Montezuma-Cortez head football coach Dave Wagner has coached football at the high school, college and semi-professional levels.
He’s instructed workouts that have included ballet and classical dancing. But it wasn’t until he arrived in Cortez that he had a team participate in yoga.
When Wagner first began speed and strength workouts with the team, he immediately noticed how inflexible the players were.
“They couldn’t touch their toes,” he recalled. “I couldn’t believe how stiff they were.”
He attempted to limber up the athletes by having them stretch multiple times a day.
Then, one day while the team worked out on the field, Wagner met the woman working out on the track, Silvia Pina.
After introducing himself to Pina, Wagner asked if she happened to know yoga.
Actually, Pina has been teaching yoga in Cortez for 14 years and recently opened her own studio, SOAR Mind Body Fit.
“Well I have 21 boys that can’t bend in half,” Wagner explained. “Could we set up a time for you to come teach them yoga?”
Pina led workouts during a few days of speed and strength, and again this week during the team’s football camp.
The players were initially skeptical of participating in yoga, but they’ve seen results.
“It hurt at first,” said senior Ryan Gurney. “But I’m definitely more loose now.”
Wagner also had his coaching staff participate in the workouts. They too may have been doubtful at first, but not anymore.
“It helps a lot,” offensive and defensive line coach Stephen Fenlason explained.
“Especially when you think of a lineman and their stance. To drop down into that stance they have to be flexible in their hips and their back and their knees.”
Wagner’s goal is for the improvement in flexibility to lead to better balance and overall body awareness for his players.
In turn, he hopes that the benefits can translate to wins.