Despite the hot weather, summer time means weight lifting time. And no one knows that any better than football players and coaches at Briarwood Academy.
During the past few weeks, a number of players there have been engaged in rigorous weight lifting drills and cardiovascular exercises - all in preparation of the upcoming football season, which kicks off in late August.
The drills and exercises are all monitored closely by Briarwood Academy Athletic Director and Football Head Coach John Osborne. He is assisted by Coaches Bo Fleming and Kevin Cowart.
"I've been very pleased with our summer weight lifting program," Coach Osborne said during a recent interview. "We've got a lot more consistent participation than we had last year."
The two-hour workouts are divided into three main lift sessions on Monday and Tuesday and then repeated on Wednesdays and Thursdays. It's a seven week program and already four weeks have been completed.
"We do four or five auxiliary lifts that blend into our corps lifts," Coach Osborne explained. "In the last 30 or 45 minutes, we work on our cardiovascular exercises and running aerobics - the quick short bursts and sprints."
One of the things Coach Osborne is most proud of this summer is the team has two fewer players than last year's squad of 24, and is higher in the weight lifting program this year.
"I'm very proud about that fact," Coach Osborne said. "It's a positive sign from the players that they want to become stronger and physically fit to play the game of football."
The summer program is not mandatory. It is voluntary on the part of football players at Briarwood Academy.
"It's a personal showing of their dedication and commitment to our football program," Coach Osborne said.
Currently, there are six players who have a perfect attendance after four weeks, he pointed out. Last year during the same time period, he had only one player who had met that goal.
"If that continues to hold true for us, I will be very, very happy," Coach Osborne said.
A special summer weight lifting program, such as the one in place at Briarwood Academy, is beneficial in many ways. Not only does it make the players stronger, but it also lessens serious injuries that players can acquire when they are not in physical shape.
Coach Osborne realizes that sacrifices are made by both the players and their parents.
"I have a lot of parental support and because I do, I'm most grateful," Coach Osborne said. We're building links in a chain and a bond between ourselves by the game of football. I want this team to be strong as they can be."
The head mentor, who is about to enter his second year in his current position, believes players get out of a sporting program exactly what they put it into it.
"I want our players to get as much out of our weight lifting program as possible," Coach Osborne said.