Guns N’ Roses and Led Zeppelin songs are being blasted from the Chaminade tennis courts as Jeremy Pederson, the university’s new strength and conditioning coach, prepares to work out student athletes. As soon as the workout starts, Pederson is not shy to push student athletes to the limit, or bark at them with encouragement and positive critiques.
After serving 23 years in the Navy and retiring as a Chief Gunner’s Mate, Pederson got his bachelor’s degree in 2018 and master’s degree in 2019 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Kinesiology. Pederson’s high energy and intensity is welcomed by the university’s athletes who are trying to get better.
Chaminade’s softball conditioning coach, Austin Pang Kee, was very impressed with Pederson’s work ethic.
“He has taken the time to touch base with all teams,” Pang Kee said. “He also takes time out of his days to ensure he trains his athletes in person as much as possible. I’m sure he’s run into many conflicts during this time but I know that he’s doing his best to get the job done. I know Jeremy has a lot to offer to Chaminade athletes. He’s going to bring a definitive strength and conditioning culture to the Chaminade athletics program.”
Pederson got his personal trainer certification in 2001 while he was still in the Navy. Before becoming a part of the athletic program at CUH, Pederson worked with student athletes at Maryknoll School in Honolulu for three years. When asked why he chose to leave Maryknoll School and come to Chaminade, Pederson stated that he was reeled in to CUH by being the head strength coach. For him, it has always been a progression; he coached high school and now he’s moving up.
“The chance to work with college athletes and where it is a ‘Hey your function in life is you’re going to come see me and you’re going to lift heavy things and there are no excuses,” said Pederson, who is 45 years old. “I can give back and I have a chance to mentor people, which is something I’ve done for 20 years and give you all the tools that I didn’t have when I was your age to make you better athletes.”
Because of Covid-19, training and practicing has looked different for student athletes. Pederson shared his struggles in conducting workouts over Zoom. He said he can only correct so much form and can only so do much variety with body weight workouts. He said he tried to make the workouts fun for CUH athletes and he tried to have team competitions to create camaraderie. Pederson was relieved when in-person workouts were approved for student athletes in Oct.
This was junior CUH basketball player Isaac Amaral-Artharee’s first semester with Pederson.
“His workouts are good, but again we can’t get in the weight room so it’s hard for me to make a fair judgement,” Amaral-Artharee said. “Given the circumstances and what we have to work with, I think he’s doing a good job with the workouts. I think he’s made a positive impact on the team so far and look forward to him continuing that moving forward.”
Pederson’s biggest area of focus for improving CUH athletes is that he is willing to tailor to the athlete he is working with. He wants to help athletes achieve their goals whether that be getting stronger, faster, or more agile, and even help them achieve academic or personal goals to become a well-rounded person.
“When I can stand in front of somebody and have an interaction with them, that’s important,” Pederson said. “I’m glad we’re in person and I hope we stay that way.”