Marble Falls Middle School eighth-grader Aaron Ramirez braces to do a squat under the watchful eye of boys athletic coordinator Jamie Graham. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro
JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls Middle School coaching staff has found a new purpose for the old agriculture building on campus. They’re still raising something, but now it’s bigger, stronger, and faster Mustangs.
The athletic department has transformed the building into a center where middle school students can develop the work ethic and foundations to become better Mustangs.
MFMS boys athletic coordinator Jamie Graham and the coaches have created a facility that addresses may facets of athletic development.
One area focuses on circuit workouts, including various exercise machines and free weights designed by coach Corey Kenyon, to help develop students’ cardio capabilities. When an athlete is at the circuit stations, he or she gets 30 seconds to do as many repetitions as possible for a particular exercise.
Another area is for mat drills that Graham, himself, endured as a Mustang in the 1990s.
Graham laughed when asked if his mat drills are exactly the same as the brutal ones he endured in high school.
“They’re not full-on,” he said with a grin. “It’s middle school. They’re still growing. The kids are still learning to lift, so let’s not do anything that’s detrimental to the body.”
To one side is a row of weight benches, while the other side has a line of squat racks.
“This allows us to have many more stations,” said Graham regarding the multi-function facility.
The student-athletes train three days a week in the building.
The coaches design the programs so the seventh- and eighth-graders aren’t shocked by the intensity of the workouts at the high school. At the middle school level, the coaches spend a great deal of time teaching the kids the proper lifting techniques and how to correctly perform exercises.
“We have to teach basic safety and proper form,” Graham said. “We’re about ability to do (the lifts) and safety and effectively doing a workout for the kids.
“The seventh-graders lift very little weights,” he added. “We’re working on form and being explosive. With the eighth-graders, we’re finishing teaching core forms, the bench press and add power clings toward the end.”
Sixth-graders are taught the proper form for each lift, sit-ups, and push-ups.
Graham said the athletes finish each workout physically tired but mentally feeling great because they can see how the workouts are improving them in both aspects.
“No pain, no gain,” the coordinator said. “They’re seeing the differences.”
There isn’t a cooling system, but the district installed a large ceiling fan, which resembles a helicopter propeller, to circulate air.
The building could use some speakers, Graham said, to help keep up the high energy and fast tempo.
Contact Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.