The Road to TEAM USA!

Let’s take it back…way back before we had a gym, or a real business. I had a patio with some weights, a squat rack and a few items that I cared to use. 2 years ago I was the strength coach for Football at Scottsdale CC. I had a few clients on the side, but working with the college program was my main gig.

One day I get a Facebook message from Stephanie Yancey.
“Hello, my name is Stephanie. I play roller derby and I want to train with you…”

We met up on a Saturday and did an agility workout in the sand. She freakin killed it – feet faster than my running backs and I though to myself, “What the hell!? Where did this chick come from. This is the talent roller derby is putting on the track these days??” I had to know more…

It turns out she liked the workout and was thinking the same thing. She wanted to train more -she wanted a collegiate style training program to take her to the next level. She gave me a call after that first Saturday and I was both excited to work with her and a little bummed I didn’t have a much to offer…only the makeshift gym that was on my patio.

But being the down-to-earth go-getter that she is, she only asked one thing, “Can we get it done?”

“Hell yes we can!” I was so thrilled to work with her. When it comes to training, I’m the master of doing a lot with very little… I definitely had enough to start with and so we did.

She would come by at 7AM – I’d have coffee made for us both, my little 3-year old was content watching AM cartoons on the couch and we put in work on a 120 sq foot patio.

Getting in some core lifts this AM followed by skill work. #derby #eng #rise&grind #lovethisgym

A photo posted by Just Kate (@kateengard) on

She told me she went in raw to TEAM USA Roller Derby Tryouts earlier that year. “The competition was solid!” she said, and she was hungry to start ASAP working toward the next tryout – 2016. I asked her probably a thousand questions about the sport, the rules, what exactly was legal and illegal for jammers. The sport was evolving rapidly, there were constantly new WFTDA revisions to rules. I thought, “this is a perfect time for her to push the sport…she’s athletic enough on skates…” And so that became the game plan. To become a “game changer” to help evolve the sport out of it’s past and bring new, fresh athleticism to the track. So I trained her movement patterns like a running back and added transitions with the finesse of a basketball player to accommodate moves on skates.

With or without me Luz Chaos was a beast. But if anything, the training gave her the “OK” to play how she felt comfortable – to play outside the box. To add dynamic components such as cut jumps and spins. These were things her body naturally wanted to do on skates – I just had to show her how to clean it up. Tighten it up. And pack a punch with it.

Somewhere along the way, I decided to make a move and got a “Real” gym . A 912ft sq. box that became home for the next year. And with that, pretty soon I was getting calls from her teammates, and nearly 3/4 of the TCTs were drinking the Kool Aid.

I had to repost this. Makes me laugh every time. ❤️ #ENGathletes @yessi_kah @luzchaos featured

A video posted by ENGARD Strength & Speed Coach (@engardathletics) on

Fast forward another year in and Teammate and 2016 TCT Captain Jessica West (aka Havoc) was catching up to chaos athletically. As a pivot, we again pulled from my experience as a football SC and created a hybrid plan with pieces of running back and OL/DL mixed in. Same idea as with chaos – this girl was athletic enough, lets get her to move on skates as if she were off skates.

Thinking about playing in Denver….one week from tomorrow! #besterns2016 #tct #azrd

A photo posted by Jessica West (@yessi_kah) on

There definitely were some trying times – times when we all wondered if this was going to transfer to the track. And then one day for Havoc it did! She text me right away ecstatic that one of the worst (as in hard AF) off skates drills finally transferred for her on the track (Below). The crossover – but not skate like, sprint like.

All of a sudden we were seeing more and more off skate work transferring to the track.

And with that, they continue to see unlimited success…

These two along with their TCT squad have been racking up lots of shiny gold bling this year! But for now, we’ve got our eye on that TEAM USA uni 😍😍😍.

These two girls are amazing to watch – they are fantastic team members and leaders who continue to contribute to the evolution of the roller sport athlete. With lots of confidence and big luv ❤️ from the ENG Fam, we send them off to TEAM USA tryouts this weekend. From the whole ENG Squad – we know you don’t need luck. So go kill it ladies 😈!!!

Game day #AZRD #skateriot #ENG #engardathletics

A photo posted by Jessica West (@yessi_kah) on

Kate, MS, CSCS

BECAUSE THE WINS ARE EARNED, NOT GIVEN. #ENGPERFORMANCE Since 2008, Engard Athletics has provided quality, evidence-based training to hundreds of clients and athletes in the Valley. Now, utilizing advanced training techniques and challenging the fitness industry, I’m providing this elite level experience to you online. Our training programs include movement prep, periodized strength training, recovery therapy, performance nutrition plans and motivational strategies that optimize performance outcomes.

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