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The Bradsher Beat
Friday, June 29, 2007

By Bethany Bradsher

Lady coach a solid source of strength

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

College coaches do a lot of things in the summer recruit, meet with staff, make training plans for the upcoming season, even get a week or two of coveted vacation. One thing they can’t do much of is actually coach.


[Photo: ECU SID]



Bucs relish Golden's wicked summer stew

NCAA regulations severely limit the contact most coaches can have with their athletes during the summer months. During the hot stillness of June and July, strength and conditioning coaches become boss. Head strength coach Mike Golden has received a good deal of press for the tight ship he runs, but lately assistant strength and conditioning coach Michelle Clayton-Boswell has been in the national spotlight for her profession.

Early this month, Clayton-Boswell was named one of two recipients of the 2007 John Stuckey Award. Given by a panel of Master Strength and Conditioning Coaches, this honor is awarded each year for outstanding performance on the practical portion of the Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified (SCCC) certification examination.

Clayton-Boswell, a former All-American ECU track and field athlete who went to the U.S. Olympic Trials for the hammer throw in 2004, has been working in her current position for almost three years. She is directly responsible for the men’s basketball, track and field and swimming and diving teams, and she is one of only five women in the nation to train a collegiate men’s basketball team.

This is Clayton-Boswell’s season, when athletes are reporting directly to her for their marching orders and she is taking every opportunity to push her particular Pirates to heights that will reap dividends when actual competition begins next school year.

In her spare time, she is training for her first half marathon and serving as the strength coach for a select soccer team of 10-year-old girls.

I asked Clayton-Boswell if she would keep a journal of a “typical” day so Pirate fans could take a peek behind the scenes. A selection of events from her Monday, June 25:

Early morning: Two hours after her nine-mile training run, a group of Lady Pirate swimmers reported to Clayton-Boswell for a lifting session. Her role is to supervise the athletes and make sure they use safe weight training techniques. The swimmers aren’t required to stay on campus in the summer, but a handful of the women chose to do so, swimming every morning and lifting with Clayton-Boswell three times a week.

“I have to say in the last year this group has definitely been the one to make the biggest turnaround and I have really taken a liking to training them,” she wrote in her journal. “The entire team, for the most part, has really bought into what we do in the weight room and several have commented on how they can tell a difference in the pool. For me this is very exciting.”

Late morning: Clayton-Boswell plays host to 30 high school students participating in ECU’s Summer Venture program. Each of the teenagers has professed an interest in a health-related field, and Clayton-Boswell talked to them about her career path and took them through some basic core and agility exercises.

“I love speaking to and reaching out to our youth and anytime I have the opportunity to do so I take advantage of it,” she wrote.

Early afternoon: Because the men’s basketball team members are starting the second session of summer school today, preparation is the order of the afternoon for Clayton-Boswell. The players will be reporting for their first workout at 4:30 p.m., and before they come she has to make detailed written plans for their training and make copies of a progress sheet for each athlete. One of the pillars of Clayton-Boswell’s training philosophy is thorough documentation of everything each athlete does under her tutelage. She records each improvement, each mile logged, to help push them harder. With five new players to the men’s team, she has a challenge ahead as she makes them each stronger and hopes to instill some team chemistry along the way.

“I have to admit I am a bit anxious to get started with the entire team,” she wrote. “It is going to be a bit complicated to begin with, because the five newcomers are being thrown in with the returnees right from the get-go. It will be advantageous down the road for the entire team to be together, but it is going to take creativity and patience on my behalf to make it work the next five weeks.”

Late afternoon: Despite a late-afternoon thunderstorm that forced the football players inside the Murphy Center with the basketball players, Clayton-Boswell’s workout with the group ran smoothly. They started with a weigh-in, then a lifting session and then conditioning originally scheduled for outside but moved into the weight room because of the rain.

“My biggest concern about having to make adjustments for the newcomers actually turned out to be no problem at all and everyone rolled with the punches,” she wrote. “These young guys have a lot of fire and determination and it makes it so much fun.

“We had a great conditioning segment and the guys were pretty winded and tired. I have a feeling they will sleep pretty well tonight, especially the five new ones! The biggest change for everyone is the intensity that I am demanding from them and it is going to make the biggest difference.”

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07/12/2007 02:04:32 AM

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