Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Penguins go to Boot Camp!

Yes, the Pittsburgh Penguins have taken a page and copied what the Flyers did last year by going to Westpoint for some good old bonding.

From PittsburghPenguins.com:
The sore muscles delivered to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Tuesday’s early-morning workout at the United States Military Academy will fade quickly. Hopefully, the life lessons that First Sergeant J.B. Spisso delivered along with those fatigued muscles do not fade as fast.

Spisso, the head of Elite Leadership Training LLC and a member of the West Point staff, has been entrusted with putting the Penguins through their physical and mental paces during a four-day stay here. Tuesday marked the first full day of Pittsburgh’s tenure and Spisso kicked things off with a grueling regimen of military physical fitness exercises.

Penguins players jog down stadium stairs at West Point.
For 60 minutes, as the early-morning sun warmed the turf at legendary Michie Stadium, Spisso worked the Penguins in ways many of these physically fit players have never been worked before, running the team through a series of punishing drills involving the use of a 7-pound rubber rifle designed to simulate one of the assault rifles used by Army soldiers in the War on Terror.

“I look at them as an elite military unit, as far as fitness level,” Spisso said. “It’s the same way I would work out with a Special Forces unit or a Ranger unit in the military, you give these guys the same kind of workout.”

So, the Penguins did a variety of PT exercises – pushups, lunges, crawls and the like, all with the omnipresent rifles – before moving onto other drills designed to develop team concepts and chemistry. The buddy drills – fireman’s carry, the wounded buddy assist carry and others – involved teamwork and trust, along with physical strength, to complete.


The jumping-jack session to end the program was a prime example. The players were in perfect form for the first 20, but by the time Spisso reached 50, chaos was breaking loose in the formation. Sidney Crosby couldn’t help but laugh – until Spisso informed the group that they were only halfway done at 100 jumping jacks.

“It was funny because we were all watching each other and we were perfect for the first 20, myself included, and then after that you don’t jump up as high or out as far,” Crosby said. “Suddenly, everyone’s sliding a bit. Then, when we were at 100 and he said 100 more. You could just see everyone’s head drop.”

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