For many athletes, off-season is the prime time to grow stronger and gain more agility. Although many athletic teams follow their own off-season routines, in January, athletic director Jon Caffrey implemented Athletes in Motion [AIM], a program designed to combine bio-mechanics with sports performance, to further enhance student athletes abilities.
The Fullerton Joint Union High School District pays about $2,000 each month through the athletic fund for a five-month contract from January to May. The program currently trains each participating team eight times a month.
So far, AIM instructors have worked with 15 different SH sports teams catering to each sports’ specific needs.
“We conduct Functional Movement screening and Range of Motion and muscle testing which allows us to predict how an athlete will move in multiple directions, ” said Walt Shedd, one of the original founders of the AIM program.“Our methods are to build the requisite core strength and stability to perform the movements that are specific to the sport.
AIM instructors have trained over 5,000 athletes ranging from sports such as basketball to water polo, according to the AIM website. In addition, the program has trained the SH girls soccer team for the past three years.
“They’ve taught our athletes the proper running technique, which many of them had never learned before,” head soccer coach Jeff Gordon said. “AIM teaches us how to change direction and move efficiently.”
Currently, AIM works with girls volleyball, girls and boys soccer, football and girls water polo on Mondays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
At first, students learn to stretch and lengthen muscles through specific yoga stretches and as training continues, athletes learn to strengthen muscles to better their athletic abilities, according to water polo player junior Josh Beutter.
“My favorite part of AIM practice was the stretching in the beginning,” Beutter said. “It was simple and had an effect on my muscles.”
After completing their off-season training with the program, athletes have seen a vast difference in their athletic performances.
“I have seen improvement from our new pre-workout stretching routine,” football player junior Carson Irons said. “I have greatly benefitted from many of their workouts especially dealing with activating new muscles.”
However some students, such as track and field athlete freshman Joyce Park, do not find the AIM program to be a necessity during off-season practices.
“I really feel like we don’t need it, and we can improve by doing our own sprint workouts during practice,” Park said.
Although some athletes believe they can enhance their performance through just their own athletic workouts, Shedd diagrees.
“Most athletes have been conditioned to start by lifting weights, but our methods are designed to assess faulty movement patterns and correct these imbalances and deficiencies,” Shedd said. “The retraining of movement can be very frustrating for an athlete who has been moving in a certain way for a very long time.”
The AIM program looks forward to working with student athletes at Sunny Hills in the future to develop more well-rounded athletes.
“We are enjoying the commitment and focus of the athletic program at Sunny Hills, which we believe stems from the coaches down to the student athletes,” Shedd said.