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Penn State Football: For Galt The Next Step Is The Recovery, Not The Workout

by on March 17, 2020 1:00 PM

What do you do when a strength program is reaching its peak? That's the question facing Penn State strength and condition coach Dwight Galt as the Nittany Lions continue to rise up the physical charts in the weight room as well as the rankings on the field.

Of course it is true that a team can always be in better shape, a little faster or a little strong, but as James Franklin and his staff recruit higher and higher profile athletes, there is less work to be done on Day 1, and less work to get the entire team to where it needs to be.

At some point it becomes about maintaining that high level. And then it becomes about seeing around the next curve.

"We always want to grow," Galt said earlier this month. "You know, we've done some decent things in the past, and we like where we are now, but we kind of said every year,, this is where market changes and how we approach it."

"So you know the world we live in with the NFL being such a dominant thing. I think we will definitely continue to grow. If I can see anything happening. I think it's velocity based, speed based, and not just speed by linear speed but speed of movement, whether it's how fast you can punch the guy across from you how fast you can come over cut. You know those kind of those are things that we will probably continue to push even more, and find more creative ways to get guys we maximize the potential there."

According to Galt the areas that Penn State and all programs can improve and innovate within is the area of recovery. Sleep, nutrition, diets and mental health all coming into play on the physical side of the things. The goal, the quicker you can recover, the sooner you can work out. The quicker you can recover from a game, the sooner you'll be ready for the next one.

Penn State, like many athletic programs, has made hires over the past several years in this area. Josh Nelson was hired in 2019 Director for Applied Health and Performance Science, after six years at Baylor. Nelson is a regular on Twitter with mini videos about the importance of sleep among other important facets of the recovery process. He works alongside John Fleury in a similar role.

"Nelson has done an incredible job," Galt added. "Giving them this this heavy workload and being able to get them to recover so you can do it again. And we now have these tools, these methodologies that we use that you can recover faster so you can train harder the next workout. So in the recovery, regeneration and nutrition, all these things are things that we're really trying to embrace, so we could put out a better product. Because to be honest, the thing we're working on is making sure when Saturday comes when it's 12 o'clock, 3:30 or whatever it's that they're at their absolute peak for that week."

"We don't want their peak to be on Tuesday at practice we want to peak right before that game. So that's kind of where we're going is really trying to assimilate the Sport Science into the strength conditioning and merge them fully together to be able to maximize your training."

Penn State also hired Kayla Matrunick as assistant athletic director for Performance Nutrition Services in 2017. Carl Ohlson is also a key contributor to the mental health side of a student athlete's well-being as the assistant AD for Performance Psychology.

Will you notice a difference on the field? Probably not, but next time Sean Clifford throws a great pass, it's worth remembering that there was a workout, a diet, a conversation and a good night's rest behind it. In truth, that the key to a great performance might not be working harder, but simply more efficiently.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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