Sports before school: an early alternative


Erika Peterson

Emma Dinger, a junior on the women’s soccer team, does calf raises at a weightlifting session before school. Many sports teams, including soccer, swimming, and badminton, have started holding practices in the morning to better accommodate schedules. “Rather than doing practices at 6 o’clock, after school, it’s just easier to do it in the morning. And I actually like doing it in the morning, because then I have the afternoons free,” said freshman Madeline Leventhal, a player on the Badminton team.

In the past few years, holding practices in the morning has become more common for sports teams at South. Motives vary by sport, but common reasons include scheduling conflicts, increased attendance, and extra practice time.

One sport that holds morning practices is Badminton. Until late March, several weeks into the Badminton season, other sports teams were using the gym after school, so the Badminton team practiced before school, from 7-8.

“The afternoon sports couldn’t practice outside in march, and rather than doing practices at 6 o’clock, after school, it’s just easier to do it in the morning,” said Madeline Leventhal, a freshman on the Badminton team. Now that the Badminton team has access to the gym, they hold practice there after school on non-game days.

Women’s soccer utilizes the time before school to lift weights during the off season. Many players for the team also play club soccer or have other commitments, so mornings are an optimal time for off season training. “Since we all are doing club soccer, and we have other commitments, with like school and afterschool stuff, it’s just kind of easier to do it in the morning,” said Kate Rounds, a junior on the Varsity team.

Christina Ulsby, the assistant coach for women’s varsity soccer, also agrees that scheduling is a benefit of morning practice. “I think it works better with the coaching staff schedule, and I think we get better turnout this way too, just because there’s more after school activities going on and so this way we can pull from the girls that may be in other sports, or that do circus, or other things like that,” she said.

Additionally, weightlifting is not as effective during the competition season because of the stress it puts on your body, so the off season is an optimal time for morning practices.

Other sports, such as the swim team, utilize the time before school for extra practice time during competition season. The team, which includes athletes from South, Roosevelt, and Washburn, practices 10 times a week, 4 being in the morning and 6 after school or on weekends.

“Since we got our own pool this year, we were trying to take advantage of all the practice we could…We were just doing 6 a week last year,” said AJ East, a sophomore on the swim team.

Although waking up early can be a challenge for some, many athletes enjoy practicing before school. “Sometimes if I stay up late doing homework it’s kind of a drag to get up, but in general I like it because it gives me a space that I can weightlift…Having it when it doesn’t conflict with anything else that I’m doing makes it easier for me to motivate myself to get up,” Rounds explained.

Leventhal also noted increased attendance at morning Badminton practices. “With afternoon practices more people are gone, because they have other things to do…To retake tests or things like that. [Practices are] the same importance level, it’s just more people show up in the morning.”

Before practices begin, however, waking up can be an issue for athletes. “I like [morning practices] once I’m in the pool, but it’s really hard to wake up and go to them,” said East.

While there are drawbacks to morning practice, the benefits for scheduling and practice time stand out to many team members. “I think it’s really good because it gets me ready for the day. Waking up an hour earlier for me wasn’t a problem, but I know for a lot of people it was a problem, and then in the afternoons, you can do another activity,” Leventhal said.