Strength & Conditioning
In 2018, Gryphon Football hired Shea Pierre to spearhead current strength and conditioning initiatives and he has already been quite influential.
Our Strength and Conditioning Coach
Shea Pierre hasn’t been around Gryphon Football for very long – but he’s already made a significant impact. Pierre, a former two-sport athlete and the new strength and conditioning coach for the Guelph Gryphons, is changing the way players go about their business in training. He knew he was on the right track by the sheer volume of Gryphons who showed up for summer sessions.
What’s most gratifying for Pierre is seeing the mentality of young athletes improve as they fine tune their bodies in preparation for the 2018 season.
“When they go on to the field on Sunday’s team practices, you see they have more explosiveness and belief in what they’re doing,” said Pierre, owner of Pierre’s Elite Performance based in Mississauga. “It makes them play better. When you get stronger and faster, it builds more confidence.”
Pierre is excited about the prospect of working with the Gryphons on a regular basis. He brings a unique approach to fitness, which he began to develop as a far back as his grade 6 year, when he played football and ran track. Pierre did both sports in his time at the University of Windsor before a Canadian Football League career that saw him make stops as a defensive back with the Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
He has worked with several Gryphon football players over the years and has a longstanding relationship with wide receiver Kian Schaffer-Baker, who started training with Pierre when the towering Gryphon was a 5-3 ninth grader. The Guelph coaching staff has been impressed with the growth of the players who work with Pierre and brought him into to discuss a bigger role. Pierre spent four days a week with the Gryphons in the summer and will be here throughout the season, implementing his vision of training, which is to be a better athlete. The program is all about improving speed and agility.
“I want our guys to be athletes first,” said Pierre, who believes a big O-lineman should train the same as a skill player. “We don’t care about how big and strong you are. Bigger, slower, stiffer is what I tell them. Movement has to be key. We start every workout learning how to move properly, more multi-directional speed. I’ve trained them to run better technically.
“I tell them that you don’t bring all of these barbells, kettle bells, dumb bells with you out on to the football field. You bring you – and you have to be able to move efficiently. We spend a lot of time doing football-related things so they are more efficient on the field. When we lift, we lift optimally. They lift about 70 to 80 per cent, doing it fast and explosively. Then we do fast movements, like you would in football. We do things that mimic the game.”
It’s a multi-purpose approach that not only develops explosiveness, it also strengthens key parts of the body like hip flexors, groins, and hamstrings, which ultimately allows for better performance on the field. Pierre also brings a relatability that not all strength coaches have – he’s been precisely in their shoes.
“They really believe in the philosophy because they have seen guys that I have trained playing in the CFL, and they trust me,” said Pierre. “I played in the CFL and have told them my personal story, about situations that they might be in. They ask questions and they can’t always get those answers from another strength coach. That gives me a little bit of an advantage. I know the steps they are taking from their freshman year through to their fifth year.”
Pierre loves that the Gryphons have been so engaged since he arrived. And he sees big things for the team in the future.
“Guelph is ahead of the game from what they’re doing from a football standpoint,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of it and thought it would be special. I know a lot of these kids and I just know that we will be able to produce a championship program in a couple years.”