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Voluntary lifting sessions paying off for the Marble Falls Stangs

The Marble Falls High School football players aren’t basking in the Texas sun. Instead, they are putting in the work in the weight room and baking on the artificial turf at Mustang Stadium during competition drills days before the 2021-22 academic year ends.

The Mustangs are doing more than embracing preparation in the offseason; they’re showing up in herds with the mindset that no individual will be outworked by anyone. And that has their coaches enthusiastic. That is especially apparent in the number who are showing up before and after classes for voluntary strength training in the weight room.

When head coach Brian Herman travels and people ask him what his players are doing to better themselves during the offseason, he isn’t shy about telling them. The number of rising 10th-12th-graders showing up for voluntary lifts is almost 90. Some of the same athletes participate in both the morning and afternoon sessions, and that pushes the number to triple digits. Even some rising ninth-graders, numbering around 25, are attending, too.

“It fills me with immense pride and what I’ve been able to brag on is the number of kids before and after school,” Herman said. “That’s 80 percent combined before and after school. It’s better than any place I’ve ever been. It’s really exciting. The weight room seems to be the place to be.”

Herman believes many factors are contributing to why the athletes are showing up. In addition to wanting to individually get better and improve their bodies, the players and coaches like and respect each other.

“Kid magnets,” he said. “I think sometimes our coaches can be scary or intense or seem harsh. They genuinely care, that’s obvious to the kids. They want to be around. It’s a good environment.”

The Mustangs do more than lift weights. They participate in the shuttle, 40-yard dash, broad jump and the 5-10-5 drill that includes cones, starts and stops and sprints. The beauty of these stations is that it forces athletes to get faster, stop suddenly and get back to their fastest speed in a hurry, Herman said.

“Can you get somewhere quick,” he said. “All those things come into play.”

The lifts Herman is most interested in are the squat and the power cling because they help the Mustangs in executing their scheme.

“We have to move a lot of weight,” he said. “The squat is how much can you move; the power cling is how much can you explode. I want our kids to be bulldozers and physically move people. We want bodies that can impose themselves going forward.”

The other side of the attendance is the results of the work. Right now, coaches are testing the players, so Herman wanted to wait until that’s completed to share those updates. But he did offer some insight.

“I am super encouraged,” he said. “I heard the kids saying they’ve gone up 30, 40, 60 pounds. And that’s 30 to 50 kids going up. That kind of gain in squat is huge. I think the kids like the confidence they’re gaining. They’re looking strong and thick. It’s become contagious.””

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