MAKING A CHANGE
Rancho Bernardo High School
By Matt Shepard
Published: Summer 2002
In 1998 Ron Hamamoto became head football coach at Rancho Bernardo, a Division 1 high school in San Diego, California. Up through the 2000 season, the Broncos struggled to maintain a .500 win-loss average. Then Hamamoto made a call to BFS. A clinic was scheduled, and BFS Vice President Bob Rowbotham soon found himself in the Rancho Bernardo gym.
During my interview with Coach Hamamoto, it was immediately apparent that the Rancho Bernardo Broncos were hooked on BFS. “Bob Rowbotham is a true professional,” praises Hamamoto. “We hired him two years in a row and he is a big reason we are where we are now with our football program. The coaches and players have learned a lot from him and really like his personality. This year he brought his son, John, with him. John was great also. The kids still talk about his ability to teach the cleans.” We better stop here before we embarrass Bob.
The BFS Program was an instant hit at RBHS. “Our athletes accepted the BFS program right away,” says Hamamoto. “They saw the benefits and Coach Rowbotham did a great job, not only showing us the proper techniques and the recording of the program but also doing a great job of motivating. Our weight room was packed after the clinic and it continues that way for us today.
“Before we switched to the BFS program,” Hamamoto continued, “we were on the Nebraska strength program that lifted the upper body two days a week and the lower body two days a week. We feel we get more done in three days a week with BFS than we did before in four days. Many of our football players play lacrosse or are out for track in the spring and the program doesn’t interfere.”
Coach Hamamoto couldn’t say enough about how much the BFS clinic helped his program. The rest of his staff agrees. Defensive Line Coach Jeff Carpenter commented, “The kids really got into squats; we even changed our weight room around after the first clinic. Bob told us when he walked into our weight room that it was set up so everyone knew the bench was important. Now it’s set up so that everyone knows that squats are important and highlighted.” Linebacker Coach Gary Stempson added, “Look at how much more our kids squat and clean after the BFS clinic!”
Hamamoto claimed that after the clinic his athletes became much more confident and dedicated to their workouts. Running back Jon Gundersen, a 1,000-yard rusher, stated, “I have made vast improvements with the BFS system.” All-CIF defensive lineman Andy Huang remarked, “The BFS program pushed me, showed me how to work
hard---now I can squat over 500 pounds!” About the clinic, 7’2” high jumper Keno White commented, “It was a great experience, it brought the team together, and it helped both my football and my track.” About the change in the team after the clinic and implementation of the BFS Program, defensive lineman Tyler Kowalski explained, “We improved and got stronger. Coach Rowbotham taught us good form, proper technique, and spotting.”
“BFS was the difference between winning the close big games and losing them,” says
All-League QB Travis Newmann. “For example, we beat El Camino in the quarterfinals in overtime and our strength training made the difference from a year ago.”
A New Level
The coaching staff has noticed a huge difference in attitude with their athletes. Says Hamamoto, “Our weight room is packed now---there is an attitude of ‘This has to be done to win like the 2001 team.’ Before, it was like pulling teeth to get some athletes into the weight room in the off-season.”
I asked Coach Hamamoto if he felt that his clinics were a good investment. He replied, “They were an excellent investment. BFS has taken us to a different level of competition. I wish I had contacted them years ago. We are also getting less injuries, due to BFS.”
Hamamoto says the excitement in the school and community also continued to build as the season went on and “W’s” kept being added---especially as they passed into the post-season. “Our school, like any other school, really got fired up when our football team had so much success this season. The whole community did. When we made it to the stadium for the finals there was a big rally, tailgating at the stadium, thousands of people at the game.”
A Special Team
“Our team is a special group and we knew it from their freshman year four years ago,” says Hamamoto. They were undefeated as freshmen, so there was talent there, but what a
group---many of them were often getting in trouble. They loved football, but to be successful they needed to stay out of trouble. But, kids are kids! They love to compete and have fun. BFS taught them how to do both and keep on task.”
To emphasize how special his players are, Hamamoto continued, “We are one of the most successful teams this season in San Diego County. But unlike many other winning teams this year, we only had one scholarship---Andy Huang, who is going to play next year at Sacramento State. It was a bunch of very good high school players who decided they were going to be successful. They were dedicated with their workouts and they beat many teams with Division 1 football-scholarship players on them.”
It’s Your Loss
“I would not recommend BFS clinics to any school that we play,” Hamamoto joked, then continued, “I sure would recommend BFS Clinics and I have. Some coaches are just too stubborn to try, but it’s their loss. I can’t say enough about how much BFS has helped our program to be one of the best in San Diego.”
On behalf of the entire BFS staff, I thank Coach Hamamoto for his dedication to his players and wish him and his Broncos continued success in the years