East Bay athletes train away the summer


When school let out for the summer, Michaeli Goglia wasn't about to rest on her laurels.

The 14-year-old soon-to-be freshman at Mt. Hope High School signed up for a conditioning camp that would hopefully have her fit and ready for soccer this fall.

"This has really help me improve a lot," Goglia said of the East Bay Conditioning Program.

Since June 27, roughly 105 student athletes have been meeting on the grounds of Mt. Hope High School from 9 to 11 a.m., three days a week, to ready themselves for fall sports. The students hail from all over the East Bay, including Somerset, Mass.

This is the second year the program has been in operation, sponsored by Bristol-based Olympic Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine. The goal is to develop and improve the athletes' power, agility, speed and knowledge about strength training and nutrition, thus minimizing early season-ending injuries, said Amy Simmons, clinic director.

"It's all technique-driven from early on (in the program)," Ms. Simmons said. "From something like running, we build on it, introducing speed workouts for example."

Athletes in grades six through intercollegiate levels were welcomed to train in the program, which ends Friday, Aug. 9.

"We have students here who never played a sport working alongside students who have been playing sports since they were little," Ms. Simmons said. "It creates a competitive atmosphere, and challenges them to perform better."

A lot of students who are entering high school from middle school are unaware of the physical demands high school athletics require, said Don Levine, co-owner of Olympic Physical Therapy.

"This gives freshmen a strong base and introduces them to what it's all about," he said.

This was the second year that Patrick Larson, 16, an incoming junior at Mt. Hope High School, participated in the program. As a soccer and lacrosse player, he said the benefits he reaps from the program have helped his performance throughout the season.

"It's good to want to improve yourself because you'll feel better about your efforts," Mr. Larson said. "You should always want to be the best you can be, and do the best you can do."

Coaches have noticed a difference between athletes who train over the summer, and those who don't, Ms. Simmons said.

"It helps the athletes gain a better footing and to achieve higher in their sport," she added.

Students who play a sport are less likely to get in trouble, and more likely to succeed in academics, Mr. Levine said.

"We see it all the time. Students who plays sports in school often don't have as much time to study," he said. "So when they do study, they're more focus, versus the student who has all day to do that."

Olympic Physical Therapy also runs the program in Middletown, R.I., and Swansea, Mass.

There is a cost for the program, but Mr. Levine said that scholarships were available to assist families. There is also a discount for enrolling siblings.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.