Student-athletes prepare for summer off-season

Photo illustration by Nicole Swift

By Christopher Smith

Sports at Western end at different times of the year. However, all student-athletes have to prepare for the summer, which involves different workout and training programs to keep improving.

Student-athletes who participate in fall sports find their summers ending early due to the arrival of fall practices and games. Athletes who compete in winter and spring sports must work hard to stay on top of their game in preparation for the season that seems far away, but will approach quickly.

Madeline McPherson, a third-year student-athlete and stunt lead on the cheer team, knows just how important it is to have a set schedule for summer workouts.

“We have set practices throughout the summer,” McPherson said. “These practices lead up to cheer camp in early August where we learn new skills.”

She said cheer camp is a great opportunity for the team as a whole.

“Camp is awesome because we are surrounded by Division I schools like the University of Washington, Washington State University and the University of Oregon, which allows us to branch out and represent Division II,” McPherson said.

According to McPherson, the cheer team does a good job of sending out their summer practice schedule in advance so members of the team can arrange their work schedules around practices.

She added that the cheer team enjoys representing their school even during the summer.

“After camp, we don’t have set practices until the first week of school,” McPherson said. “However, we have some events and games we attend to help support and promote WWU.”

Third-year goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team Natalie Dierickx spends her summers staying in the game and follows a fitness packet that the team has to stay active.

The fitness packet includes workouts to complete over the summer, Dierickx said. This leaves her with time to do the other things she wants to do. 

“I am a part of a semi-pro team this summer so that is two times a week for two hours and then finding about 45 minutes to an hour time frame to do the fitness packet every weekday,” Dierickx said.

Dierickx said her summer gets cut short with Western’s first exhibition game scheduled for the end of August.

While both women’s soccer and track & field have their own summer workout programs, the track & field regular season just ended last week.

Third-year student-athlete Cordell Cummings, who runs hurdles for the track & field team, says they have a short break in between the regular season and summer training.

“After the season ends for some mid-May, others the end of May, we have a four week rest period to recover from our nine month season,” Cummings said. “After the four weeks are up, coach will send us some weekly exercises to do.”

Garrett Davies, a second-year track & field member, is able to use many resources to stay active throughout the summer.

“Training doesn’t really affect how I spend my summer because most places have a track and a gym somewhere nearby,” Davies said. “They may not be as nice as our facilities but they’re still there.”

His summer workouts involve specific activities that allow him to feel prepared going into the new school year.

“I haven’t received my summer workout schedule yet, but in the past it’s been a lot of general movement activities and a lot of high-rep workouts,” Davies said. “So we can go into fall training already feeling strong before we get into specific movements and form work.”

Cummings knows that these may not be the most rigorous workouts, but they are still very important.

“Each week he will check in and give us a new training plan,” Cummings said. It’s nothing too intense, it just keeps us in shape during the summer break.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to hard work, and Cummings knows the value that this has.

“Summer break differs for varsity student-athletes, at least in track, in the fact that you have to continue to train and represent the university in a positive way.”

Western athletics saw a large amount of success during the 2018-2019 school year, and the student-athletes have made it clear they intend to maintain that success throughout the summer months.

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