Back to the Grind: Liberty HS football using WVSSAC’s Phase 1 conditioning to its advantage

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The Liberty football team is enjoying being able to get back together as part of the WVSSAC’s first phase of team conditioning and strength training.

AJ Harman’s team is working-out outside in small groups, and coming off an 8-2 regular season — the third playoff appearance in the last four years.

For Harman, the extra time to be with his team now, ahead of the normal three-week period in the summer, helps the Mountaineers make up for some time lost during the pandemic.

It also helps them work towards the approaching 2020 season.

“You know, it’s great, the kids are back, we’re getting a great turnout. The coaches are working hard. The Kids are working hard. And we’re going to do the best we can to get in shape, and come into the season prepared,” Harman said.

The good thing for Harman and his coaching staff is that they do have 14 senior leaders to help the young players along during this abnormal time where teams are trying to do whatever they can to be together.

“This is great for the young guys – the new guys to our program – the freshmen coming in. We build a lot of comradery here. And this is where we build our pride. For us, our pride is created through, for lack of better words, through suffering together, and conditioning, and putting in these hours that we’re doing now,” said Harman.

And there definitely was some suffering when we visited practice Wednesday evening – with hot, muggy conditions outside on the Mountaineers’ football field.

With four coaches on the field, the Liberty coaching staff can have up to 40 players conditioning at one time.

Turnout has been good, with Harman saying those 40 spots for each workout session being extremely valuable. Especially now, when the Mountaineers are doing plenty of conditioning and running in their training session, unlike other teams that have been lifting outdoors.

“As much as we’d love to be lifting weights, because that’s what we like to do, they’re not in shape. We’re not ready. Creativity I’m kind of throwing out the window. We’re keeping it on the basics, and just trying to build a foundation before we start on any weights,” Harman said.

We’ll continue to speak with local teams that are also taking advantage of the ability to be together and condition over the coming weeks.

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