To perform at competitive levels, sports teams must start training far before their seasons start. These workouts are necessary for athletes that may have gotten out of shape in the offseason and for reacclimating athletes to the specific skills required by their sport.
Preseason is also used to teach strategy of the sport and specific strategy of the team. many Palo Alto High School teams, such as cross country, football, wrestling and lacrosse employ preseason training.
Cross country, a fall sport, starts up almost as soon as school does. In order to prepare new runners for the season ahead, optional preseason training is available during the summer. Runners who take advantage of this time will benefit from applicable workouts, acclimation to the program and gauge how they are running by checking their running log and testing out their legs. Cross Country preseason takes place on Wednesdays in July.
“[Preseason] is more about acclimation than training,” junior Alys Olmstead said.
Runners are expected to be training on their own and keep a log of their miles ran in the offseason. Acclimation includes introductions to specific running routes that athletes will use during the season as well as an introduction to the coach.
Another fall sport to benefit from preseason practice is football. Since football games start within the first month of school, it is imperative to have summer practice. Football preseason starts during early summer and includes conditioning and lifting as well as technique training.
Senior Jaime Martinez believes the workouts were beneficial.
“The workouts totally helped, I feel stronger and faster” Martinez said. “We talked strategy, implemented techniques, and ran through plays.”
The preseason football workouts are not required but strongly suggested if players want to improve and show the coach dedication.
Not all sports have summer workouts. Wrestling, a winter sport, gets a head start on the season in early September. Optional training is fours day a week in the wrestling room for specific training and the weight room for lifting.
Senior James Giaccia appreciated the reacclimation time as a time for him and the program to improve.
“Everyone’s just getting a feel for the sport again” Giaccia said. “It gets you in shape and ready for the season.”
Like cross country and football, the wrestling preseason helps athletes get to know the coach and the program. Wrestlers can work on strategies one on one with the coach as well as show him they are serious about their season.
Lacrosse, a spring sport, has started preseason workouts in September. Paly coach D.J. Shelton has designed a weekly workout plan for the team. The plan includes diverse cardio workouts, strict lifting and morning circuits. Senior players lead the workouts and take attendance so coach Shelton knows players’ levels of commitment.
Lacrosse preseason also includes morning practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:15.
Regardless of the sport, Paly athletes put in a lot of work. Preseason work shows commitment, allows players to hone their skills and acclimates them to the respective programs. Serious competitors should find out what offseason work they can do from returning players.
“What you put into [your sport] is really what you get out of it. If you are willing to put in the work then you will get results,” Olmstead said.