Alex Frenz grew up in Oakville, Mo., playing softball – and loving hockey.
More specifically, the senior Kinesiology major has rooted loudly and proudly for her hometown St. Louis Blues. “I’ve been a Blues fan my entire life,” says Frenz, who pitches for the NIU Softball team. “I’m a hard-core Blues fan.”
So it was a bit of a dream-come-true summer for Frenz, who interned from May through August behind the scenes with the NHL team’s strength and conditioning program.
Naturally, it’s also something worth talking about.
Frenz traveled this semester with three of her Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education faculty to Loyola University Chicago to attend the Personal Fitness Training Educational Institutions State Clinic and to deliver a presentation there on her internship.
“I thought it was cool being able to talk to other people from other colleges,” Frenz says. “I was also able to learn about different programs, see how their programs differ from ours, make connections, get to know other people and broaden my horizons.”
Organizers of the clinic are working to grow and establish a platform in which educational institutions can gather, share best practices and collaborate to bring foundational regulation to the field of Personal Fitness Training.
Their theme this fall centered on “how to add value to a student’s professional marketability through incorporating Personal Fitness Training certificates into the curriculum.”
Participants came from host Loyola, the University of Illinois at Chicago and NIU.
Joining Frenz from Anderson Hall were Shaine Henert, director of the Kinesiology program; Clay Camic, associate professor of Kinesiology; and Brandon Male, internship supervisor for Kinesiology.
Her presentation focused on her work with the Blues, including “how the workouts changed when the guys were skating versus not skating.”
“When they’re skating, they try to cut back on the conditioning and some specific things in the weight room because we don’t want to overload them,” Frenz says. “We really monitor their workouts when they’re in-season and when they’re not on the ice.”
She showed pictures of the various facilities and described fitness technology that included heart rate monitors and force plates, which measure balance, gait and other biomechanics.
“I learned a lot about strength-and-conditioning programming, how to coach somebody, what to look for when they’re doing different movements, how to give them tips on what to change,” she says. “It really gave me a lot of advantages in just knowing about working with professionals, learning how to be a good coach, how to build relationships with your athletes, how to go about your day-to-day operations.”
A textbook comprehension of kinesiology also has improved her career as a college athlete.
During the 2018 season, Frenz led the Huskies with a 12-7 record with a 2.61 ERA, placing her eighth in the Mid-American Conference. She struck out 56 batters to tie for the team lead, and started four of the five MAC Tournament games that carried NIU to the championship game.
Frenz also was selected as an Academic All-MAC recipient.
“Honestly, these last few years have helped me in the weight room because I understand what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and focusing on different muscles,” she says. “During hitting drills, the coach talks to me differently than how she talks to the other athletes.”
Frenz, who will graduate in May, is currently debating whether to pursue a master’s degree or to find work with a sports team.
“I’m majoring in Kinesiology because it’s the one thing I’ve found that I’m very passionate about,” she says. “Strength and conditioning is something I’ve always loved, and it’s played a big role in my life. I want to have that same impact on other athletes and help them through their careers. It’s been a perfect fit.”
More information about the Kinesiology major is available online.