Two of the longest, hardest weeks in an athlete's season are completed before the first game is even played. It's preseason training.
If winning is important, preseason workouts are essential. A team can rarely be successful during the season after an uninspired training camp, a fact that few coaches dispute.
While the value of preseason workouts can't be disputed, the objectives coaches seek vary from team to team. Some coaches stress conditioning to prepare players for a demanding schedule, while others focus on reemphasizing basic skills.
Other coaches may use preseason workouts to build on players' existing levels of fitness. Chris Barker, head coach of the men's soccer team, strives to achieve three main goals, including getting players conditioned to play a full game. Every other morning his players go on a two- or three-mile run. Barker also emphasizes teamwork and getting his players back into the rhythm of playing a game. "We break down into three-on-three situations, building to five-on-five and on up to 11-on-11. It's important for the team to learn to gel instead of being 11 individuals on the field."
Preseason is also a time for players to get to know one another. "We use this time to build team spirit and learn about each other's strengths and weaknesses as players," said Mindy Manolovich, head coach for field hockey. "During the season you have to focus on preparing for your opponents as a team rather than on improving or practicing individual skills."
--by Scott Wargo
See the Related Article: 18-17! Oberlin yeomen end 40-game losing streak!
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