NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Instead of stepping on the pitch and kicking around a soccer ball, the Merrimack men's soccer program began its 2011 preseason training with Judgment Day. The Warriors teamed up with The Program to go through Judgment Day, a two-day, team-building camp that requires teams to complete physical tasks while coping with mental and physical fatigue.
The team began August 16 with a three-hour session on the turf of Warrior Field. On the first day, the Warriors opened Judgment Day with a rigorous calisthenics routine which included push-ups, jumping jacks and more.
The day continued as period two featured running 20 yards with a sandbag while teammates hoisted a log above their head. The goal of this period is to have each person run 20 yards with a sandbag while the others hold up the log without dropping it. The Warriors worked hard to achieve a time of 1:04.
The third and final period consisted of players pairing up and using the fireman's carry. With a teammate on their shoulders, players began by walking 20 yards then switching so their partner carried them 20 yards back to the start. The pairs increased the distance by increments of 20 yards each repetition until they walked the entire length of the field.
The following morning, the players endured a session in the Lawrence YMCA pool at 6 a.m. The team had to fight mental and physical exhaustion to accomplish tasks on command. While in the water, the players had to wear sweatshirts to make treading water tougher. The tasks included taking the sweatshirt off, holding it over their head and swapping sweatshirts with a teammate all while treading water.
"I felt that Judgment Day really benefitted our team by improving our team cohesiveness," said head coach Tony Martone. "It was very interesting for me to watch from the sidelines as they did the activities and to hear what Eric Kapitulik was saying."
"Going through this experience proved to me and the entire team of how successful we can be if we demand 110% from ourselves and our teammates every single day," commented senior captain Robbie Sabadoz (Ottawa, ON)
"The team learned that any mission or goal we set for ourselves this season can and will only be achieved when the team works with a single heartbeat. That no matter how physically weak we may become throughout the season, our mental strength, as a team, may never falter. And we learned, among many other things, that we must continue forward with our teammate's best interest at heart," offered senior Evan Burokas (Auburn, MA).
"Experiencing the past two days of Judgment Day, the team and myself learned valuable lessons through The Program's ethos and core principles. These ethos and core principles have prepared the team for success on the playing field this season," added senior captain Nicholas Lo Coco (Gloucester, MA).
The Judgment Day initiative, spearheaded by Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Kamal beginning in the summer of 2009, has been embraced by the Athletics Department at Merrimack College and will continue to enable varsity programs to partake in the team-building sessions throughout the academic year.