Spring is a time for practice and refinement for many fall sports. For the William Jewell College football team, spring is an opportunity to better team cohesiveness and fine-tune each player’s abilities.
Shawn Weigel, head coach of the football team, explained how the spring sports season affects his team.
“Spring practice is not something new to any of the fall sports. Spring ball is in the best interest of the student athletes and especially those new to the program. It’s a quasi-developmental time that is most beneficial to our players that have not yet competed in formal competition at the collegiate level without all of the stress of the championship season. Our spring schedule is more about learning how we manipulate the competitive games in the fall and coming together as a new team without being intrusive to their academic or other co-curricular pursuits,” Weigel said.
Ethan Weilant, junior business administration major and wide receiver, agreed with Weigal. He explained the specific benefits that the spring season has for the team.
“It is good for getting small things fixed at every position, and there is more time to focus on the little things than during the season,” said Weilant.
Daniel Presler, first-year elementary education major and offensive lineman, commented on the rejuvenating nature of the spring season.
“Springtime is a chance to heal your body and get bigger, stronger and faster. Springtime is nice because you don’t have to deal with all the commotion the comes along with the fall season,” Presler said.
Will Scheider, first-year political science major and quarterback, gave an overall feel for a Jewell football player’s spring schedule.
“Springtime for a football player can get busy with having to wake up early to get to weights and then after classes having practice. We typically do a lot of things together with things such as [Jewell Day of service]. It is very important to build team chemistry to be successful,” said Schneider.
“During spring ball we lift in the mornings twice a week and we practice two to four times a week for a total of 15 practices,” Presler said.
Jewell’s football team usually trains six days of the week in the spring, working out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays the team practices at 4 p.m.
All of those interviewed agreed that spring season made the players closer and more cohesive as a unit.
“The team overall has done a good job of learning the specific assignments of different positions. Since there is more time in spring, players have been practicing positions that they don’t normally play to see if they fit better which will help during the season if there are injuries. Understanding what the guy next to you has to do on a play will help a lot during the season because of the team chemistry we will have,” Weilant said.
“The team overall has brought in some key pieces with transfers,” Schneider added.
“The biggest improvements have come in the areas you don’t always see immediately. Our players have become more connected and caring during this spring and their work in the off-season. When our players connect at a deeper level our entire community is enhanced with a renewed and invigorated sense of pride and energy going forward. By the way, our schedule is arguably one of the most difficult in Division II and there is a lot to learn from taking the path of most resistance. It pays dividends…throughout our players lives,” Weigal said, expressing the benefits and effects of the spring season that do not necessarily pertain to only athletic ability.
During the season, the team plays one official scrimmage in order to see the effects of the spring season on their team. The game went well, and the team is looking forward to showcasing their newfound and newly-refined skills throughout the fall 2018 season.
Photos by Clare Kimmis