September 21, 2019

Athletic equipment not up to par

Paul Kiener

By Paul Kiener

Webster University has established a strong athletic program despite a very slow and relatively unsuccessful beginning. Being successful and retaining success involves dedication, perseverance and improvement. Athletics depend upon a player’s continual improvement as a result of working out, practicing and competing.
In order to compete at the highest level, athletes need to train with the right equipment within facilities that are conductive to improvement. The facilities at Webster, however, do not always meet that need.
The various training facilities Webster offers are: Grant Gymnasium, the fitness center, the swimming pool and the hallway beneath the University Center.
Coming from a Division I university, it is very easy to fall into a trap — comparing two completely different athletic programs. One has a smaller sports budget to work with. One has a larger student population. And, despite these problems, one’s overall record in recent times is better than the other’s – Webster.
Webster has become a competitive university because it is capable of making adjustments. Athletes no longer showed up to games with minimal practice. Now, coaches demand more out of their players by asking them not only to practice hard, but to work out hard. Once again, Webster needs to make adjustments. The school needs to invest in its future of young athletes.
Personally, when I transferred to Webster, I analyzed a few different components of the athletic program beforehand. The seasonal records of the various teams mattered to me; I didn’t want to make a move to a university that was not competitive in baseball.
Furthermore, I looked at the facilities that were in use. GCS Ballpark is a field high Division I teams could play on, and frankly, I knew from that moment I wanted to play baseball at Webster. I was willing to take a hit in terms of workout facilities if it meant playing on a great field.
During the last three years, I have dealt with one measly squat rack, one barbell bench, a pulley system and a leg press so ancient that it hasn’t been greased in years. Working out should be hard, but dealing with equipment that is broken or barely functional adds frustration to the mix. There is little done to replace damaged equipment.
In the past, it took months to replace an 80 lb. dumbbell that had been deemed “broken” in the fitness center. Imagine making the leap from 70 lb. dumbbells to 90 lb. dumbbells!
However, the fitness center did improve. New flat-screen televisions (how big of a waste of money were those?), a new treadmill (a good addition), a new ARC trainer (used abundantly … not) was added as well.
The fitness center needs to cater toward its athletes in the years to come. More often than not, during a particular season, Webster athletes highly populate the weight room along with other student users.
The area to exercise is already too small. It is nearly impossible to perform necessary lifts that improve strength and explosion like power cleans, hang cleans and dead lifts safely. Eventually, athletes have no choice but to exercise elsewhere – the outside hallway and Grant Gymnasium.
Grant Gymnasium is home to the men and women’s basketball team. Unfortunately for these teams, the gym is a multipurpose facility. I absolutely hate practicing and watching other players have no option but to practice on a hardwood floor that is under constant abuse.
Additionally, athletes have minimal time to practice in the gym before intramural sports come in and tell players, who are in or preparing for an actual season that matters, to get out.
I want Webster to continue to be successful. It is hard to become motivated and excited about working out when Webster’s forgotten athletes are stuck using outdated equipment and inappropriate facilities.

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