For 17 years, El Dorado’s football team has benefited from Kris Borosvskis’ expertise in the weight room as the team’s strength coach.
Why should football have all the advantages?
Two years ago, Borosvskis was named Strength & Conditioning Coordinator for the entire athletic program at El Dorado.
From golf to swimming to track and field – boys and girls – every El Dorado athlete knows Borosvskis and spends time in Gainzville.
“It has been phenomenal. Just working with football and then turning around and working with golf and tennis and swim, I can honestly say I get to work with every athlete that comes through our program,” Borosvskis said. “For me being from El Dorado, there’s nothing more prideful than being able to say, hey, I was apart of golf and hey I was apart of tennis. I was apart of boys and girls soccer. I was apart of all these things and I was able to give them my very best to make them as successful as they could be to achieve their goals.”
Although his first year as strength and conditioning coordinator was during COVID-19, his impact was still felt by, pretty much, every athlete at El Dorado.
“First of all, I think just cutting him loose. Whenever you tell somebody they’re in charge of something, they feel like they have ownership,” said El Dorado football coach Steven Jones. “I just feel like him having total say in what’s going on in that room has helped him tremendously to establish the culture of what he wanted and hopefully carry that over to what we do on the field.”
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“Coach Borovskis has done a tremendous job with our golf kids. He comes up with a variety of workouts for multiple sports and is an integral part of our athletic program at El Dorado. Our golf kids really bought into the strength and conditioning program. He brags on their work ethic every time I see him.”
- El Dorado golf coach Chris Ezell
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Football players don’t train the same as long distance runners. Golfers don’t use the same muscles as swimmers. Or, do they?
Borosvskis has strength and conditioning programs that are sports specific. But, he said the basic core principles apply to all athletes.
“What we try to do is train a few key principles within strength training and then speed, agility and quickness,” he explained. “What I’ve come to realize as we’re training my first year is I need to make all these as sports specific as possible and then come to realize half the kids in the room are not one-sport athletes. Most of them are dual sport and some are even tri-sport athletes. So, to try to tailor to one thing, you come to realize so many of these training principles have carryover to just about every sport. Basically what we’re trying to do is build the best version of an athlete that we can. And, give these kids an opportunity to be successful at anything they’re trying.”
Still, each sport has its own needs. Football linemen want to get stronger. Volleyball players want to jump higher. Cross country runners focus on endurance while golfers want to hit the ball farther.
“Through basically training the entire athlete from head to toe and then trying to realize I don’t want to create an imbalance. So if it’s a soccer player, I don’t only want to work their legs,” Borosvskis said. “Well all they do is run and kick. But in order to run, I have to use my upper body as well. Sometimes I’m going to have contact in the game that my upper body and core must be trained. There’s so many different things you think of when you come into a sport. Well, just be able to kick the ball hard. No, I’m asking that athlete to do a ton more than just kick a ball or hit a golf ball or jump off a block while swimming.”
The science of building a better athlete. Borosvskis admitted, he had to go back to school, so to speak. He did a lot of homework before developing his workout philosophy.
“Research and homework is still going. The science is always changing. I’ve developed some beliefs that work for me,” he said. “I’ve networked with lots of people around the state and outside the state on different strategies. Of course, there are things we have to take into consideration. How much time do I have? How many students am I going to have in the room at once? What equipment will I have available? And, of course, the level of athlete that I have – will I have a level one kid versus a kid that’s been in the program for two or three?
“My thinking on things is have some key ingredients you really like and be really good at them. I think a lot of times with social media and the access to the internet, kids are seeing so many different things out there that people are doing. Maybe an elite athlete is performing some weird exercise. It looks like it would be fun to do but not knowing what it takes to get to that point. Instead of trying always something different, we find some key movement patterns that we do and then we get really good at them. Once we master that one, we progress into something different, whether it be a little bit heavier or on one leg instead of two legs or moving the weights faster or slower or pausing. There’s different ways you can create a stimulus with the body. But we want the kid also to understand how the body moves. Certain movements are what’s going to help me accelerate my athletic potential.”
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“He does a phenomenal job in teaching the fundamentals in the weight room. We are blessed to have him. We are seeing gains in terms of overall strength, muscle mass, weight and quickness.”
- El Dorado boys’ basketball coach Jimmy Porter
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By putting all of the athletes through basic core exercises, Borosvskis said he’s discovered some un-mined gems. El Dorado has produced more multi-sport athletes recently than in the past.
“We’ve found kids within the program that have helped us in other sports,” he said. “This kid can run and jump. Let’s look at him in track and he might’ve been just a tennis player at the time. A key example would be Lamario Island, who was in strength and conditioning for tennis. He got out there doing some speed and power work and jumping. We looked up and I said, (track) Coach (DeAnthony) Curtis, you might want to take a look at this guy. He did and he’s going to be a really good triple jumper for us.
“Without our program, we might not be able to identify some of those diamonds in the rough.”
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“This was my first year being in Coach Borosvskis’ strength class and I think it helped me tremendously,” she said. “He knew my goals and would aim his workouts strictly for those goals. Most girls try and stay away from doing arms and upper body but Coach B made it mandatory and said that’s what it takes to hit a ‘bomb.’ I think he was right. I always made sure to push myself.”
- El Dorado softball player Abigail Thompson, who hit her first career home run last season.
