Early bird gets the worm

William Maywood, Sports Editor

On Sept. 9 off-season varsity boys’ basketball practices in the Bonita Vista High gymnasium before zero period. Towards the end of practice they run interteam scrimmages. (Eiffel Sunga)

The sound of sneakers squeaking against the basketball court, echoing across the gym. The potential basketball players wake up between 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. to get ready for their basketball training, with a full day of classes after practice. This differs from previous years, when the athletes practiced after school. Boys’ basketball Head Coach Don Dumas believes that the change is beneficial as it added benefits for the players that extend outside their athletic world and into other aspects of their lives.

The first few weeks are tough. Once [the] players get used to it, their bodies adjust to being active early. It’s a good thing because now that school ends at 3:40 [p.m.], they can go to tutoring, they can help out more at home [and have] time for their homework,” boys’ basketball Head Coach Don Dumas said. 

The initial change was a difficult transition for the potential players because the student athletes have to balance their athletics, academics and personal life while maintaining a good state. It is a balancing act to make sure that they get their school work done, and practice for basketball. Waking up early in the morning requires responsibility and commitment from everyone on the team. 

“The initial change was hard at first because I have to wake up at four in the morning to get everything ready for school and I have to be at practice by 5:15 [a.m.]. But after you do it for so many times, you get used to it. It becomes a second nature to have it and get the work in,” potential player and junior Diego Figueroa said. 

The change was primarily caused not by the change of block schedule, but by the gym availability. The team gathered and decided to train earlier, rather than wait for another sports team like volleyball to finish their training, which would have kept the athletes on campus late. This would result in wasting time the students could use for schoolwork, extracurriculars and personal responsibilities.

“It’s really hard to practice in the afternoon because all the spots are filled up. The only spot available was in the morning and we took it because we have to get [to] work earlier and it’s better for everybody,” Figueroa said. 

Besides that it is important to get as much practice in the offseason, and with the later start time there was more time available in the gym than any time slot in the afternoon, so the team decided to take the one before school as it was the best option

“Because our offseason is very important to us. With there being less gym time available after school because school gets out later, that opened it up a little bit in the morning. S0 we decided to start practicing then,” Dumas said.

The change in the schedule not only helps the potential players with managing their schoolwork, but also with their play on the court. Practicing at an earlier time allowed them to practice more or work on physical conditioning during the afternoons. 

“[The morning practice] gives me more time during the day and after school to finish my schoolwork and maybe get another workout in. I feel like if we practice in the morning before school, we already got our workout in,” Figueroa said.

Additionally, managing time for both practice and school is crucial for the potential players. As many high school students can attest, completing schoolwork takes a long time. While athletes in sports like football and tennis go home after practice, these potential players head to their class and thus have a responsibility to get enough sleep to perform athletically and academically but also wake up early enough to go to practice.

“I had to go to bed earlier and do work earlier than I would at night. I didn’t like waking up in the morning but as you get used to it, it’s actually a lot better,” potential player and sophomore Aaron Owens said. 

While the schedule of the practice has changed, the intensity of the practice has remained the same to ensure the potential players are in peak condition for when the season starts. According to Figueroa, the athletes warm up, run through plays they practice before which they then use in-game,  and stretch afterwards.

“We really focus on executing the plays because they correlate directly to the game,” Figueroa said. 

The basketball team looks to improve their results from last year going 8-20 overall in wins and losses. Nonetheless, a new year is ahead of the team, allowing for growth and improvement. The team hopes that their dedication and hard work will take them to a successful season and that they make some noise. 

“We got big things coming. We’re gonna shock everybody because everybody thinks Bonita is this, Bonita is that. Nah, we’re coming as underdogs,” Figueroa said.