Off season gives dedicated Keene State athletes a chance to improve their game
With Keene State College athletics constantly competing at a high level of play, regardless of the team and playing surface they excel on, the training that is involved should not go unnoticed. Athletes are expected to not only train during the season but during the off season as well, in order to gain every advantage over the competition.
Athletic programs that compete in the fall have summer workout programs that each athlete is supposed to follow.
Head strength and conditioning coach Sarah Testo creates workout programs specific to each team that cater to specific parts of the body that are used frequently in the select sport. “One of the things I try to do is understand each sport better,” Testo said. “The needs, injuries, movement and energy, all those things that go on, we make programs that resemble those characteristics for each team.”
Hayley Kenyon will be a senior next fall on the Women’s soccer team at Keene State. Kenyon says that Keene’s offseason programs are top notch. “What sets up apart is our off-season conditioning,” Kenyon said. “I have friends at other schools that are surprised at the power of our off season program and that’s what sets us apart from the competition.”
“The most important part about strength and conditioning is that it needs to be year-round,” Testo said. “It cannot be a filler in the off-season but it’s very easy to tell if someone hasn’t been doing the work.”
Head field hockey coach Amy Watson has had a wealth of success with her program at Keene State. She gives a lot of credit to the players who work their hardest in the off-season. “We try to get our players out into local leagues and pickup games in the summer but I also encourage them to get out and work on their stick work and individual skills,” Watson said. “I definitely want them to follow the strength and condition plan that is prepared by Sarah [Testo].”
“It’s easy to tell if they haven’t been playing or practicing because they will be really sore,” Watson said.
“But it’s a different kind of sore, not the sore after you’ve just worked out but the sore not playing which is different muscle groups.”
“You hope they [the players] start soon enough,” Watson said. “Sometimes they leave here and say ‘I’ve got plenty of time’ but then they lose a lot and don’t start it back up until it’s almost too late.”
Testo said that she has a personal advantage with the women’s soccer team because she is also an assistant coach for the club. However, she said that the field hockey team has been great- working during the season as well as the off-season.
One sport that does not compete just in the fall, but in the winter and early spring as well is the swimming and diving program. Head coach Jack Fabian says that by going into the summer months he has been mentally pushing his players to train in the off-season. “Each player writes down individual goals and when we meet together we discuss things they can do in the summer to achieve those goals,” Fabian said.
“I use that piece of paper to hold them accountable and if they come back out of shape, they might not be swimming with us anymore.”
“Everybody generally lifts in the summer, but we also have some of the players boxing and participating in triathlons or lifeguarding,” Fabian said. “We try to have our players swim in club programs.”
“All in all it’s a combination of getting the right instruction towards the end of the year, getting the right training and actually doing the workouts,” Fabian said.
“Testing the athletes when we comeback in the fall is the biggest step, knowing who trained and knowing where to from that point is a key to our success on the field,” Testo said.
Brian Schnee can be reached at