No rest for the weary as some athletic practices continue over break

Olivia McDougall '23, Copy Editor

SWIM OR SNOW Some athletic teams, like the Boy’s Swim Team, may be expected to attend practice over the Christmas break. (Amanda Frantz ’23)

Break is an opportunity for many students to take some time to themselves and decompress, which is especially important during the holiday season. Families book vacations and value spending time together and breaking away from their tight schedules. Because of this, having to attend practice over the break may not be what every athlete had in mind. Athletic Director Brandon Wheeler wants student athletes to know that there is no need to be stressed.

“The coaches can hold optional practices,” Wheeler said. “I would say for students that are struggling with this to first have a conversation with their coach.”

According to Wheeler, practices over break should never be mandatory and are often more relaxed.

“Kids do enjoy playing sports; that’s the whole reason they do it, but it should never be mandatory,” Wheeler said.

Practices over break, on the other hand, are heavily dependent on whether or not the coach’s schedule aligns with them..

“Coaches need to be there at practice, so when it comes to practicing over break it is case by case,” Wheeler said, “These practices are very untraditional and include other factors like ice rink availability for example.”

While practices are always optional on breaks, there can be issues when events like competitions and tournaments come about. Historically, these tournaments have less of an impact on Winter break, and more of an impact on Spring break.

“If there’s a state tournament over break, that’s something that is unavoidable,” Wheeler said. “But we don’t want to overextend our students and want to give them time to rest with their families.”

To improve, it’s important for us to be in the pool a lot over break. Just so we don’t lose any momentum going into all of these rapid- fire meets we have after break.

— Abe Mercer

According to Abe Mercer ’23, these optional practices might not have the best turnout. Between students’ traveling and spending time with their families, many might not even show. The days leading up to Christmas are filled with chaos, occupying students. Other students might be more inclined to show up though, due to their meet on the 29th.

“I would say the 23rd and 26th will have the lowest turnout just because of how close they are to the holidays,” Mercer said.

As for the students who want to practice over break, the benefits ultimately outweigh the disadvantages. Consistently working out will prevent student athletes from coming back from breaks sore and suffering from loss of progress. The best way to stay skilled at a sport is to do it continuously.

“To improve, it’s important for us to be in the pool a lot over break,” Mercer said. “Just so we don’t lose any momentum going into all of these rapid- fire meets we have after break.”

Along with Mercer, Betty Engel ’23 thinks many students will be too busy to attend these optional practices but might still reconsider their plans. Staying in shape will heavily affect an athletes’ performance. According to Engel, she doesn’t think its too big of an issue to skimp out on practices over break.

“I think it’s good to get some time off, but also to think about staying in shape,” Engel said.