Student athletes display strong work ethic during off-season


Photo courtesy of Wade Tracy

Baseball players prepare in the morning for their upcoming season.

Kortney Buresh, Sports Editor

The batter steps into the box, the huddle claps and yells “break,” or the center gets ready for the tip off: these moments in a game signify “go time.” Game winning plays, fundamentals, and team chemistry are things that spectators see. However, what’s not physically visible are the hours and months of hard work that athletes put into preparation beforehand.

Bellevue West has displayed multiple levels of talent in each sport. Some teams hold state titles, and others with plaques that come just short of that. With any of these it doesn’t come easy, and their training starts months before the first game.

Baseball is one of the teams that trains months in advance. Starting in the fall leading up to the spring season, they workout voluntarily every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, with offense and defense-specific training in between.

“Pre-season workouts definitely impact our regular season,” head baseball coach Jason Shockey said. “The majority of our players want to work in the weight-room and on their skill-set so they are that much more prepared in the spring. This year we have seen a big growth in our numbers in morning workouts and also our individual sessions that we have throughout the course of the year.”

Athletic improvement is important in one way or another for each team, serving as motivation for each athlete.

“I look at it in a way that there is always someone that is working harder or longer than me,” junior Caleb Lemon said. “I always try to do that extra rep because maybe that last rep will be one more than someone else.”

Junior Heather Richards participates in varsity basketball and can attest that pre-season workouts are essential for a team’s success, and provide a chance for the team to bond and enhance their camaraderie.

“What motivates me the most while working out with my team is the energy,” Richards said. “Everyone pushing each other and having a good time really motivates me to keep working hard.”

Although waking up early to train doesn’t exactly come to mind when a coach says “team bonding,” workouts allow the players to work together.

“Conditioning during the winter can be pretty brutal but with my teammates and coach all running together, we help push each other to finish the workout to get better together,” junior soccer player Mia Pancoe said.   

Off-season workouts serve as a chance for the coaches to introduce important philosophies that can be instilled into the athletes by the time season rolls around.

“I also think [pre season workouts] are important from a camaraderie and culture standpoint,” Shockey said. “We are very clear at the start of the off-season that there is no one person ‘bigger’ than our program.  We are all in this together and I think, especially in the weight room, you see that bond being formed between our younger guys and our older guys.”

Additionally, while their high school sports are not in season a lot of student athletes are working with their club or select teams.

“Needless to say, even in off-season the grind doesn’t stop,” Pancoe said.