June 23, 2009

Joe Siara: Year One Coming to a Fantastic Close

June 23, 2009

John Bryant swore by him. Lena Gipson gave him props late in the season. Many of the former Broncos who have come through this spring and summer, including Brody Angley, have talked about how much stronger the rising sophomores are on the court. The current men's and women's basketball players enjoy their time with him. And now Niyi Harrison, Robert Smith, Chris Cunningham, Troy Payne, etc. are itching to get some one-on-one time with him.

Who is HE?

With almost a year under his belt as the head strength and conditioning coach at Santa Clara, he is Joe Siara (JS). Siara talked late last week with the website about his first year, what the basketball teams are working on and what he sees in the coming months for the Bronco programs.

A little refresher on Siara. He most recently worked at the University of Florida where he completed his Master's degree in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology in May of 2008. His emphasis with his master's degree was human performance. While with the Gators he worked primarily with the men's basketball team under the direction of Matt Herring. Herring was with the Gator basketball team when they won back-to-back national titles in 2006 and '07; and made the NIT Semi-Finals in 2008. Siara also aided in the development of the both the men's and women's golf and tennis teams.

Siara, 25, is a 2006 graduate of Indiana University where he received a degree in Kinesiology. He is a 2002 graduate of Noblesville High School in Noblesville, Ind. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), a certified USA Weightlifting Sports Performance coach and is certified by the American Red Cross in CPR, AED and First Aid.

SCU: You have been here for a year now; how has it been?

JS: It has been great. I love the Santa Clara area. The move from Florida out to here was not very fun (long drive), but I am definitely looking forward to the upcoming season.

SCU: What has been your biggest surprise about Santa Clara?

JS: The biggest surprise is how hard the athletes work out here. Especially because I was a new coach, I was surprised with how quickly John Bryant and Calvin Johnson as seniors bought into the new system and worked hard every single workout. They made my job a lot easier with the younger players because of this.

SCU: What primarily do you do as a strength and conditioning coach?

JS: As the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Santa Clara I directly work with the men's and women's basketball 24/7/365. I also oversee the weight room, buying of new equipment and scheduling to make sure every Bronco team has use of the weight room.

SCU: What was your goal last summer with the men's and women's basketball teams?

JS: My main goal was to get to know the athletes bodies and what they could and couldn't do. Once I identified their strength and weaknesses, we worked on improving them all summer.

SCU: What is your goal this summer with the teams?

JS: This summer my goal is to make sure that everyone's bodies can handle the stress of a season. With two young teams next year, I want to have their bodies ready to handle a D-1 season and not break down and get injured.

SCU: Do you work out with the athletes?

JS: No, I do not believe in working out with the athletes. I concentrate on correcting their form in all the exercises and help them get the most out of the workout.

SCU: Talk about the women's team and who has made the biggest strides.

JS: Alyssa Shoji by far has seen the most improvements. Since she first got here her running vertical jump has increased dramatically, she can now do 55 regular push-ups, and she has gotten stronger with all of the lifts. Lena Gipson has also done extremely well.

SCU: What has impressed you the most about Lena?

JS: Lena is very athletic; she scored high in all the tests. She has been working really hard to improve in the weight room and on the court.

SCU: Who has improved the most for the men?

JS: Kevin Foster and Michael Santos both had great springs. Both improved their strength and power. Santos has been working hard to increase his muscle mass and Foster has gotten his body ready for a great sophomore year.

SCU: What are you looking forward to with the new freshman coming in?

JS: All the freshman are extremely competitive and I can't wait to see how hard they work in the weight room and out on the court.

SCU: How often do the workouts change?

JS: I change the workouts every 3-4 weeks. I split the athletes into certain groups depending on what they need to improve on. The freshmen that will be working with me during the summer will start out with a different workout from the returning athletes. Once the freshmen learn everything and they can handle the workouts, I will bring them together with everyone else.

SCU: Do you have a cycle during the season?

JS: I consider from right now until the end of Summer Session 1 on July 27th the off-season. The pre-season lasts from July 27th till October 15th and in-season starts October 15th when practices begin. The workouts change during each cycle depending on the team's goals and objectives. The time in the weight room will decrease as the in-season gets closer and their speed, agility, quickness training on the court will increase. During the in-season the teams will usually lift 2-3 times per week depending on their game schedule.

SCU: When you worked at Florida with Matt Herring (basketball strength coach); what are some of the things you learned from him?

JS: Just the structure of the workouts; to keep everyone working and how to motivate the athletes to work hard. Matt taught me how to make the workouts functional to the game of basketball. I also learned how to identify the weaknesses of an athlete and improve on them. Florida has had some really good teams under Matt, winning two NCAA titles.

SCU: Marc Trasolini and Scott Thompson are two big guys you are going to count on next year. What have you done with them in the weight room?

JS: We have been working hard on increasing both Scott and Marc's muscle mass. They want to get bigger so they can battle down on the blocks. We have also been working on their hip mobility and playing low the entire game. A big key to their success on the court will be to playing low at all times.

SCU: Jennifer Mountain and Kerry Keating are both young coaches and you are a young coach yourself. Both their staffs are fairly new. What have you learned for them?

JS: I love working for both of them because they are so passionate about the game of basketball and they have been working extremely hard to develop both Bronco programs. They both respect my knowledge and experience in the weight room and have given me complete control of the athletes' strength and conditioning programs.

SCU: Do you have a good/funny story from the basketball teams?

JS: Freshman Phillip Bach started growing his hair out this spring and he looked exactly like Arch Angel from the X-men movies. I would always tell Phil he looks like him and one day he came in after memorizing a scene from the movie and acted it out. I could not stop laughing all day. Phil is a funny guy.

SCU: This spring/summer the men's basketball staff has been having a friendly competition of who can workout the most in a two month period. How have they been doing?

JS: All of them have been doing great. The friendly banter between the coaches is hilarious; they have really gotten into the competition and have started to see the results. The workouts have to be written by me and I have a point system on how hard the workouts are and how hard they work. They get 1 point for a regular workout or 2 points for a hard workout. I don't usually give them 2 points unless they do an extremely hard one. Coach Pruitt is in the lead. Everyone else is not far behind.

Go Broncos!