Palo Alto High School's News and Features Publication

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Always be coaching : Athletes adore new coach

Kensie Pao
STRONG SMILES – Laughing, Athony Thomas circles up the football team for morning practice “I set up the wieght room for my athletes, they tear it down” Thomas said.

On Tuesday and Thursdays, the Palo Alto High School football team gathers at Earl Hansen Viking Stadium, running along the yard lines. Large black metal sleds are attached to a group of players with a vest and a rope as they barrel down a 20-yard stretch at full speed. Instructing them is Anthony Thomas, a new addition to the innovative staff that helps support Paly athletes.

Coming from Fresno, Thomas has worked with countless programs helping in strength and conditioning, and was hired to bring his talents to Paly. Thomas has 35 years of experience in strength and conditioning, including supporting Olympic athletes in the weightlifting realm. From working solely with the football team at Paly, Thomas has expanded to other sports including track and field, badminton and basketball, showing his dedication to introducing conditioning to all sports.

“I have many passions in life, but strength and conditioning, one of those many passions, that’s how I chose to make a living,” Thomas said.

Thomas has a defined strength and conditioning philosophy.

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“First for me is going to be ‘ABC,’ which stands for the acronym, ‘Always be coaching,’” Thomas said. “I have a big [focus] on communication and letting the athlete know what I expect from them and what they can expect from me.” Thomas said many things make a good coach.

“I think a strength coach should always be on the floor, walking the floor, checking the form and technique of the athletes, checking their position and posture making sure everything they do is safe and effective,” Thomas said. Thomas doesn’t just instruct his student-athletes, but he takes a different approach, leading by example.

you got to love them tough

— Anthony Thomas

“We’ll do what I say, but you’re not ever not gonna see me do it [with the students],” Thomas said. “For example … when we’re transitioning, let’s say, from outside on the field to inside the weight room, I’m gonna be jogging [with the athletes].”

Thomas also values the organization and execution of his program.

“I’m really big on organization, whether it’s organizing the weight room or organizing and programming … my workouts, everything’s very, very structured,” Thomas said.

Many students have mentorship relationships with Thomas. Sophomore football player Eddrick Steil said he has benefitted from Thomas’ arrival.

“He gets us to drive a lot more,” Steil said. “Ever since I’ve been working out with Coach Anthony I’ve been getting a lot of PRs [personal records]. Personally, I think other people can say that it’s a similar experience for them too.”

The mentorships between Thomas and his student-athletes clearly go both ways.

“Sometimes I have to be careful and let the student-athlete know, don’t focus on how I’m saying things, but on what I’m saying,” Thomas said. “You gotta love a lot of these student-athletes, you gotta love them tough.”