September 20, 2014 – Victoria, BC – ISN’s Lachlan Ross takes you inside the Camosun College Chargers training camp.
Written by Lachlan Ross (ISN) / Photo by Vancouver Sports Pictures
In September and October it can be hard to measure progress. With the PacWest basketball season still two sweat-stained months away, training camp involves a lot of line sprints, mistakes, and sore bodies.
After missed free throws and unreached targets on shooting drills we sprint sideline to sideline up to thirty times. This reinforces the lingering thought that the game hoops at each baseline are out of reach until November. Injuries occur. In our first week one rookie was concussed and another sent to emergency to gain seven stitches, a scar, and a story about keeping your lip out of reach from elbows.
The Interurban campus gym echoes with screams from coach Scot Cuachon, but coming into my third season at Camosun – and likely my last year playing post-secondary – I’m realizing the small joys of each practice.
Seeing rookies improve from one drill to the next, knowing that their high school training sessions didn’t demand the same attention to detail college asks. Noticing the energy in our gym from new recruits who at this point don’t owe our program anything, but still encourage others out of breath. The returning players I’ve been alongside the past season or two now finding themselves watched rather than watching older players. Each of them is finding their new place as a leader and their abilities on court increase with the added pressure to perform.
I imagine outsiders might question the benefits of pushing athletes to their physical threshold for two hours, five days a week. In my first year even I questioned it. The continual pounding on already aching joints and muscles adds risk to stress injuries that can leaves players sidelined later in the year. In some ways it’s a high risk, high reward strategy. Though knowing your teammates can withstand being pushed to the point of leg cramps and maintain concentration when physically and mentally exhausted creates trust. Knowing seventeen other guy’s bodies hurt, but they still perform at their peak is part of our teams most important saying, “Buying in”.
We buy into each meeting, drill, or punishment having an end goal of winning games. We buy into Friday night practices replacing parties. We buy into September – the month that brings us together as Camosun Chargers.
Our season opener may be 28 practices away, but with each sideline sprint, Thursday, October 30 is all we are thinking about.
Lachlan Ross is a graduate of the University of Victoria’s writing program and intern with Independent Sports News. More of his work can be found at lachlanross.org.
Follow Lachlan @LachlanRoss89