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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a Wednesday morning workout, the Penn State men's soccer team shuffled out of Holuba Hall. The Nittany Lions had made it through a difficult training session, at the hands of their strength and conditioning coach, Kristina Jeffries.
Jeffries joined the Penn State staff in August of 2014 and has worked with the women's hockey, track & field, and women's lacrosse programs. Last fall, she joined the men's soccer program, and the team has learned to love her grueling workouts. Jeffries coaches the Nittany Lions through workouts almost every day during the season, and multiple times a week in the current offseason.
"The team likes working a lot on upper body, so we focus on that," Jeffries said. "Other times it's running and endurance, things that will help them during the season."
Jeffries joked that unfortunately, her midfield players often spend the most time running during her workout sessions, since they typically run the most during games. This is one of the few ways she crafts workouts specifically for the teams and positions of players she works with.
Additionally, she said she designs workouts to help the team and individuals on specific areas for improvement. During the season she focuses on shorter circuit workouts, which provide more strength training. Currently in the offseason she has more time to develop weeks work of programs to prolong the Nittany Lions' endurance into the summer months.
These workouts in the offseason are catered to help the Nittany Lions in the long run, especially during the second half of their season, which runs from August to early November. During that time, the Nittany Lions typically play multiple games a week, which can be draining, if not properly prepared.
"We just ended a five week offseason workout and we focused on building muscle, working on strength exercises," junior midfielder Noah Pilato said. "Things that will help us get prepared for next season."
Pilato added that Jeffries pushes the team to do its best, but she does it with such a charismatic personality that makes her practices more fun, rather than daunting.
"It's great," Pilato said of having such a positive strength coach. "She is always an upbeat person even at morning workouts when everyone comes in tired. It's so important because that positive energy helps us do our best."
Head coach Bob Warming has also praised Jeffries' dual threat of coaching ability and upbeat character.
Jeffries credited her passion for her job to working with such dedicated and motivated student-athletes. She said the athletes at Penn State she works with help make her job enjoyable by giving workouts all they have. She said no matter what, she can always count on the Nittany Lions to be ready to go, even if it's before the sun rises.
"I love it, even if it's five in the morning I'll be smiling," Jeffries said. "Penn State is the greatest school in the country and I love working with this team, it makes my job so enjoyable."