The Hope College women’s basketball team came out on top of this year’s NCAA DIII National Championship game, making this the third national title in Flying Dutch history. We got the chance to speak with Head Athletic Trainer Tim Koberna as well as Senior Sydney Muller to get an inside look at what went on behind the scenes leading up to that National Championship – including how the Boost air-pressure treadmill technology played a key role in training and rehabilitation throughout the season.
Tim Koberna – Head Athletic Trainer
As a former athlete who had sustained various injuries throughout his career, Tim became an athletic trainer so that he could help guide athletes like himself in returning to the sport they love through overcoming injury-related adversities.
“Everybody loves winning – the swag, the glitz, the glamor – but really it all comes down to taking care of people while allowing them to still have dreams and fulfill what they have set out to do.”Koberna
When it comes to training, Tim draws on his own personal training philosophy from his marathon days as well as his impressive 32 years of experience in the athletic training field. He says the key is knowing when to build volume and when to taper off, so that the athletes feel better both mentally and physically while also reducing the risk of injury.
“It’s just a matter of working with our coaches on periodization and seeing those results objectively, to then reinforce that we don’t have to grind every single day.”Koberna
When the opportunity arose for Hope College to get a Boost, Tim realized it was a piece of technology that could fill two voids – one in the exercise science department as a research tool, and another within the athletic training department as a performance and rehabilitation tool.
“It was a win-win from both an academic standpoint as well as a performance and rehabilitation standpoint.”Koberna
Boost’s Role Leading Up to the National Championship
The Boost technology played a key role in preparing the women’s basketball team for the National Championship game. As a daily staple to both the off-season and in-season training programs, the Boost technology allowed them to better focus on athletic injury management/rehabilitation, conditioning, and recovery in order to provide the best training environment possible for all of the girls.
In terms of injury management, the Boost not only helped the ladies continue training despite minor injuries, but also boosted confidence in showing them that they could make daily increases in body weight until they were safely back on the court.
“It just gave them the confidence that when they stepped out on the court they were properly trained and they just had to execute the plan.”Koberna
It was also a crucial part of their summer conditioning program, allowing the team to incorporate high-speed treadmill training into their typical conditioning plans to increase physical fitness without the extra pounding on bones and joints. Finally, with Sundays being their typical recovery day, Tim would have some of the athletes hop on the Boost for a 10-20 minute low-intensity recovery run to flush out any lactic acid build up so that they came back Monday feeling fresh and ready to play.
“The thing that’s advantageous to us is being able to take the body weight off of the hips, knees, low back, ankles, achilles – we are able to salvage those so we’re not dealing with that chronic inflammation from overuse.”Koberna
Not only did the ladies dominate the National Championship, but three key players earned recognition for their standout performances throughout the season.
Sydney Muller – Most Outstanding Player
Hearing about everything Sydney has overcome throughout her basketball career, it is no question that she deserves the title of Most Outstanding Player. Two years ago, Sydney sustained an ACL tear requiring knee reconstructive surgery, while at the same time dealing with chronic low-back issues. While this may be career-ending for some, she did not let it get in the way of her passion. By utilizing the Boost a few days a week to train in a zone similar to what she would be doing on the court, she significantly reduced the pounding on her knee and low back which ultimately gave her the longevity to have a successful senior season.
“Now while the workouts were brutal, the effects on my body were positive. I ran with little, if any, strain on my back and knee, which was then translated onto the court where I was able to maintain such a high level of conditioning that we literally ran our competition out of the gym.”Muller
Kenedy Schoonveld – Player of the Year
Photo by Cody Scanlan, Holland Sentinel