For the 16th consecutive year, athletes from the Mount Si Wildcats community pushed themselves through a rigorous speed camp under the glare of the bright sunshine of July.
The Wildcats speed and agility camp, which began in 2004, had close to 85 athletes in attendance every Tuesday and Thursday morning throughout the summer at the Mount Si High School stadium. John Zanas (camp founder) and Charlie Kinnune (Mount Si Wildcats football coach) are the coaches of the camp. The camp features athletes ranging in age from 7-18, encompassing a wide array of different sports.
“It is a really hard camp. It is not easy. It is not a camp where you are going to eat popcorn, this is a work ethic camp,” Kinnune said. “It has become part of our (Mount Si) culture and it’s across all sports. We train athletes. 40 percent of our kids are multi-sport athletes. We are proud of that.”
Zanas, a physical therapist/strength and conditioning coach who founded Wildcats speed and agility camp, said the camp focuses on the smallest of details.
“We always do a really good warmup and work on dynamic flexibility and work on mobility. We split into stations and into change of direction drills to work on moving in different directions quickly. We also work on running mechanics and learning how to run correctly. You can get a lot faster pretty quickly if you learn how to use your arms and your legs appropriately,” Zanas explained. “Our first few weeks is all technique based and then we add some strength drills. We push sleds, work on resistance running, plyometrics, core training sessions and strengthening the trunk.”
Zanas enjoys seeing athletes of all ages and a wide variety of supports in attendance.
“We have kids here from every different sport. The kids work hard and know what the expectations are. It is really about developing a culture. I get former athletes who are adults now that come back and they tell me they’re still exercising and training. They learned good living habits. That is really what our goal is. We want to teach them about nutrition, hydration and how to take care of their bodies for the rest of their lives,” Zanas said. “The juniors and seniors that are here right now were doing this speed camp with us 10 years ago when they were in elementary school.”
Kinnune echoed Zanas’ sentiment.
“It has been 15 years but it just seems like yesterday to me,” Kinnune said of the speed camp. “It is still fresh and still fun. When we are getting numbers (85 athletes per session) like this it tells me we’re meeting the needs of our community and serving them in the right way. We’ve had a generation of kids come through this camp.”
The football program has been a beneficiary of speed camp over the past decade and a half.
“Over the years we’ve become a leaner, meaner program. We’ve changed how we lift weights and try to stay on the cutting edge of new techniques and new philosophies. It really helps our multi-sport athletes so they don’t feel like they are going to get bulked up for football and they can’t play basketball or wrestle effectively. We’re all about multiple joint lifts and athletic movements,” Kinnune explained.