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Roswell’s athletics goes high tech

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Roswell’s volleyball team uses the Speed Factory to workout as coach Heather Baca looks on. (Submitted Photo)

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Moving up in classification doesn’t seem to bother the coaches or athletes at Roswell. To win a blue trophy, they want to play and beat the best in all sports. One of the ways Roswell is working to beat the competition is to work smarter as well as harder.

Roswell football team shows how their drone works to film practice. This is one of the ways the team tries to stay ahead of the competition. (J.T. Keith Photo)

In football, coach Jeff Lynn has gone to using a drone to film their practices. This reduces the chance of bad weather conditions and finding a place to film games or practices.

“What happened was, they moved our practice field,” Lynn said. “We used to film off the top of the roof; now we don’t have a place to film, so we film our practices off the drone.”

Football and other sports at Roswell High have used a thing they call the “Speed Factory,” which is a machine called VertiMax to increase the athlete’s explosiveness, speed and ability to jump higher.

The VertiMax is a speed and agility platform that uses resistance training to work on quickness and increases an athlete’s vertical jump. Roswell volleyball coach Heather Baca was talking to former New Mexico Military basketball coach and now vice-principal of RHS, Pilar Carrasco. Baca was relating to him that she would love to have a VertiMax because she thought it would help the volleyball program. Carrasco told Baca he had one and would let the team use it.

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“We started to see gains immediately,” Baca said. “After that, we got other coaches involved and we were able to order four new ones and some other resistance equipment. It has helped a ton.”

The girls’ basketball, volleyball, boys basketball and football teams pooled their money together and invested $3,000 and invested in four pieces of VertiMax equipment. The school has five of the eight platforms and are trying to get enough money to buy the other three so they can work out 60 athletes at one time.

“We are trying to make sure our kids have everything they need,” Coyote football coach Jeff Lynn said, “to push the envelope and become better athletes.”

Roswell football lifts four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) and uses the VertiMax as a supplement to weights, which they will do on Wednesdays.

“We want to use this to add variety to our workouts and supplement our squats and deadlifts,” Lynn said. “We have seen gains using this equipment.”

Pilar explains the concept of how the VertiMax equipment works: With an athlete bench pressing, it’s not enough to bench, but to get the most out of the rep, it should be done with an explosion. Pilar says the equipment is not new. It has been around for 15 years and several of the big-time football programs such as Katy, Texas, and Bishop Gorman (Summerlin, Nevada) football programs have been using this equipment to win state and national championships in the high school ranks.

“Really, our kids deserve the credit,” Pilar said. “It doesn’t matter what tools you give somebody if they don’t utilize those tools, those tools remain stagnant and we remain stagnant. The coaches have done a good job of committing to putting something like this together, and the parents and booster clubs have done a good job voting on it and getting it approved to help give us an advantage in competition.”

Going through a workout on the VertiMax takes an hour to an hour and a half. Pilar stresses that the weight room is where everything starts. As an ex-coach, he feels like when teams struggle it is often because they have failed to put in the time in the weight room. Another reason he feels teams fail is they are not working at the skill level specific to their sports, and finally, the speed component.

“It started with coach Baca on our campus,” Pilar said. “She was the pioneer on our campus. She’s an old scientist like myself. She flatlined everybody and took what their bases were and in a three-week period she saw girls’ verticals go up 2 to 3 inches, and their tee times drop four- to five-tenths.

Baca bought into the VertiMax as well as girls basketball coach, Fernando Sanchez.

Pilar wants Roswell to be known as a multi-sport school that shares athletes and coaches are working together to improve the athletes. It remains to be seen if the gains made using the VertiMax equipment will help improve play, but it can’t hurt as RHS moves up in classification.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.

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