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A great Upper Limit example
By Dr. Greg Shepard
Published: Fall 1997

Dear Dr. Shepard, I really enjoyed your visit to Zanesville High School.  We were really impressed with your ability to teach and enthusiasm for improving athletic performance.  We are doing the Power Snatches and Jerk Presses that you showed us.  Our players think they are great.

Our basketball program just completed the 4th full season of using the BFS Program and the results speak for themselves.  We have been 92-9 over this span and have won one state title and one runner-up title.

We have followed the program religiously and I have enjoyed the BFS Journals.  The day I receive the journal I don't lay it down until I have read it front to back.  You do an outstanding job providing useful information for the development of athletic performance.  The secret is alive and well in the Blue Devil Basketball Program.  Thank you again and we are looking forward to working with you in the future.

Scott Aronhalt:
Head Boys Basketball Coach
Zanesville High School, Ohio

I flew into Columbus and then drove 60 miles due east on the interstate to get to Zanesville, a town of about 30,000 people.  I was looking forward to meeting Coach Aronhalt, the head coach of Zanesville's Blue Devil Basketball team.  The Blue Devils were 92-9 since starting the BFS Program four years ago.  They finished the 1995 season with a perfect 26-0 state championship record.  The following  year saw the Blue Devils at 23-0 and ranked #1 in Ohio and #3 in the nation as they rode a 49-0 win streak.  However, they got beat in the regional finals to end the dream of a possible national championship.  Last season saw another strong 25-2 Blue Devil record and a state runner-up finish.  I was curious.  Did they actually do anything unique to make this success happen?

There are three criteria for success that I look at before I even step into the actual building.  First, is the school private or public.  Zanesville High School is a public school.  The Catholic High Schools in Ohio are usually dominant especially in football.  They have their obstacles which seem, I'm sure, never ending but there are a number of parochial schools that really have their act together.  Just to name a few: Moeller-800 boys, LaSalle-840 boys, Elder-850 boys and Saint Ignatius-1250 boys.  I feel when a public school does well against private and public schools in a state like Ohio, you have done well. 

Second, I look at enrollment.  Zanesville has 1,200 students in grades 9-12 with 526 boys.  To be a Division-I school in Ohio takes a minimum of 414 boys.  Zanesville is on the lower end of enrollment so my hat is off to them for overcoming that obstacle.  Third, is the community.  I believe it is an advantage to be in a one high school town with no college to compete against for recognition and fan support.  Zanesville is such a community.  Therefore, I was entering a lower enrollment Division-I public school but in a favorable community setting.

It didn't take long to figure out why Coach Aronhalt and his troops were successful.  The Blue Devil gym seats 3,000 and has 12 baskets.  There are 1,200 season ticket holders.  People stand in lines and it isn't easy to get a ticket.  Coach Aronhalt has 50 athletes involved in his program with a Varsity team, a Reserve team and two 9th grade teams.  They also have tradition.  Zanesville won a state championship way back in 1955.  However, it isn't easy to win a state championship because there are 194 Division-I teams involved in Ohio.  Therefore, just to be consistently in the hunt for a state championship you had better be pushing a lot of correct buttons.

One amazing button that Coach Aronhalt pushes is the fact that he has his own basketball weight room specifically designed to develop basketball players.  It has everything necessary to do the complete BFS program.  The weight room is located right next to the basketball gym.  The football team and other sports have their own weight room.  Anyway, Coach Aronhalt has three Squat Racks, three Benches, three Trap Bars and three Power Clean stations for his BFS Core Lifts with a full compliment of many blue BFS Bumper Plates, three pair of BFS Training Plates and three Aluma-lite 15-pound Olympic Bars.  In addition, he has a Glute Ham Machine, Leg Extension, Leg Curl, Dips, Lat machine, two Inclines and two Military Press stations.  They also have 40 Dot Drill stations, three sets of BFS Plyo Hurdles and Plyometric Boxes.

Coach Aronhalt is beginning his 8th season as the Blue Devil head basketball coach.  He played his high school basketball at River View High School and earned All-Ohio honors.  He went on to become a four-year starter at Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma City and helped them win the 1981 NAIA National Championship.  Before coming to Zanesville, Coach Aronhalt was a varsity assistant coach at Ashland (Ohio) High School and Tiffin University where he helped the Dragons to a school record 25-6 mark and the Mid-Ohio Championship.

I got to meet three of Coach Aronhalt's players for next season:  Andy Bennett, 6-1 200 pounds; Jeremy Morgan, 6-3 195 pounds; and Wes Newman, 6-0 165 pounds.  They were extremely well-mannered and soaked up the knowledge that I gave them like a sponge.  They were eager to learn.  All three work hard for that chance to reach their potential.  After I left, they taught the rest of the team what they had learned.  Here's what Andy, Jeremy and Wes do, in order: Bench-240,230,245; Trap Bar-445,405,465; Parallel Squat-315,310,NA; Power Clean-175,170,165; Vertical Jump-25,28,31.3.

Scott Aronhalt and his Blue Devils have got it going but their success is more than just chance.  Coach Aronhalt caught the vision of what it takes to develop potential and then created the environment which allowed his players to take advantage of the "secret".  All the coaches and players dedicate themselves to work extremely hard with a consistent year round effort.  Knowledge plus hard work equals success.  What better legacy can any coach instill into his players?  We thank Coach Aronhalt and his player for being such a great Upper Limit example.

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