Teams refine skills in off-season training

Head coach Bobby Champagne talks strategy to his players during a timeout in a game earlier this season.

UNA athletic teams currently in between seasons are spending their time during the off season training and preparing for their upcoming seasons.

UNA teams in the off season now include football, soccer, men and women’s basketball, and volleyball.

“I think the off season is the most important part of training,” said head volleyball coach Stephanie Radecki. “That’s when you have actual time to focus on a lot of individual stuff instead of always having to worry about getting your team ready for a match.”

Radecki said the volleyball team spends a lot of time working on jump training, skill training and speed training during the off season. The team, which started training in January, also spends time getting stronger in the weight room.

UNA’s football team started spring training March 12. The team will play a spring game in which the team will be split into two and play against each other April 14.

Head football coach Bobby Wallace said creating team unity is his biggest goal at this time.

“I think the biggest thing that we’ve tried to do this off season is build a little team unity,” he said. “Obviously in football, getting bigger, stronger, and faster and being in shape for spring training is all important, but, at the same time, I think that creating team unity and building a team is very important in the off season.”

Wallace also said the off season is a time of teaching fundamentals and focusing on individual players.

Head men’s basketball coach Bobby Champagne said he finds focusing on individual players to be an important part of off-season training. The men’s basketball team will start its training next week.

“With most of the underclassmen, strength is a big thing—just getting overall strength development—and for some guys it’s more about getting better at dribbling, passing and shooting,” he said. “It all depends on the individual.”

All three coaches said during the off season they focus on teaching fundamentals and improving the players’ skills. Off-season training allows for more focus on individuals because the coaches don’t have upcoming games to prepare for.

“There’s three things you have to learn: you gotta learn what to do, then you gotta learn how to do it and then you gotta learn to do it full speed,” Wallace said. “But you can’t do it full speed until you know what to do and how to do it.”

Though off-season training is important, the coaches said that year-round training is essential at the college level.

“It takes year-round training to be in the best condition you can be in,” Wallace said.