The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Winged Post
Newsletter

Athletes ramp up skills during off-season

Safety+Daniel+Lin+%2812%29+hits+a+wheel+during+a+tackling+drill.+Daniel+has+played+for+the+Harker+football+program+since+his+freshman+year%2C+and+he+is+a+co-captain+of+the+team+this+year.
Brandon Zau
Safety Daniel Lin (12) hits a wheel during a tackling drill. Daniel has played for the Harker football program since his freshman year, and he is a co-captain of the team this year.

From a range of winning records to invaluable learning experiences, all seasons ultimately come to an end. But with every final hit, run or shot comes a new era: the off season.  

For high-paced sports like football, the game’s intensity calls for non-stop preparations. With fall sports recently resuming, running back Jackson Powell (10) notes how the Harker football team’s off-season training and routines during the summer directly contribute to their performance on the field during the season. 

“We practice almost year-round to prepare for the season,” Jackson said. “While our coaches are flexible, everything from the team lifts to the walk-throughs [is] important. [They’re] what prepares us for the grind of the games.”

Injury prevention is another major aspect of the off-season. Jackson explains how head coach Sid Krishnamurthi’s off-season training plans include certain measures to limit injuries. 

“We almost always play with low numbers and make sure everybody is in the best shape possible,” Jackson said. “To stay safe is one of [Coach Krishnamurthi’s] biggest things.”

In order to reduce the risk of injuries, many athletes take part in weight training during the off-season. Track and field athlete Anjali Yella (12) describes how physical strength is crucial for runners.

“[Track and field is] a sport where it’s not so much based on your skills like playing with a ball — it’s based on maximizing your physical performance on a given length or distance,” Anjali said. “We lift weights to make ourselves stronger and be able to put more power down.”

“In-season, there’s only a certain amount of time where you can increase your speed or increase your power — most of that comes from the off-season. You want to have a progression within the season, and if you don’t have a good off-season, you’re limited to just those few months to actually get faster”

— Anjali Yella (12)

Anjali believes that the brevity of competing during the regular season calls for more reliance on the off-season to improve, as the off-season ultimately paves the way for success during competitions. 

“In-season, there’s only a certain amount of time where you can increase your speed or increase your power — most of that comes from the off-season,” Anjali said. “You want to have a progression within the season, and if you don’t have a good off-season, you’re limited to just those few months to actually get faster, which is pretty difficult.” 

Like Anjali, varsity basketball player Emily Mitnick (11) notes how prioritizing physical strength during the off-season makes for a smoother transition into the regular season. She expands on how a strong performance during games connects back to the work done before the official start of the season.

“Something that is really important about off-season training is building your strength,” Emily said. “If you want to be a team that wins championships, then you also need to have the strength to prevent injuries, and then you also need to progress in your skills.”

On top of the physical aspect of preparations, Emily recalls how Harker’s summer basketball league offered her a chance to form new relationships with future teammates — something that the regular season doesn’t allow for as easily due to the high-stake environment.

“The [frosh and I] got to play with each other before the real season starts, and that’s really important because you should bond with your teammates before you have to play in a high pressure [and] high-stress situation,” Emily said. “We build a bond that is harder to build when you’re in the regular season because the juniors, sophomores and seniors all know each other already, so it’s hard to join the group when you don’t know the inside jokes or the history of their season.” 

Pedro Castro (9) runs a handoff during a summer football practice on Aug. 7th. Pedro is one of three new frosh joining the Eagles team. (Brandon Zau)

From cross-country athlete Kai Nishimura’s (9) perspective, his time with the team in the off-season helps strengthen his bonds with his teammates, highlighting the importance of forming a tight-knit community within the team during training. 

“As an incoming freshman, I find the team very welcoming,” Kai said. “Everyone is super nice, and the upperclassmen have been extremely supportive throughout the practices … The friendly competition between teammates allows us to push ourselves while making the practices more fun.”

Additional reporting by Gemma Chan and Gabe Sachse. 

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About the Contributors
Emma Milner
Emma Milner, Co-Sports Editor
Emma Milner (11) is the co-sports editor for Harker Aquila and the Winged Post, and this is her third year on staff. This year, Emma wishes to maintain strong sports coverage and continue improving her photography skills. Outside of school, she plays badminton competitively, and in her free time, she likes to watch Suits.
Brandon Zau
Brandon Zau, Photo Editor
Brandon Zau (12) is the photo editor for Harker Aquila, and this is his fourth year on staff. This year, Brandon hopes to celebrate his senior Class of 2024 peers and to tell the stories of the Harker community through meaningful photos and coverage. In his free time, Brandon enjoys taking candid pictures of his friends, listening to music and playing baseball.

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