This year the Bay athletic department has excitedly launched a new Winter Strength and
Conditioning program taught by Head Coach and Physical Therapist, Jon McMurray. This course allows off-season athletes to stay fit and learn how to train and move in a way that will help them avoid injuries, both contact and non-contact, during their regular athletic seasons. Coach McMurray was introduced to the new position through his good friend and Bay Head Soccer Coach Matt Favela. We caught up with Coach McMurray to find out how the two courses (girls and boys) are going and what his plans are for the program. Check out the interview below.
What inspired you to teach Strength and Conditioning in High Schools?
“It actually stemmed from my own personal experience in high school. I was preparing to sign a basketball scholarship between my sophomore and junior year when I broke my femur, which was a traumatic injury then and one that I am still dealing with today. This injury happened largely because I wasn’t afforded an opportunity like this (strength and conditioning training). I was a bigger and strong athlete but had poor movement patterns and it was just something that wasn’t reproducible. Since the injury, it was something that was constantly in the back of my mind and something I always tinkered with – how can I make this better, how can I do this movement? Eventually ended up going to college for it got my DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) with the emphasis on how to prepare athletes for sport, which is something that is generally not taught. They teach you how to get strong but they don’t teach you the foundation to have that strength and I wanted to change that!”
What are some of the key goals of this six-week course?
“The biggest thing that I am focusing on in a six week period, especially since we are not working in a weight room, is for the students to be able to avoid non-contact injuries, which are rampant– especially in the girls’ population. Things like ACL tears and not being able to control a single leg, these are things I see in both the girls and boys classes and really want them to be able to avoid. Secondary to that is building agility, quickness, and power out of that position. I really believe in something that was taught to me by one of my mentors at SF CrossFit, which is Skill Conditioning. Not just teaching conditioning mindlessly but teaching reproducible positions and then building power from there.”How are the students responding to this class?
Really well! Initially, Steve was curious as to what the buy-in would be especially since the students don’t get activity credits for this course, but a lot of students showed up. They are responding to the program well too, especially the students that are attending every day. They are not having those big-time red flag movement faults that we movement coaches will see and cringe at. Plus, it’s autonomous. I don’t have to constantly say “what about this or that?” They are getting it on their own, and when I add a new movement in, they understand the ideas behind movement without me having to explain it to them. It’s been awesome – I’ve been really happy with the involvement!
What are some of the things you have enjoyed working both with Bay students?
I was actually talking to Steve about this on the first day! The students came in and they were extremely receptive, which I was not expecting! Students usually don’t respond that way. I came in prepared be a little bit of a stickler, which I don’t necessarily like to do, but the students came in ready to eat up the information and I was really excited about that.
If you could build a strength and conditioning program for Bay, what would it look like over the course of four years?
I would like to create a culture around these reproducible movement practices. So when a 9th-grader comes in, we can teach them these basic category one movements. Then by they leave as a 12th-graders, in the same fashion they would academically, the work they did in 9th-grade is nothing compared to what they can do in 12th-grade. Due to that four year growth, the older students could almost teach the younger generation of students and it would become an autonomous program. One where I am overseeing and programming, but the students can take lead. It would then just become something that Bay does…all Bay athletes can move well reproducibly.