Connor Van Hulzen – Staff Writer
Dordt football’s season begins each year in the summer with minicamp and training camp, followed by a regular season filled with a slate of 10 or 11 games over much of the fall semester. The part of the season which comes after doesn’t get its fair share of attention: Welcome to springball.
Springball is part of the offseason process for the football team. During spring semester, the team maintains a routine of practice and weightlifting in order to better themselves for next fall’s return to competition.
“Every year, I choose a different emphasis based upon where the team is at,” Head Coach Joel Penner said. “Springball is used for laying the foundation. We go over the fundamentals that will be necessary for the team going forward.”
The team will also begin to practice new concepts they can fully put in place later, along with practicing against each other to see who’s ready to take the next step.
“We also use springball for culture building, and as a chance to get out and be together and grow as a team through competition,” Penner said. After the relaxed period at the end of the season, reestablishing contact with teammates and continuing to grow closer together is a significant part of the motivation for springball.
Late winter and early spring in Northwest Iowa are not kind to those seeking to spend time outside. The football team struggles to consistently find time to practice. Defensive Line Coach Griffin Pelot says the team tries to get in three practices and three lifting sessions a week.
“With the academic calendar, and then the demand on the field and facilities in the spring with other sports and public events, throwing weather into the mix, too, creates a full-blown nightmare,” Penner said. This nightmare means the team has practices at odd hours, both early and late, to be able to use Dordt’s facilities.
Springball is a key time for the football team. Even though the larger supporting audience doesn’t focus on it or talk about it a lot, it’s the portion of the football team’s year that has the most impact on the team overall. Springball culminates in the football team’s Spring Game, which will take place at 6 p.m. on April 27th on the football field.