Park joins arms racePark joined the growing number of high schools across the state that have a full-time trainer when it hired Justin Ellevold as its strength and conditioning coordinator recently.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, South Washington County Bulletin
Having a strength and conditioning coach at a high school used to be a luxury, but now it’s almost a necessity.
Park joined the growing number of high schools across the state that have a full-time trainer when it hired Justin Ellevold as its strength and conditioning coordinator recently.
This is the first time Park has had a strength and conditioning coach.
“We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to hire a strength and conditioning coordinator at Park,” Park Activities Director Phil Kuemmel said. “We have never had anyone officially in this type of position in the past, and are very excited to have someone with Mr. Ellevold’s experience come in to work with our coaches and student-athletes.”
Ellevold, 31, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He previously held the position of strength and conditioning coach, along with being an assistant football coach, at North St. Paul High School for the past three years. Prior to that, he was part owner and manager three Acceleration Illinois facilities in Chicago. He is a 1998 graduate of North St. Paul High School and holds an exercise science degree from Minnesota State University – Moorhead. He’s a Cottage Grove resident.
“It’s nice to be in my hometown and part of the community,” Ellevold said. “I’m very excited about the opportunity. Park is a great school and has a great tradition. I hope I can instill my philosophies, do the best I can and have people jump on board to help improve Park athletics.”
More Minnesota high schools are starting to go to the college philosophy of having a specific strength and conditioning coach. In District 833, East Ridge hired a strength and conditioning coach before it opened in 2009 and Woodbury hired one this summer. However, some programs have had someone in the position for much longer. Wayzata, for instance, has had a strength and conditioning coach since 2001.
“I think high schools are starting to understand the importance of having a strength and conditioning coach to provide consistency from ninth grade to 12th grade male and females,” Ellevold said. “That’s just going to help improve the athletes we’ll be working with throughout the four years they’ll be in high school.”
Ellevold said when he was in high school, athletes would need to look outside the high school for specific strength and conditioning training.
“When I was in high school we’d go to Acceleration Minnesota,” Ellevold said. “We’d have to travel 30 minutes and spend $600 to $700 for a six-week program. Now, with the introduction of the strength and conditioning position at the high schools, kids don’t have to leave Cottage Grove and can get the same training, if not better, for a tenth of the price. It’s a good opportunity.”
Ellevold said he won’t be involved with coaching any specific teams and will focus on the strength and conditioning of all the teams at Park.
“My main focus is to develop the strength and conditioning program up at Park High School for all the athletes,” Ellevold said. “I think it was decided a change was needed and I’m going to stay neutral and not coach and really evolve the strength and conditioning program.”
In addition to continuing the Wolfpack strength and speed summer program, Ellevold will have programs in place for in-season athletes as well as off-season athletes. He will work with players every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Everything will be tracked and correlated and kids will be able to measure their improvement.
“One of my main goals of my programs is just to teach kids how to lift properly,” Ellevold said. “My main goal is just injury prevention and teaching the kids how to lift correctly, why we lift correctly, how is it going to help them improve on the basketball court, on the soccer field, on the tennis court and so on. Here’s why we’re doing it and here’s how you’re going to improve.”
Ellevold said he uses every type of training tool available including weight training sleds, tractor tires, free weights, kettle balls and Swiss balls and that the emphasis of his program is to develop the core — the abdominal area and lower back.
“As an athlete, the core is where all your power is coming from,” Ellevold said. “From that, we build off. I’m trying to train the body to adapt to every movement possible, so the athlete is ready for that on the field.”