Training over the summer improves an athlete’s skill set and confidence, allowing her to start a new season stronger than ever before. Coaches at Archer suggest that runners, tennis players, and volleyball players alike look for opportunities to practice over the summer through the Archer Off-Season Program, individually, or with private coaches to prepare for their fall seasons.
This year, Emily Ward ‘15 benefitted from the Archer summer beach volleyball sessions, Chloe Mills ‘13 spent her time with a private tennis trainer, and Becca Samuelson ‘13 dedicated herself to a training schedule of her own. Here, they tell The Oracle the basics of their success stories.
This summer, sophomore Emily Ward ’15 participated in Archer’s summer beach volleyball camp. Hosted at the Annenberg facility, players and coaches met twice a week to play in the sand. In a few short training sessions, she saw her speed improving considerably. “Running on the sand not only makes you stronger,” says Ward, “but it increases your speed in the gym tenfold. Playing on the beach also exposes you to different conditions and raises the stakes; you’re often playing with or against girls above your level, which forces you to quickly improve your own game.”
Senior, Becca Samuelson ‘13, describes her experience training for cross country over the summer individually. She says, “I ran about six days/week for the entire summer. I tried every type of terrain; I sometimes ran on the beach path with friends, did laps around my neighborhood park, explored Los Angeles en route to a friend’s house, or used the grass of my local soccer field.”
Senior, Chloe Mills ‘13, trained with a personal coach in the months leading up to her fall tennis season and enjoyed the sense of preparation she experienced in September. She notes, “it improves my game and helps me stay in shape for…tennis season at Archer.” Like Chloe, Emily and Becca are both grateful for their off-season practice that kept them fit and ready for volleyball and cross country.
Although motivating oneself without teammates and coaches present can be difficult, many athletes benefit from some practice time solo.
Becca comments on the liberty she enjoyed during her pre-season: “I really missed my team and couldn’t wait to get back on the field together when school started up again. But, without a team and a set training schedule, I had more freedom to address my own strengths and weaknesses as a cross country runner. I forced myself to experiment with runs of all lengths, ranging from a short 1 mile sprint to an 8.5 mile adventure around West Los Angeles.”
New students can use Archer’s summer sports programs to get to know their future teammates and classmates before school begins. Older students can use the opportunity to revive the old camaraderie from the year before. Emily says, “Every summer you get the chance to practice with Varsity players in a low-stress environment, and not only does it help make new friendships, but you’re exposed to a mindset that will take you ahead of your game and to a higher level.”
Numerically, the positive effects of summer training are clear. Becca notes, “I timed myself throughout the summer and saw the results of my pre-season training almost immediately. Not only did my mile time decrease by over a minute but I looked and felt like a real runner.” When the season began in September, Becca had surpassed her records from the previous season, was more in-shape than ever before, and thrilled to be reunited with the team.
Chloe took her summer training to focus on specific skills like “footwork and endurance exercises to keep [her] stamina at a high level.” Mills supports the idea of consistent, game-like practice to keep both her mind and body ready for competition. “In addition to off court training, I drill and play matches to maintain my timing and speed,” she explains.
After spending most of her summer working on her speed and spiking, Emily dove back into indoor volleyball at the start of the season. After a few games, several people remarked how well she was hitting. One Archer parent noted, “It’s a hundred and two percent better than last year.” She continued to improve as the season went on, and was even awarded All-Tournament player at the Dig Pink tournament in early November.
Whether alone, one-on-one, or with a team setting, pre-season preparation can have dramatic positive effects on the athlete’s skill and attitude. Chloe, Becca, and Emily all recently finished their fall seasons and look back with pride on their accomplishments as reflections of their dedication in the summer months.
Featured Image: Beach volleyball team. Photo Source: Archer Athletics