FAIRFIELD—The whir of an elliptical machine echoes throughout the empty gym late at night. It is Fairfield Warde football coach Duncan DellaVolpe’s private time, solitude that allows him to a execute a unique form of multitasking.
In an era when a coach’s schedule knows no boundaries, and an edge can come from unlikely sources, DellaVolpe has found one of his at Anytime Fitness, a 24-hour gym a few Hail Mary passes away from the Warde campus.
(Full disclosure: Anytime Fitness is a Ruden Report advertiser).
Gary Azarian, the gym’s owner, whose son Bryan is a sophomore for the Mustangs, has set it up so that DellaVolpe can watch game and practice film while getting his workouts in at a time when most of his players — he hopes — have heads on pillows.
“I don’t sleep much during the season and I don’t get a chance to work out like I used to based on practice,” said DellaVolpe, who is beginning his sixth season at Warde following a long stint as New Canaan’s offensive coordinator. “Twenty-four hours is perfect. It is a good stress reliever for me, A, because I don’t sleep but, B, I’ve really been taking the time to use it during the season to watch film so I’m not doubling up at home so much. It’s kind of been a game-changer for me with my time.”
An admitted insomniac in season — “I’m always thinking football, about plays, where an old notebook is that has a play in it or where I can find an old DVD somewhere” — DellaVolpe said he sleeps on average three to four hours a night. He usually can be found at the gym sometime between 10 and midnight, often by himself. Sunday nights are what he called his “go-to time.”
“Usually it is only me and Gary will make fun of me the next day because he can record from the video camera,” DellaVolpe said. “He’ll tell me how much film I’ve watched during the week.”
Through a connection on the elliptical — “I like the last one, I call it my baby; Gary sometimes puts a sign on it that says “reserved for Coach Dell,” DellaVolpe said — and an iPhone app, he can access Hudl, the software program used to review game and practice footage, and view film and make notes.
Azarian, who has coached in the Fairfield Pop Warner program, also set up the software so DellaVolpe can access the video on a large 10-foot screen in a workout room.
“When Gary opened the gym it was a good way to support someone local who I knew was involved with youth football,” DellaVolpe said. “He’s helped me out a ton. He came up to me as soon as I joined and he said it’ll be great. You can watch Hudl anytime. I’d come in and he would be watching film.”
DellaVolpe has mastered doing several things at once on the elliptical, taking notes on his phone as he comes up with new ideas.
DellaVolpe’s unconventional workouts have been a curiosity during the instances when he does not have the gym to himself.
“Usually people come in and wonder what in the world I’m mumbling about or writing down,” DellaVolpe said. “Sometimes I will see shadows of people coming in and they are wondering what’s happening. Usually there are puzzled looks. Some people are interested and watch. I’ve met three or four alums of Warde because of that. It is good to get people involved. It’s kind of a cool thing, the connection that the gym’s made. I have two other coaches who come here as well. It has been nothing but positive.”
With a family history of heart disease, DellaVolpe said he has had to prioritize working out on a regular basis. It is also is a convenient escape with children ages 6 and 2 at home.
“This has made it easier because it can become monotonous when you’ve been in the same office for six hours,” DellaVolpe said.
The Mustangs, considered a sleeper by many, open their season Friday night at home against Foran.
“This is one of the toughest weeks for me, week one,” DellaVolpe said. “I can’t sleep, I can’t watch enough film, I can’t write enough down and then I have to trim it all known so I make sure I don’t put too much on the kids. I love the game. I’m passionate about it. No one likes to lose, especially me. I know if we get off to a good start we could have a pretty good year.”