by Ben Jacobs
Campus Times Staff
Summer is a time for most college students to relax and hang out with old friends from high school. It is also a time to work and earn some extra money to help cover all the expenses that come with being in college.
For student athletes, summer is also a time to stay in shape for the upcoming season.
Whether that means following a program that the coach has laid out or using a personal workout program depends on the sport.
The football team had to lift three times per week and run four times.
?It was difficult because I had two jobs and I had to squeeze it in,? senior cornerback Matt Blenner said
?But I knew it was important because I didn?t want to embarrass myself when I got back,? he said.
The men?s and women?s soccer teams also had running and lifting programs that took anywhere from five to 15 hours per week. Many soccer players also played on local teams over the summer.
?There are some days you don?t want to wake up and do it,? junior midfielder/forward Nate Giordano said. ?But in the long run, it?ll help as far as being in shape for the season.?
The cross-country teams were supposed to build up their mileage over the summer. The men?s team had a 13-day cycle that built from 40 miles per week up to 60-65, depending on the runner?s class year.
Sounds like a lot of work to be doing over the summer. Did these athletes ever have times where they did not do as much as they wanted to or should have?
?Of course,? said sophomore Pamela Sheffield, a goalkeeper for the field hockey team. ?If anybody said they didn?t, they?re a liar.?
Why is it so important to stay in shape over the summer? What makes these athletes take so much time out of their summer vacations to train?
?[Summer training] can make or break a season because you don?t have to start from scratch [after you get back],? junior swimmer Christina DeVries said.
Each of these athletes is also on a team, and none of them want to come back as the person who slacked off and let the team down.
?Everyone is working just as hard [as you are], and it?s a lot of extra motivation to keep working,? sophomore outside halfback Jesse Beckstein said.
?There?s probably more of doing it for the team than doing it for yourself,? she added.
The athletes also need to be in shape when they return so that they do not incur unnecessary injuries.
?We take up a lot of mileage the first couple weeks of preseason,? sophomore cross-country runner Lisa Brassaw said. ?If you haven?t kept in shape, then injury is a high possibility.?
The physical tests that some athletes must pass upon their return are also big motivators.
Everybody on the football team had to do two 300-yard shuttle runs, five minutes apart. If the average of the two times was not below the requirement for their position, they were placed on ?Dawn
Patrol,? which meant waking up at 6 a.m. every morning and running two miles.
?It?s the worst day of everyone?s year, because everyone?s anxious and afraid,? Blenner said. ?That?s why we work so hard all summer.?
The men?s soccer team had to run two miles in under 12 minutes and then two 300-yard shuttles in 45 seconds each before they were allowed to start practicing.
The women?s volleyball team had a physical testing day when they returned. If anybody on the team had failed, everyone would have had to redo the entire test.
?We busted our asses over the summer,? senior outside hitter Megan Har-vey said. ?We all had the fear that we were going to be the one who couldn?t make it.?
As the season progresses, every athlete will be thankful for their summer training, whether it was their own idea or a coach?s program.
?We feel that we condition harder than any other team in the area,? Blenner said. ?That?ll help us win games in the fourth quarter.?
Ben Jacobs can be reached by email@example.com.