Iowa’s Chris Doyle leaves nothing to chance as players train at home

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Hawkeyes strength and conditioning coach keeping high expectations amidst COVID-19


Offseason training for the Iowa football program has been turned upside down this year.

The coronavirus forced training to take place away from campus as the team prepares for next season. Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle is leaving nothing to chance.

“There was a time in the 1990s where we’re given the guys shopping lists, ‘hey what do you buy at HyVee?’ They don’t buy anything at HyVee anymore, but now they’re back to doing that,” Doyle said.

Whether it’s grocery items.

“We have nutrition manuals that we’re that we’re sending out,” Doyle said.

Eating habits.

“Cooking…like yeah, we started into some some cooking instruction,” Doyle said.

Culinary efforts. Or rest and recovery tips.

“I sent them a sleep guideline again this morning,’ said Doyle via Zoom interview. “How do you improve your PM routine, kind of post-dinner routine? So we’re constantly just pounding them with positive message, as all of us do, you know, you need to be reminded, right? So it’s our job to continue to to educate them on that.”

Doyle has become much more than a strength and conditioning coach during COVID-19.

The life hacks are one thing. The training environment is another.

“There’s no way to actually duplicate what we do,” Doyle said. “When you talk about 30 guys, toes on the line, tempo, equipment. It’s our job to close the gap, and make it as as productive as we possibly can, do the best we can with what we have.”

That meant designing four different training regimens based on the guys’ situation at home.

“There was a program where guy had access to a facility. The second was the garage gym program, so if guys had access to a barbell and a rack. The third was do you have access to only a dumbbell or a kettlebell. And then the fourth program was, you don’t have any equipment, it’s body weight only,” Doyle said.

Making adjustments to those programs has been important too without the players on campus.

“Sending cards out and communicating with them getting on the phone,” Doyle said. “How’d that go? Hey, how’d your last set of squats go, do we need to adjust that?”

Adapting to a new norm in an offseason where the routines of the program have changed.

“Everybody’s going through the exact same challenges every team in the country. So we believe at Iowa, hey, advantage Iowa,” Doyle said. “We have really good kids that are really committed that are communicating, connecting on a really high level. It’s up to us to do it better than everybody else and create an advantage for us.”

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