Competition amongst the nation’s Big Ten Sports Teams surpasses that of many professional teams. The energy, commitment and passion for sports is unique and most collegiate athletes aspire to attain and sustain award-winning careers in professional sports. But this road starts with the basics – and the Northwestern University Wildcats have them mastered.
In 1993, the first UltraSlide slideboard was created to meet some of the training needs for the Northwestern Men’s Tennis team. Now 20 years later, it is still building a foundation for athletic achievement for Northwestern student athletes.
With such highly competitive demands and an elite group of athletes, the need to gain a competitive advantage is essential. Gaining this edge is a combination of being smart when selecting student athletes, instilling the value of proper training and raising awareness of the importance of taking care of the body.
“The physical attributes – strength, power, speed and endurance – are a given. We look for knowledgeable, well-balanced athletes who seek knowledge on sports performance and strength conditioning which demonstrates their ability to stay healthy and prevent injuries,” shares Jason Pullara, Director of Sports Performance for Northwestern University.
Jason has the vital role of designing training and conditioning programs for 18 of Northwestern’s 19 sports teams. Jason and the Sports Performance Staff must continuously be innovative in the design of their training and conditioning programs to push their athletes to a higher level of achievement and thoughtfully prepare for each sport season. For this reason, the UltraSlide slideboard has become a highly-valued resource for the coaches and players.
“We recently acquired nine new UltraSlides which completely changed the way we train. We previously had one or two slideboards. Having a group of Ultraslides allows us to literally train a team with them,” shared Jason. Acquiring and maintaining equipment for 18 sports teams is no small task. The Ultraslide can be used by literally all 18 different teams by coordinating a regimen of exercises that speak to individual sports performance qualities and characteristics.
The versatility of the UltraSlide grows with the creativity of its users. “We use the UltraSlides in a variety of ways for our athletes because we can use them to warm up or cool down in addition to performing strengthening and conditioning exercises. For example, the UltraSlides provide a much lower impact over standard running. Being in the Midwest, we are no longer inhibited by weather because we can assemble them wherever needed and still get the same results as what we might get from an outdoor-based workout,” Jason explains. As conscientious athletes, the Wildcats are diligent in training but the Ultraslides have renewed their interest in training by offering a new challenge that some traditional fitness machines or equipment might not.
Utilization of the UltraSlides by the Northwestern athletes represents achievement on several levels for Varisport, Inc. and UltraSlide President, Barry Slotnick. “Knowing that the UltraSlide was created at Northwestern and now – 20 years later – remains such an important part of the athletes’ training and conditioning regimen is incredibly rewarding. It’s a real testament to the staying power and heritage of the product and brand,” says Barry.
"Knowing that the UltraSlide was created at Northwestern and now – over 20 years later – remains such an important part of the athletes’ training and conditioning regimen is incredibly rewarding.”