McAuslan mentor to many

McAuslan trainer of over 400 varsity athletes

Colin McAuslan (right) directs men’s hockey defenceman Warren Steele on proper squatting form during a morning workout.
Colin McAuslan (right) directs men’s hockey defenceman Warren Steele on proper squatting form during a morning workout.

Wednesday morning’s football workout started at 8:00 a.m. sharp. The two stragglers who showed up less than 60 seconds late were given a stern look and 50 burpees by Colin McAuslan, Queen’s Athletics head strength and conditioning coach. 

“Those guys, they’re rookies. They don’t play. They should be showing up on time,” a visibly annoyed McAuslan said.

The thought of 8:00 a.m being late is enough to make most Queen’s students recoil, but considering McAuslan’s first training session is at 6:00 a.m., it might not seem so bad.

McAuslan has been at Queen’s since August 2014. Over the course of a week, he’ll train all 400-plus players from the school’s 13 varsity teams, putting them through a mix of workouts designed to improve general athleticism, as well as including some concentrated, sport-specific variations.  

“We work closely with the coaches, where everything is designed around their winning style of play,” McAuslan said. “They relay information, and we tailor our programs to work on the athlete’s deficiencies and get them where they need to be.”  

While the strength and varsity coaches do work together, they focus on different things. As McAuslan says, he and his team train good athletes, while the coaches make them good football players.

One of the hallmarks of the way McAuslan runs his strength and conditioning program is the emphasis he places on self-motivation.  

“We’re not going to wake you up to get you here,” he said. “We want athletes who have the desire to compete when they come into a training session.” 

The self-motivation is key, as it gets  athletes in the gym not only for scheduled workouts, but also on their own time, working hard to improve their craft. The two latecomers notwithstanding, McAuslan is pleased with his athletes’ motivation levels, saying they’ve displayed an incredible buy-in rate and that the vast majority of the players are on board and don’t miss any sessions. Given the punishment for being even a minute late, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

McAuslan always has at least one competition built into the training regimen, believing it’s important to get everyone competing not only against themselves, but against their teammates. On Wednesday, the competition was in the triple broad jump. 

The football players took it seriously, with looks of disgust on a few faces after unsatisfactory attempts, and groans of despair when their jump came just short of the mark to beat (which ended up being 30 feet, six inches). The competitive element is appreciated by the players, mainly for the fact that it breaks up the monotony of a standard workout.

“Colin is really good at bringing different things to the program, having something new to look forward to. It makes it more interesting to come to the gym,” said Jesse Andrews, fourth-year running back and last year’s leading rusher.

“Every rep accounted for” is the mantra that lies at the heart of McAuslan’s program. Repeated often by both players and coaches in the weight room, it means taking pride in what you do and being accountable for it, ultimately ensuring an athlete gets the most out of each rep of every exercise.  

Working in concert with the philosophy of self-motivation, McAuslan hopes to get the most out his athletes, imparting them with skills that can be equally as valuable both in and out of the gym outside the gym.  

It’s clear the players have taken this to heart, but they also know just how seriously McAuslan takes his philosophy, sending over a strength and conditioning intern to ensure that every burpee done by the late rookies was accounted for.

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