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Some of the weight room’s biggest success stories have been female athletes. Borosvskis said he’d never really worked with girls before. And, some of the girls didn’t have a lot of experience lifting weights.
Most girls aren’t eager to receive training from a coach known for creating offensive tackles and linebackers.
“Year one, I think there was a lot of hesitation coming in by the kids. What is this going to do to me? I want to keep my femininity. The lack of education on what strength and conditioning is and what we’re trying to accomplish, within the first few weeks and months, we got past that,” Borosvskis said.
“How do you train a girl different from a boy? You don’t. The expectation is the same because you’re asking them to do the exact same thing. You’re asking them to sprint. You’re asking them to jump. You’re asking them to be explosive. The only difference, at times, is dealing with the day-to-day stresses of life. Having young men come through there, you address them differently than having young ladies come through that maybe have had a rougher day or it might’ve been more of an emotional thing.”
Boys and girls are different but athletes, regardless of gender, are seeking the same results.
“What I’ve come to realize is they all want the same. They want to be successful,” Borosvskis said. “They know if they want it, they’re going to have to work at it. Within that first year, breaking that barrier down that strength training and speed and agility and all that comes under the umbrella of strength and conditioning is not going to turn them into body builders. I was like, no, we’re not body builders. I’m training you to do what your sport is asking you to do.
“Through the daily process and building a relationship with them, you find out, they want to be pushed. They want to see success. They can see success in the weight room. They can see success on the field. It carries over to more confidence in their day-to-day, more confidence during the season they’re in. That’s been a humongous transformation as it’s started, how empowering this program can be for all of our students.”
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“Coach Borosvskis has been an invaluable resource for both the track and cross country programs. He has been integral in creating a structured and targeted strength training program that has made our athletes more explosive and less injury prone.”
- El Dorado cross country and girls’ track coach John Koonce
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The weight room is not just for building strength. Borosvskis understands the importance of all the elements of athletics, including agility, balance, quickness, hand-eye coordination.
Strength is important for every sport but how that strength is employed varies.
“This was the first year I had golf with me. They have just fell in love with the weight room,” Borosvskis said. “Teaching them Olympic lifting like power clean and snatch and things like that, they have really enjoyed it. But the things we focus on with all kids is flexibility and mobility, speed, power. You think of a golfer, you don’t necessarily see them sprinting with high impact. You watch the acceleration it takes to get the club head to the ball, and the core strength that’s required there and the weight transfer from one foot to the other. How much force are they applying to the ground and applying to the club? Those same movements are developed by doing weight training. Now it’s not super extremely heavy, but I do need them to create having force into the ground and from one foot into the other.”
One thing all sports have in common is having the body bounce back. That’s also in the strength and conditioning handbook.
“We try to teach them about recovery,” said Borosvskis. “Workout is workout. I can make somebody tired. How do I recover? How am I the best version of myself the next day so my body can meet the demands, whether it be with practice or with school or with training. All that falls under that umbrella of strength and conditioning. Nutrition and their rest and recovery, flexibility, strength, power, speed – all these core things as the year goes on, we get through.”
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“For us, he’s been a godsend. I told him I wanted them jumping more. I wanted them to be more explosive and things of that sort. He blew it out the water.”
- El Dorado volleyball coach Derek Easter
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“What’s the best piece of equipment you have in the room? For me, it’s a set of eyes that know what they’re looking for,” said Borosvskis. “If a kid has an imbalance or a deficiency, whether it be weak hips or something similar, a lack of flexibility in their ankles, lack of mobility in their wrist, once I know what I’m looking for, then I can tweak it individualized.”
Building relationships with the student-athletes helps with that. Communication through trust, trust formed from success. Success grown from hard work.
“The biggest factor we have for these kids is motivating them and being encouraging. Coach ‘em hard, expect high things from them and encourage them along the way. Once they get that, it’s like throwing gas on a fire, it just takes off,” he explained.
“I have just thoroughly enjoyed, in every sport that comes through there, watching that. We went to our state weightlifting meet. Normally we’d just take our football kids. We didn’t have any that met the lighter weight requirements. I called cross country and said do you have any kids that meet this weight class? Do they want to go to the state weight meet? Within seconds, I had two or three kids standing in the weight room ready to go. They were just ate up with it.”
It’s also helped create an all-for-one Wildcat culture within the athletic department. Coaches share athletes. In turn, athletes are eager to spread their talents amongst as many teams as they can help. Last year, London Ingram and Jadon Cunningham competed in soccer and track and field at the same time.
Borosvskis said it’s not just about El Dorado football or El Dorado basketball anymore. It’s about the Wildcats. They train together, go through similar workouts.
Every El Dorado athlete has one thing in common. Well, make that two things. They all wear purple-and-white. And, they all know Coach Borosvskis.
“That’s what we’ve seen over the past couple of years that’s improved the most. It’s all about the Wildcats,” said Coach Jones. “I mean, we get done with the football workout and all of a sudden there’s girls’ soccer players in there about to lift weights. The boys’ and girls’ track teams are in and out. We work out every day with the boys’ basketball team. Coach Ashlee Curtis has had her girls’ basketball team up there. Coach Porter and I have worked hard to push those guys to be great in the weight room. That alone has carried over tremendously in cutting out specialization and encouraging kids to play multiple sports. Just the growth of that has been exciting to see. All of that has been Kris Borosvskis and his leadership in that area. He’s done such a great job in turning that weight room culture around and getting it where it needs to be school-wide.”