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June 17, 2010

 

Dream job

Avery keeps Cyclones fit, strong

JobBob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortland’s Mike Avery, seen here in action as a member of the SUNY Cortland baseball team, is the strength and conditioning coach for the New York-Penn League’s Brooklyn Cyclones this summer.

By TANEY BEAUMONT
Staff writer

It’s safe to say that Mike Avery is going to be busy this summer.....and happily so.
The Cortland High and SUNY Cortland graduate, having played baseball at both schools as well as at SUNY Brockport, from which he transferred to become a Red Dragon after his sophomore year, is the strength and conditioning coach for the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets’ affiliate in the Class A short-season New York-Penn League, this summer.
“I had a job working at a gym in Mt. Kisco,” said Avery, 23, who graduated from Cortland High in 2005 and SUNY Cortland in 2009, majoring in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science. “I was looking on the National Strength & Conditioning Association website job board and saw that different teams had paid internships for strength & conditioning coaches.
“I was certified at that point and it was what I wanted to do, so I applied to three teams last October. The Mets got back to me in December, and in January I got the job. I was at the minor-league complex in Port St. Lucie from March until Monday, when I came up here (Brooklyn) to get the team ready for the season (which starts Friday).”
Avery said that his interest in the field started early. “I was always fascinated with trying to help myself to reach my potential in sports,” he said. “As it grew, I got into different programs that my teammates and I have been through and working with other players trying to reach their goals. Some of the aspects of it were strength training, building muscle and getting more powerful in different areas depending on the sport.
“I worked in an internship last summer with Dave Boyland at Goldwyn & Boyland Physical Therapy, P.C. and it was awesome. It was primarily observation, and I though it was great, but I wanted to work more in sports than in a clinical setting.”
“Mike has a really strong aptitude for exercise and rehab,” Boyland said. “He could see a patient doing something and tell you why they were doing it, and even suggested some corrections. He has a good knowledge of exercise and movement, and picked up a lot on that.
“He’s willing to put in the time in the minor leagues and could eventually work his way up through and do well as he learns and grows. Commitment is the big thing, and he’s at the right age to do that.”
At Port St. Lucie, Avery worked with the Mets’ minor leaguers who were rehabbing, and noted that the major leaguers were in another area of the complex. Still, he had contact with some of them. “I’ve talked to Carlos Beltran, and Jose Ryes and Oliver Perez, guys in extended (spring training)” he said. “It was a cool experience to be around those guys and see what their work ethic is, and the younger guys look up to them and see what they do.”
As for his day-to-day duties with the Cyclones, Avery noted that he will be with the team throughout the NY-P League season, with Auburn (Aug. 10-12) the closest road trip to Cortland. “I warm guys up, help them get loose, he said. “Like it was in Port St. Lucie, the starting pitchers will have specific conditions for each day depending on where they are in the rotation; the relievers, based on when they last pitched; and the position players will lift a couple of days a week. I’ll coach players on proper form and technique depending on what they’re trying to achieve.
“I’ll be planning the (workout) schedule for each day, set up gym times on the road if there aren’t facilities available at the stadium, and also set up the post-batting practice and post-game spreads (food) for the players.”
As Boyland noted, Avery is in a good position to advance professionally, and he knows it.
“This position is a great experience,” Avery said. “As for it being something I want to do in the future it’s hard to say, because it’s so time-consuming, especially once you get older. It’s up in the air, but I’m happy I’m here.”

 

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