At Tufts Strength & Conditioning, we understand that weight training is just a means to an end, not an end in itself. While other programs may focus solely on the weights going up and down, at Tufts we want your strength training to be in an effort to rebalance your body from your imbalanced sport. From progressive, individualized programs including Olympic lifting and single-leg balance work, to ice massage and recuperative band stretching, we strive to utilize any technique to help you get to where you want to go.
In high school, almost every athlete is a multi-sport contributor. Because of this, they will be forced to take time away from one sport to play another, and in doing so, their body will recover from the imbalances of one sport as their body develops to excel at the other one! In college, there are only a handful of multi-sport athletes, which means the entire year of training will be devoted to one sport only. At Tufts Strength & Conditioning, we recognize this and use the off-season to recover ailing bodies to #1, make them less susceptible to injury, then #2, get them stronger and faster for their next season with a large focus on teamwork, communication dynamics and being competitive in everything we do.
Tufts athletes enjoy extremely low injury rates, which has made them ever more prepared for their competitive seasons. This focus on injury prevention and body recovery is what continues to put Tufts teams above the rest of the country, and what will do so for the foreseeable future.
Dan Kopcso enters his fifth year as the head strength and conditioning coach for the Tufts Jumbo’s. Coming to Tufts as an intern in 2003, Dan has been in various roles in his 12 years. In addition to his coaching for the Jumbos, he has spent time at Springfield College, Mike Boyle’s, Athletic Evolution, Boston College, Harvard University and spent two summers in the NFL working for the Buffalo Bills.
Kopcso oversees a three-man staff. His responsibilities include women’s basketball, softball and tennis; and men’s baseball, football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, and tennis. He also oversees the new Ames Human Performance Center and the Tufts Personalized Performance Program. He has been fortunate to have worked with countless great athletes, including two national champion lacrosse teams, a two-time national champion diver, a national champion in the triple jump, two softball national champions and a national champion in the women’s hurdles. Kopcso also teaches the popular Advanced Principles of Exercise Class.
Kopcso’s own sporting career ranges from various power sports early in his life to competing in rugby for over a decade, then moving on to mixed martial arts and ultra endurance events including an iron distance triathlon and a 100 mile ultramarathon. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Babson College and has a master’s degree in Exercise Science from Springfield College. He also earned his CSCS and USAW level-1 coach certificates. He resides in Concord with his wife, Lauren and their son, Jack.
Marten J. Vandervelde, a 2008 alumnus of Tufts, begins his sixth year in the Tufts Athletic Department this fall. In the six years he has been an employee at Tufts, his duties have ranged from Strength & Conditioning Coach (of Field Hockey (National Champions in 2012), Men’s Lacrosse first National Championship year (assistant - 2010) Men’s Basketball, Women’s Lacrosse, Football (assistant), Men’s Crew, Women’s Volleyball, Co-Ed Sailing and Women’s Swimming), to Lecturer for Physical Education Classes, to teaching the “Strong Women” course for the female staff and faculty of the University. He is the manager of the Tufts Personalized Performance Program.
Vandervelde recently published his first book, Beneath the College Jersey: The Athlete’s Guide to Healthier Habits, Nutrition, and Recovery Methods, which can be found at Amazon.com and other retailers. The book is a study of college athletes’ 150 weekly hours outside the gym – so many athletes believe the 18 hours they spend in the gym each week is what is making or breaking them as athletes. Vandervelde makes the convincing (and entertaining) argument that the time athletes spend outside the gym is more important than what they’re doing in the gym. This focus on recovery is what keeps his Jumbos athletes primed to routinely run competitors off the field.
Vandervelde has maintained his CSCS credentials for over six years, and is an avid reader of social and sport psychology, nutrition, and recovery methods. He lives six blocks from the Tisch Sports and Fitness Center, allowing him to support the Jumbos while he chases his current goal, a 500lb squat.
Alex O’Keefe enters his 3rd year as a member of the Tufts Strength and Conditioning staff. A 2008 graduate of Springfield College, his coaching experience includes time at Auburn University, the University of South Carolina as well as Athletic Evolution. Throughout his career he has been fortunate to work with a vast number of sports and a great deal of athletes including youth, collegiate, professional and Olympic levels.
O’Keefe’s responsibilities with the Jumbos includes Women’s Soccer, Squash and Fencing as well as assisting with Football, Women’s Basketball, Men’s Lacrosse, Softball, Hockey, Track and Field, Men’s Soccer, and Men’s Swimming. His Unique approach allows him to develop a great connection with the athletes, which leads to their success not only in the weight room but also on and off the field.
O’Keefe has a degree in Applied Exercise Science for Springfield College as well as his NSCA CSCS.