Training During the Offseason: The Importance of Conditioning for Sports

Nayan Kondapalli, Staff Writer

When it comes to high-school sports, most students think about the somewhat short season of games that last for a few months, only to see them again the next year. But there is a lot more that goes on than games, and to ensure student-athletes are prepared to play better than ever during the season, there’s a period of time athletes, specifically football players, take advantage of called the “offseason.” 

The offseason is an important time for the football team to improve their skills without the competitive edge. The football coach uses this time to keep their athletes in shape, run scrimmages, test out new plays, and assign positions to each player. In doing so, the football team can improve upon the mistakes and shortcomings from the previous season, while allowing new players to get accustomed to the game. 

Freshman football player Khush Lalchandani  played multiple positions on the defensive line and offensive line. According to him, the offseason serves as a period of time where athletes can relax after a long season. 

“After our last game of the season, we take a break and celebrate the end of the football year,” Lalchandani said. “But come second semester, everything’s back to normal.”

Athletes have to be in shape, especially for football, which requires athletes to be strong and have lots of stamina. According to Lalchandani, Conditioning requires time and consistent workouts, and offseason practices are the perfect time to do that.

“One of the things we consistently do in our football class is lift weights to maintain our strength, and make us less injury-prone for the next season,” Lalchandani said. “This is something we consistently do, it doesn’t matter what time in the season it is.”

Senior Ryan Aparicio plays multiple defensive and offensive positions on the football team and noted the varying skills and jobs each position is responsible for. According to him, while keeping up personal fitness is important for athletes to play well in a game, it is also important to know how to play the game as efficiently and effectively as possible.

“A lot of people might think that players just go out on the field, running however they want or trying their best to sack the quarterback, but there is a lot more to it,” Aparicio said. “Every time we’re out on the field, there’s some set play that we’re trying to execute. We’ll have memorized a bunch of these plays and decide which one works best based on what the other team is doing. The better we follow the play, the higher chance we have of doing what we got to do.”

Even though all the plays in a book could be perfectly practiced, there is always a chance that competition can throw in something new. According to Aparicio, the offseason provides the perfect opportunity to touch up on skills and prepare for the unexpected.

“We can’t just memorize all the plays and say, ‘Alright we’re done’; we need to find a way to improve upon what we have and come up with new strategies,” Aparicio said. “This is why, aside from the practice we have during the season, we’ll play scrimmages and perfect what we have in spring so we turn out better next year.”

Sophomore Adith Chagarlamudi plays defense on the football team and also has football as an athletic period that provides extra time to practice. According to him, this period gives him the opportunity to condition as well as bond with his teammates. 

  “During our football athletic period we would go into the weight rooms and squat or bench,” Chagarlamudi said. “A lot of the time we’re challenging others to see the most they can lift or bench. For the most part it’s fun rather than feeling tedious, we get to hang out with our teammates and there’s not much that makes us feel like we’re doing this out of our own will.”

Alongside preparing athletes for the next season, athletes are able to form friendships while working out. According to Chagarlamudi, conditioning also helps athletes not only improve at football, but also get workouts without having to carve out time in their schedules. 

 “It’s nice that we get to do this since I don’t have to take a separate time of day out of my schedule to work out, I could just do it while preparing for football,” Chagarlamudi said. “With football, it’s a constant grind, and I’m just glad I can come out benefiting from it aside from the sport.”

The offseason practices for football are set to continue until early October next season. The players will practice every football athletic class or every Tuesday and Thursday morning for weight training. Scrimmages are supposed to begin sometime in March or April, while general workouts and practices will continue throughout summer leading up to next year’s season.