WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - You were not mistaken if you passed the Wood-Ridge High School football field and thought that pre-season football practice had been replaced with boot camp.
That is because, for the second year in a row, Wood-Ridge High School head football coach Charles Trentacosti invited Marines from the U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Sub-Station in Jersey City for a day of “boot camp” with his team in preparation for the upcoming season.
“This is the second year they have been here, “ Trentacosti stated. “The players got a lot of of it last year, and this year the captains came to me and asked if they could come back.”
Whistles were replaced by “YES SIR!” and approximately 40 Blue Devils football players were put through drills by Gunnery Sergeant Nguyen, Staff Sergeant Park, Sargeant Sylvester, Sergeant Nator and Private First Class Alvarez. And these were not normal football drills.
After stretching, the opening set of drills would have them doing 20-yard crawl relays, which is standard in many football practices. What is not standard is having to do push-ups, crunches, mountain climbs and running in place while waiting for your relay partner to finish.
The activities were designed with a multitude of goals; conditioning, focus, teamwork and leadership.
The final activity of the workout session was a culmination, as the players in four-man groups, did an obstacle course for time. The eight activities of the obstacle course consisted of:
- A Fireman's carry relay -- teammates carried their partner 40 yards before switching.
- Medicine ball squats - 20 repetitions with a 20-pound medicine ball over the head.
- Tire-flip - Players had to flip a truck tire 20 yards.
- Weighted sled pull - teammates pulled a weighted sled from one sideline to the hash mark of the football field and back.
- Four man pushup -- 10 repetitions as players form an interlocking box and have to work together in doing a coordinated push-up.
- Deadlift - 20 repetitions of 110 pound bar.
- Medicine ball toss and burpees - Teammates tossed medicine ball to each other did a “burpee” and tossed the ball back to their partner 20 times.
- Ammo-can carry & lift - Carry an ammunition can, filled with 30 pounds of sand, 20 yards, then lift one overhead 20 times.
Teams could not move from one station to the next without everyone having completed. The winning team, finished in a time of seven minutes and five seconds.
“We look to make young leaders, not football players,’ stated Gunnery Sergeant Nguyen.