BALLSTON SPA — Jason Ohnsman spent the last hour of a long Thursday teaching three young athletes from Ballston Spa how to run faster and move quicker and jump a bit higher.
"I want to help them," said Ohnsman, the Ballston Spa School District's strength and conditioning coordinator. "I want them to be better. It's about giving them as many opportunities as possible."
Ohnsman's newest path to better performance is a clinic he's leading throughout the summer on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7-8 p.m. on the high school track. It's free and available to Ballston Spa middle and high school boys and girls.
Ohnsman referred to the sessions as 'JAQs' training, which puts an emphasis on jumping, agility, quickness and speed, and said athletes in all sports can benefit.
"We're trying to broaden the athlete," said Ohnsman, a special education aide at Ballston Spa Middle School who played lacrosse at Onondaga Community College and Salisbury University. "We have a lot of kids who want to be college athletes who are not sure how to get there. I'm trying to provide something extra. That's what it takes. Practice is the bare minimum with sports these days."
Ohnsman spent the first portion of Thursday's session instructing brothers Nick and Brady Glastetter and their buddy Evan Wattie about proper running technique. He went over arm position and arm swing, proper posture and stride length. Later, he built off those things with how to start a run more effectively and explosively.
"We've got middle school kids going to high school with poor mechanics," the 28-year-old Ohnsman said.
Wattie, an 11-year-old who competes in soccer, lacrosse and track, caught on fast in his first JAQs session.
"I learned a lot about form," said Wattie, a recent sixth-grade graduate.
Ohnsman worked alone with the Glastetter brothers at Tuesday's first session of the summer before they were joined by Wattie Thursday.
"It makes us faster and stronger," said Nick Glastetter, a 13-year-old who competes in soccer and track. "It's definitely a good thing for everybody to work on speed and other stuff."
The three youngsters said they'll be asking more of their friends to join them in the summer sessions.
"I'd tell them you might get something out of it," said Brady Glastetter, an 11-year-old who plays soccer and lacrosse.
Ohnsman expects his number of participants to grow as the summer moves along.
"I've got three right now," said Ohnsman, a 2008 Ballston Spa graduate who played football and lacrosse for the Scotties. "If I had one, I would work with the one. I love working with kids. It's what I do 12 hours a day. It's fun."
Ohnsman oversees the Ballston Spa weight room and during summer days he monitors the Scotties' teams that work out there. He also coaches Ballston Spa's seventh and eighth-grade travel lacrosse team.