The girls crew team row on erg machines in the auditorium lobby.

Preseason training keeps sport teams in shape for season

Athletes clench their fists around bench press bars, grit their teeth as coach Brian Coleman yells encouragement. This is a common scene for athletes walking into the lifting room, one of the many training facilities used at the high school.

Sport seasons no longer begin at tryouts and end at the banquet; many sports require year-round training. Athletes stay in shape for their year round sport, attending morning running, lifting and using specially designed crew workout machine called ergs. All spring sport teams are involved in preseason training but some training may be cuttng into time for school and extracurriculars. One of the most popular ways spring athletes prepare for their season is lifting.

The Upper Arlington Rotary Fitness Center, otherwise known as the weight or lifting room, gives athletes a convenient and free location to strengthen their muscles before and throughout the year.

Senior softball captain Brooke Hauser lifts with her team twice a week in preparation for the upcoming season.

“I think our team benefits from lifting, because everyone gets stronger so they are able to do better in games,” Hauser said.

Hauser explained that lifting is great team bonding. Lifting as a team allows athletes to get to know each other before and during the season.

“Another important aspect of lifting is that it creates team unity because everyone gets to know each other and we find out the strengths or weaknesses of each player,” Hauser said.

Hauser described how their preseason training affects their eventual season record.

“Team unity plays a huge role in determining if we will win or lose a game,” she said.

Hauser added that the attitudes inside the lifting room are positive. Athletes are there to push themselves and their teammates to get better.

“The atmosphere in the lifting room is very upbeat and there’s always loud music playing,” Hauser said. “Coach Coleman or McBride will go around and encourage everyone. If you’re struggling with a lift, teammates are always there to pick you up and push you to get better.”

Softball is not the only sport that benefits from lifting. Sophomore Jake Fowler participates in track and said he believes that lifting has improved his overall running technique, as well as that of the team.

“I think we benefit from [lifting] because the stronger you are, the more you can push with your legs and the faster you can pump your arms,” Fowler said.

Fowler agreed that the lifting environment is welcoming.

“The atmosphere, for me at least, is light-hearted,” he said. “For the most part everyone wants to be there and get better, making it even more fun.”

Lifting along with other training helps get the track team ready for season but the training interferes with friends and schoolwork time.

Crew teams also participate in lifting to keep their muscles toned for the upcoming season.

However, while lifting is a common preseason option for spring athletes, the crew teams benefit from erging.

Ergs are rowing machines used during the indoor season, that mimic the actions used in an actual boat.

Freshman Grace Saalman who rows in a freshman boat for the crew team said erging improves their teams’ performance.

“Erging keeps up our fitness levels, helps us with posture and allows us to use the same muscles we use on the water,” she said.

Although year round rowing improves the team as whole, it is difficult for rowers to play more than one sport.

“Approximately 10 out of the 50 rowers play other sports along with crew,” Saalman said.

While lifting improves muscle strength, morning running gets athletes in the best possible shape for the season ahead.

Morning running is open to all sports and is held in the varsity gym from 6:15- 7:15 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning in January and continuing through February. One of the downsides of this early bird workout is the need for transportation of athletes who cannot drive.

Preseason training clearly improves spring athletes performance and record.Time spent in the lifting room, morning running drills and on crew ergs all allow athletes to improve. •