Offseason Training

Daniel Cho, Sports Section Editor

“We had to do conditioning which is where we would run 33s. 33s are where you run a down and back [ a basketball court] 3 times in 33 seconds. By the time the season started we had to do 10 of those right after each other,” Nick Almond said. Almond, a junior at CHS, explains the hard work that the basketball put in during the offseason.  With fall sports coming to an end and winter sports in their incipient stages, many CHS athletes are in different phases. Some are preparing to put their balls and cleats away while others are hard at work. Nevertheless, offseason is an important time for many CHS students.

Tom Cormier, a junior at CHS, is part of the cross country team. His whole year is filled with running, and more running in the offseason. He explains that he ran in the summer with the new coach  as preparation for cross country this fall. He plans on doing Winter Running Club, led by Kurtis Werner, to prepare for track in the spring. Among his successes, he has qualified to the state tournament.

Werner provided a breakdown of what the club is all about, explaining that it is a mix of mileage and weightlifting to make sure his runners are fit and ready for the spring. He believes that the club teaches his runners an aspect usually forgotten regarding professional athletes.

“I think people watch athletes at the professional level and believe talent alone gets them to the top and that simply isn’t true. It’s hours and hours of training and practice. It’s not fun,” Werner said.

Werner stresses the importance that offseason training is what makes one an overall better athlete once the season comes around.

However, this high work ethic and mentality is not only found within CHS’ runners, but in other sports as well. The Clayton basketball team has been hard at work since the summer. Almond talked about his training during the offseason: “During the summer I would go to practice and we would run drills and scrimmage a lot. We went to SLUH and Eastern Illinois University and played a lot of other teams,” Almond said.

The offseason was filled with skill-building but also the competitive side of things in order to best prepare the team for the winter. Almond explains that once the summer workouts ended, he was shooting 500 shots a day and running sprints to stay in shape.

“All of us did these workouts and they made us better, faster, and stronger. We will be ready for whoever steps on the floor in opposition to us,” Almond said. The basketball team seems excited and well-prepared for this upcoming season. And with new head coach Blake Ahearn, many students are eager to see what the team will be able to do this year.

Austin Kliefoth, a sophomore at CHS, didn’t play for the CHS’ soccer team during his freshman year. Nevertheless, he was hard at work. This past year, he played with the select team St. Louis Scott Gallagher. During the fall and spring, he played on the prestigious “Academy Team” (arguably one of the highest teams accepting only the most skilled and developed of players). He played winter soccer (Futsal) with SLSG as well. So, despite not capitalizing on his chances to play soccer for CHS his freshman year, he was hard at work and made the decision to play this year as a sophomore.

“I quit Scott Gallagher and joined Sporting St. Louis. I trained with them over the summer,” Kliefoth said. He joined Sporting St. Louis, a select team affiliated with Sporting KC, but also attended the CHS practices along with working on his skills and fitness by himself. His hard work paid off and he made the varsity team as a starter with ease.

These three student athletes show a trend. Hard work brings success. Hard work is what brought these individuals to the level and position that they are in. They provide a message for the rest of CHS students. Werner said, “There are always students who will choose to “recreationally” join a CHS team because of the no-cut policy, but they cannot complain when they are being passed over for other athletes, particularly younger, better athletes, because they are simply not better than the other person.” The regular season is only worth it once you put in the effort to put your best foot forward. The offseason training might seem dull and unrewarding, but it’s the work one puts in during this time that leads to a successful season.