AS THE SAYING GOES, STRENGTH IS IN NUMBERS.
At San Marcos High School, last year the Rattlers saw playoff appearances in football, volleyball, boys and girls’ basketball and had a powerlifting and wrestling state qualifier along with a 2020 Wrestling State Champion.
A big key to that success has been strength and conditioning coach Carl Thompson, who looks like he can still play.
The 25-year-old San Marcos Speed and Strength coach was built for this job, virtually speaking it into existence.
“I’ve really dedicated my whole life since high school at the age of 15 to be a strength coach,” Thompson laughed. “I’ve done everything needed to get into this position and I’m so excited to be here.”
His high school coach must be so proud, right?
Well, his high school coach is now his boss in John Walsh. Thompson won back-to-back State Championships at Denton Guyer (2012, 2013) as a defensive end under the direction of Walsh. He went on to play at Rice, where he received his degree in Kinesiology.
It was a perfect fit for Walsh when he began building his culture at San Marcos.
“If you want to compete at the highest level in Texas, you have to be committed to speed and strength, and Coach Walsh certainly is,” Thompson said. “If you don’t dedicate the resources to it, your program will fall behind. Everything is so specialized now. It’s not like the old days, where you just lift the heaviest weight a few times a week. Everything is planned out in 4-to-6-week increments. Everything is built in for every sport. There is no guessing, it’s a plan.”
Having to build sport specific workout plans is a challenge, but he really looks at it from a different perspective.
“I really don’t think about the actual sport my athletes play, but the movements that take place in a respective sport,” he said. “When you take a deep dive, a lot of movements look the same. Take softball. You think it’s all arm and shoulder work, but it’s very lower-body dominant. To hit the ball out of the park, you have to be strong in the lower body. Same as volleyball. It’s all about explosion in your lower body to get off the ground. I simulate those same movements in the weight room.”
While being strong is important, endurance is his motivation.
“I’m trying to tax your body like a game does,” he said. “I’m trying to simulate a game-like experience… a five-game set or the fourth quarter. That’s when you win or lose.”
Thompson’s greatest traits are that he played the game at an elite level in high school under his current mentor, he knows what the college level is looking for and he is well-educated in his field. But that’s not all… he’s young.
“I can relate pretty well because of my age,” he laughed. “I was literally in high school less than 10 years ago. It all really comes down to one thing and that is a relationship. If kids know that you care about them, they will lift every weight in the weight room and run through any wall for you. They just want someone in their corner who they can trust and talk to, regardless of sport.”