When walking into the state-of-the-art weight room at Enid High School during Summer Pride, it is hard not to notice how hard these students are working. And that work is clearly paying off, both in physical appearance and on the field.
In 2019, the Plainsmen went 0-10 with a new coach and a new scheme. 2020 showed improvement with a 3-7 record, but some of the losses were runaways. Even with a similar record in 2021, Coach Woods was encouraged by the progress of the team. “Even though we were 3-7, we had 3 games we lost by 7 points or less (Lawton Mac, Edmond Memorial and Norman) and we should have won those games. We were that close to being 6-4 at the 6A-1 level. We were able to at least be competitive, but we know it is important to take that next step and finish those games. We were able to score points and move the football and get stops. We are definitely improving and continuing to get better.”
This improvement has come from several places, but one very important factor has been Enid’s Summer Pride Program. “We go four days a week, Monday through Thursday, 7:30 to about 9:30. We lift, we run, and work on skills on the field after. Even though Enid had a Summer Pride program before I got here, having a certified strength and conditioning coach like Coach (Tracy) Baldwin, makes all the difference in the world because he knows exactly what to do. We trust him, and he’s made a real difference. Coach Baldwin spent 20 years at places like Oklahoma State and just knows what student-athletes need,” says Coach Woods.
The players have really seemed to buy in as well. When Coach Woods started at Enid, about half the players came out for Summer Pride, now it’s almost every one that will play snaps. “We average over 70 football players a day, which makes a difference in the fall. Every single guy is better than when they started. When we got here we were being physically dominated, not anymore.”
And the football players aren’t the only ones getting bigger, stronger and faster. Every program has seen improvements in participation numbers, with about 300 kids at the high school level, from every girl’s and boy’s sport EHS offers. Enid Public Schools Athletic Director Billy Tipps said. “Our strength and conditioning program has provided our teams with better athletes to compete in 6A. The importance of strength and conditioning has been emphasized to our athletes and they have responded and it is paying dividends. 6A is the highest classification of sports in Oklahoma, and for us to be able to compete, it must be a priority.”
Student-athletes do not have to wait until high school to start summer training. Each middle school is now offering summer pride to 7th and 8th graders run by the middle school coaches under the direction of Coach Baldwin. “The idea is to get these kids involved as early as possible, doing the same thing at the middle school level that we do at the high school level, so that we can build the strength and physicality necessary to compete with the other big schools. We have over 150 middle schoolers that regularly participate and you can already tell by the success we are having at that level,” Said Coach Tipps
Plainsmen/Pacer Pride of the Plains is Proudly Sponsored by Slater Mechanical!