Preparation makes the impossible possible

Jordan Kimball

For many student-athletes, regardless of the sport they play, tryouts can cause a lot of stress. In order for players to be prepared, they must dedicate a significant amount of time and effort during the off-season. For athletes to display their most effective skills, they require months of practice, tournaments and games. The feeling of accomplishment after making the team for a sport makes the training during the off-season all worth it.
Redwood athletes have worked hard for their current skill set. Some athletes play alone and others on teams, while some spend more time in the weight room than on the field of play. No matter how students practice, any of these varied methods can be effective and develop skill, strength and endurance. Every sport has the same routine: athletes must work hard during the off-season to be the best they can be when their season rolls around.

Boys’ varsity tennis – Liam Carpenter:
Tennis is a very individual sport. With colleges watching possible recruits all year, there is no off-season for tennis players. Senior, Liam Carpenter, one of the top-ranked players on the varsity boy’s tennis team, expressed how his off-season is just as important, if not more important, than the high school season.
“I am going to tournaments all year long. You have to sign up online, and there will always be college coaches checking you out,” Carpenter said.
For Carpenter, playing in college is a dream that requires effort and dedication. He travels across the Bay Area to train and continues improving his game daily in order to better himself.
“I go to Hayward three to four times a week. There is a clinic there where I get to play against some of the best players my age,” Carpenter said. “[The clinic] is a great experience to improve my skill set, and I have seen results from my hard work.”

Bouncing the ball, Liam Carpenter prepares to serve across the court to his opponent. (Photo courtesy of Liam Carpenter)

Carpenter started playing tennis when he was five years old, and his training routine has continued to change and improve since he first started playing tennis.
“After school, I spend around two to three hours playing tennis, sometimes by myself and sometimes with others. When I get home, I work out in my home gym and do some cardio,” Carpenter said.
It is very important to Carpenter that his body is in good shape by the time the high school season rolls around.
“From tennis, I feel a lot of fatigue, so stretching and eating well is very important,” Carpenter said.
As spring approaches, Carpenter plans to do everything he can to lead the team to another successful season.
“It is my senior year, so it is time for me to lead and hopefully bring Redwood another banner by the end of the year,” Carpenter said.

Boys’ varsity basketball/Boys’ varsity lacrosse – Jake Vasquez:
Multi-sport athlete and junior, Jake Vasquez grinds daily in preparation for the basketball and lacrosse seasons. Being a two-year varsity athlete for both sports, Vasquez puts in the work all year long, and the results have shown. After last year’s basketball season, Vasquez put his name on the map and was known by many students in the community and other local schools. Being the starting point guard as a sophomore, as well as one of the top scorers on the team, Vasquez believes that his off-season training has gotten him to where he is.

Shouting to his teammates, Jake Vasquez tries to call out a play over the loud crowd of students. (Photo courtesy of Julia Milani)

“I am pretty consistent with my [off-season] training. I go to the Bay Club three to four times a week to put shots up,” Vasquez said. “I work out at my house and ensure I am on my A-game at all times.”
Making sure an athlete’s body is healthy is crucial for all sports, especially basketball, since it requires tremendous amounts of cardio and movement.
“I take an ice bath often and ensure that I eat well. If there is a time to make sure I am ready, it is now,” Vasquez said.
With Vasquez practicing two sports throughout the year, he likes to separate his work and focus on one sport at a time.
“I practice basketball about four days a week and then lacrosse one to two [days a week]. It’s important that I focus on each sport differently so that I am in the right mindset for each practice session,” Vasquez said.
With basketball season approaching quickly, Vasquez plans to have another successful season as the starting point guard and ultimately hopes to lead Redwood to another MCAL championship.


Girls’ varsity lacrosse – Julia Morrow:
Similar to basketball, lacrosse is filled with plenty of running and cardio. It is pivotal that lacrosse players stay in shape and the off-season is the best opportunity. For senior Julia Morrow, lacrosse is really important, and she works year-round to be the best she can.
“I started playing lacrosse when I was four and have felt that I have improved every year. Now, playing in high school, I am obviously working a lot harder and training a lot more than I used to,” Morrow said.

Defending her opponent, Julia Morrow eyes the ball, getting ready to attack. (Photo courtesy of Julia Morrow)

Her routine consists of going to the gym and playing lacrosse almost daily. She has built more muscle and feels that she has gotten stronger and better as time has passed. For Morrow, her off-season atmosphere is great as she gets closer to her teammates not only during the season but throughout the off-season as well.
“We all practice together on the field, playing against each other and working on our skills. Sometimes our coach will swing by, and it is nice to be with the same girls throughout the year,” Morrow said.
At the gym, Morrow works on all muscles, such as legs, arms, chest and back. She goes frequently and feels the progress that comes from going.

“In lacrosse, strength is vital, so staying consistent in the gym is really important. One advantage that I have versus other players is that I am able to go to the gym so often because of my gym membership,” Morrow said. “I use it as my time to take advantage and get better at lacrosse in ways that are not just on the field.”
Morrow intends to help the team in having yet another fantastic year and a terrific senior season as the spring draws near.