There’s a reason local scholastic teams began two weeks of practice before their first games Monday.
The regimen of workouts every day — if not two or even three practices some days — will give young student-athletes the opportunity to return to mid-season form before the competitions count.
Conditioning was a key goal for each of Rhinebeck High School’s teams Monday, as well as simply knocking off the rust.
“I think the first day of practice is trying to get everybody just with as many ball touches as possible, because many of these girls don’t play soccer in the offseason,” Rhinebeck girls soccer coach Matt Grande said. “So it’s nice to have them just get used to the feel of the ball, get those touches back, because it started out a little sloppy; by the end of the practice, it should be pretty good.”
Coach Justin Wiesenthal likewise reminded his boys soccer team not to leave practice and head straight for the junk food.
At the end of Arlington’s boys soccer practice, coach Craig Sanborn stressed hydration, drinking low-fat chocolate milk as a post-workout recovery drink, eating right, stretching and taking ice baths to prepare for today’s workout.
“Hopefully the guys will do that and we’ll be all set (for today),” Arlington senior David Verdis said.
“Everyone was working hard. We’ve got to take care of our bodies (Monday night) and come back fine (today).”
His Roy C. Ketcham football team worked out over the summer, but quarterback Kevin Duke said conditioning remains a concern for Wappingers Falls’ Indians, who open the season against defending state Class AA champion New Rochelle.
“I think our weak point is conditioning right now,” said the signal-caller, who will be a senior this season. “Everybody said they’re going to stay after and ‘condition’ — all day, all year — for the rest of the season. I think that will be taken care of.”
As opposed to recent years, Monday’s opening workouts weren’t coupled with the stifling heat and humidity that mid-August often brings.
Instead, coaches were able to start implementing game plans and teaching fundamentals without keeping an eye on the real-feel heat indexes that can halt practice when they climb too high.
“It’s nice that it’s cool,” said Clinton DeSouza, Spackenkill’s fourth-year head football coach, “and it’s nice that the guys appreciate it; I appreciated it when I played. These are the good days. It’s nice to not have the sweat of the summer because there is a threat with heat exhaustion all the time.
“You still want to fuel your athletes and get them water, but at the same time, it’s nice that the body is not so high in temperature.”