The Pat Cole Story
Four years ago, a 150-pound, self-proclaimed “skate punk”, walked into our facility looking to get bigger and stronger so he could play high school football. But, truth be told, the first couple months of training weren’t exactly “focused” for Pat Cole. Maybe it was the immaturity of being an 8th grader (and one of the youngest athletes in our gym); or maybe things just hadn’t “clicked” yet for the young man.
Enter Coach John Impallomeni.
A couple months into Pat’s training, I set him up with a different trainer – John Impallomeni. John really focused on teaching Pat proper form in our “foundational” exercises – box squat, bench press, deadlift, chin-ups and box jumps – rather than just letting him “go through the motions”. According to Pat, as he started learning how to lift properly – and seeing progress – he began to “want to come to the gym more and more.”
After about a year of working with John and taking his training seriously, Pat’s physique and strength really started to transform. But it was at this time that Pat received some devastating news from his doctor during a football physical; Pat’s doctor informed him that he had a leaking aortic valve and playing football would not be a “healthy choice” for his heart.
Turning a negative into a positive
Instead of “hanging up his cleats” and giving up, Pat decided to take up track & field – more specifically, the shot put. His best throw during his freshman year was 43 feet; this was considered a “pretty good” start for Pat. But, “pretty good” wasn’t good enough for Pat Cole. He wanted to be the best. So he decided to totally engross himself in the sport and train specifically for the shot put. In less than one year, he added over 10 feet to his best throw! (He threw 53’ 02” as a sophomore.) This was also the year his best box squat went from 275 lbs. to 405 lbs.! Check out the videos below…
Pat Cole squats 275 X 2 as a freshman!
Pat Cole squats an easy 405 on his 16th Birthday!
There is a good lesson to be learned here for all coaches and trainers; I feel one of the keys to Pat’s success in the gym during this critical year of training was John’s focus on proper form, as opposed to implementing fancy programs. Way too many coaches look for “quick fixes” and fancy programs during the early years of an athlete’s training. Focusing on exercise form – as well as getting stronger in the “foundational” lifts – will build the best foundation for young athletes. Pat is living proof of this.
Once Pat developed a base level of strength, John started adding more jumps and throws, as well as specialty barbells for squatting (safety bar & cambered bar are staples) and some strongman-type exercises into Pat’s program. Speaking of Pat’s program, here’s an inside look at Pat’s Lower Body Strength Workout from last week:
Pat Cole – Penn Relays
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