlete.

Innovation is inevitable as all aspects of college athletics navigates the next season, and under Hatz’s direction, the Saints will have the conditioning they need to keep that competitive edge.