Original Story: www.kwantlenchronicle.ca
By Jason Jung
Sunday, 07 October 2007
The Kwantlen women’s basketball team is 10 minutes into practice and players are drenched in sweat, lying on the floor and gasping for air. These are the training results of Kwantlen Eagles’ new conditioning coach Michelle Roots.
In efforts to building a lean, mean basketball-playing machine, coach Kevin Van Buskirk asked the former Kwantlen Eagles star to build the team’s strength, agility and endurance during the off-season.
Former star guard and current Eagles conditioning coach Michelle Roots.
“Even though they were in good shape last year, we are a stronger team this year and there will be fewer injuries because of Michelle,” said Buskirk. “She is a huge asset to this program and the amount of work she put in over the summer was exceptional.”
Roots accepted the position at the end of last season because of her love for Kwantlen University College, the coaching staff and the sports program.
“I thought it would be the perfect fit because I am an alumni member and I love the staff here,” said Roots. “I love working with these girls and getting to know them…I want to help them as much as I can.”
“Anything that will build their power” was Roots’ immediate description of the exercises she leads during Eagles’ practices. Different from years past is the addition of biometric and cardiovascular training to the Eagles’ practice sessions.
“We found a lot of teams dying near the end of the game…we want to be able to run every team out of the gym until the end of the game and not lose our wind in the fourth quarter,” said Roots. “Their confidence will definitely show in their performance as they know that they are bigger and stronger than last year.”
Throughout the summer and during this season, Roots’ focus is on building team strength, power, speed and endurance. Eagles players were required to come in twice a week during the off-season for cardiovascular exercises and weight training.
The biggest challenge for Roots was not being able to monitor the progress of some players since part of the student’s life is a summer job, studying and spending time on vacation.
Although her current position is different from shooting jump-shots and defending her team’s basket, her goal this year remains the same – to help the Eagles’ win a championship.
Players rave about Roots’ exercises, saying they feel more confident, comfortable and agile on the count. Second-year Psychology student Sancheska Stranack is already a believer that her team is destined to success with the addition of Roots.
“”We feel [more] confident about making the playoffs this year than last year because of our improvement in strength and agility,” said Stranack. “Our training can get tiring at times but we are firm believers that it will be worth it in the long run.”
After graduating from Kwantlen University College, Roots, a star guard, went to the University of Winnipeg where she earned a degree in kinesiology and applied health.
From there, she started her own business, called CORE Condition, that focuses on rehabilitation and physical conditioning for clients ranging from professional athletes to people injured in car accidents.
“So far, the business that I have started on my own is doing very well and, hopefully, it will continue to grow,” said Roots.
Roots and other members of the Eagles coaching staff are confident this year’s team will do better than last year’s.
“Last year’s team had a lot of skillful players but some players didn’t have a lot of previous experience with formal coaching before,” Roots said. “I think the lack of training in conditioning, speed and strength was a factor, because a lot of other teams were stronger, so hopefully our practices will make an impact this season.”