McMaster’s High Performance Area now open to OUA teams
In the coming school year, the HPA is going to allow more McMaster teams to use its space, free of charge
Created in 2021, the McMaster University High Performance Area was built to give varsity athletes a space to be coached for sport-specific workouts. The space houses an array of equipment including squat racks, Keiser units and a turf field.
The facility is a world-class space, bringing prestige to the university and, most importantly, helping the student athletes that attend McMaster to reach their full potential.
While the HPA has been up and running for the past two years, only teams within the U SPORTS league—including sports such as, swimming, wrestling, soccer and women’s rugby—were allowed to make use of the space without payment.
This set up left teams that participate in the Ontario University Athletics league, such as the baseball, fencing and golf teams, without a space to weightlift, train and be coached in the strength and conditioning field.
In the past, the only way for these teams to access the HPA was to pay out of pocket. Compounded with other payments these athletes need to make for their sport, such transportation and equipment fees, these costs have often not been reasonable for them to pay.
“Last year what we did was [OUA sports teams] paid per coach, so they only paid for the coach’s time. But really the students had to pay for a building in their own facility,” said manager of HPA and High Performance Programs Ben Bahrami.
This year, Bahrami opted to change this set up. As of this semester, OUA teams will be allowed to train in the HPA free of charge during specified open hours.
“I’ve proposed removing the team-specific training for any essentially teams that aren’t U SPORTS level and anyone that’s OUA, and some of our U Sports teams that just have a lot of class conflicts with their team times. Anyone in that category essentially comes in during open hours. This way they can have access more than the one or two hours they’re scheduled in,” said Bahrami.
The goal is to allow more athletes to use the space, help to maintain their health throughout the season and the offseason, and help them reach their goals.
“We want to provide a high enough product for students who came to McMaster to then go to the professional ranks or to play for a national team, so you have to provide that high level but also provide a basic program for someone that just wants to stay healthy and play sports for a few years,” said Bahrami.
This change could bring some drawbacks, with the HPA space being a limited 3700 square feet and containing only 10 racks, which can lend itself to overcrowding.
“That's kind of the biggest challenge is balancing out the resources versus everything you want to do and everyone that wants to do X, Y and Z for their own development,” said Bahrami.
Ultimately though, this change will hopefully be a great step for McMaster sports moving forward as allowing more athletes to access high performance spaces will improve the student athlete experience and help teams and athletes reach their goals.