January 9, 2018
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Paly athletics have many different ways they train and prepare for each season. Many sports tend to do preseason conditioning, while others do specialized sports training. Even with this, there are plenty of rules and regulations limiting a sports’ ability to train before the season and each sport’s limitations can be very different as some sports receive more attention than others, and some sports are considered more competitive.
The football team is a perfect example of how limiting the rules on preseason training can affect a team. After finishing their fall season, the football team has a few months off to relax and stay away from the sport. However, once spring comes, the team gets right back into preparing for the upcoming fall. Unless an athlete is participating in a winter or spring sport, the football players are recommended to do offseason conditioning with weights and aerobics. Once April hits, the football team is allowed 10 full practices from April until May as CCS rules do not allow any more than 10 of these practices. The football team generally spaces these practices out across the two months to ensure the athletes are in shape when the season comes into full swing. After the spring conditioning and practicing, summer starts and the players have another few weeks off. However, after June 13th, the team starts seven on seven practices and also restarts conditioning and lifting in order to stay in shape for their games in the fall. These practices occur every weekend during the summer. The team gets a few weeks off at the end of July, but full practices start right up on August 3rd. The team then practices every weekday and some Saturdays from August 3rd through the season.
“If you join the football team you should expect some physical activity even if it requires a lot of time commitment,” Tyler Foug (‘19) said. “You can’t expect to be physical for a couple of months of the year, therefore coaches should require as much preseason training as [they] feel best suits the team.”
Along with the football team, the Palo Alto boys’ baseball team is another prime example of a team finding ways to get better in the offseason. The group of boys who make up the team all has one goal: to win a CCS championship. With that, they are motivated to do all they can to get better. The team members go to the weight room on their own and work out to push themselves to the limits. CCS does not allow the team to have tryouts until mid-February. However, the team starts working out together at the start of the new year. Optional conditioning workouts take place during the week and consist of running, body exercises, and explosive speed drills.
“The workouts are brutal. It’s like the coaches are testing our physical limits,” Nathan Willis (‘18) said.
In addition to the conditioning, the team has open field workouts, and occasionally 4-1’s. 4-1’s are different from the open field because it allows coaches to get involved. As the name suggests, there are groups of four players for each coach. Players then have the opportunity to get better with instruction from their coach. On the other hand, open field workouts are like practice, but it is run entirely by players. No coaches are allowed to give advice or help the drill in any way. This is still helpful for players because it gives them a canvas for their art. With all of the CCS regulations, the boys’ baseball team still finds ways to get their work in.
Along with baseball and football, the basketball teams also have preseason training to help them prepare for the winter season. After last year’s NorCal semifinal loss, the boys look to get stronger and more physical for the upcoming season. For the boys trying to get in shape before tryouts, there is optional conditioning throughout the fall. Although it is technically optional, many boys on the team say it should be required for those not involved in a fall sport.
The boys also are given occasional open gyms to not only keep their bodies in shape but keep their basketball skills sharp. The players enjoy the open gym sessions but realize there is more to do than just the occasional open gym workout. Both the conditioning and the open gyms last around two hours and occur on weekdays in the fall. The girls’ basketball team has a similar preseason schedule to the boys. During the fall, the girls’ team is offered open gym scrimmages on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is open to all athletes hoping to try out for the team as well as returning players.. Similar to the boys, the girls’ team is also offered conditioning and weightlifting if they are not on a fall sports team.
Finally, The Palo Alto girls’ volleyball team has a busy offseason schedule along with the rest of Paly athletics. Once the previous school year ends, the girls are back at it. Throughout the month of June, the four open gym workouts take place at the Paly gym and are open to everyone.. However, after the month of June, the girls are not allowed to have any sort of contact with the coach whatsoever. During the quiet period, players go to the weight room and condition on their own until tryouts begin. Some of the girls also find alternative ways to get in-game experience away from school.
Co-team captain Chelsea Fan (‘18) said, “Most of our players play club volleyball during our offseason from school.”
In the end, most sports have strictly regulated offseason schedules, but the outside work that the players invest puts athletes in the best shape for the upcoming season. The teams must maintain their skills at peak performance before the season begins, all while staying safe from breaking any CCS rules.