For most Greeley students, summer is a well-deserved break from the stresses that consume the school year. They no longer spend their days completing piles of homework, waking up at 6:30 a.m., and preparing for exams. During summer, most students can finally relax. But those months off from school can be anything but relaxing for athletes intending to play a fall sport. For these students, every bit of free time that comes with summer is spent training for preseason, which begins in August.
Although running through the heat of summer seems unappealing for many students, Greeley varsity athletes complete ambitious summer training routines over the summer to prepare for their fall sports seasons. Junior Max Notarnicola, a three-season varsity runner, says, “For the first few weeks of the summer, I plan to run about 20-25 miles per week. By the middle of the summer I plan to increase my distance to about 30-35 miles. Leading up to preseason, I plan to run over 45 miles and I will also be doing some speed work on the track. The speed work will most likely include mile repeats at around a five minute pace.” Nortaricola’s demanding summer training will prepare him well for his cross country meets in the fall.
Preparing for the Fall Season
Cross country coach and Spanish teacher Mr. McKenney can attest to the importance of running over the summer to prepare for the upcoming season. “Running and conditioning is our sport. All cross country runners who want to do well need to run over the summer,” McKenney explains. But he admits that not all runners follow as strict of a training regiment as Notarnicola does because “summer commitments and camps make it hard to find the time to run.”
While sports that revolve around running require rigorous training, the workouts that other varsity athletes complete over the summer to prepare for the fall sports season are equally as demanding. Captain of the Greeley Girls Varsity Soccer Team and junior Rebecca Putnam says that she stays active during the summer to stay in “soccer shape,” and tries to vary her workouts to avoid injury, as she works on different parts of her game.
She states, “Two or three mornings a week, I go to my SPARQ (speed, power, agility, reaction, quickness) trainer Andrew Abt in New Rochelle, and three nights a week, I work on technique in a co-ed soccer clinic for serious high school players and college athletes home for the summer. I also practice on my own to improve specific skills like shooting.” As captain, she will also be holding kickarounds for girls who plan to try out for the varsity team.
Younger Athletes Train Just as Hard
Although upperclassmen complete rigorous training schedules to prepare for preseason, younger varsity athletes are just as committed to maintaining their fitness over the summer. A member of the Greeley girls varsity field hockey and lacrosse teams, freshman Grace Arrese explains that she plays on a club lacrosse team four times a week, and also finds time to play on her club field hockey team, which the varsity field hockey coach runs.
Arrese’s training doesn’t stop at team practices and games. “During quiet weeks,” she says, “I go on runs with my sisters and grab a field hockey or lacrosse stick and head to the turf at Greeley.” For a varsity athlete, training for preseason is a time consuming, summer-long commitment. While many non-athletes get discouraged from exercising as the temperature rises, how do Greeley athletes stay committed to their training, especially during summer? Putnam says that she is able to stick to her training plan because she knows that “in the long run, [she] is not only improving [herself], but [she] is also benefiting [her] school and club teams.” She also explains that “improving should always make an athlete excited!”
Keeping Their Eyes on the Prize
Other athletes echo Putnam’s sentiment. “Having a decisive schedule for working out helps me stay committed,” says Notarnicola. Making a plan is the first step to sticking to summer training. He also states that “a strong work ethic is the most important characteristic to staying in shape.” Athletes must be willing to run through 80 degree temperatures, knowing that their preparation will benefit their teams in the fall.
Ultimately, though the training that Greeley varsity athletes complete over the summer is strenuous and time consuming, their hard work to maintain fitness is well worth the effort, because as Grace Arrese explains, “It is the best feeling when I arrive prepared for preseason.”