Limited break for hardwood teams

Men’s, women’s teams return early to train hard

Abby Dixon has averaged 11.0 points per game this season.
Abby Dixon has averaged 11.0 points per game this season.
Journal File Photo

Most Queen’s students likely spent their winter break with family or friends, catching up with people they hadn’t seen for a while, and making up for sleep lost to the crush of final exams.

However, for many varsity athletes, this long, relaxing break isn’t entirely possible. With many of the teams playing in seasons that span either side of the break, tournaments and extra practices become the holiday plans for many Queen’s athletes. 

Sukhpreet Singh, a fourth year guard on the men’s basketball team, described the team’s demanding schedule over the break. 

“Our training camp [which began Dec. 29] was two practices a day until the 31st,” Singh said, “and now we’re back to normal [with just one].” 

Singh said that prior to the training camp, the players were given a week off after their final game on Nov. 28 to catch up with academics and study for exams, and then were expected at practice throughout December, unless they had an exam. 

For Singh, this schedule was a new challenge. 

“You can’t have guys every day ready to go as you’re used to because they might have an exam that day,” he said.

Practices continued until the 19th for the men’s team, when the players finally had 10 days off from school and organized basketball. But, they still had to make certain they stayed in proper shape over their short break.

“The break is extremely productive for our coaching staff and team because it allows us to take a look at the whole first half of the season, game by game, and address issues we need to fix before starting up the second half. It also gives us time to get physically and mentally prepared for the second half.” 

Singh noted that the length of the break is incredibly important, as too long a break could hinder the team’s fitness and momentum, especially following their strong 6-1 start.

Abby Dixon, a third year on the women’s basketball team, said she had similar thoughts to Singh’s on the brief break.

“We can try to improve in order to be as successful as we can be in the second half of the season,” she said. “It’s really the most important and exciting part of the season.” 

After a long first half, in which the women’s team also finished 6-1, many players struggled with injuries and general soreness. As a result, Dixon noted how the team treats the winter break like a shorter offseason, where they try to recover from the first half, and also improve. Even during exams, they still try to work on their game between studying. 

While Dixon’s  team had a quick 10-day break from basketball, that didn’t excuse them from their weights program. Along with practicing at a high intensity in the build-up to this half, the team met up for dinners over their break to continue building a good chemistry among team members.

Dixon added how the team also had the privilege of receiving special coaching over the break from Mike and Allison McNeil, the latter of whom coached the Canadian national women’s team to the 2012 Olympics in London. 

“They came in to teach both team and individual skills that we will be able to use for the rest of our season, as well as get us excited and prepared for the tough couple of months that we have ahead of us.”

Both Gaels’ basketball teams return to regular season action next Friday with games against the University of Toronto on the road.


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