Athletes Put in Grueling Hours of Training Before Winter Season Begins

Senior Veronica Schwartz and teammate scrimmage during practice.
Senior Veronica Schwartz and teammate scrimmage during practice.
Sam Lewin

Junior Goldi Aschkenasy is in position to shoot as she accelerates into a big jump and releases the basketball. 

Many winter sports teams begin their seasons this week, but Ashkenasy, like all winter athletes, has been working on her skills every day for months in preparation for her upcoming season.

Throughout  the fall, girls basketball has been holding two open gym practices a week to improve their fundamentals and agility.         

In open gyms we tend to focus more on fundamentals that will later turn into more advanced skills so when we do lots of ball handling, we work on our stamina, ability with hand eye coordination, and the fundamentals of the sport,” Aschkenasy said.

Aschkenasy explained that aggression, speed and ability to learn are some of the most important qualities a good basketball player has to have. 

Due to the fast pace of the game, a strong basketball player needs a lot of stamina to keep a vigorous pace up and down the court as well as upper body strength for ball handling skills.

 “After practices I lift and continue to practice on my own so I can fix all the little mistakes,”  Aschkenasy said.

The boys basketball team practices three times a week, typically Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday in  the fall until their season starts and then they practice every day. 

The team trains by running multiple drills, scrimmaging and practicing plays they will run during the season.

They drill fundamentals as well as working on strength and agility in the pre-season.

Junior Nick Reese is focused on preparing his body for the season.

“I’m weight training, going to the gym four  times a week, including the days I have open gym, practicing basketball myself at different gyms around Beachwood and making sure my diet is balanced,” he said.

Reese explained that players need strong shooting and dribbling skills as well as endurance. 

Ashkenasy feels that basketball is about more than the points scored.  

Basketball for me is the majority of what I do in my life,” Aschkenasy said. “The sport has not only taught me lessons in basketball but also life lessons.” 

Reese agrees that the sport has taught him lessons beyond the court.

“[Basketball has taught me] not to give up, not to be held back from a past game or play, and to just train my best and the results will come,”  Reese said.

Swimmers are also training intensely for their season. 

The swim team has pre-season practices every day. These practices are held on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 3:15 to 6:00. On Tuesdays and Thursdays they have morning practices from 6:00 to 7:45 a.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 to 11:00 am. 

The team swims thousands of yards each practice to build stamina and to improve their times. 

The team also lifts weights to gain strength and muscle.

The amount of  strength swimmers have determines how much force their muscles can pull in the water. 

I try to stretch a lot; keeping your body loose is very important,” sophomore Max Rose said.

Swimmers also need to take care of their bodies and eat appropriately. 

“I try to eat healthier foods and try to eat more than 2000 calories,” Rose said. 

Keeping a balanced diet is important in training for any sport because it helps athletes maintain energy they need to keep active throughout the day. It also provides the nutrients needed for growth and repair.

There are many times when I don’t want to do a workout or do not want to go to an early morning meeting, but I still do. You have to be able to do things that make you uncomfortable.

— Senior Sprinter Kylie Walters

The wrestling team has also been focused intensely on the upcoming season.

Coach Greenwood is in the wrestling room every day during the off-season working with wrestlers on their training.

Many Beachwood wrestlers also participate in fall sports, which helps them stay in shape. 

“I think it is extremely important to cross-train,” senior Jacob Goldman said. “I lift and run every day; sometimes I do assault bike sprints too.”  

Strength and the ability to  move quickly are two of the biggest components in wrestling, as you need to be strong to defend and take out your opponents. 

 “A good wrestler needs fast hands and feet,” Goldman said. “Your hands need to be quick in order to set up shots and defend opponents’ shots, and fast feet are needed to keep motion in the match, as well as avoid the opponent taking your legs out.”

“You need a strong neck, back and core,” Goldman added. “Without good endurance in these muscles, you will quickly fatigue and fall out of your stance. Your head will fall down and you will likely stand straighter up. Your opponent will quickly exploit this and take you to the ground.” 

Between the fall and winter season, the cheerleading team also works hard to improve before the winter season begins. 

“We had a CVC showcase on Oct. 29 , which showed off our dance, cheer and chants,” junior Kelsey Cohen said. “This requires us to start practices earlier in the fall. We also have practices just for officer positions and new cheerleaders to learn the cheers.” 

The commitment for cheerleading is actually almost an entire year. The team holds tryouts in late April and pre-season summer practices so the girls already know which team they have made going into the season.

In summer practices and throughout the fall they work on repetition, sharpness and memorizing the cheers that new cheerleaders have to learn.

You need a strong neck, back and core. Without good endurance in these muscles, you will quickly fatigue and fall out of your stance. Your head will fall down and you will likely stand straighter up. Your opponent will quickly exploit this and take you to the ground.

— Senior Wrestler Jacob Goldman

The BHS track team has also been preparing for their season. 

The indoor track team holds  practice  three times a week throughout  their  pre-season training. 

Training for track involves running exercises followed by lifting. Some days Coach Smith incorporates plyometrics exercises or hills to build  athletes’ athleticism and explosiveness. 

“It’s really important to take care of your body after practice because it’s deprived,” senior Kylie Walters said.. “Some things that I make sure to do after practice are to stretch, ice heat up anything that is bothering me, and have a meal that has protein in it.”  

Track is both physically and mentally demanding. 

“Personally, I need to improve more on the mental aspect of track,” Walters said.  “I would say the track is 90% mental and 10% on how you physically perform. This season I’m going to try to focus more on preparing for meets so I’m able to put more of my energy towards performing and not thinking.”

Indoor track is a big commitment because the team practices once a week at the Spire Institute in Geneva, which is 45-50 minute drive from BHS, and they also have meets there every Saturday. 

What makes a good athlete is a strong mindset. 

“There are many times when I don’t want to do a workout or do not want to go to an early morning meeting, but I still do,” Walters said. “You have to be able to do things that make you uncomfortable.”  

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