For many high schoolers, sports are a big part of their lives because of the achievements they can garner and the increased sense of competition they face. Unlike the playful, friendly mood of practices and “jamborees” that is propagated throughout middle school, varsity sports have a sense of unique seriousness integrated through the intense matches. This apparent amongst athletes is shown in the increased amount of effort put in by the players to improve and attain the title of a varsity athlete. In order to help aspiring student athletes to improve their skills and abilities, winter sports teams have recently started hosting Open Gyms.
“I think that Open Gym is really beneficial because it ensures that we aren’t way off shape when the actual season starts,” said Eddie Choe (10), JV boys basketball athlete. “Not only does help us practice our skills, but it also motivates us by looking it players who have improved a lot.”
Winter sports consist of basketball and cheerleading, and the basketball team has already started their Open Gym sessions to help returning players recover to playing condition and experience what the sport is like in high school. In addition, these practices not only allow the players to improve their skills, but also help them get familiar with the potential players on the team. Since a lot of interactions are made between players both on and off the court, relationships among players are crucial to the performance of the team.
“While I am kind of intimidated, I do look forward to attending Open Gym sessions,” said John Jung (9), an aspiring basketball player. “I hope I can make friends with the upperclassmen and improve my skills.”
The sessions consist of a variety of drills that help players practice and enhance their skills that they can employ during games. This includes dribbling, passing, free throws, and shooting practices from in and out the three point line. In fact, players are divided up into groups to run practice games against each other, simulating situations that may occur in real matches. Often times, the more experienced players, mostly seniors, take responsibility of executing drills and practices.
“I believe that Open Gym is a valuable opportunity for all students trying out for basketball,” said Chris Koester, Varsity Girls Basketball Coach. “ It’s a chance for them to gain hands-on experience of the drills and skills with past varsity players.”
Open Gym sessions are extremely beneficial for returning and aspiring players who want to get in shape for their respective seasons. Many other sport athletes, such as volleyball players, swimmers, and chearleaders also go out of their ways to gather students and practice by themselves so that they can improve their player to player cohesion and individual skills. This is the extent that student athletes at SIS go to in order to demonstrate peak performance within their teams. Whether the efforts of players at the Open Gym pays off during the season is the real question.