John Barron enters his fourth season as director of athletic performance at UALR this year, after working as a volunteer strength coach for the Trojans during the 2006 spring semester. Barron’s impact on the development of UALR student-athletes is made easier by the Jack Stephens Center’s state-of-the-art athletic weight room.
Housed on the ground floor of the Jack Stephens Center, the athletic weight room measures 2,300-square feet and features six Body Master machines, four Powerlift nine-foot power racks and platforms, two sets of dumbbells (ranging from 5 lbs.-100 lbs.), and roughly 8,000 pounds of total weight.
“This is a tremendous facility, which provides us with everything we need to be successful,” said Barron. “Our student-athletes are given access to the best possible equipment to help in their development.”
As a volunteer coach, Barron worked with the volleyball team during the 2006 spring semester, while also consulting with the baseball team to design off-season and in-season training regimens. In addition, Barron designed a 12-week summer program for men’s and women’s basketball, and conducted all summer workouts at the Jack Stephens Center. As part of his program, Barron required all student-athletes to fill out weekly performance reports and return them to their respective coaches.
“We provide competitive athletes the means by which they can develop work ethic, an attitude of excellence, mental toughness, discipline and pride in self and the program,” said Barron. “We want to take them from the time they are freshmen and help them reach their potential by the time they graduate. We do this by progressively incorporating free weights and systematically overloading them over a long period of time.”
A 1980 graduate of UALR, Barron implements strength training regimens for each athlete with the intention of improving performance, reducing the likelihood of injury, developing as much strength and speed as possible, and helping the students become the best possible athletes they can.
“I monitor how strong student-athletes are according to their body weight,” added Barron. “Ideally, I look for females to lift 1.5 times their body weight, and males to lift double their body weight. We try and help them reach that goal as quickly as possible, and then improve on it. If we can improve on that ratio, generally their athletic performance improves along with it.”
Prior to joining the UALR Department of Athletics, Barron served as president of The Benefits Group, Inc. (an insurance brokerage firm) since 1990 and Athletic Performance Training, Inc. since 2005. Athletic Training Performance, Inc., specializes in working with athletes who want to maximize their potential.