Teacher of the Issue: Mr. Erik Miller

Miller speaks on his career at Malvern, COVID-19 workouts, and the gyms process to reopen during the pandemic.

Teacher+of+the+Issue%3A+Mr.+Erik+Miller

Matt Powers, Senior Writer & Editor

At the beginning of COVID-19, Miller identified that lockdown limited physical activity for most, so he created another way for students to stay active. 

“When it came out that we might be shutting down school, I was like, well I can just make a video every day of a workout. I can have my classes do that and anybody could use it,” Miller said. “I made the first one on a Sunday and shared it with the faculty first. A lot of people watched it, and I got a ton of positive feedback. Then, Mr. Sillup said, ‘I’m gonna use this in the opening email every day and make it available to everyone.’ After that, I knew I had to keep it going.”

In lockdown, Miller used the extra free time to catch up on rest. With young children at home, his normal life is very chaotic, so the break allowed him to relax and recoup before attacking the summer in the gym. 

“Before lockdown, everything was so busy. Everything was booked with my kids with school and it felt like it was just crazy all the time. So the first month and a half the lockdown was a relief in some ways because everything came off the plate,” Miller said.

Before working at Malvern, Miller graduated from Boyertown High School and attended Kutztown University. Out of college, he earned an opportunity to be the strength coach at Glen Mills School before being offered the job at Malvern. For Miller, being a strength coach is an occupation about which he is passionate. 

“I get to talk about what I love all day long. Even if I didn’t get the job here, I’d still be doing something like this. I’d still be doing some sort of strength training,” he said.

After completing his seventeenth year at Malvern in 2019, Miller made it a priority to get fall sports teams in the weight room to make sure they were prepared when August came around. Although there was uncertainty about whether Malvern would have a fall sports season, he focused on the daily process and pushed athletes to train as if they were to play this fall.

“We started in the summer with the football team coming in to workout. The biggest thing was the signup sheet and the limited number of people allowed in the gym,” Miller acknowledged. “Since other sports were using signup sheets, I created my own, sent it to the football guys via Hudl, and they would sign up for it. It was really good to practice this coming into what we’re doing now for school with the signup sheets.”

In addition, he created strict protocols for the gym to ensure a safe environment for all. There have been no setbacks thus far and the weight room is running smoothly, recently expanding maximum capacity to thirty.

“We have a lot more spray bottles and wipe down equipment here for everyone to use. Also, some of the things I did with the workouts, especially in the beginning, was that we did everything on the minute and guys just rotated through stations so everybody could have their own station they didn’t have to share,” Miller added. “They (the students) could rotate around and we were working consistently for the whole 45 minutes trying to make use of it.”

Miller encourages students who aren’t playing a fall sport for Malvern to sign up and get in the gym. He emphasizes that it doesn’t matter a student’s weight-lifting experience or initial strength as the gym is a great environment to learn. If students are unable to get in Malvern’s gym, another option if you are without equipment is to use the internet and find calisthenics exercises.

“Sign up and show up,” Miller repeatedly says. “Walk through the doors if you’re interested, get in, and work out. I try to be flexible so there are times before and after school. There are also plenty of routines on the internet that have progressive calisthenics exercises. So I would say if you can’t get to a gym, do some digging on the internet and find some progressive bodyweight stuff, or do what I did with the corona workouts and make your own equipment at home.”