Hey 'Cats fans! This week I got to sit down with Assistant Director of Sports Performance Tyler Jorgensen, the newest addition to our sports performance team and Northwestern Softball's personal coach! We've already had three great weeks of work with Tyler and are looking forward to what we will accomplish with him over the next year!
Scharkey: Tyler, tell me a little bit about yourself.
Tyler: I've essentially been involved with athletics my whole life. I played high school football, track and basketball so I know how important sports performance/strength and conditioning was. I wasn't the most gifted athlete so I knew it would help me hone in my athletic skills. I played collegiate football and knew I always wanted to be coaching in some area of athletics and I saw the avenue to get into sports performance/strength and conditioning so I pursued that opportunity.
S: Where has your career in sports performance taken you?
T: The opportunity came after I graduated from Midland University where I played collegiate football. I went to South Dakota State where the university has a graduate assistant in strength and conditioning, and that's where I got my hands into softball right away. I worked softball there for two years. Then the opportunity came to take a position at the University of Georgia and I was a part of their softball program for the last four years.
S: What brought you here to Northwestern?
T: Different challenges, different opportunities. Obviously I wanted to be a little bit closer to home. My family is in Iowa, and so especially with a newborn on the way in February, Grandma and Grandpa can come visit. Plus, when I went on my interview with the coaching staff -- Kate, Caryl and Courtnay -- I knew there was something special here. I wanted to come and be a part of it. The players have been great to work with for the past three weeks. So I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead of us and I'm ready to go!
S: What are you most excited about in working with our team here at Northwestern?
T: Seeing every athlete develop and succeed on a daily basis, and watching those gains. Essentially, I work for the athletes -- that is what I'm here for. To see them develop day in and day out is satisfying for me and to see the grins on their faces when they do something phenomenal in the sports performance center or during conditioning. When they beat their 10 or 20-yard mark, or beat that vertical jump, it's a great feeling to see that excitement in their face. Obviously, the gains that we make in the sports performance center and during conditioning and running will definitely translate to gains out on the softball field and help us make a run for a Big Ten Championship and get back to Oklahoma City.
S: Tyler, you do a lot of injury prevention in your workouts. How has that become a priority to you?
T: Injury prevention, any type of movement prep and functional movement is very important to what we do. Our ability to create power, produce force, increase our strength -- and all the injury prevention work for ankle, knee, hip, mobility, stability, shoulder stability, t-spine mobility -- all those things are important to develop a softball player. It's just taking the time and doing the little things that are going to help prevent those injuries and help us on the softball field. I've got a track record of my athletes being healthy and that's one of my goals here, to continue that track record.
S: What are your goals and plans specifically for our team over this next year?
T: Obviously, we've got to take one day at a time, but if we mentally develop that edge about us and that attitude that we're going to come in and battle every day and give it everything we've got, all of those days are going to add up and develop into something special in the spring. I preach to my athletes to never be satisfied, to always come in and try to do it better than you did it yesterday. Its' nice to look down the road, but you have to take care of business every day, one day at a time, and everything else will fall into place.
Already, Tyler has become an integral part of our program. From warming us up before practice to working us out in the weight room to traveling with us during our fall schedule, he has inserted himself into everything we do as a team. His passion and determination are infectious. He realizes how important it is to take time out of every workout to make sure the entire team is clear on what we're doing and why we're doing it. He's always offering to help and always willing to go the extra mile, and he expects the same out of us. Together, we plan on achieving our goal of winning the national championship by creating an environment that calls forth the greatness in each of us individually, and as a team, as we learn and live commitment, passion, unity and growth.