On Nov. 3, SIS began its winter sports season with basketball and cheerleading tryouts. To help students prepare for the tryouts, the school hosted cheer clinics and open gyms for any prospective athletes. For varsity cheerleaders, the clinics were strongly recommended in order to learn the routine for the tryouts. Basketball players were also advised to come to open gym sessions to practice some drills and techniques. Both sports have used these programs to help students polish their skills after the offseason.
“The cheer clinics helped me practice the jumps, stretches, dances, and tumbles,” said Jasmine Kim (10), varsity cheerleader. “I’m sad that we can’t participate in games because we helped the players engage with school spirit. It was also fun to be with other students and watch the games. Still, I am looking forward to devoting myself to practicing for KAIAC since we don’t have games.”
Cheer clinics were used as introductions to cheerleading for new members. In addition to a basic overview of cheer, common skills and techniques are also explained. On the other hand, returning members reviewed old concepts and practiced their dance routines. The cheer tryouts include chants and dances, both of which were rehearsed at the clinics. The basketball team hosted open gyms, where students had a chance to play against other students in practice games. They served as a way for athletes to return to form without being under too much pressure. Coaches were also present to give additional feedback to the students. All of that practice helped players warm up for the tryouts.
“The tryouts were relatively similar to last year’s tryouts, but because of the coronavirus, there were more strict restrictions in terms of social distancing regulations,” said Andrew Ham (10), JV basketball player. “I’m looking forward to this season because it’s a fresh start, even with the pandemic. I feel like the season will be a little more strange and cautious, but I’m still thankful that we have a season at all.”
Though preparations and tryouts have been on schedule, this season will look different from last year. Due to COVID protocols, cheerleaders will only compete in an inter-school tournament instead of cheering at basketball games. Basketball games will be played without an audience, and masks will be necessary at tryouts, practices, and games. Tournaments including international schools from other countries, such as the Association of International Schools in Asia (AISA), will not be held. These restrictions were applied to the fall sports season and will remain as long as concerns related to COVID remain. Still, the winter season will be an opportunity for students to display their improved skills.
“It’s harder for the athletes in this year’s season so far,” said Tim Munro, varsity basketball coach. “There are a number of obstacles that everyone must overcome. I’ve thought about the absence of an audience, and for our players, having the gym full for a home game really helps them out. But, just like we’ve seen in the NBA bubble, it will have to be on the players to generate the home-game audience’s excitement. I think it will actually be a great thing for our guys to get into games while on the bench and have players mentally engaged when their number is called to enter the game.”