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A healthy balance includes a daily dose of exercise

Right: Tony Calvello learned how to train with weights from his father, who was an All-City quarterback at Polytechnic High School in 1949.

By Tony Calvello ’84
SI’s Head Strength & Conditioning Coach

I've been lucky to work at a Jesuit school that encourages and invites both students and teachers to find balance in our lives, to explore opportunities for academic, spiritual and extracurricular growth and personal wellness. The Jesuit motto of cura personalis (care for the whole person) is the guiding principle for us as we seek balance and ultimately wellness in our everyday lives.

I began my coaching career when I was in my junior year at SFSU as an English major. Since 1987, I have maintained a daily presence in the SI weight room, eventually becoming the head strength and conditioning coach this past year. My duties at SI over the past 25 years have included teaching English, coaching football and basketball, driving the school bus, maintaining the school and community fleet of vehicles, coordinating the gym schedules and set-ups for events and coaching in the weight room. Along the way, I've helped lead junior and senior Kairos retreats, served on the student Wellness Committee and performed team teaching duties with the first Wellness classes at SI. These experience have all helped me to appreciate and realize the many and varied gifts I have been given and to achieve a sense of wellness in my life. 

I have found great reward in blending my work with my passion. Teaching and coaching at SI has truly been a blessing. My passion for helping others in their physical training routines has given me great personal and professional satisfaction. I have had the pleasure of many encounters with former athletes whom I have coached. The other day, while on a beach run with my dogs Tango and Pepper in Pacifica, I saw Tom Harlan ’90 and his dog Sadie, and I have been honored to mentor former students Kimble Torres ’01, Laura Wardell ’07 and Gustavo Manzaneras ’05, who have all worked on my staff over the years. I also work with Kareem Guilbeaux ’01 in his Be A Champion basketball club, and I also take pleasure coaching the children of my SI classmates and colleagues. 

My job also allows me to share with my colleagues and friends my passions. I mountain bike with my freshman basketball coach and mentor Mike Thomas ’71 and old teammate from hoops and football Paul La Rocca ’84. I also helped Terry Uyeda ’99 prepare for the Police Academy, and I moderate SI’s Surf Club for like-minded beach bums in our student body. Wellness is all of this and more. 

While weightlifting is the “meat and potatoes” of our athletes' training regimen, the side dishes we serve up to our sport teams are as varied as the 26 sports we offer at SI. Our exercise menu includes yoga, Pilates, foam rolling, BOSU and TRX. Such variety lends itself well to coaching the adolescent athletes who have so many different needs as they adapt to new sports, a demanding school schedule and the metabolic and emotional changes all teenagers experience during their high school years. 

A strength coach needs to do more than look physically fit. Physical activity is a job requirement. A strength coach must be able to demonstrate exercises and lifts throughout the day. It helps that I have been weight training since I was 12. My dad, who was an All-City quarterback at Polytechnic in 1949, had my sisters, brother and me all working out in our Noe Valley basement weight room long before weight training was considered mainstream in youth athletics. Working out is as much a part of my life as eating breakfast, which I do religiously twice each day! 

Having goals in life is a vital component to wellness. Measuring progress (not just success) is an essential facet of continued motivation. Our individualized card-based workout program for our student athletes is a great example of process-oriented goal setting. Athletes have their workouts with weights based on percentages of their previous max tests. These cards serve several useful functions, including tracking progress, structuring the path in the process and providing useful feedback to both athlete and coaches as they navigate setbacks and plateaus along the way.

As important as my job is to me, spending time with my wife, Diane, and my daughter, Nicole ’11 (with whom I train for Triathlons), walking my dogs every day, running on the beach, body surfing, mountain biking, lifting weights, cooking, baking and, yes, coaching, are the ingredients for my happiness. 

Work-life balance may be a buzzword for this Generation Y, but its more than just Flex time, compressed work weeks and telecommuting . For me, achieving a work-life balance has been easy. I don't consider my job to be work, really. It's what I do, and it's who I am.

 

Posted by Mr. Paul J. Totah on Friday March, 15, 2013 at 12:49PM

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