Cheers for Boos: Strength and conditioning coach elevates athletes


NKU strength and conditioning coach Brian Boos oversees athletes lifting in the weight room.

Athletes start with a 30-second run at 11 miles per hour. They dash to jump ropes after leaving the treadmill. Afterwards they pedal the exercise bike for 30 seconds above 120 revolutions per minute.

Northern Kentucky University’s strength and conditioning coach puts his athletes through the gauntlet during training.

After a quick core workout, they head to the hamster ball – known as the wood way. It’s a frantic conditioning circuit.

“It’s just a constant go, go, go,” said Taylor Snyder, a member of the volleyball team. “He gets a lot done really quickly for us.”

He is Brian Boos, the NKU strength and conditioning coach for almost five years. He has helped transform athletes while the athletic programs transitioned from NCAA Division II to Division I.

Boos has been a strength and conditioning coach for about 10 years now, including grad school and the strength and conditioning coach at NKU for four and a half of those 10.

Preparing his athletes for game day is his top priority.

He said that strength and conditioning is different than just getting them strong. Boos meets with the coaching staffs to determine the best plan for each individual sport.

“Sometimes that is getting them stronger, sometimes that’s getting them faster,” Boos said.

He said that they evaluate the individual sports every year to make changes accordingly.

“I’d like to see the field move more toward sports performance in general,” Boos said. “We like to think that we fill more of a role than just screaming and yelling at people.”

Boos said that they also work on recovery techniques with the athletes and help them with what they should be eating. They help with ways to recover nutritionally and ways to recover through flexibility training.

Despite moving up divisions, Boos said that he doesn’t know if the program has changed too much, adding that the competition is different and that there is more talent in Division I.

“They need their best performance every single day to win and we try to work on that in here,” Boos said. “It does take a lot more work and they have to put in the work.”

Katelyn Newton, a women’s soccer player, said that the pace of the game is so much faster but playing more local teams and cutting down on class time missed is nice.

“Our record keeps improving,” Newton said. “It’s not so much the record that is improving but it is the growth of the program as a whole.”

Boos said that his focus is to improve each individual, which will in turn improve the team’s performance.

“We are always looking to increase their performance,” Boos said. “It’s about just getting them ready for their competition in general. Regardless of division we are in the sports performance field trying to make them better.”

Snyder said she likes working with Boos because he helps her both on and off the court.

“I come in over the summer because I live close to campus and he will give me a separate workout packet to work on,” Snyder said. “He will work with me if I cannot do certain workouts because of an injury.”

This includes helping Snyder manage her eating habits.

“I came in last spring asking about what I should be eating,” Snyder said. “I kept a diary for seven days of what I ate and he looked it over and within minutes he was like, ‘OK this is good, you need to limit this, do this, more protein, more this.’ He helped out tremendously.”

Snyder likes the give and take which helps Boos tailor a specific plan for each athlete.

“We give him feedback, he gives us feedback,” Snyder said. “We incorporate a lot of different things into our workouts. He is good at making sure we are up to the level that we should be playing.”

Boos made it clear his workouts will only boost the already natural talents of the athletes. The workouts won’t help a baseball player hit a ball, but it will make them stronger so that when they do hit the ball, it goes farther.

Newton hopes to use that increased strength and conditioning to keep her strong throughout the summer and into the fall season.

“My goal is to maintain a fitness level throughout the entire year that will help me in the fall,” Newton said. “And in the offseason I like to work on technical development.”

Newton said that he creates a very competitive atmosphere that is fun to work in.

“Boos is a really great coach and a great motivator. He sets up workouts for us to do,” Newton said. “I really appreciate him for being in the weight room and working around our schedules.”

NCAA rules for the offseason sports is that the athletes get eight hours a week in the weight room. Of that eight hours, six are strength and conditioning hours and two are individual hours, Boos said.

Boos tailors the workout plans for each sport based on whether the sport is in season or not. Workout plans range from two days a week in season to as many as five days a week in the offseason.

In addition to condition and strength training, Boos also emphasises the importance of athletes maintaining a healthy diet to optimize their performance.

Boos tells his athletes that they can eat what they want as long as they keep it moderately healthy. Along with keeping a well-balanced diet, Boos stresses eating meals at the right time prior to a game.

“One of the aspects we try to work on is living healthy throughout,” Boos said. “Pregame meals are important. Twelve to 24 hours before the game is the best time to eat.”

He said if the athletes aren’t doing what they are supposed to throughout the week and the day prior to game day, then they might need additional electrolytes to give them some energy.

Something that Boos said he has learned over the years is that it is a changing field and that it is not 100 percent scientific; sometimes there are other factors that play into athletes’ performance.

“There is always an X-factor,” Boos said. “You don’t know what they are going though mentally, and you hope that the athletes enjoy what they do every day.”

Boos said developing a personal relationship with his athletes is a big component of his job.

“Getting to know the athletes and developing a relationship with them is important because then they are willing to buy in with you a little more,” Boos said. “If you’re not implementing the program correctly you might as well be just teaching the basics.”

Despite the countless hours Synder has spent training with Boos, what she takes away the most is not about conditioning.

“The most important thing that I have learned from Boos is ‘Positude’, which is positive encouragement,” Snyder said.