THE KEENE STATE COLLEGE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS VOLUME XXI NUMBER 1 Fall 2005
  
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Sarah Testo '03:
From a Position of Strength

It's the first day of camp for Sarah Kent Testo, a 2003 KSC graduate in physical education, and she's feeling a little nervous.

Sarah Testo photo But, as parents drop off teen-agers and the evening air begins to cool a little, her nerves disappear and she's able to focus on the task at hand: teaching young athletes how to keep their bodies healthy during and after their sports seasons.

This summer, Testo, the strength and conditioning coach for Keene State's athletics program, organized her first sport camp. She offered two five-day sessions, during which participants would learn how to enhance their sports performance, avoid injuries, and keep healthy during the year.

"Athletics for kids is getting so big these days," she says, describing the role of her camp. "The biggest thing for kids playing sports is injury prevention. That's one of the things this camp is about."

Quote: The biggest thing for kids playing sports is injury prevention. On the A-fields, squeezed in between various lacrosse and soccer drills, Testo and her four charges get down to business. The four boys, ages 13 to 16, play a variety of sports – basketball, soccer, surfing, baseball, hockey, football, and golf. One of her goals for the camp, Testo says, is to show the teens training activities that can be applied to any sport. The daily training regime includes agility work, plyometrics (training for explosive strength), speed work, conditioning, and core work and stretching.

Sarah Testo photo The theme of the first day is drills emphasizing linear – straight-ahead – speed and strength, important for acceleration and setting up future sideways movements. In one drill, Testo places four hoops on the grass, one for each participant. Standing one-and-a-half shoe lengths behind the hoop, the teens lean forward to the point of toppling over, and as they fall, place a foot in the hoop and sprinted forward. This "quick start," says Testo, is a fundamental skill in many sports.

"So how will this help me?" one boy asks.

"What you're learning to do," says Testo, "is get your feet moving faster. The quicker you can get your feet moving, the quicker you can get to a ball or an opposing player or a base."

Quote: What you're learning to do is get your feet moving faster. The session goes on – the boys jog over to Owl Athletic Complex, where Testo has them run hill repeats for developing sprinting strength, before they cool down with stretches.

Testo is pleased that she's found her niche in the KSC sports camp circus. "The cool thing," she explains, "is that we're exposing the kids, their parents, and anyone else who's watching to strength and conditioning. If these guys want to play sports after high school, being fitter and stronger will help them get to the next level."

For more information about Testo's and other sports camps, visit www.keene.edu/athletics/camps.cfm.