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WISD Takes Steps to Care for All Student Athletes

Photo of Coach Altomare working with students Waller ISD (WISD) is advancing its Athletics Program by providing all male and female athletes from 7th through 12th grade with the knowledge and skills to take care of their bodies in preparation for competition and increase performance using a Strength and Conditioning Program led by Coach Louis Altomare who is based at Waller High School (WHS). This makes WISD one of the few districts in Texas to provide a strength and conditioning coach to all student athletes.

“The addition of a strength and conditioning coach will put our athletes in a better position to succeed but most importantly, it will help reduce the likelihood of injury for our athletes,” WHS Boys Athletic Coordinator Gene Johnson said.

A strength and conditioning coach looks after the overall health and performance of athletes. They focus on improving performance, reducing athletic injuries, and teaching fitness and movement skills. Altomare collaborates with coaches to identify sport-specific movements and needs to develop a strength and conditioning plan for each team. His first priority is teaching athletes how to move and use their bodies correctly to prevent injury and then working on building strength. Altomare also looks to change the way athletes eat and take care of their health. He provides students with nutritional information on how to choose healthier alternatives to what they usually eat.

“A lot of this is getting kids up to a level where they are safe on the field,” Altomare said. “If I can help prevent injuries, then that can give students a chance to continue playing and go to a university of their choosing.”

After injuring her knee during soccer last school year, WHS Senior Felisa Arellano had to rotate between playing and sitting out to allow time to recover between games. With the new program, Arellano can feel a difference in her injury.

“I can tell I’m getting more stability back in my knee,” Arellano said. “I can definitely handle more than what we were doing last year and I don’t feel as much pain as I used to.”

In the past, only high school students worked on a strength and conditioning plan. Now Altomare will work with the more than 500 students who are in athletics from 7th- through 12th-grade. This decision was made to ensure all students learn and develop good habits from the start of their WISD athletic careers. All grades are currently learning the basics of strength and conditioning. As the program grows, lessons will be tiered so students will build upon the skills they learn in each grade.Photo of Coach Altomare working with a student

“Vertical alignment within our athletic program is extremely important,” Johnson said. “If we can have athletes entering ninth grade with a strong foundation in terms of strength and conditioning then we will obviously have a great starting point from which to build.”

In just a short time, many students have already noticed a change in themselves and their teams.

“Our workouts have absolutely stepped up, increasing my intensity and explosiveness. I’m loving the challenge,” Jamari Thompson said. “I appreciate how Coach Altomare doesn’t pinpoint a few of us out but works to adjust us as a team.”

Junior Stormey Stringer joined the girls' soccer team this year and initially had trouble keeping up with her teammates.

“When I first joined soccer I was behind in terms of weight and condition, now I’m almost out lifting the other girls,” Stringer said. “Coach Altomare makes going to weight room enjoyable and I’ve definitely seen a difference in attitude amongst the team.”