ScoreStream’s goal with Ones To Watch is to connect the high school sports fans with some of the best, most promising high school athletes in the nation. With a month of football over, ScoreStream wants to give a nod to Bloomington South Panther’s Free Safety Zack Pedersen. Pedersen is a strong Senior presence on South’s 6-0 team.
Leading deep into Conference play, Pedersen has already registered 4 times the national average of passes deflected for free safeties! We wanted to see what drives Pedersen to success, and you can see his interview here!
SS– Who would you say contributes the most to you becoming a talented football player?
ZP– I think having good genes is very nice in the skill aspect of how a football player performs. However, I think the coaches that surround me and work with me no doubt have contributed the most to my progression as a player. From my strength coach who creates controlled chaos in the weight room, replicating the hype of a Friday night, and not letting us take any lift off … to my position coach, who happens to be the defensive coordinator. These coaches prepare my team and me the best they possibly could, giving us statistics, probabilities, formations most likely to be run, what they will do against us, and everything in between. With all this information, if studied right, it enables a person to play fast and with confidence. So if the strength and speed built in the weight room and the confidence and quickness from the mental part are combined, it allows me to be as talented as I can take it, and with my coaches’ motivation, will hopefully be very far.
SS– What drill, and please describe it if you can, do you feel right now is at the top of your daily priority list?
ZP– There are many drills during a two hour + practice, but the one I like the most and feel really helps me mentally and physically is the two-minute drill. We had switched it from the end of practice to the beginning, which just adds a lot more hype for that drill, and the drills after. I think it is at the top of my priorities because it incorporates all the smaller fundamental drills that have been worked on for so long. I also rank it high, because at the end of the day, a game is the most important thing throughout the week, and the two-minute drill is the closest thing to that and the excitement that comes along with it. We call it the two-minute drill, yet usually there are about 50 seconds on the clock and the ball may be at midfield or closer. The offense goes at a very high tempo and calls are being yelled out and people are running around like crazy, so it is a very good drill for all the players and coaches to get locked in and ready for the game, in the closest thing to a game situation.
SS– What player has influenced you the most to becoming the player you are today?
ZP– I don’t think I ever really had a player that I said I wanted to be like. I had a few favorite players like John Elway and Peyton Manning, but not a player I said I wanted to be. If I were to say I wanted to be like someone, it would have to be all the humble, honest, and hardworking players. There were a lot of players who I liked and wanted to play like in the sense of working hard, the way they interview, and overall play. However, I don’t think I could pin it down to any one player. I continue to find guys at high levels who stay humble and play hard, and those are the guys I would hope to be like.
SS– Growing up did you ever consider focusing on another sport more than football?
ZP– I started playing football about as early as one could get into a sport, so I have been through about every stage so far. Starting at the of six in flag football, transitioning to tackle ball, then finally heading to the “Friday Night Lights.” I played baseball all the way up until last year, as well as a few years of basketball sprinkled in here and there, but I don’t think it has ever crossed my mind to do anything other than football. I run track currently, and sometimes feel bad for the track coach, because even though I am committed and giving a lot of attention and time to his sport, he knows that football is what I do and if something comes up pertaining to that, football will always take priority.
SS– For the hundred-thousands of other high school football players out there, what is one lift in the weight room that is a must-do in order to set themselves apart from their competitors?
ZP– I am no strength expert, but I feel like the lift any high schooler has to put into his routine is the clean, whether that be power or hang. Bench is very good, but have seen guys with huge arms and big bench numbers who can’t run or be explosive. Squat is also another great lift, but again I have seen kids with amazing squat numbers, and not be able to move around or explode. A lot of it also depends on form as some kids at lifting competitions squat a lot but can’t bend at all disabling them from moving very well. I do think that clean is the best main lift a person can do for football. It combines an aggressive pull with the arms and shoulders, and explosive jump or shooting of the legs, and a quick and powerful follow through leading into a front squat. I don’t think I have ever seen someone who can’t properly hang clean a good number and not move on the field. It is such an explosive movement that incorporates power and plyometrics. So if I were to start a workout routine, clean will definitely be at the top of my priorities.
SS – What artist and song gets you hyped 100% of the time just before competition?
ZP– I listen to a variety of songs throughout the day, depending on how I’m feeling or what mindset I want to get into. I have, in a way, developed a routine though. After school whether I go home or stay in the locker room, I will usually listen to some older songs. Old songs as in DMX, old Lil Wayne, old Eminem, or just some football hype songs in general. As it gets closer to game time, though, I like to plug in my phone to the team speaker system and play some hype Christian rap songs. I play artists like Trip Lee, Lecrae, Derek Minor, KB, and Andy Mineo. At first I was thinking that there wasn’t going to be as much hype in the locker room if I played this new type of music, but I don’t think there was any drop off at all when I started playing it, and I think some guys even liked it more. That has encouraged me to play more of that type of music, plus, our coach likes it because he doesn’t have to worry about cussing or stuff of that nature.
Thanks again to Zack Pedersen and all of the high school athletes who dedicate a good amount of time to be successful in their sport!