Starting the new school year brings many exciting feelings along with it. A fresh start. A clean slate. A time of opportunity. In addition to all these, the beginning of the school year represents the kickoff of fall sport seasons, including volleyball, girls’ soccer, cross country, golf, and, of course, football. However, since matches, meets, and games for these sports occur so early in the school year (with some even before), the athletes must begin preparation earlier in the summer.
Let’s start with football, Baylor’s prized sport. In order to perform at the level of excellence that the boys do year after year, they begin training as early as mid-June. At this time, the team did some low-intensity conditioning and lifting. This light work got the players in shape early on and practicing a few key skills that were reinforced later in the summer. After a few weeks of this, the team took a break.
July training was an entirely different ballgame. Players began more in-depth training, and the work intensity grew. Also, the team engaged in some no-contact 7-on-7 scrimmages. These low-stakes competitions gave the boys and coaches an idea of what everyone needed to work on before the start of real season.
And on July 26, the week of camp began. Camp is a special opportunity when the team dorms at Baylor to develop team chemistry. Along with this experience, camp gives the opportunity for more practice time. During the week, the players practiced twice a day with daily lifting and conditioning. This was when the work and intensity of practices and lifts really spiked up, as well as the first time in training that contact was introduced to practices. Overall, the football team is putting in a lot of work and dedication this year to be in tip-top shape and beat McCallie. Great results can certainly be expected.
However, football is not the only sport that worked hard this summer. Volleyball also began training in the summer, as their first match was an away game against Cleveland taking place the day before school starts. The players began training on July 12. Like the football team, the volleyball girls practiced almost every day, and each successive practice was a bit harder than the previous. In doing this, the team gradually got better until they were match ready.
Cross country and girls’ soccer had very similar summer practice schedules. Both teams came back to training in the first week of August. The soccer season started on the same day as volleyball, August 17, an early start. Therefore, soccer training in the summer was certainly vigorous and quickly paced. Cross country, on the other hand, has a relatively late start to the season. Both the girls’ and boys’ teams have their first meet on August 21. The boys’ meet is at Siegel High School, while the girls’ meet, both junior varsity and varsity, is at Heritage. To get ready for these meets, both teams did some early runs in the summer that moderately increased in difficulty.
Baylor golf teams definitely had the busiest summer. Instead of having daily practices like the other sports, the golf team had a series of matches to improve the players’ skills. On August 9, the girls’ team participated in the Tournament of Champions at Three Ridges Golf Club. The tournament features Tennessee teams in all divisions that finished first or second in the state the previous season. In the end, the girls’ team finished sixth in the tournament, with Emerson Hogue putting up the best scores on the team. On August 9, the team hosted the annual Matt Cunningham Preview. The boys played at Council Fire for this event, and the girls played at Black Creek.
Every year, we see Baylor athletics dominate in all our offered sports. What we don’t see, however, are the many hours of hard work that go into that success. The commitment that these athletes show by coming into training during the summer, while many relax on beaches, demonstrates these athletes’ desire to be the best they can be, and the greater Baylor community will certainly do its best to rally around these students this season.