2013 Preseason Football Notebook
By Joe Bushrod
Viva Loudoun College Intern
(Aug. 3, 2013) – If you woke up earlier enough to beat the morning dew last week in Sterling you could catch the YoungStar Sports Academy, directed by Cliff Wimbush, leading the young Dominion High Titans football team through a boot camp which helped develop mental toughness and team unity.
As I entered the training session, I was greeted by an enthusiastic Titan head coach, Karl Buckwalter. While discussing his overall goal for the team in this boot camp, coach Buckwalter explained that after a winless season not too far in the past, a change of culture is in great need at Dominion. Establishing a culture that demands strong leadership and holds each player accountable from the top of the depth chart to the bottom, is in the works.
One of the competitions consisted of five groups competing in a bundle of relay races. It didn’t matter if it was the upcoming freshmen class or the group outlined mostly by seniors, these boys were competing with intensity.
One of the various relay races consisted of a wooden pole with a barrel fool of water at each end (pictured). The players sprinted 20 yards carrying this contraption, performed 10 squats, sprinted back without emptying the bucket, and repeat. As I expected, the team leader and premier player Chad Smith led his group to a 1st place finish by about 30 yards.
From the beginning of the drills to the end of the relay races, the Titans would break down and chant “Championship” in unison. This is an important step toward a change in culture, as you must establish a mindset of a champion and train like a champion in order to be just that.
Buckwalter and his coaching staff are reiterating to these young men that competition is needed at every position and in every drill in order to make each other better.
I honestly believe that these coaches are pulling all the correct strings to get this ship sailing in the right direction. Following the workouts, I got the chance to discuss what type of impact Cliff Wimbush is looking to have on these boys. He explained that through his various training techniques, he builds a strong team camaraderie and disciplines the mindset of each athlete. Wimbush preaches that through a strong and disciplined mind, one can overcome great obstacles on the field and in life.