The student newspaper of Nicholls State University

Nicholls athletes learn a lot in the weight room thanks to Coach Greg

November 16, 2016

Nicholls Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Greg Carrasquillo is guided by his past experiences in the field as well as a coaching philosophy that makes him approachable to all Colonel athletes.

After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Springfield College in Massachusetts, Carrasquillo gained valuable experience as a coach at various programs around the country before finding his way to Nicholls in 2013. Among other places, he served as a volunteer coach at the University of Southern California and LSU, and also became an assistant for the New York Jets organization in 2011.

“You really want to broaden your horizons and see what everybody does. That way, you can develop your own philosophy,” Carrasquillo said on his involvement with numerous programs.

Gaining experience from different programs across the country has rounded Carrasquillo into the coach he is today. While one college weight lifting program might focus more on Olympic style lifts and other professional programs might put more emphasis on injury reduction, Carrasquillo said he has learned the importance of these aspects which go hand-in-hand.

“The number one thing is injury reduction. The stronger you are and the more powerful you are, the less likely you are to get hurt,” Carrasquillo explained. “Secondly, weight lifting is about maximizing athletic potential because you become more athletic when you can produce more force at faster rates.”

Besides throwing around weights and numbers, Carrasquillo said he has learned that it is important to provide a comfortable environment for his athletes to train in. While some athletes psych themselves about the numbers and the weight, Carasquillo said an athlete needs only to believe they can do it and to trust the process.

“It’s not necessarily what I put on paper, it’s about what my athletes bring into the weight room,” Carrasquillo said. “Yes, we have to have a sound program that reduces injuries and makes people stronger and more explosive, but the atmosphere in the gym is a lot more important than what’s written down in sets and reps.”

Carrasquillo works with athletes from various Nicholls teams who have different backgrounds in weight lifting. While some have lifted in high school and others have not, he sticks to his goal of making each athlete reach their full potential. Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Tyler “Tank” Johnson from Sorrento has seen his hard work pay off under the direction of Carasquillo.

“Coming into Nicholls, I thought I was a big strong guy until Coach Greg made me crawl off the field my first day,” Johnson said. “His workouts were so different from every workout I had done before, and muscles hurt that I didn’t even know I had.”

Johnson’s story is a testament to his own efforts, and also to the dedication of his coach. Johnson explained that after starting the football weights program and working with Carasquillo for only three months, he was able to increase his squat maximum by 100 pounds after jumping from 430 pounds to 530.

While the weight training programs are dependent upon whether or not a team is in season, Nicholls athletes lift weights year-round under the supervision of Carasquillo and his staff. While weight lifting is important during an athlete’s season, Carrasquillo emphasizes the importance on the preparation period before the season begins.

“Preparation is the foundation from which success is built,” Carrasquillo said. “The bigger you’re prepared at the bottom, the more bricks you can stack on to be even more successful.”

Beneath the tough demeanor of Carrasquillo that defines him as a coach, he admits having a soft spot for his athletes, even though they might not know it.

“My main goal is to have a positive effect on as many people as I can,” Carrasquillo said. “Although it might not be in the form that they always see it, I’m here for them and at the end of the day they know they can come to me for anything.”

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