EAST LIVERPOOL - When Josh Ludwig was hired as East Liverpool High School's varsity football coach in January, he said, "I am a big believer in weight training."
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with Ludwig in the Potters' weight room and came away very impressed with the results of the Potters' offseason weightlifting program. By looking at the players and the wall charts, the increase in strength was readily apparent.
"I admit it. I'm addicted to the weight room and a number of our players are starting to feel the same way," Ludwig said. "They are getting the mindset that they 'can't wait to get in here.' That is the same way I feel. You can feel the excitement when you walk in the room. They are coming in here ready to get to work."
Ludwig explained the purpose of an old-fashioned bell hanging on the wall.
"The purpose of the bell is that when a player surpasses his previous best in a particular lift, he gets up and runs over and rings the bell," he said. "It doesn't have to be the biggest guy, or the strongest guy on the team ringing the bell. Every player is lifting against himself. It may be a 115-pounder, going over and ringing the bell because he has reached a personal best. Once, one or two players started ringing the bell, it became like a buzz and every player wanted to be able to go over and ring the bell. That has helped to make it exciting in here."
When asked about the tight quarters in the East Liverpool weight room, Ludwig said, "It doesn't matter how big the room is. It matters how big each player's heart is and how hard he is willing to work."
The Potters are currently averaging about 40-45 players for their lifting workouts. Ludwig is hopeful of having 50-65 players on hand when football camp starts.
"I'm excited about getting football camp started in July," he said. "We will continue to do some of the same things that we did in the past under Rick Prescott when he was head coach. But every head coach wants to put in his own stamp on their program. We'll do some things a little bit different, and other things, we will do the same as we have in the past."
Ludwig has also been busy this offseason assembling a coaching staff.
"We are in the process of getting all the coaches settled in to the areas they will be responsible for and also getting them familiar with the players," he said. "Our incoming sophomore class has really been the hitting the weight room hard. I am very proud of our offseason work and how all of the players have bought into it. I'm anxious to get started."