Posted at 12:00pm -- 12/19/2007 Michigan Football: Coach's Corner -- M..."/> Posted at 12:00pm -- 12/19/2007 Michigan Football: Coach's Corner -- M..."/>

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Mike Barwis S&C Coach — Part II


Posted at 12:00pm — 12/19/2007

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Mike Barwis S&C Coach — Part II

West Virginia players training in the impressive 22,000-square-foot (third-largest in America) strength center at Mountaineer Field or the brand new state-of-the-art training facility at the WVU Coliseum, or the Shell Building Weight Room with easy access to the indoor and outdoor tracks and natatorium, the options are almost endless. West Virginia athletes can use more than 20 tons of weights and dumbbells, 26 pieces of Hammer Strength equipment, 20 cardiovascular pieces, ten squat racks and 15 Olympic platforms, supervised by a pro-level staff up-to-date in training techniques and skill development.

West Virginia has the one of just two facilities in college football with a 1/13th mile track and a three-lane 40-yard straightaway, all it circles inside the weight room. The Caperton Indoor Practice Facility is an all-weather environ for year-round conditioning, and in the heat of summer, there is no challenge likes running the infamous Law School Hill. The WVU strength staff has a passion for developing the complete athlete, focusing on optimum performance on the field.

West Virginia football power is not just lifting weights it’s boosting the total package, as athletes are educated and trained in every aspect of speed improvement, agility, quickness, flexibility, explosion and nutrition. Next comes specific training in upper body strength and enhancing the lower body “power zone.” All that goes hand in hand with West Virginia skill development program, preparing through position-specific drills for performance enhancement.

Your strength coaches understand the proven keys to success: speed, agility, flexibility, strength and power. They teach, train, set goals and insist on doing things the right way, giving each Mountaineer his own program for improvement. Every school in America develops its athletes from the neck down, but at WVU, you build excellence in both the mental and physical aspects of the game.

Mike Barwis believes in everybody working together and to let the players know they aren’t alone. Working together builds a team, through lifting, the Mountaineer Olympics, the Tour of Duty and workouts. Shared sweat brings camaraderie; you are soon convinced that you can depend on the hard-working guy next to you to hold the rope. Mountaineer strength is an intense, everyday commitment. There is no such thing as a part-time champion.

West Virginia strength coach Mike Barwis is an old-school guy. When Pac-Man Jones rolled into weightlifting sessions a few minute late at the beginning of his sophomore year, Barwis scowled and shoved a 40-pound sandbag at him. A few minute later, Jones, already breathing hard, found himself running alone around Mountaineer Field. West Virginia strength coach Mike Barwis was perhaps the most effective role model in Jones’ life. “If you are late for your job in real life, you get fired,” Barwis said. “He thought it was OK to be late, so I always made him pay ten fold. After a while, you get disciplined.” Jones and Barwis, who took an aggressive approach with him, grew close. Barwis, perhaps, was the most effective male role model in Jones’ life. Maybe it is not a coincidence that Jones’ biggest misstep at West Virginia occurred before Barwis joined Rich Rodriguez’s staff in Morgantown.

A good strength and conditioning coach is worth his weight in gold! West Virginia head strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis was mentioned by all 22 seniors in their talks when they left the program. To a man, they simultaneously hated and loved the man. Aside from the obvious improvements in their athletic ability, the value of Barwis’s program, the pre and off season conditioning, was in its ability to unite the players under a common, but very demanding experience. You cannot find a turn around story in the country that does not have a strength and conditioning program that transcends just getting stronger and faster. These programs build iron will, team cohesion, confidence, intensity and most of all – desire to achieve goals.

The Barwis Factor:
Putting the stars through the workouts. Patrick White and Steve Slaton will be regulars with Barwis throughout the summer. Thanks to the hard work put in with West Virginia strength coach Mike Barwis, Steve Slaton can break tackles with ease.

Patrick White:
To understand anything about life for the players in Morgantown in the summer, you have to understand about our strength coach Mike Barwis. I just tell young guys when they get here, “Be aware and keep your distance.”

That is why they say the strength coach might be one of the most important people in a football program, because that is where we spend most of our time all summer and Barwis makes every day count. He is full of energy.

A typical workout is intense with platform lifts, bench, squat, back, biceps and triceps lifts. Then we go to injury prevention: balancing on balls, flexibility, plyos and conditioning.

I have yet to see Mike Barwis one day that he is not amped up. The man has an arm that is rock-solid. Every muscle on his body looks like its solid wood. Even though he gets after us and is a strict disciplinarian, he treats every single player with respect. That is why he has our respect right back.

Steve Slaton:
That is because Barwis is a mixed-martial arts guy, and he will take you down before you even know he is there, but Barwis is someone who will prepare you for the ultimate challenges of football. All the workouts you’ve ever had in your life does not set you up for Mike and one day in his weight room.

Mike is Hyper-energy! Mike Barwis knows what your best is, and he wants it every day, 110%. “All I want is all you got.” That is one of his trademarks.

Conditioning – just a pretty word for running, and running, and running. That is the worst part, the running. Running sprints, running intervals, running the hill behind the practice field. He knows what you can take, and he tries to get a little bit more.

If you are a Mountaineer football player, or any type of Mountaineer athlete, you are spending the summer living “Barwis Days.” We are here at “Barwis Beach.” But when we are done, we will be ready for anything. He was particularly impressed with the enthusiasm of West Virginia strength coach Mike Barwis, and is looking forward to working with him. “He has so much energy,” and also “The players said he gets the job done. He said by the time the season starts, I will be bigger, stronger and faster.”

Autumn Barwis:
Mike Barwis wife is the Associate Director of Strength and Conditioning serves as the associate director of strength and conditioning for WVU’s varsity sports. Mrs. Barwis directly works with gymnastics and football as well as supervising women’s soccer, volleyball, crew, women’s tennis, women’s track, open lift, and cheer-leading. She joined the Mountaineer strength program in 2000 as an intern, and worked as a graduate assistant and then assistant and associate coach for varsity sports until her most recent promotion in February, 2004. Barwis, a former collegiate gymnast, is a 2001 Wilson College Graduate with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science and a minor in athletic coaching. Speck completed work on a master’s degree in athletic coaching with an emphasis in strength and conditioning at WVU in 2003.

Just a reminder, you must be a member to participate on the free Message Board. Here is the link for the registration page for those people interested in becoming a GBMWolverine member of our message board. GBMWolverine Register.

Please comment on our GBMWolverine Message Board about this article and read what others comment.

You can contact us at our e-mail address: GBMWolverine

Please follow us on Twitter: @GBMWolverine

Written by GBMWolverine Staff

Go Blue — Wear Maize!