Six Blue varsity sports complete week of preseason training
Athletes cite benefits of double sessions, team building actitivies
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 07:09
Along with student leaders and first-years, the members of six Wellesley fall sports teams flocked to campus early. Teams spent many hours a day practicing during a week that was almost exclusively devoted to team building specific to each of the new and returning members’ needs. Four of the teams–cross country, field hockey, tennis and volleyball–went on to win their first competitions of the season.
For the soccer team, preseason was a way to start the season on a good note, following a disappointing 4-11-5 record in 2011. The team has won two games in two weeks, and appears to be reinventing itself. With 10 first year recruits, the team used preseason to integrate the new players into the team dynamic.
Coach Tony Mohammed primarily used the week of preseason as a way to evaluate his new and returning players. “Most of what we do is assess which of the athletes have prepared for the demands of the season and have worked to earn their place on the team.”
Since the field hockey team lost only one player to graduation, it spent a good portion of preseason helping the first-years as they transitioned to college and collegiate athletics. “[The returning players] eased my nerves about registration, laundry, professors, orientation and many other things, both big and small. After all, the smallest worries can seem like enormous issues during such transitional periods,” Caroline Guild ’16 said.
The team participated in preseason scrimmages that allowed them to test what they had been practicing in a competitive environment. “Scrimmaging with other teams during preseason is beneficial because it gives us the opportunity to solidify everything that we’ve been working on without the added pressure of schoolwork,” Becky Hamilton ’15 said.
Coach Julia King believed that the preseason period allowed her team to work on a variety of skills without having to tailor practices towards a future opponent. “We spend time on our skills and our particular system, allowing us to develop a team identity before competitions start,” she said.
Members of the golf team spent preseason trying to improve their short games and accuracy, which they believed were key to doing well. Haneen Anbarserri felt that preseason helped her team adjust to the soreness that accompanies tough college practices. She said that it was also beneficial for team members who had not practiced very much over the summer.
With six new players, the tennis team focused heavily on consistency drills and did a lot of doubles match play. It allowed all of them to adjust to playing with new partners, and gave the new players more experience in doubles, since most high school tournaments consist of just singles matches. “Playing four hours of tennis a day took some getting used to but it really helped us get back into the swing of things,” Diana Granger ’14 said.
Suzanne Barth ’16 highlighted that a lot of time was also devoted to team bonding activities, including a scavenger hunt around Boston that coach Brian Kuscher organized.
The cross country team also focused on making the first-year runners feel comfortable. While Victoria Lee ’16 wasn’t with the team for the entirety of preseason, she highlighted many team events, such as a pizza party at the coach’s house, a yoga outing and a “wine” and cheese event with sparkling cider. “Leaving my family for the first time was hard but being able to join a team and have an immediate group of friends has made leaving a lot easier,” she said. Still, the workouts were intense, consisting of runs twice a day. These included a run to Minute Man Battle Road in Lexington.
Blue volleyball narrowly fell short of taking home the conference title last year, and the squad looked tough this year during preseason, despite the fact that Amanda Duritsch ’12 graduated.
“Preseason always seems to be a tough time of the season no matter how hard you work out and play during the summer. Since we play twice a day in addition to [doing] cardio workouts and weights, taking care of your body becomes very important to avoid injury so early in the season,” Megan Mills ’14 said.