GVSU coaches and athletes use time off to prep for stretch run

GVL Archive / Robert Mathews

Mens Basketball Head Coach Ric Wesley

Robert Mathews

GVL Archive / Robert Mathews Men’s Basketball Head Coach Ric Wesley

Bryce Derouin

With an extended period of time between games or matches, the Grand Valley State University varsity athletic teams didn’t look to rest on their laurels during their break. Instead, the Lakers took advantage of their time off to develop and refine their overall skill sets.

With the women’s basketball team finishing up with exams and coming off a two-game road trip in Hillsdale and Findlay, the break was a way for them to get refreshed.

“The biggest thing is getting them that time off after finals after we had a longer road trip extended before we left for the holiday break,” said head coach Janel Burgess. “Just giving them that time to be away and allowing them to get refreshed so that when they did return to us, we could hit it hard again and understand that we have a long stretch down the road coming up.”

For the men and women’s swimming teams, a change in scenery contributed to their training. The swim teams traveled to Miami and endured an arduous training schedule, which included daily two-a-day practices in the pool, along with weight lifting sessions.

“It’s a really good time to work extra hard,” said head coach Andy Boyce. “You don’t have to worry about classes or anything like that. A lot of extra practice helps to build up our base so that in a couple weeks we can start to cut back and have a great conference and nationals.”

Similar to the swim teams, the men’s and women’s track and field teams have had nearly a month between meets. Unlike other teams, the track and field athletes had the option to go home and get their own training in, or come back to Allendale to train at the team’s facilities.

“We just got to really hope that each individual gets out and gets their own work in at home whether it be in the local fitness center, the high school, or out in the snow drifts,” said head coach Jerry Baltes. “After the 26th, we were in the facility everyday for anyone that was around that came back to the area. Those kids the last couple days have looked a little bit sharper.”

The men’s basketball team had 17 days between games, and head coach Ric Wesley wonders if that break could have possibly had an impact on his team’s first home loss of the season, an 83-79 defeat to Walsh University. A game in which they allowed the highest point total of any contest this season.

“I wonder if Thursday that (break) had a factor with the game,” Wesley said. “It was a long break. Walsh had had one game. They snuck a game in there. I wonder if that helps you play a little bit better. It’s hard to say. There’s nothing like a game. You can try to simulate it in practice, but until you get back into the games it’s hard to get back in the rhythm and get used to the speed and quickness of things.

GVSU hopes that what they were able to accomplish over the break, will transfer to future success down the stretch.

“We talk about learning all the time and learning where you’re at and staying focused on getting better,” Baltes said. “We just want each kid to train hard, work hard, and control what they can control as far as getting better each step of way.”
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