Athletes staying in game shape despite season end

Athletes+staying+in+game+shape+despite+season+end

Jenna Ho-Sing-Loy, Sports Editor

Kaia Wong (10) practices swimming distance in her pool by tying resistance bands to herself . Since the early ending of the season, Wong has had to find new ways to maintain endurance.

The 2020 swim season was going to be Nolan Nguyen’s (10) year.  He said he was going in excited and hoped to set a school record in the 100-meter butterfly but with the early end of the season, his aspirations were put on hold.  

“I was close to breaking it coming into the season,” Nguyen said.  “I’ve been working on that event all throughout the off-season, so I really wanted to set a record for it.”

Despite this, students like Nguyen are still passionate about their sport and are staying in shape in order to maintain the progress they made over the few weeks of spring season and pre-season training.  

It can be very difficult for many athletes to maintain critical skills during this time when they don’t have access to school facilities and gyms, which are crucial for their success in competitions. As a result, athletes have to get creative and find ways to continue to stay in shape. 

“Sadly, I don’t have a pool at home,” Nguyen said. “I would be in it all day if I had one, but I built a pull-up bar during the summer and I have been doing some workouts like push-ups, sit-ups and squats.” 

Furthermore, one of the biggest difficulties for athletes practicing to stay in game shape is the fact that they don’t have a coach to critique their technique or have their hard work immediately pay off in a game or meet.  

Though she is not being required by a coach to practice, Kaia Wong (10) continues to train throughout this hiatus to try and maintain her swimming and water polo skills.  

“It’s a lot more difficult when there’s no actual practice time because you have to motivate yourself,” she said. “There’s not really anyone holding you accountable. Once everything is back to normal, I would not be surprised if everyone is much slower.”  

Motivated to maintain her athletic progress, Wong runs and bikes to try and imitate the cardio aspect of swimming. She also does strength conditioning with weights.

“I think that this is a chance to show that you want to excel in the sport,” Wong said.  “It’s a good opportunity to test yourself and your ability to self-motivate.”

Because her family has a backyard pool, Wong is able to have a more authentic practice than her teammates who can’t get in the water.  

“I use resistance bands tied to the fence at the end of the pool to try and simulate swimming distance,” Wong said. “Having a pool is also super helpful for trying as hard as I can to stay in water polo shape.  I can do a lot of leg work and do some skill work that’s more stationary.” 

Baseball is another spring sport that requires  fine motor skills. If athletes don’t have access to a backyard or a large net to hit and throw into, those important skills will be lost and they’ll have to work harder when the next season comes around to truly compete for a spot on the team and with other schools.  

Luke Warrington (11) said that although baseball  is difficult to practice by simply running and lifting weights, he focuses on the little things that can be accomplished with minimal equipment.  He says that his favorite ways to practice are playing catch and hitting wiffle balls.  

“There’s always some way to exercise even without the gym,” he said.  “Quick reaction and mental things can keep one active and sharp. Training doesn’t always need to be the full thing.”  

 Even though athletes aren’t going to be able to replicate hours on the field, track, and in the pool, they haven’t given up on their sport and continue to find ways to overcome that obstacle.

“Going into next season will be a challenge,” Nguyen said.  “But [it’s] a challenge I will take.”