Press release from Red Bank Regional High School
“With the rate of youth obesity growing each year, this generation of young people will be the first to have a shorter life span than their parents,” observes Red Bank Regional High School athletic director Del Dal Pra, “unless we as a society do something about it…(and) at RBR we are doing something about it.”
Del Pra refers to the school’s latest investment in the health of its students: a new fitness center building addition, financed by the RBR School Board and furnished with donations primarily from the RBR BUC Backer Foundation and the Buccaneer Athletic Foundation. The public/private partnership created a striking facility which is in constant utilization.
During the school day, the physical education classes use it in conjunction with a “Wellness Room” (the original, smaller weight room) filled with bikes and TRX equipment. Some students have used the room to pursue individual workout programs such as required by their International Baccalaureate program or in lieu of a neighborhood gym. Most recently, the Board funded the addition of a strength and conditioning coach, whose job it is to lead training for students after school hours.
Jack Provine, RBR physical education teacher and certified strength and conditioning coach, fills that position at RBR with workouts every day. A schedule is created to provide “in-season” teams and “out-of-season teams” the opportunity to train. The first time slot after school is also available to the entire student population. Up to 60 students could be training with Coach Provine during these training sessions. At any point there may be 10 to 15 students from the general population working out along the teams. Coach Provine details the process to which the students move fluidly and rapidly to the cue of his whistle or demonstration.
“We will start with a general warm-up to get the body moving and heart rate up such as jumping jacks,” explains Provine in detailing the process. “Then we do a more specific warm-up covering the entire body, priming the body to train (head-to-toe movements).
“That is followed by agility/movement work including lineal, lateral and multi-directional drills. We then add plyometric exercises such as jumps or medicine ball throws. Finally, students move to the strength portion of the entire session. In all, we do a full-body functional work out.”
On one particular day in the winter season, the members of the girls Lacrosse team, which plays in the spring, were training for their up-coming season. Baseball/Soccer Coach Nick Tucker, assisted Coach Provine during the workout.
“This new position is great. I always try to get the athletes to work out in the off season, but now we have a coach to do it with them,” said Tucker. I know it will have a very positive effect on our athletic teams’ performance and breeds more pride in our athletics and our school.”
“By being proactive with a facility and after-school program like this, taught by a qualified coach, we are striving to make our kids into healthy adults,” observes Del Pra. “It is a grass roots movement that should find expression in other school districts and towns.”