Faster, higher, stronger: The motto of Olympic athletes the world over has expanded over the years to encompass all forms of athletic competition.

Knowing all the latest nutrition and sports medicine research, exercise science and injury prevention techniques has become essential for coaches in just about every sport, both amateur and professional.

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Yet here in the lakes area, there are few opportunities for coaches to get the kind of training they need in these areas.

"An athletic coach is always trying to find the newest and best strategies and techniques for your athletes," says Mike Labine, who coached girls' track and field in Detroit Lakes for more than 30 years, and currently works with the Laker football program.

Yet locally, he added, "it's so hard to get that knowledge and information."

Labine says he's gone to the Twin Cities, and even as far as Florida, to get the training he needed, because there simply weren't any clinics being offered on the subject locally.

"So Rob Nielsen (Detroit Lakes activities director) and I decided we should create one," said Labine. "We started contacting knowledgeable people, to see if they would come here (to present), and talking to coaches around Minnesota, asking, 'If we do this, would you come?'"

The feedback was "overwhelmingly positive," he added, particularly after they secured a "yes" from North Dakota State University's Jim Kramer, who will headline the list of presenters at the first-ever Lakes Area Strength & Conditioning Clinic on Saturday, April 27.

Kramer, who currently serves as assistant athletic director for athletic performance at NDSU, is among the region's most knowledgeable authorities in the area of strength and conditioning.

In order to avoid any conflict with NCAA rules, however, Kramer's appearance could not take place at Detroit Lakes High School, so Labine and Nielsen secured the use of the M State conference center for the clinic.

"They were very welcoming," said Labine of M State's administrative staff. "But that's just Detroit Lakes. The support we've had has been amazing."

Besides M State, 17 local businesses have stepped forward to sponsor the clinic, either by funding the cost of bringing the speakers here, or providing food and beverages for both presenters and attendees on the day of the event.

"We couldn't have done it without their support," Labine said.

Besides Kramer, other scheduled presenters include Jeff Mumm, strength training coordinator for Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls; Cory Anderson, director of strength and conditioning at Bemidji State University; Thomas Truedson, the lead athletic trainer at Detroit Lakes High School; Sarah Schumacher, a 2019 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead with a bachelor's degree in exercise science and over eight years of experience in strength and endurance training; Amanda Berg, the head strength and conditioning coach at Dassel-Cokato High School in Cokato, Minn.; Mike Breyen, head strength and speed coach at Elk River High School for the past 25 years; Mike Empting, strength and conditioning coordinator for the Alexandria school district for the past 22 years; and Labine himself.

The clinic gets underway at 10 a.m. on April 27, and continues through Kramer's keynote presentation, which is scheduled to end at 5 p.m. Cost to attend is $50 per coach, though the fee has been capped at $100 per school. What that means, Labine says, is that whether a school sends two coaches to the clinic or 20, they would pay $100.

"We have 60 coaches signed up already," he said - including 20 from the Detroit Lakes school district alone. "Our goal is to get to 100."

For more information, or to register, please visit the website at www.dllakers.com/strength. You can also contact Mike Labine at 218-841-0601 or email him at mlabine@detlakes.k12.mn.us.