While most students were at home asleep, the Carmel Padres football team spent Thanksgiving morning hard at work on the field in preparation for the next day’s CCS playoff game.
Two months later, the junior varsity girls’ basketball team rang in the New Year with a practice aimed to prepare for their Jan. 2 game against Gilroy.
Though it may seem surprising to practice on holidays, perhaps the concept is not as shocking as it appears.
According to athletic director and varsity football coach Golden Anderson, there is no policy that regulates practice on holidays. The current CUSD board policy dictates only practice over school breaks by working to discourage unfair punishment of players who miss these practices.
While Anderson reports that football’s Thanksgiving Day walkthrough saw perfect attendance, varsity girls’ basketball coach Tom Dooner recollects that winter break practices were perhaps the least-attended practices he has ever held.
Many other coaches also decide to hold practice over school breaks for the athletes who are in town. For instance, varsity boys’ swimming coach Kamaron Rianda schedules practice due to the need for swimmers to stay in healthy shape.
“For every day missed, the average athlete takes [two] days to make up for the loss of conditioning,” Rianda offers.
Anderson explains that high school athletic practices are generally not permitted on Sundays in the state of California.
“You would have to do a petition to [practice on Sunday], but it would cause you to have another off-day,” Anderson remarks.
Saturday practice is a different story, however. Coaches of CHS athletic teams handle the liberty to practice with different attitudes and degrees of enforcement.
“A lot of winter sports do [weekend practices] at the beginning of [their seasons] because…they’re waiting for athletes from the fall…and usually as the season goes, it seems like they cut back,” Anderson adds.
The trend for many sports seems to depict a lack of Saturday practice. Varsity girls’ soccer coach Whitney Grummon, for instance, declares that Saturday practice is rare, as does varsity softball coach Mike Odello.
“I try not to practice on Saturdays [because] I believe it pressures students too much and it can be a drag,” Odello points out.
Conversely, JV girls’ basketball coach Helen Suarez indicates that she regularly schedules Saturday practices, with only one to two Saturdays off the entire season.
In addition, Anderson explains that several teams, such as water polo and cross-country, participate in tournaments or other activities on Saturdays.
Student-athletes have their own opinions about sports activities over breaks and weekends.
Water polo and track athlete Ellie Alto argues that break and weekend practices are typically quite beneficial.
“In water polo, we have practice on breaks, and for those [who] come—even if it is a small number—it shows,” Alto explains.
Senior Tasha Haase, who plays tennis and basketball, speculates that practice over break is an optimal chance to stay in shape, though she believes that it can put some players behind if new content is covered.
Freshman Zach DeZee, a football and basketball player, urges the importance of attending practices over breaks.
DeZee says, “I believe that if you make a commitment to a team, you have an obligation to be there for them.”