Most football teams hit the weight room in the summer, with the goal of getting stronger, faster and more focused for the upcoming season. Erie football is no exception. But when it comes to gaining a mental edge, the Tigers are taking a new approach.
"When [head coach Chad Cooper] announced we were going to do it about a week ago, just the whole entire week, I was trying to mentally prepare myself, because I knew it was going to be bad," senior Noah Roper said.
That thing they were going to do -- was yoga.
"Maybe in the first five minutes, I started sweating, and I was like, 'I should not be sweating by now,'" senior Jaden Gilmore said.
The Tigers took on a sculpt yoga class at Prizm Yoga in Westminster. A handful of players had gone in the previous summer, but others weren't sure what to expect. After all, when most people think of yoga, there is a more calming connotation in the surrounding the workout.
"I think of stretching more," senior Jacob Mansdorfer said, "more of a relaxing, strengthening your muscles through stretching and lengthening them out. [And] helping yourself with flexibility."
"I think it's just stretching [and] doing some nice poses," Roper added.
This class was some of that -- but a lot more of a physical grind. From squats to pushups, sit-ups and burpees, the sweat was flowing freely. It wasn't a hot yoga session, but the studio hit 92 degrees during the workout due to sheer body heat. It was as if the Tigers were experiencing summer's heat without the effect of the sun.
"I feel like I stepped into a pool and just got out, I was sweating that much," senior Cameron Marcucci said.
Despite the exhaustion that quickly overtook the room, the Tigers forged on. For Erie, the yoga class was a tool they were going to use to improve this upcoming season. Not only did it strengthen their bodies, it made their minds more powerful as well.
"It's really hot in here, and it's a lot of work," Mansdorfer said. "You're getting tired and you're getting out of breath. It's really hard to push through and it's going to help us as a team to know everyone is here and willing to push through and get through the hard parts."
"When it comes to the fourth quarter, to push that extra step, we'll think of this [class] heading into that quarter," Gilmore added.
Erie was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round last year. While it's not something they want to dwell on, the Tigers are using new experiences to find a new mantra that will drive them a full 48 minutes on the gridiron.
"It just helps if you make it seem more fun than it really is," Marcucci said. "Since you weren't focusing on the pain, you were just focusing on having fun."
Erie opens the regular season on Friday, September 1, against Vista PEAK Prep.