Physical, mental gains seen in workouts

Student-athletes at UDM put in a lot of time preparing themselves for the rigors of a long season. 

While polishing the skills specific to their sport is important, they also devote a large amount of time to preparing their bodies as well.

From lifting weights to running sprints, athletes at UDM are a part of the strength and conditioning program run by Joe Jablonski and Trevor Klump.

After the departure of head strength and conditioning coach Sean Williamson earlier this year, Jablonski and Klump, who were already assistant strength coaches, took over Williamson’s role.

“I’m still doing the same things I had been,” Jablonski said regarding his role in the weight room. “Now it’s just with added responsibility. I’m attending more meetings and communicating more with coaches now. It’s like taking the next step up the ladder.”

Jablonski transitioned to the strength and conditioning side of athletics after his days playing baseball at Grand Valley State University. 

For Klump, college athletics never became a reality for him due to injuries he suffered as a baseball and football player in high school. 

He began studying physical therapy at Grand Valley, but after an internship at the University of Michigan, Klump knew strength and conditioning was the path he would follow.

“I was really drawn to the high energy and up-tempo feeling that came with strength and condition,” Klump said.  “I’m really passionate about being able to push athletes to new levels and see them get the most of their abilities.”

But strength and conditioning is not just physical training for the athletes, noted Jablonski.

“Yes, we get excited about the physical gains,” he said. “But I think there are life lessons to be learned in the weight room as well.”

Accountability and discipline are emphasized.

“Sometimes people have bad days or aren’t in the mood to get up early,” Jablonski said. “That’s life, though. My goal is that when these athletes leave here and move on to the real world, they are prepared to attack any type of adversity they are faced with.”

Klump added that the mental grind can be just as daunting as the physical grind. However, he feels that if any of the athletes he trains can look back on their experience later in life and still carry something positive from it, he has done his job.