Opinion: Practice Makes Perfect

By: Cassie Follman ’16

Although it is finally warming up on the campus, for the first few weeks of spring term
the cold temperature embodied the true nature of the ever-changing New Jersey weather. Those
who participate in spring sports were especially affected.

Practices and meets had to be cancelled due to the weather on multiple accounts.
However, even though the constant changing of schedules for sports due to weather was
necessary in some cases, not every practice can be cancelled due to the unpredictable weather.

Disrupting practices due the weather can lead to the team not being prepared for a meet
or a game and while practicing in less than desirable climate is irritating, it is also essential at
times in order to secure the success of the team. “I do not think that sports practices should be
cancelled unless the weather becomes dangerous (such as thunder storms or blizzards) because
if there is a season like this winter, where it snowed every other day, then practices would be
cancelled frequently,” Katie Keyser ’16, member of the track team, said. “Athletes would not be
able to do the workouts they need to succeed.”

The weather must be endured especially in sports where it is necessary to practice
outdoors, for instance crew and golf. Practices are extremely important in every activity,
whether that be a sport, playing an instrument or rehearsing for the play. Without sufficient
practice, the teams would be unprepared for meets or games, and would not succeed.

Instead of cancelling a practice because of undesirable weather, certain practices could
be altered in order to insure the efficiency of a practice. Sudden changes in practices are
difficult to coordinate due to space in the athletic center and other factors, but if the practices
remain outside even in harsh weather, the effectiveness of the practice could be easily
compromised.

Even though achieving goals is crucial, the safety of the students is the number one
priority. Through changing the focus of a certain practice on a particularly harsh day, such as
pouring rain or near blizzard conditions, the safety of the team members, coaches, and
productivity of the practice can be guaranteed.

Furthermore, team building is another alternative to simply cancelling practice, while
ensuring the safety of students. Furthermore, the fortification of healthy relationships between
team members leads the group to come together more and establishes the fun environment
most participants in sports want to achieve.

Indeed, the weather is unpredictable, and although in extreme cases it is absolutely
necessary that practice must be cancelled because there are no other options. However, there
are multiple alternatives to having an outdoor practice, such as team building and switching the
focus or location of a certain practice. Coaches should not be expected to cancel practices
simply because students do not want to practice in the rain as they all made a commitment to
that sport, and as a result are expected to tolerate and participate in sometimes unwelcome
conditions.