Matt Balis, UConn Football’s New Strength And Conditioning Coordinator

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What’s goin on?

We checked in with accomplished new UConn Football Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Matt Balis for a story this week but here’s a few highlights from the interview….

On his reputation as being one of the best in the business:

“I’ve been very lucky to be around incredible coaches, incredible football coaches,  incredible strength coaches so to hear that is
nice, very humbling. I attribute it to all the help I’ve had. You can’t do this
job alone. What I’ve found is, in this profession, the head football coach, it’s
his vision, it’s his program, his philosophy, so the strength coach and head
football coach have to be [close]. When that’s the case it works phenomenally.”

Why UConn?

“I love challenges in terms of getting to start a program from scratch and getting to build something. Those opportunities don’t come a lot. The fact that Coach [Bob] Diaco and I had worked together [at Virginia] and it was another great challenge plus the fact it’s a phenomenal place to live and raise your family, it all made sense.”

(Note: Balis is coordinating strength and conditioning for all 24 sports at UConn but will design and develop all facets of the S&C program for the football team)

In working with the team so far is/was there obvious, clear things that had to be done?

“When you’re new like this you’re starting from scratch all over the place, ok, so, every place I’ve been there is a formula we’ll take when we first start then as you go it depends on how fast a team kind of adapts to what you’re doing, what the next step is. It’s too early in the process to say we’ve got to work on this or that from what I see, everybody is working hard, everyone is trying their best. It’s new. It’s so exciting.

What would the quarterback workout be like?

“We have a standard template that all of our football players will follow. The quarterbacks get more specific the closer we get to the season but the specific things our quarterbacks are going to do are going to be core training, rotator cuff stability and scapular work. They’re still going to strength train but they’re going to get a little more in terms of what they do on the field. Their flexibility, rotary strength, they’re going to do that a little bit more than say an offensive lineman but there are still standard things that the quarterbacks will do. They’re going to squat and press and pull because they need body armor [muscle] as well but again as we get closer to the season we get more specific.”

What about an offensive lineman?

“Again, standard
template but those guys have a lot of issues with their shoulders as well so
rotator cuff and scapular stability work, football position work. What I mean
by that is bend-ability, mobility in their hips and ankles. So much of their
success depends on how they bend and being able to be powerful in a bend position.
Those are some things. We’ll be more specific with them as well.”

On being big:

“You want to be big but you don’t want to be sloppy big. The size you put on you want to be quality size and that goes back to how you train, how you eat, your individual goals as a player. You say ‘OK, I want to put on quality weight.’ It takes time and patience. It’s not a quick fix. It’s a one-day-at-a-time kind of endurance race of getting as big as we can be but also as functional and efficient as we can be and doing it the right way.”





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