Illustration by Siena Laws
Playing sports in high school is demanding; not only must athletes keep up with the busy sports schedules, they must balance it with their academics as well. Passion for sports drives student athletes to work hard in sports and school, but even the strongest need a break. For many, summertime is a time for relaxation, with a break from the everyday stress of school.
However, for many of Berkeley High School’s (BHS) student athletes, summertime does not mean a break from sports. Many sports teams, such as crew, cross country, and track and field, hold summer practices, most of which are optional. Coaches also send out the workout via email, so that the runners can keep up with the conditioning, even if they are traveling. Corina Bondi, a cross country runner, explained that her coaches recognize summer as a busy time for many, so they don’t put too much pressure on athletes to attend the summer practices. Nonetheless, there’s an expectation, from both the coaches and the athletes themselves, to stay in shape for the upcoming fall season.
BHS Crew holds three weeks of practice over the summer; the first two week are optional and the last week before school starts is mandatory. Anya Tucker, a varsity coxswain, said that more than anything, summer practices are quite beneficial for the team. The optional weeks are low pressure, allowing for rowers to maintain their skills during the summer, and are also fun to attend.
Summer practices are a way for student athletes to stay in shape during the two-month break. Although there may be moderate pressure on athletes to attend the practices, it is a matter of balancing their summer break plans and the sports to which they’re committed.