Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Do Athletes Ever Get a Rest? Examining the Offseason on Different Teams at Oberlin

Although college athletes officially compete in just one season per sport, they are often practicing and putting in extensive effort throughout the year. Winter and spring sports, like lacrosse, tennis, and track & field, participate in an offseason during the fall, while fall sports like volleyball have their offseason in the spring.

This past January, the NCAA made changes to rules surrounding on and offseason practice scheduling starting this semester. Specifically, they have changed the measurement for the length of the season from weeks to days.

“A new playing seasons structure for all sports besides football will be established that eliminates weeks as a measurement for a season,” the NCAA website says. “This establishes a traditional start and end date for fall and spring segments, increases the nontraditional segment interaction from 16 to 24 days, measures the winter sports season by 114 days with the flexibility to use eight days before or after the season, and measures seasons for sports such as golf, rowing, and tennis by 114 days.”

The changes to the rules will likely equate to a more intense or longer offseason, which the NCAA calls “nontraditional segment interaction.”

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Natalie Dufour, a third-year middle hitter on the volleyball team, appreciates what the offseason can do for her individually and for the team as a whole. She asserts that the offseason is really what athletes make of it, and that individuals and teams who work incredibly hard will then see the results and rewards in the fall.

“In my past couple of years here, what [the offseason] has looked like is practice three times a week, and also we lift twice a week when we have practices with coaches,” Dufour said. “It’s more focused on individual skills and breaking down mechanics, while during the season in the fall, we’re much more focused on team dynamics and building those connections.”

Since volleyball is a fall sport, the team begins competition around the beginning of the school year. Due to the immediacy of the season, volleyball players, like all fall athletes, must treat the summer as a continuation of their offseason. Dufour said players must maintain their fitness and practice regularly during the summer in order to compete well in the fall.

Myranda Montoye, a fourthyear on the cross country and track & field teams, agreed with Dufour’s statements. She said that since track is such a technique and effort based sport, not training regularly will have immediate detrimental effects to runners’ speeds and times.

“The sport of running doesn’t allow you to take much time off because it’s not really a skillbased sport — you have to run,” Montoye said. “If you take more than a week or two off, you’re losing fitness.”

Montoye joined the cross country team this year as additional offseason training for her track season. She runs the 400-meter, which is a quarter-mile, either one lap around the outdoor track or two laps around the indoor track. She said that her issue is less her speed and more her endurance in the race, and that cross country training will improve her endurance and track results greatly.

Gavin Girard, a third-year defender on the men’s lacrosse team, is also in favor of the intensity and workload in the offseason. Lacrosse has three scrimmages in the fall offseason, two against other colleges and one against alumni. The rest of their offseason includes practices and additional lifting.

“Typically, we’ll go three times a week, go for about two hours, but in reality it’s more [like] two and a half hours with stretching and all that kind of stuff,” Girard said. “But it’s pretty intense once we get going.”

Girard, alongside multiple Yeomen on the lacrosse team, competed in a summer league to maintain his fitness and skills. He echoed the sentiments of both Dufour and Montoye.

“Absolutely [the offseason] helps,” Girard said. “I think especially with a huge [first-year] class of guys coming in who are learning the ropes of things, having the time and scrimmaging in the fall is huge for building that chemistry we’re gonna need.”

Volleyball’s next game is today in Wooster against St. Mary’s College of Indiana, lacrosse has its alumni game Saturday, Sept. 23 at 3 p.m., and track and field will likely start their season around early December.

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