Athletes begin preparing for new year

Posted: Sunday, August 08, 2010

Just as schools prepare themselves for a new class, athletes must ready themselves for competition as well.

Preparation is sport specific, said Kenai High School Athletic Director Stacia Rustad, but easing into the season is the best medicine.

"Get out and work out before the season starts," Rustad said.

Students should start working out a few weeks before their season starts.

"There bodies are going to go into shock if they're not doing something," according to the athletic director.

Nikiski Athletic Director Adam Anders said that keeping in contact with coaches or setting out a regime during the summer can help, as well. Both directors recommended doing sport-specific exercises before their season begins.

Rustad said that football players should practice catching, throwing and agility drills before the season starts. The Nikiski athletic director has his team members lift weights three times a week before the season officially begins.

"Not only does it help them improve their strength, bit it also gets their bodies ready for the rigors of the season," he said. "It helps prevent injuries."

Any agility-based exercise will improve their skills and get them ready for competition.

Regular cardiovascular exercises keep the heart pumping and maintain athletic endurance during the off-season.

Participating in a sport over the summer is the best way to prepare. In that sense, Rustad said that cross country runners have it the easiest.

"Cross country is the easiest. Get out on the road and put in some miles," she said.

Basketball and volleyball players should take advantage of open gyms.

Rustad said that students who were active over the summer should take a break before the fall season to give their bodies a rest.

"Kids need some time off no matter what sport they're doing," she said.

Peninsula Oilers shortstop Tyler Grimes said that he won't get much rest when he returns to Witchita, Kan. Keeping in the gym and playing baseball or working out at the gym everyday helps keep him in shape.

"It's tough on your body," he said. "You have to keep working out."

He lifted weights everyday, hit before practice and did everything he needed to do earlier.

Athletes entering their first year of high school play need to provide schools with recent physicals. Without their annual physical, permission forms and activity fee, Anders said that students aren't allowed to practice. Absences can lead to missed games and hinder an athelete's development over the season.

Tony Cella can be reached at

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