The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Football off-season practices keep athletes in shape

Off-season practices help to develop the football team’s skills on the field and bonds off the field.

It’s the final football game before Thanksgiving break. Padded-up players prepare to give it their all, and families and friends gather around Parsons Field to watch, signifying the culmination of the regular season. Despite this grand finale, the hard work doesn’t stop there.

Off-season football practices, held three to four times a week throughout the winter, spring and summer, prepare football players for the upcoming season by improving fitness and skill, promoting team bonding and fostering an open and positive community.

After the fall football season, players take December off and start off-season practices in January. While players are encouraged to participate in other sports, attending off-season practices is recommended if they do not have other athletic commitments.

Varsity football head coach Chad Hunte said speed, strength, explosiveness and safety are the primary focuses during off-season workouts. These routines also emphasize the importance of nutrition, flexibility, mobility and injury reduction.

“With our sport, with the exposure to our sport, we need speed, and most importantly, make sure our kids are safe,” Hunte said. “So any kind of ways we can do any kind of flexibility, mobility, that part is huge. Any kind of injury reduction, we’re all about that as well.”

Hunte said that in addition to wanting to build strength and speed, team bonding and growing confidence are key focuses of off-season practices.

“The development as football players, I know, is going to be big. More important is the confidence that they have. You can see the confidence growing each week with these kids, and that part’s been huge,” Hunte said.

Sophomore Fredrich Guerrier, who plays wide receiver and safety, said that off-season practices are important because they give players a chance to get stronger and faster, help increase playing time during the fall season and provide opportunities for team bonding.

“Team bonding is important; you get strong with your friends, you gain confidence with your friends, and it motivates us to do better,” Guerrier said.

Off-season practices also allow new players to learn from and connect with their teammates. Junior Nathan Lopes De Carvalho, who plays outside linebacker and wide receiver, said that off-season practices have helped him improve physically and mentally.

“From my freshman year to my sophomore year, I feel like I gained a lot of muscle. Then, on a mental standpoint, I learned a lot about the game of football, about certain techniques, certain gaps,” De Carvalho said.

De Carvalho said off-season practices help connect younger players, including 8th graders who have the opportunity to attend before their freshman year, with older teammates with whom they wouldn’t otherwise practice.

“A lot of the freshmen who are actually 8th graders came during the summer or the previous school year, and that’s how I actually became really good friends with them when I was a sophomore,” De Carvalho said. “I think it’s really cool for team bonding because that’s when you get to know a lot of different people you wouldn’t ever get to talk to, like some of the freshmen, especially because we don’t really practice with them that much.”

From basketball and flag football games, off-season practices go beyond just football. De Carvalho said those moments show who is willing to step up and unite the team.

“I broke my leg in the beginning of sophomore year, and I used to go to workouts and just sit there and curl. When I eventually got into a boot and was able to walk, I would just watch them play basketball,” De Carvalho said. “One time, I went and I would stay in the corner of the three-point line, and they’d pass me the ball and I’d shoot it, and I was making them somehow. I don’t know how. I remember that because it was encouraging from everyone. [It] showed they’re there for me and want to support me.”

Moments such as that one reflect the energy and community of the team.

“They’re always just having fun and laughing, and that part is huge for me,” Hunte said. “They know when it’s time to work, but they just enjoy being around each other, and that’s really important.”

Along with his emphasis on the importance of off-season practices, De Carvalho advises new football players on the team to stay grounded and confident in themselves.

“Don’t let outside voices affect your play,” De Carvalho said. “A lot of people have certain ideas about Brookline football, but anyone can break the stigma, anyone can break that stereotype, and you could be the one that does it. You just got to have the right mindset.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All comments are reviewed by Cypress staff before being published. To read our complete policy, see our policies underneath the About tab.
All The Cypress Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *