Spring practices help players hone skills

by Tim Lone/Staff Writer

Even though some teams on campus are several months from starting their seasons, soon they will be on the field and on the court for spring practices.

The football, soccer and volleyball teams will all be starting their spring practices soon. Players and athletes alike say practices in the springtime allow them to focus more on individual skills that they might not have as much time for during the regular season.

Sophomore middle hitter Megan Dunlavy of Bettendorf says spring practices allow volleyball players to work on their individual skills before the fall season comes around.

“During the season, it is all about playing as a team and not about our individual skills,” Dunlavy said. “There are some practices during spring season that only middle hitters go to or just back row, etc., to fine-tune our individual skills so when we come back together as a team that we are the best we can be.”

Volleyball coach Lana Smith echoed Dunlavy’s comments about individual skills, saying the eight practices the team is allotted during the spring help focus on some areas of a player’s game that might need a little work.

“We will focus on individual skill development this spring,” Smith said. “The spring season is a great time to break down the areas each player needs to work on and develop some range to their skills and game.”

The football team is allowed eight non-padded practices during the spring where the only piece of equipment they are allowed to use is a football. Offensive coordinator Joe Beschorner said there are few differences between a spring practice and a practice the team would have during the regular season.

“The only thing that’s different, I think would be the physicality of the workout,” Beschorner said. “It’s not as physical because we’re non-padded. But the tempo is the same.”

Offensive line coach Kevin Ferguson talked about what he thinks are some of the benefits of spring practices.

“It’s just a really good change of pace,” Ferguson said. “Because an offseason in the weight room can get very long and monotonous. A little change of pace is nice.”

Ferguson also added that the time they are allowed to spend with the players in the spring also helps the team retain information better before the start of the season.

Beschorner added that in addition to the change of pace, it’s nice to have more direct contact with their student-athletes.

“You get to be around the kids,” Beschorner said. “Be around the players and just get back to football.”

This spring will be the third year football is allowed to practice in the spring. And while the coaches say having spring practices was a big step forward for the conference, they say the rules haven’t changed any over the last year.

Beschorner said there are some changes he would like to see in spring practice in the years to come

“Well, hopefully our conference gets to the point where they allow us to have the 16 practices that a lot of the other Division III schools get to have,” Beschorner said. “That would be crucial.”