Student athletes stay just as busy in the off-season
By Franci Burton
Many athletes are giving their sport all of their blood, sweat, and tears-even in the off-season.
According to Power Bar, an athletic food company and sports blogging website, working in the off-season can help athletes improve greater than those who don’t work in the off-season. Depending on the work athletes do, muscle mass can increase and specific skills for the sport can be improved. Working all year could potentially lead to more success but it takes hard work. Based on what sophomore Heidi Steinert says the hard work is worth it.
“I spend every day at the golf course in the summer so I can improve and get better,” Steinert said. “I work hard and practice a lot and the hard work pays off. This year we won sectionals due to the fact that our team worked so hard to improve.”
The desire to work hard in the off-season can come from many reasons, college scholarship being one of them. According to the NCAA, colleges give scholarships for all different types of sports including basketball, football, dance, golf, and many more. In division I & II schools, athletes can receive athletic scholarships, but division III can only give out academic scholarships. Senior Catlin Lilly signed to play at the University of Memphis on a full-ride scholarship. She says it’s exciting to see her hard work really pay off.
To NAHS football player, junior Mick Wahking, a scholarship could mean more than just playing his sport in college like Lilly.
“College is expensive and sometimes student loans don’t even help,” Wahking said. “It definitely inspires me to work harder in the off-season so I can get a scholarship and not have to pay for college.”
Getting competitive is a common side effect of being an athlete. Many athletes hope to bet he best. With hopes and dreams come goals, and goals can help make hopes and dreams a reality.
“When it comes to volleyball, I get really competitive,” Lilly said. “I love working hard and winning games.”
Off-season work varies depending on the sport at hand. For example, golfers can work in the offseason at the driving range and putting green to improve their swing. Wrestlers like sophomore Hunter Castleberry, focus on running, perfecting wrestling moves, and lifting “constantly.”
“For me, there is no off season,” Castleberry said. “I’m always working on something and getting ready for my next meet. I hope to one day win a national competition and constantly working helps me a lot.”
Outside of the regular school season, many sports have recreational teams and competitions keeping athletes constantly involved. Lilly is a part of a club volleyball team in Louisville called KIVA. She says that it’s a very competitive program, which allows her to work hard and improve due to the players she’s against.
“I get to play against some of the top recruits in the country,” Lilly said. “Playing club helps me to be a smarter player and helps me achieve goals that I work really hard for during my high school season.”
Off-season work could possibly set athletes apart from their competitors. Getting the leg up on an opponent could be the difference between first and second, the win or the loss, and the much loved, bragging rights. Wahking spends about eight hours a week lifting weights in the off-season, with the rest of his teammates. And according to Wahking, working hard pays off.
“All of our hard work really paid off this season,” Wahking said. “Last year we finished 1-9, and this year were going to finish over .500, or even for the season.”