So building off of Coach Marizzaldi’s post on the break during this time of the year, I’d like to talk about it from a player’s perspective at the D3 level.
We had a four week fall season where we were limited to 16 practices and wrapped up awhile ago. Since then, we have had our lifting program, throwing program, and agility stuff set in place on a schedule every day. There are no breaks for a team trying to build a winning program. As soon as fall season ended, it was time to get in the weight room and get stronger. In my previous two years at EMU, the use of the weight room was non-existent by most of the baseball team. Now, for four days a week, everyone is in there dripping sweat for 2 hours.
We have our first double-header in the early part of February, so there is no time to waste. Practice begins as soon as we get back from winter break and we have about a month from then until we head to N.C. Weselyan to play.
Practice in the early part of the season is cold. Harrisonburg is the windiest place I’ve ever been and it’s also stuck in the mountains. It’s not unusual to practice out in the snow. I’ve been to practice looking like the little brother from A Christmas Story where I could barely walk, much less throw a fastball.
It’s been really encouraging to see the team working out so hard this winter. It seemed that in the past, the winter was a time to just recover and get in the weight room when it was convenient. The freshman have come in with a great attitude and work ethic and are buying into the system that Coach Spotts has put into place. The older guys have been here long enough and lost enough games that we are doing whatever it takes to change this thing.
When the season gets this close, I find that all of my daydreaming usually turns to baseball and that first game. That’s always been a ritual for me. As the season approaches, my mindset begins to change and the opener consumes most of my thoughts (besides schoolwork of course…). After the sophomore slump I faced last year, I’m eager to get back out on the field and prove myself again. I know the rest of the guys are chomping at the bit to take the field as well and show people the work that we’ve put in.
For a team that has struggled to find wins every year, we are finally putting in the work it takes to get where we want to go. We don’t have to look far for inspiration. Every day we go to the weight room and open up our lifting book, the steps that lead to the ODAC Championship site stare back at us, almost challenging us to get there.
God Bless and go Royals!