Schinto is all about putting in the effort
Libertyville's Gen Kapecki (left) heads the ball in front of Highland Park's Kayla Bernardi during Saturday's game. The game ended in a 0-0 tie. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 20, 2012 8:15AM
Libertyville’s girls soccer team has battled injuries and, at times, inconsistent levels of effort this season.
Both things have forced coach Scott Schinto to shorten his lineup and play fewer players. In doing so, the need for Libertyville to achieve and maintain a high level of fitness has been especially high, yet there aren’t many coaches better suited to train a team for such circumstances.
Schinto, who’s in his 12th season at Libertyville, has used his background as a certified fitness trainer to develop and implement a fitness regimen which doesn’t mirror a traditional soccer training program. When asked to describe the focus of his training program, Schinto chooses one word.
“I would just say one word: CrossFit,” Schinto said. “We do a variety of stuff that allows the kids to increase their endurance, their stamina, their strength, their agility, their coordination, their balance. It works well for us.”
CrossFit training is a training program which shies away from specifics and routine. It’s a high-intensity regimen which is constantly altering itself. Instead of doing the same exercises, CrossFit preaches the need to alter exercise programs before they become stale. Better yet for a soccer coach trying to maximize practice time, CrossFit training typically doesn’t last very long because it requires athletes to give their maximum physical exertion.
By using CrossFit to train a soccer team, Schinto’s goal is to keep his team’s athletes strong, physically fit and engaged.
“We definitely do a lot more running and CrossFit training at high school than we do at club (soccer),” said Libertyville’s Allison Kelly, a senior. “We did a lot (of training) during the preseason. We had 5:30 a.m. practice a couple times a week and we do a lot of CrossFit and sprinting and stuff at practice.”
Schinto’s goal with using CrossFit training extends beyond just the 2012 girls soccer season.
He hopes the training done by Libertyville encourages a healthy lifestyle when the soccer players move on from high school soccer.
“Training is training,” Schinto said. “These are healthy lifestyle skills. Soccer’s just a great endurance-type sport for all different kinds of activities – and it’s not a lot (of training). A continual variety of activities keeps the mind healthy and so we don’t just do one thing over and over and over again.”
An increased focus on the Wildcats’ training has become a core of Schinto’s program, yet it’s been especially necessary this season. Along with injuries, the Libertyville coach has been displeased with some of the effort put forth by members of the squad, which has forced him to alter his lineup based on who’s been giving consistent, acceptable effort.
“All every coach looks for is consistency in play,” said Schinto after Libertyville tied Highland Park, 0-0, on April 14. “Right now we have, in my opinion, very good players sitting on the bench because they don’t put forth the effort. When they start showing more effort, they’ll start seeing more game time. Competition breeds excellence and when those kids start playing up to their ability they’ll start seeing the field. Until then, the kids we have out there are the best kids we’ve got and I’m happy with what they showed today.”