Athletes plan for summer practices

Elly Green, Reporter

As summer break quickly approaches and spring sports come to an end, other sports are already preparing for the 2021-2022 season. Dance and cheer teams have already started practices while softball and baseball have just finished their seasons and will continue to work during the summer. Football, volleyball and basketball start practices mid-summer. 

Dance and cheer teams started their practices for next year at the end of April and the beginning of May. Summer practices are used to prepare for National Dance Association (NDA) camp and National Cheer Association (NCA) camp which happen in June. Junior Kayla Wong says that summer practices are beneficial to focus on dancing and technique instead of being focused on games and performances, they are also beneficial for team bonding. 

This year the seniors are really wishing for more team bonding than the previous years, like getting snow cones, going to the lake and hanging out at someone’s house,” Wong said. 

NCA camp for the cheerleading team is a mandatory four day long intensive where they learn band chants, cheers and have daily showcases in order to earn ribbons. On the fourth day, a final showcase is administered so each team can show off their skills in order to win trophies and other awards. 

“Summer [practices] give us a chance to teach our newcomers all the cheers, stunts, how to be involved with the crowd and overall prepare everyone for the season,” junior Georgia Garcia said.
Although the tennis team does not have mandatory practices over the summer, tennis tournaments and leagues are encouraged for all who plan on going out for tennis in the spring. Tennis practice clinics throughout the summer with coach Sisson are also offered by the school district.

Practicing in the summer doesn’t only prevent us from losing what we have gained during the season, but it also gives us a chance to practice technique away from competition,” junior Ben Freisen Guhr said. 

Girls golf starts up in the fall along with their practices, meaning that they will not practice as a team over the summer but instead put in individual hours to better themselves for the season ahead. Luckily, not practicing over the summer benefited the 2020 team because they did not have to worry about COVID-19 precautions. Along with this, golf is a very independent sport, therefore COVID-19 does not necessarily affect practices.

“I don’t think practicing this summer will be any different than before COVID-19 since golf is an individual and outside sport,” junior Ember Suter said. 

Both softball and baseball put in extra hours as a team over the summer practicing fundamentals. Additionally some players are involved in club softball or baseball. The teams both have different aspirations of what they are looking forward to improving this summer. Junior McKennah Cusick says that the girls on the team have the dream of playing with the 18u Gold Team this summer and also getting as many girls noticed by colleges as possible. Junior Cade Valdez says that summer practices are all about getting better as a team.

“Our biggest goal this year is building our team morale and continuing to build off this spring season and carry it over to next year,” Valdez said.

Football season also starts early in the summer with the team having weights at 6:30 a.m., routes afterwards and then working on footwork. Football also attends a summer overnight camp to work on bonding, workouts and drills while in a different environment. 

“Summer practices help build our team chemistry, and help us grow as a team. I cannot stress how important team chemistry is, and it is something our team has struggled in the past with, but over the years of playing for Newton High it has gotten drastically better,” junior Ben Reyes said. “Last year was the closest I have felt to a team, and over summer practice we hope to accomplish that again.” 

Most teams have special traditions both during the school year and during summer. Wong says that the dance team enjoys doing an initiation bonding sleepover to introduce the incoming freshman to the team. Valdez says that the baseball team similarly takes trips to “Grandma’s house” after winning a home game. However, one of the most widely known traditions at the high school is the football team having midnight summer practices as well as attending their summer boot camp.
“We do an overnight camp at a college campus to get a different environment while we do the same workouts and drills, we have some cookouts and then of course the players hangout over the summer a lot,” junior Kenyon Forest said.