Off-season training cultivates sense of team comradery

Charlotte Elliott, Sports Reporter

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Even in the off-season, there is a high likelihood of seeing an out-of-season varsity athlete working out in the Sherwood Athletic Center. 

These workouts are not just for fun — Whitman’s varsity athletes put a lot of emphasis on the importance of off-season training, and through that, developing more as a team.

The women’s lacrosse team in particular has been preparing for the start of their season in the spring. Hailey Mount, a senior member of the lacrosse team, spoke to The Wire about how the team has been brushing off the summer cobwebs through off-season training.

Last year, we did Monday motivations,” Mount said. “Basically coach would plan a fun conditioning game or, I remember a couple times even during season, we would do scavenger hunts around campus and Walla Walla.”

Training during the off-season is less about finalizing tactics and more about the actual creation of a team. Athletes spend days on end in each other’s company, so it is important to create a bond that will not strain under the highs and lows of the season. By keeping fitness sessions light-hearted and fun, athletes are barely even aware that they are training and instead keep the mindset that they are simply chilling with friends.

The swimming team has also been busy preparing for their upcoming season. Although they may spend more time in the water than on land, the team emphasizes the value of training out of water in order to keep a bit of spontaneity in their schedules.

Sophomore swimmer Bella White pointed out another way that she stays fit during the off-season — through Outdoor Program (OP) trips.

“OP trips are a [helpful] form of exercise — hiking, biking, canoeing etc.,” White said. 

White also talked about the tactic of choosing to do sport for credit.

“Or go to a class for the sport you do to motivate you to pass for credits,” she said.

Swimming is often considered to be one of the more demanding sports on a person’s body, with athletes being required to stick to a strict training schedule to make sure they are physically fit enough for racing.

Melia Matthews, a senior and the women’s swim team captain, has had one-on-one meetings with her coach to discuss her schedule in school and in the pool. She mentioned that it is important to keep a good balance to ensure that athletes don’t start to drown under the pressure of all their responsibilities.

Matthews does, however, reiterate the necessity of having fun at the same time.

“One really fun memory is from captains practice. We had an 80s themed practice and we pranced around Ankeny in groovy clothes,” Matthews said. “It was super fun and goofy, just like our team.”

The running theme for most varsity teams is that having fun whilst training is equally as important as working out itself. The support that comes from being together makes sometimes grueling trainings worth it — especially when a team has an anthem, such as the lacrosse team’s “Headband” by B.O.B. and 2 Chainz, to hype them up throughout it. 

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