Athletes train, work to prepare for new season

As University of Indianapolis athletic teams begin to attend start dates for practices, games and matches, their summer training comes to a close. Throughout the offseason, coaches are banned from holding practices and team meetings.  However, all athletes are encouraged to workout for their respective sports on their own. Which means that once practices begin, their hard work should make for a stark contrast between the spring and fall season in terms of fitness improvement. Head coach of UIndy baseball Al Ready said the first few practices lets all of the coaches know who has been working out and who hasn’t and the very few who don’t tend to fall behind others. Ready enters his second season as head coach and he intends to echo the coaching philosophy of past years and improve all around as the 2020 season ensues.

“I feel like we’ve really placed a lot of stock in our player development over the past ten years or so,” Ready said. “One thing we have that most other small colleges aren’t as lucky to have is our full time strength and conditioning staff.”

Photo by Tony Reeves Junior Back Dana Youffef lines up for a kick while practicing with other teammates. Coaches cannot hold practices throughout the summer, so many practice on their own.

Student athletes work directly with Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Steve Barrick in order to develop a summer training plan. Sophomore throwers Tyler Gilbert and Michaela Adams highlight aspects of their workouts that are applied to their summer routines. 

“An average workout would consist of about two hours in the weight room working on arm, upper body and leg strength,” Adams said. “Then about an hour and a half of throwing.”

According to Gilbert, an athletes time spent working out differs based on their role on the team. Gilbert said that gym time can consist of  body weight workouts as well as specific lifts including cleans, squats and snatches. This allows them to work every muscle that they would use in their throwing position.

Along with baseball and track, there is a short offseason for greyhound men’s soccer. However, this offseason is cut even shorter than last year’s. Every four years, the Men’s Soccer team has the opportunity to travel out of the country and play in various exhibition matches. Their last trip took them on a flight to Haiti where they practice some of their preseason skills. 

Over the summer,  Head Soccer  Coach John Higgins and his team traveled to Toronto, Canada to play internationally. Higgins stated that the organization has very fit and good incoming and returning players that will fill the shoes of the five players that graduated last season. 

Higgins said that his outlook on the entire UIndy athletics program’s teams’ upcoming season is positive and goals are within reach.

“I think that [an NCAA tournament appearance] is very reasonable for every UIndy sports team as a reach goal,” Higgins said. “I think the big thing for us is to be dominant in our conference…we are one of the teams that could win a national championship, but our main goal is getting a win in that NCAA tournament.”

Higgins said the program tends to have a tough time finding places for the team to play soccer at a high enough level during the summer without fatiguing them too much.

“It is hard to believe that we are a D2 school,” Higgins said. “All of our teams can and have been competing at D1 intensity because of their ability to return to campus already equipped with the necessary fitness.”

As the hard work begins to transition into practices, games and matches for the Hounds, students are encouraged to attend sporting events in order to experience the high level of sport entertainment that UIndy has to offer.