Academy pg 1 10-12-17

WOODSTOCK — For Brenden Ostaszewski, life couldn’t be much different than it is now.
The first-year, full-time strength and conditioning coach at Woodstock Academy grew up in a Philadelphia row house.
He could walk to the supermarket or hop a bus or train to get where he had to go.
There are, obviously, no such amenities in his new surroundings.
The sights, sounds and smells that now comprise his new atmosphere are foreign to him, but he’s getting used to life in rural America.
“I’m enjoying my time. It’s different, but I like it. It’s quiet, nothing like the city, which is nice in some ways,” Ostaszewski said.
Ostaszewski is breaking ground, like so many others, at Woodstock Academy this year.
The first-ever public high school/prep school combination in the State of Connecticut created the need for a person with Ostaszewski’s qualifications.
“I was amazed,” Ostaszewski said of his first impressions of the school, now housed on two campuses with on-site dorms.
“It’s a mini-university, a small college. I feel comfortable here. I work with a wide range of students from freshmen who are 13-years-old to those who are 19 and playing for the prep team. I’m used to that,” Ostaszewski said.
Ostaszewski enjoyed a variety of sports in his growing years, but trended toward basketball. He played as a freshman for Keystone College, a Division III school, in northeastern Pennsylvania.
But it was training to play the sport that began to interest him more than actually getting on the court.
He transferred to Temple University and studied Exercise in Sports Science and Kinesiology.
“I fell in love with exercise physiology: How the body works, how it adapts to resistance training and different variations of training,” Ostaszewski said.
But there were few outlets for a strength and conditioning coach outside of a college atmosphere so Ostaszewski took a job as a full-time physical education teacher at a Philadelphia Catholic school.
In his free time, he volunteered as a strength coach at Temple and the University of Pennsylvania.
It was that association which eventually led him to Woodstock.
The strength and conditioning coach at Temple asked if he wanted to work an NBA Pro Day. Ostaszewski thought it would be interesting and agreed. There, he met Lamont Peterson, a Golden State Warriors scout, who also happened to serve as an assistant coach to Tony Bergeron at Commonwealth Academy.
“He liked my dynamic warmups and wanted to know what I wanted to do in life. I told him I wanted to be a full-time strength and conditioning coach,” Ostaszewski said.
Bergeron was in the market for just such a person and brought Ostaszewski with him when he relocated to Woodstock Academy to begin the prep school program.
“I’m surprised to see this at a high school level. Not too many high schools nationwide have a full-time strength and conditioning coach,” Ostaszewski said.
He has been a popular guy.
“It’s great to see so many of the teams taking advantage of Coach O and what he’s bringing to the table. They’re getting stronger, faster and it’s showing on the fields. Our performances have never been better,” Woodstock Academy athletic director Aaron Patterson said.
Patterson said his No. 1 concern is safety and he is always nervous when a coach, who may not have the necessary knowledge of strength training and conditioning, attempts to do so with student-athletes.
“He’s an expert at what he does,” Patterson said.
Ostaszewski said he is starting at the training age of zero for most including, a bit surprisingly, most of the prep school basketball players.
“A lot of the inner-city schools, which many of our players come from, do not have a strength and conditioning coach on staff. Basketball players are, generally, not big on lifting either. So, it’s probably a little intimidating at first, but they’re starting to enjoy the process and they’re seeing how strength and conditioning can help their game,” Ostaszewski said.
Ostaszewski added that since most Woodstock Academy student-athletes are all in the same boat, starting from scratch, many will see results quickly.
“They’re going to get stronger quicker than advanced lifters. That’s how exercise physiology works. When you are new to resistance training, the body adapts quicker,” he said.
There are also different training methods.
For instance, since football involves power, he will focus on that with explosive lifts. Cross-country runners, meanwhile, are more about endurance and those athletes will do more circuit training.
“It’s OK to fail in resistance training. If someone messes up a repetition, they can always get better the next week and accomplish it, they get stronger week-by-week. I tell them that it’s OK to fail (in the weight room), do their best, and, eventually, they will get better,” Ostaszewski said.
Ostaszewski currently works with most student-athletes and teams after-school hours, but if he has his way, he would like to introduce a weight-training class during the school day as well.
 “(The athletes) come to all the lifts. I’ve never seen anyone missing one. They come to all the workouts. I’m getting good feedback from all the coaches and (the athletes) seem to be enjoying themselves,” Ostaszewski said.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
RocketTheme Joomla Templates