REPerformance had the opportunity to speak with Robert Gallo – the former head coach of Laurentian’s Varsity Women’s Soccer team. Having played and coached at some of the highest levels, Rob speaks about some of his own experiences in soccer. He emphasizes how fitness testing and strength and conditioning have enabled success within his career as a player and coach.
Personal Fitness Testing
Growing up, Rob played all sports. Summer sports seemed to be his favourite as he mainly focused on soccer and baseball. Fitness testing or strength and conditioning wasn’t a prominent area in his sporting career while growing up. Rob went on to pursue his goal of playing university soccer for the Laurentian Voyageurs for three years. After winning two provincial championships with the Voyageurs, he finished his career with the Carleton Ravens. Rob assisted the team in winning a silver medal at nationals.
While playing for Laurentian, Rob noticed that the majority of the off-field training that he participated in was on his own. Since playing at the university level was his main goal, Rob did what he could to stay in shape and best prepare himself for the season. While playing for Carleton was really when a serious effect on strength and conditioning took place. Weightlifting programs were implemented, while Rob also worked with fitness and speed coaches. Rob really benefitted from this program as he thought it gave him habits that stuck with him for the rest of his life. Having been part of the strength and conditioning program, Rob felt more confidence in himself when on the field because he felt stronger.
“You can be technically as great as you want to be, but if I’m technically as equal as you and I’m in better shape… I’m going to be better than you.”
Personal Fitness Testing in Youth Athletes
Rob is a strong believer in fitness testing and training within youth athletes entering their teenage years. Since it has become the habit in today’s society, athletes are more likely to develop a stronger culture for their sport and lifestyle. When athletes are of the proper age and ready to move up to the next level, Rob believes that will be prepared and ready to go if they have been taking part in extra strength and conditioning. It is important for youth athletes to develop and strengthen their muscles and joints when they are in their growing age.
“If you don’t take care of your body with being fit and the proper nutrition, then I don’t think it’s worthwhile to play on a field looking for success.”
Fitness Testing Systems
As head coach of the Voyageurs, Rob has always implemented fitness testing within his program. Utilizing the school’s strength and conditioning coach, records all fitness testing and workouts are saved and shared with coaches. The system allows girls to go home with summer programs which enables them to get stronger and stay in shape. Rob admires the records of fitness testing so that milestones are made and progress continues as an overall program.
Rob has stuck with this program for over ten years and believes it to work very well and that it is the best program to use. Having a fitness testing along with a strength and condition program has been a huge factor in the success of Rob’s soccer team. Having the extra component to his team let him to ten straight playoff appearances, as well as a silver medal.
“We were never one of the most talented teams, but you couldn’t compete with us with hard work.”
From Rob’s personal experience with fitness testing, there are three main takeaways from implementing some sort of fitness testing. First, it instills confidence in players being stronger out on the field. Second, it develops a culture and a way of living for athletes, post sporting career. Finally, it beats skill any day.
Rob has used REPerformance’s software to test and track his athlete’s fitness levels during his time at Laurentian. He has really reaped the benefits from the software and encourages to push it throughout his program. He believes that fitness is just as big a part as being skilled in a sport, and it will help you through the remainder of your life.
Stop guessing, start progressing!