Athletes prepare for spring season despite challenges with NCAA regulations

Students, faculty, and Greencastle locals work on their cardio at the Lily Fitness Center. KEISUKE OHTANI

With the winter sports season now in full swing, spring sports are starting their offseason training for the 2019 season. From lacrosse, to track and field, to golf, each sport is trying to get in as much work as possible, looking to improve upon last year’s results. However, this doesn’t come without its challenges.

When speaking to multiple coaches from different teams, they noted how NCAA regulations, which prohibit official team practices before the allowed starting date of their respective seasons, make it difficult to conduct smooth practices with all of their players.

Scott Riggle, head coach of the men’s and women’s tennis teams, understands that he can’t make any workouts mandatory for his players, but hopes that they will work on different skills and techniques during the winter. “At the end of each season, we do give our players guidance and suggestions for how best to prepare for the upcoming season,” Riggle said. “But that’s about as far as we’re allowed to go with it.”

Unable to work with his players during October, November, and December, Baseball Head Coach Blake Allen also struggles with the NCAA rules. “Having guys that are self-motivated, holding each other accountable, and really developing that culture to where they get in [the weight room] on their own is crucial,” Allen said, emphasizing the large trust factor that’s involved between him and his players.

Like many coaches, Allen gives his players a workout plan, and trusts that they will follow it in order to be suitably prepared for their upcoming season. “Right now we’re in a big strength phase,” Allen said. “So not a lot of volume in terms of reps, but really trying to work ground based exercises.”

Coach Allen added that he pushes many strength exercises this offseason due to the drop in extra base hits from a year ago. “We weren’t very physical last year,” Allen said. “We didn’t have a lot of extra base hits, we didn’t hit a lot of home runs… We have some strong kids in this freshmen class… and on top of that, the returning guys have bought into the nutrition side and increased their calories.”

The softball team, which is lead by Head Coach Erica Hanrahan, is asked to meet three times a week, but Hanrahan added that nothing is mandatory. “However, our culture and the pride of our team is heavily centered around comfort in the weight room and a high standard of personal accountability,” Hanrahan said. “So it is unusual to see many, if any, players come into Spring season out of shape.”

Currently, the softball team is working mainly working on team chemistry, as there are 13 freshmen and two new sophomores this spring. Coach Hanrahan said, “Comfort in the weight room and confidence in themselves, and a bonding with one another is what is most important in this off-season.”

Even with the NCAA regulations in place, all teams are making sure to get plenty of offseason work in, and look to keep their team accountability high as they come into the spring season fit and ready to go.