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Trainer helps strengthen athletic teams

Friday, September 21, 2007  
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By Tracy Washam

Oklahoma Christian University’s athletic programs have looked outside of the university to gain a competitive edge. Last year, trainer Jack Pugh worked with the Oklahoma Christian’s women’s basketball team and impressed more than just coach Stephanie Findley.

This year, the men’s basketball team and the softball team brought Pugh on to help with their strength and conditioning as well.

“I had heard about Jack from a couple of athletes so I went and watched him train at his facility,” Findley said. “I liked what I saw and asked him to come and work with my girls.”

Pugh has trained athletes for the past 12 years. He started out as a power lifter and eventually got asked to help train others.

“One of my buddies asked me to train his son for football,” Pugh said. “I did and really enjoyed it and that brought me to where I am today.”

Pugh works as Vice President and Director of Training at a facility in Bethany, Okla. called Athletes in Progress. He has worked with the Oklahoma City University’s women’s basketball program as well as their baseball team.

“Jack really knows his stuff,” men’s basketball coach Dan Hays said. “He knows what things to have the athletes in each sport focus on that will improve them in that sport.”

Pugh trains athletes in nearly every sport. He works with basketball, softball and even hockey players. Each workout is sport specific because not all sports use the same muscles.

“One thing I really like about Jack is that he knows what to focus on for my sport,” Findley said. “My girls are not just building strength. They are building strength in the right areas.”

The women’s softball work out, for example, might be a little more intense because of all the things they have to strengthen. Pugh said he believes softball and baseball are the two sports you have to train more than others.

“With softball and baseball, you really have to focus on the shoulders and keeping them injury free,” Pugh said. “You also have to strengthen trunk muscles because of so much twisting.”

Although he has only worked with the men’s basketball team for a couple of months, Hays can already see the results.

“One thing I have already noticed about my guys is they are just looking healthier,” Hays said. “They look fit and have great endurance during practices.”

Pugh’s workouts attempt to keep the athlete’s injury free as a first priority. He said he understands as athletes get older they are more prone to injury, and he focuses on building and strengthening the right muscles to prevent injury.

He also tries to create a lifestyle the athletes will carry throughout their life, and hopefully, take all sports to the highest level to compete for national championships.

“The girls have not only grown physically fit, but they are more mentally tough as well,” Findley said.

The athletes at Oklahoma Christian who have worked with Pugh enjoy seeing results and feeling like they are achieving something.

“Working out with Jack really makes you feel like you’ve done something,” softball player Jessica Hauf said. “After the first week, I had muscles sore that I didn’t even know were there.”

With his growing popularity among Oklahoma Christian athletic programs, Pugh keeps a busy schedule around the campus. Right now, he works with the basketball teams three days a week and the softball team twice a week.

Photo by Jonathan Cannon

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