Analyzing how athletes prepare during the offseason

Many professional athletes played multiple sports before eventually narrowing their focus to their main sport. For example, Golden State Warriors point guard and two-time MVP Stephen Curry used to play football, baseball and soccer along with basketball. Playing several sports provides athletes with conditioning for their main sport. At the high school level, athletes similarly play other sports, as well as do conditioning during their offseason by playing in leagues, clubs and tournaments outside of school.

Ray Chang / Aragon Outlook

Aragon offers over 15 sports, and among those options, cross country and swimming are arguably the best sports for improving endurance. Endurance is a key aspect of every sport, as it keeps athletes consistent in their performance. Sophomore Claire Murphy runs in the spring to get prepared for basketball in the winter.

“Running helps my speed, agility and endurance, which is really universal between sports,” she said. “Especially basketball, as I’m faster and have more stamina running down the court.”

Improving endurance is not limited to running. Many of the water polo players compete on the swim team during the spring in order to prepare for the water polo season. It increases their speed and endurance, along with improving their swim stroke.

Several sports provide athletes with optional conditioning opportunities prior to the start of their season, as well as an opportunity to not only transition into the sport at a slower pace, but also be ready to face the competition.

Senior Tommy Cheang, a captain of the boys basketball team, says that having conditioning before the season starts helps get players ready for tryouts.

“Before the season started, we had a group conditioning session where basketball players from … the section came to run and do short and long distance running,” he said. “As far as being in shape, a lot of the guys haven’t really ran or played basketball since the season had ended last year, so it was good to get out there and get our conditioning up.”

Several Aragon athletes play on club teams or take part in coaching sessions and clinics. Aragon sports, including basketball, volleyball, cross country and water polo, provide clinic-style practices during summer. Summer is a key time for athletes to improve, as they have more time to focus on their sport.

“The best way to condition for basketball or any sport is just playing it,” Cheang said. “In that way, summer league helps with your skills and also your conditioning.”

While playing several sports is a great way to condition, some athletes find it difficult to transition between their sports.

“I find transitioning from baseball season to basketball season pretty easy the only thing I need to do is get in shape,” said sophomore Matthew Mukai. “However, transitioning from basketball to baseball is much harder because I have to reshape my mechanics.”

One challenge presented in transitioning between sports is having to work different muscle groups. While this can be solved over time, reshaping skills and mechanics after an offseason poses a major difficulty. It comes with increased practice, as well as extensive coaching for the athlete to readjust their skills and refocus on their new sport for the upcoming season.

For athletes who wish to bring their game to the next level, spending time outside of the season, to not only improve skills, but to also improve endurance and strength provides an opportunity for significant improvement.

Posted by Anish Malla

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