RED WING — Summer programs had been in the lurch for much of May and June. Cancellations of youth programs trickled in and significant modifications were made to those that were able to continue. While Red Wing’s strength and conditioning program was not immune to the need to adapt this summer, it has been able to continue on in a largely familiar form.
Starting June 15, the strength and conditioning program was only one week behind schedule when it started up. The most visible changes to the program in the first couple of weeks was ensuring athletes remain six feet apart and disinfecting equipment after each use.
“We had maintenance workers paint lines on the field with Xs six feet in between,” strength and conditioning coach Anthony Kimmes said. “So when we have our warmup, they’re all spaced out and six feet apart. And then any equipment that’s touched is cleaned.”
Kimmes, a 2013 Red Wing High School graduate, is in his second year leading the program. An active lifter since high school, he’s pursuing a master’s degree in strength and conditioning from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He’s hoping that his passion for the program will spur greater interest within the school and increase participation. Last year Kimmes said the program had about 120 participants. This year there are 80-90, a decrease he said that could be attributed to the pandemic.
The planned schedule for the program has been able to mostly stay the course from previous years. There are two sessions each day — 8-8:45 a.m. and 9-9:45 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays are for one group of athletes while Tuesdays and Thursdays are for another. On Friday, all groups participate.
Kimmes said he bases the program off of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, which had provided him with some pamphlets on how to train athletes on returning to sports. When the spring sports season was canceled, it negated a source of staying active for some kids. While some students remained active with at-home workouts, others didn’t have the equipment needed for consistent training. This led to a mixed bag of conditioning levels.
Kimmes had a plan of action, however.
“The first week we went about 50 percent and the second week we were about 75 percent,” he said. “At this point, we’re now going all out at 100 percent.”