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Hotchkiss School hosts summer institute for elite athletes

LAKEVILLE — This summer at The Hotchkiss School, Mark Knapp and Edgar Giffenig will raise the bar in strength and conditioning. From June 21 to June 26, Knapp and Giffenig will co-direct the Summer Institute for Sport (SiS), a program designed for elite athletes that will emphasize a European approach to athletic development. The goal of the institute, Knapp said, is to teach athletes “what you need to do to become an elite athlete” and to “develop a sound, strong and powerful endurance base which will allow them to perform better in their sport and avoid injury.”Serious athletes age 16 and older will have the opportunity to learn how to train, regardless of which sport they pursue.“There is too much sport-specific training,” Knapp said. “Sport-specific training in the gym is a misnomer and misunderstood. If you ask the best trainers in the world, they will tell you that sport-specific training is what you do on the field or court, taken you practice your sport.”The SiS program has three parts. First, participants will go through initial evaluations and training sessions to enhance their speed, agility, strength, power and aerobic and anaerobic capacity. This portion of the program will be led by Rickard Nilsson, formerly a professional and Olympic weightlifter and currently the strength and conditioning coach for the Swedish Olympic committee. Second, SiS will teach the athletes the importance of mental preparation and the principles of high performance. Knapp and Giffenig have recruited Cornelia Cannon Holden for this role, the founder and CEO of the Mindful Warrior and a staff member on the United States Olympic women’s hockey team. Finally, Nancy Rodriguez, the director of sports nutrition at the University of Connecticut, will concentrate on the importance of proper nutritional habits for the elite athlete. The staff also features Tomas Strandberg, who played hockey for the Swedish national team, and American Jenny Potter, owner of four Olympic medals and one of the most distinguished female hockey players in the world.The methods Knapp and his team will utilize follow Sweden’s developmental system, an approach that honors technique and progression of each individual.The cost of the program is $1,497 for room and board or $1,327 for non-boarders. Each package includes three meals a day and evening activities.SiS will also hold a two-and-a-half day coaches symposium that will include lectures, small group work and observation of training sessions. Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, Conradi Eminent Scholar at Florida State University, will be the keynote speaker. Rodriguez, Holden and Nilsson also will speak. The coaches symposium will be held from June 24 to 26. The cost is $395.Visit summerinstituteforsport.com for more information.

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