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By Dr. Greg Shepard
Published: Fall 1997

Two years ago Westminster Christian High School in Southwest Miami had a Bigger Faster Stronger clinic put on by BFS clinician, Len Walencikowski.  The next spring Westminster Christian finished with a sparkling 36-win undefeated National Championship season and their coach Rich Hofman, was named National Coach of the Year by USA TODAY.  Last spring they were again high in the national rankings.

Coach Hofman has had 29 seasons at the helm of the Westminster Christian Warriors ranking #1 in all time state victories with 690.  He is a 1993 ABCA Hall of Fame Inductee.  His Warriors won the USA TODAY 1992 and 1996 National Championship with State Championships in 1981, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994 and 1996.  Coach Hofman led his Warriors to a career 690-182 record for a winning percentage of .791.  He also serves as athletic director for his school.  "I first learned about the importance of weights in 1972," remembered Coach Hofman.  "We had a Universal Gym in a small room.  We set goals for the kids in football.  Many played football and baseball.  I saw the importance of strength training.  Then in the 1990's, we switched to free weights and did Squats but not Cleans.  It wasn't until Bigger Faster Stronger came around that we really had an organized specific program.  Now we have a disciplined program and we are much stronger in the lower body.

"Training during the season has always been a part of our program.  To say that lifting hurts baseball is simply not correct.  I have always been a proponent of strength training.  I was the head football coach or assistant here at Westminster Christian for 25 years.  You know, I just laugh when I hear that weights are bad.  Ignorance is not an excuse.  People need an open mind to all the possibilities.  I became convinced that a stronger player is a better player.  A routine fly ball becomes a home run.  A three or four hopper becomes a one hopper.  We felt the tenacious effort in our strength and conditioning program made a big difference in our recent success.

"The smaller guys in the majors are hitting the ball out now because they are stronger.  Because of my coaching relationship with Alex Rodriguez, I was able to spend five days with the Mariners.  I saw the difference in the players physically.  Right after a Mariner ball game, Alex went in and lifted.  The Mariners also have a strength coach.

"We are really after our pitchers on their lower body.  Our kids, in general, really like to workout.  They enjoy it because they see the benefit.  We have 60 kids in our program in grades seven through twelve; twenty on Varsity, twenty on Junior Varsity and twenty on the Junior High team."


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