Christian Zylstra – Staff Writer
It is the offseason for Dordt College Defender sports like volleyball, football and soccer, but that does not mean that these sports have stopped. For players and coaches alike, the offseason is pivotal for any success during the regular season.
The focus of these sports during the offseason is different than during the regular season. Competing is one of the most important things during the regular season, but that is not the sole focus during the spring season.
“Our focus during our spring season is, number one, individual skill development, and one-A, being competitive,” said Dordt College volleyball coach Chad Hanson. “Working through those technical aspects and then watching your players succeed is one of the most satisfying things to see as a coach.”
That development is key for success in the regular season. During the fall, players do not have the opportunity to work on solely one aspect of their game. Instead, they work on a full arsenal of skills to be the best all-around player they can be.
This is especially critical in football.
“We always work on our fundamentals,” said Dordt College football coach Greg Youngblood. “During the regular season, guys on the scout team lose a lot of reps, but during the spring everyone has an opportunity to develop and improve, which can help them in the fall.”
That development is key for football players come autumn. When fall camps start in August, players have two weeks to prepare and get ready for the season opener.
“We get to try new things in the spring,” Youngblood said. “Every year we have a new identity with new players, and the spring let’s us try new schemes and figure out what our identity is going to be.”
The volleyball squad just wrapped up its spring season, which involved several practices, lifting and two weekend tournaments. Football has its annual spring game coming up on April 26, which pits the offense against the defense. Soccer has already completed four scrimmages and will host another on April 26, this one an alumni and intrasquad match-up.
These spring games take place for a number of reasons and are very important to the success that may or may not come in the fall. Development and competition are vital, but they are not the only focuses of spring seasons.
“The biggest goal for us is to consistently have our players thinking about soccer and, specifically, their need to commit to year-round fitness training,” said head soccer coach Dave Schenk. “Their commitment to each other with regard to training is of paramount importance. If they leave campus in May and we have not instilled in them just how important their conditioning is, then we haven’t done our job.”
Some could argue that the fall season would be impossible without the spring season. Not only do players work on certain parts of their games and apply them in friendly competition, but they also get to construct a routine that will enable them to be the best they can be come fall.
Turns out the offseason isn’t such an offseason after all.