For most RIT students, summers consist of a well-deserved relaxation period after the nearly 40-week grind of the academic calendar. Many work summer jobs. For nearly all of RIT’s 600 student-athletes, summers also consist of honing their craft in their sport in addition to their other responsibilities.
Nine of RIT’s 24 teams compete in the fall season, with men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s volleyball allowed to arrive on campus before classes begin to start their preseason. Per NCAA rules, students for those sports can begin practice on Aug. 16. With just eight days to prepare before classes start and eight more days until the regular season begins on Sept. 1, the preseason is incredibly short, making it imperative that student-athletes come back in peak physical condition.
“The physical demands on a modern soccer player are greater than they have ever been as the speed of play has advanced significantly over the years,” said 20th-year RIT men’s soccer head coach Bill Garno ’88. “Add to that the myriad of demands on collegiate student athletes and it has never been more critical to team success to have individual players who are in top physical condition when preseason starts.”
Coaches can and will send out a suggested specified individual or team-based workout plan which must be voluntary per NCAA rules. Student-athletes do not have to report back on their workout, according to NCAA guidelines. Most if not all RIT student-athletes are busy working on not only their games, but also a job within their major during the summer.
“I focus mainly on building mileage (52-60 per week) during the summer,” said women’s cross country runner Becky Greiner, fourth-year biotechnology major from Henrietta. “I have an internship at the University of Rochester doing research in a biochemistry/biophysics lab and that takes up a lot of my time, so I usually plan my day where I run and then head straight to the gym for a lift session after. And then by the end of the summer I incorporate some more up-tempo paced runs.”
“Offseason strength and conditioning is critical to the health, safety and development of our team,” said Garno, who also played for the Tigers from 1984 to 1987. “Each week throughout the summer, we distribute voluntary individual-workout programs to our student athletes, which is a continuation of a program that actually begins in early December and continues until preseason. The workouts are designed to provide for the development of strength, speed, agility, quickness, and anaerobic and aerobic conditioning.”
“I try to stay as on-point with my running and lifting workouts,” said men’s soccer captain Rueben Marquez, fourth-year business management major from Williamson, N.Y. “I also join a summer soccer league so I don’t lose my touch on the ball. It’s hard to juggle my work schedule and training schedule during the summer but it’s important to stay fit during the offseason.”
“The summer is our last chance to get our fitness to where we want it for the fall,” said RIT volleyball captain Abby Higgins, a fourth-year industrial engineering student from Peru, N.Y. “We start the season very quickly with our first tournament on day 13. If there is ever a time to go above and beyond with training, it’s the summer. Our workout program focuses on strength, explosiveness and agility, but since our preseason is so demanding it drives us to end the summer in the best physical shape possible.”
The 2014-2015 sports season was a landmark one for RIT, with several teams enjoying record-breaking success. This summer is where the building blocks for success in 2015-2016 begin.