Athletes and coaches both love consistency. Sports teams strive to practice at the same time, have meetings at the same time and even eat at the same time every day.
This year, however, classes at the University of Dallas started a week earlier than usual, disrupting normal preseason for the fall sports. While this may not seem like much of a change to many students, this can greatly affect the schedules of athletes and coaches. A change in schedule can affect practices, preparedness and even team bonding.
Head cross-country coach Matt Barber said that the change in scheduling affected his time to meet the freshmen more than it affected athletic performance.
“I really value that time at the beginning of the year with the new team,” Barber said, mentioning that having freshman orientation during the first few days of preseason also affected the team’s ability to bond.
Head volleyball coach Prentice Lewis commented that even though they had fewer two-a-day practices this year than usual, the time to rest was good for the athletes.
“[Fewer] two-a-day practices is always an issue for coaches, but it was good for the volleyball athletes this year,” Lewis said. “They didn’t get overly exhausted and sore.”
Extra rest is always a welcome gift for an athlete, with much of that additional time going toward athletic treatment, team meetings and studying. That extra rest would go on to help the Crusaders volleyball team in its scrimmage against a skilled club team visiting from China this past week.
Some of this year’s returning athletes barely noticed the change at all. This was the case for junior women’s soccer player Mackenzie Vasile, who attributed the easy transition to the preparedness of the incoming athletes.
“The returners and freshman class came in so fit and focused that we just hit the ground running,” Vasile said. “It was definitely an adjustment, but I don’t think it really mattered to us.”
Vasile and the rest of the women’s soccer team are now looking forward to their first game on Sep. 1 versus Howard Payne University here at UD.
Whoever said that consistency is the key to success, might well have been an athlete. An athlete’s consistent schedule is a byproduct of the staunch discipline it takes to be successful on and off the field, especially at the collegiate level.
But even when that consistency is disrupted by something such as losing necessary practice time, athletes and coaches find ways to adjust, just like they have to adjust on the court or on the field.