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Aug. 31, 2006

Most athletes will tell you that the most difficult part of their season is preseason. Before preseason begins, most athletes feel a constant sense of dread about what the upcoming preseason may have in store for them. In our case, you wonder if you worked out hard enough and long enough over the summer to survive the grueling two-a-day practices. You worry that even the workouts that you did will not have prepared you for the mid-day Mem Gym heat. You wonder how the coaches will feel about the team’s performance and how this will be reflected in the length of practices and the amount of mornings and afternoons, sometimes even full days, off. When preseason finally does begin, the first few practices have the potential to strengthen the sense of dread to the point of fearing for your survival over the next two weeks or the potential to lessen that sense of dread to the point of almost enjoying the preseason practice sessions day-in and day-out.

For the most part, we practiced twice each day for two to three hours at a time, give or take a half hour. None of the practices stick out as having been exceptionally difficult or grueling; however, each one was challenging in its own way, whether it was finishing a drill that we found to be tough, ignoring the soreness of our muscles, or remaining positive throughout a long, hot practice in Mem Gym. Overall, this preseason has served to push the team together and has helped us to build even better team chemistry s well as a willingness to work together toward a common goal that we hope to achieve this weekend: winning!

We had only two new additions to the team this year, Tara (Hester) and Lauren (Dickson). Since they both came in ready and willing to work hard and earn their spots on the court, they allowed the coaches to move quickly into team practices and more intense drills that will definitely help us in the long run. Tara and Lauren have definitely secured their spots on as well as off the court as a part of this program, and we are so excited to see what the rest of this season has in store for them as parts of this team.

Happily, I can say that this preseason has been the best one since I have been here at the University. Having been through three collegiate preseasons already, I came in knowing that preseason would be tough, but survivable. We practiced twice a day, and, on some days, we lifted weights in between practices. Some practices were tougher than others; on some days, our bodies were much sorer than others. Overall, however, everyone on the team came back to Charlottesville in good physical shape and with the right mindset to start the season, which has made all the difference.

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