Columbia Football Week in Review - April 18, 2014

By: Inside Lion

Since the start of conditioning workouts in January, the Columbia football coaches have been preaching a simple message to the team: every rep they take, finish through the line, not to the line. That means if a player is running a 40-yard dash, for example, he’s expected to sprint through 45 yards rather than pulling up at 40.

The Lions have heard that every day in workouts and spring practices, and now they’ll be hearing it from another source. Bob Gilmartin, the new Director of Sports Performance for Football, has already started emphasizing this philosophy in his first week with the team.

“It’s a mentality,” Gilmartin said. “It’s how you approach the game. It’s about finishing a game, whether you’re winning or losing.”

Gilmartin picked up this idea as an assistant strength and conditioning coach with Rutgers from former Scarlet Knights head coach Greg Schiano. He said that program didn’t know how to win before he was there and part of that was learning how to finish. That’s where this philosophy grew from.

With Gilmartin in charge of stretching prior to the Lions conditioning workouts, the players do dynamic stretches for 10 yards at a time in their warm-up. Once they reach that 10-yard mark, Gilmartin tells each player to do one extra rep of the given stretch before they jog an extra five yards to finish the drill. It may seem small and insignificant, but Gilmartin said that helps the team develop a winning mentality.

The new strength coach said there is so much that needs to be done in the weight room before the season starts, ranging from improving every players’ first step quickness to developing overall team strength and speed. Under Gilmartin’s supervision, the Lions will focus heavily on Olympic lifts like cleans and snatches, which transfer directly to explosive on-field movements.

He wants the Lions to learn how to win by building an attack mentality. And he starts every workout with the same message: “Get better today.”