The newly-implemented weightlifting program at Thomson High School is aimed specifically at helping to develop a complete football player.
"We decided to go to a weightlifting program more like colleges use for several different reasons this year," said THS Athletic Director and Football Head Coach Luther Welsh.
The new program is the brainchild of THS Assistant Coach Eddie Lee Ivery, a former strength and conditioning assistant football coach at his alma mater, Georgia Tech.
"Coach Ivery saw the need for this particular program and we've just let him run with it," said Coach Welsh. "The kids have really bought into it this summer."
THS football players have been working in the weightlifting room most of the summer preparing for the upcoming season, which begins Friday, Sept. 4 when the Bulldogs play host to the Washington-Wilkes Tigers in The Brickyard.
"We're doing what a lot of colleges are doing as far as our weightlifting program goes," said Coach Welsh. "We want to develop football players from top to bottom - in other words from their neck to their toes. We want to work their muscles and tendons."
He and his coaching staff hope that the new weightlifting program will help their team become stronger. Coach Welsh also believes the new program will lessen player injuries during the season.
"We want our kids to become stronger, quicker and more agile," said Coach Welsh. "We're hopeful that they will get a lot better with their foot work."
The weightlifting program began a week after school was dismissed for the summer and will continue for the remainder of the summer break.
"We've had pretty good participation," said Coach Welsh. "We've had a few miss here and there, but they have to make it up when they miss a session."
He believes this year's team has better overall work ethics than teams in the past three years.
"This team works real hard as a group," said Coach Welsh. "They get after it."
Coach Welsh said he believes the new college-style weightlifting program will "greatly benefit" his team. "They're going to be able to make moves to the right or left much quicker - whether they are a defensive player or an offensive player."
Coach Welsh was complimentary of Coach Ivery and the enthusiasm he has shown with the players during weightlifting exercises.
"He's very knowledgeable of this type of program," said Coach Welsh. "He's a great motivator of players. I have a lot of respect for Eddie Lee and his coaching ability."
Coach Ivery hopes the new version of the weightlifting program at Thomson High School will help not only make the players stronger, but more explosive, too.
"I want them to become as physically prepared for a game as they can be," said Coach Ivery. "The weight room is the place to begin to make that happen."