If you are late for the 7:15 a.m. class, you run the bench alone.
Commitment is required from the start, and is the fuel that drives students through the basketball superfit class at Caledonia Secondary School.
“You don’t improve unless you put time into it,” said grade 12 student Trysten Derrick of a lesson he has learned through the class. He also learned about the benefits of working with other people, as they help push him to improve.
Derrick says his 6 a.m. morning every other day is worth it, teaching him discipline and getting him fit and ready for the basketball season so Terrace has an advantage over opposing teams.
Grade 11 student Jalen Holland says he loves the class and it has greatly benefited his basketball ability, making him fit to play multiple games without getting tired out.
“It’s a really fun class if you want to be here. It’s what you make of it,” he said. “The harder road works out better for you if you push yourself.”
It is that principle that the superfit class is built around, and teacher Joe Dominguez says it started in 2010 as a way to credit students who were coming early to school to work on basketball.
The class has 31 students this year and is every other morning before school.
It starts out with students doing fitness assessments and personal goal setting, then Dominguez teaches them weight room exercises, basketball drills and skills, and how to develop a strong basketball workout program.
From there on, most of the class is individually driven, with students developing their own workout program and goals, and doing assessments of their own effort and progression.
Students do group runs some mornings, often on the bench but sometimes a 8.5-kilometre route that circles over the old bridge, new bridge, to Kenny Street and back to the school.
Dominguez says students are really responsible, push each other and are actually proud to be part of something like that.
“I don’t have to do a whole lot of motivation because they bought into it,” he said.
“They see the effects of it. They know when the season comes, they are good to go.”
They also do some classroom work on sports psychology, with assignments on the character that makes a strong student athlete, such as leadership and integrity.
Dominguez says he likes the relationship he builds with students and seeing their willingness to commit.
“It speaks volumes about their character, as well as the support of their parents,” he said.
Through the individually driven program and self-assessments, Dominguez says he encourages them to keep themselves accountable.
“It’s more ownership – so that they take ownership of their own learning and their own effort,” he said. “It’s on you. It’s kind of like in life, somebody is going to encourage you, but you still have to put in the work. I’m just preparing them for that.”