Throughout the summer, SoonerSports.com will go "behind the team" with features on the support staff all across campus that help Oklahoma soccer succeed. The second installment of this series features Buddy Huttanus, OU's Director of Student-Athlete Performance Enhancement.
Check out OU's Behind the Team archives here.
To compete at the highest level of NCAA soccer requires the utmost level of physical fitness, but reaching that point is no simple thing. Achieving high levels of fitness means focusing on strength, nutrition, recovery and endurance—to name a few things.
An advocate, educator and coach in his own right, Buddy Huttanus joined the Oklahoma soccer staff to help his student-athletes maximize their own potential.
“Our goal to perform well on a day-to-day basis, and establish a consistently high level of performance,” Huttanus said. “The biggest thing I focus on is the physical component of our team: anything from fitness and running to lifting, resistance training, nutrition and recovery.”
Huttanus arrived in Norman after spending time working with the club team F.C. Del Sol in Arizona. His background ties together sports medicine with an interest in sports performance, bringing his unique title of ‘Director of Student-Athlete Performance Enhancement’ to life.
Head coach Matt Potter established a different concept by bringing on a staff member who would focus solely on the fitness and recovery of the soccer team. By adding Huttanus to his staff, Potter ensured that his student-athletes would receive one-on-one attention and education on a daily basis.
“I have a lot more time to focus on everyone individually,” Huttanus explained. “Instead of doing a group here or a group there, I can take individuals or small groups and cater a program specific to them. It’s unique, and Oklahoma provides us with all the resources we need.”
A unique position within the world of women’s collegiate soccer, Huttanus has different focuses according to different points of the season.
“From our start in January to the end of the season, I work on planning our day-to-day schedule, developing how our student-athletes come back from a practice, how we tie physical fitness into practice and so on,” Huttanus said. “During the season, I monitor the players daily with a questionnaire that asks things like how sore they are, how well they slept and so on. I develop a score that I can pass along to Coach Potter. If our team is at 70 percent or below, we probably aren’t going to have a good practice, so I can say that we need to back off a little bit.”
The head coach’s trust allows Huttanus to make the decisions he needs to make for the well-being, health and recovery of the team. In the taxing NCAA model, this is especially important with games on Friday and Sunday of nearly every weekend.
“A team has to be fit and there has to be depth so everyone is ready to compete every weekend,” Huttanus said. “The turnaround is so quick, so in-season, we work hard on recovery. Then our student-athletes can go hard on Friday, recover quickly and perform at a high level again on Sunday.”
For Huttanus, Oklahoma’s winning culture and talent level across sports makes working as a Sooner enjoyable, but working with OU’s soccer athletes is a true highlight.
“We all have one goal in mind: to win and bring this program back up to where it needs to be,” Huttanus said. “That’s our goal, that’s what we’re working toward. Our staff works well together because we’re always looking out for each other. For me, working with the team is a lot of fun. They work so hard—all I do is put forth the information and they take it on.”