The boys’ football and soccer teams headed onto the fields for preseason on August 16, 2018, and the rest of the fall sports teams followed on August 20, 2018. Riverdale’s preseason is held during the last two weeks of summer, and allows student-athletes and coaches to begin preparation for their seasons. Preseason also gives coaches the opportunity to hold tryouts and set their rosters, so that they are ready to hit the ground running at the beginning of the season.
Equally important, these practices get athletes back into their groove, particularly if they have not played for awhile. According to girls’ varsity tennis member, Kassia Taylor, preseason helps the individual athletes build cohesiveness and come together as a team. “Although many athletes at the school have played their respective sports before, it is important that they practice with their team as the overall effort has a big influence on how each individual plays,” said Taylor.
Girls’ varsity tennis head coach, Barry Sherman, believes that conditioning is essential to a team's performance during the season. Since practices are shorter during the school year, the coaches do not have ample much time to work with their athletes. Preseason, however, which is three hours each day, grants coaches the time to do extra conditioning, which gets their teams in adequate shape.
Additionally, some teams hold scrimmages during preseason, which help acclimate players to in-game situations when the stakes are low. These scrimmages provide coaches with the opportunity to assess their players’ performance under pressure.
Lastly, during preseason, student-athletes do not have to worry about schoolwork, but rather fully focus on making the team or improving their performance.
While preseason provides benefits from an athletic standpoint, it also gives students an advantage on a personal level as well. It reintroduces them to their school routines, simply by having a day-to-day schedule and even by just being at school itself. For new students, preseason is the first opportunity to make friends and ease a difficult the transition to a new school. Tess Whitman, a sophomore on the girls’ varsity tennis team, who entered Riverdale in ninth grade, shared that “preseason was beneficial to the beginning of my time at Riverdale because I was able to make friends with many people. When I walked into school on my first day, I was able to say hi to them in the hall, which was very comforting.”
By and large, preseason provides a range of benefits for students, coaches and the teams as a whole, and can greatly bolster students’ success both on and off the field.