Sept. 7, 2015
“Back to school” is a phrase heard every year by begrudging students. But for some students, back to school means more than getting school supplies, parking passes or text books.
For the student athletes on campus, back to school means back to juggling school, family, friends, games and practices. Transitioning from the immense free time of the summer to class on a daily basis is hard. On top of that, there’s preseason.
For volleyball senior Kim Catlett, preseason comes second in importance to the offseason. The three months of summer are when the grind really happens.
“It determines how committed you are to becoming better when no one is there watching,” said Catlett.
Volleyball preseason began Aug. 16, with the first competitive game Sept. 4. Two-a-days last for a week along with competitive scrimmages at the end of that first week.
Work in the weight room helps Catlett becomes stronger and improves her swing, but also prevents injury on the court.
Conditioning is the main goal of offseason and preseason work for many sports. For volleyball, it takes the form of “gassers.”
A “gasser” starts on the baseline of the volleyball court and the players must run to the opposite baseline and back 12 times in 55 seconds. They have a rest period for about a minute and then have to run the 12 lengths again within 55 seconds.
On the third “gasser” the time goes up to a minute, but at that point, as the name suggests, you are “gassed.”
Men’s basketball head coach Jeff Culver understands the difficulty of preseason and how important it is to capitalize on the time he is given before the season starts. His preseason lasts from the second week of school until the season starts in late October.
“With such a long preseason the earlier regular season start day is keeping the boys focused,” Culver said.
Culver and his coaching staff look to make sure that everyone is on the same page. This time is for “knocking off the rust” and fixing bad habits the players may have picked up during the summer.
For Culver, returning players help the offseason process.
“It is a luxury that we have 11 returners back this year to help acclimate our new players.”
No matter the length of the preseason, every athlete focuses on surviving conditioning to get ready for their season.