Head strength and conditioning coach Yuki Miyazawa working with men’s tennis’ Attila Toth.
Photo by Sweetina Kakar
ead strength and conditioning coach Yuki Miyazawa arrives at Queens College around 7:45 a.m. to begin his workday, which may not end until 11 hours later, in the basement of Fitzgerald Gym.
Miyazawa begins his first training session at 8 a.m. and, depending on the day of the week, he works with around seven to eight different school teams coming in at different hours.
Miyazawa, ’10, was a walk-on student-athlete for the men’s basketball team who played for two seasons.
When he was a student-athlete, there was somewhat of a strength and conditioning program but not as organized as it is today.
“I really enjoyed training with my team and especially since I was a walk-on, the training was a big part for me to elevate my game,” he said. “I put a lot of time into it and I wanted to be able to provide that same service in a better way for my athletes.”
During his time as a Knight, he was also a personal trainer but being a personal trainer was not as advanced or science-oriented in certification.
“It’s a whole lot of science that goes into it. If you’re not a science geek, I don’t think you could really do this job,” Miyazawa said.
He received his bachelor’s degree in physical education and is pursuing a strength and conditioning certification that would classify him as a certified specialist. He is also in the process of getting his master’s in exercise science at QC.
Since Miyazawa took control of the program in 2009 as a QC student, it is more organized. He was then hired as head of the department in 2011 after two years of being the assistant strength and conditioning coach.
Each year the support and demand grows and he said that the program is going to expand because he started with training five to six teams and now works with 15.
His days not only consist of training these teams; he also spends a lot of time designing workout programs for what he calls “a recipe for success.”
“I prepare a program for each phase [off-, pre- and in-season] of the year to get the best results to help my athletes play better at their sport,” Miyazawa said. “The whole exercise science background comes in where I had to manipulate a program in order to induce certain results.”
“Yuki’s conditioning has micro-cycle and macro-cycle, which means it prepares us for the most important matches like regionals, nationals or the win down in Florida,” said men’s tennis senior Attila Toth.
Miyazawa considers the athletes’ offseason his “in-season” because the athletes are not playing and he has full control of how they are going to train without having to worry about how it might affect their game performance.
“I set goals for each season; I test my athletes so I know how much each athlete should be lifting at how many reps,” Miyazawa said. “Those things are all formulated to get certain results, that way they could be better and well prepared for when their season comes around.”
One thing that he stresses is injury prevention and he works closely with the sports medicine department along with coaches.
Each coach has his or her own input on what they want for their respective teams, which he meets, but coaches also share their own take. The coach and Miyazawa try to meet each other’s needs and find a common ground.
“Yuki is one of the reasons our teams injuries are limited. His work keeps the athletes on the court and able to compete at a high level,” men’s basketball head coach Kyrk Peponakis said.
Miyazawa does not believe there is a difference between training males or females; they both are very competitive and passionate and their character separates them in training, not their gender.
“Yuki is a great trainer and is always encouraging and very motivating. He listens to what each individual needs to work on and is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his job,” said women’s tennis junior Daniela Celi.
Miyazawa wants to eventually open his own facility.
A common misconception within the field, according to the trainer, is “meathead” coaches and drill sergeants. He said that is not what this field is about; a lot of aspects are integrated into training athletes.
“The pace of his development are rare in this field, where it usually takes someone five or more years, and I expect that will continue to excel in the future working at the highest stages,” said Orlando Crance, Miyazawa’s mentor and a former Major League Baseball trainer.