SNOQUALMIE – The Mount Si boys’ basketball team, like many other teams from our area, is out of town this week competing against teams from around the country at holiday tournaments from coast to coast. As is the case with the Surf and Slam tournament, these tournaments, due to the time constraints involved in putting on a holiday break tournament, make the participating teams play three games in three or four days. For the Wildcats, this is not a new thing, as they just wrapped up a tough stretch of five games in nine days.
In addition to the fact that, for one of those previous five games, and likely all of the games in San Diego, the upcoming stretch will also be tough physically and mentally. That kind of a schedule requires a serious amount of physical preparation in order to stay in top shape.
For Wildcat boys’ basketball coach Garrick Phillips, who is in his 12th year as the head man at Mount Si, one thing comes to mind in order to get his players ready for the physical battles that happen during games: running.
“We run a lot,” Phillips said. “There’s a little bit of weight training but mostly just running during practice. Our practices are more strenuous than the games for the most part.”
Five games in nine days with not a lot of rest is taxing, said junior Kyle Meuli.
“Yeah, it takes a lot out of you,” he said.
Meuli added, though, that he has got to keep working hard.
“Well, you’ve just got to eat, and you’ve got to get your sleep,” he said. “You’ve just got to get things done and you’ve still got to come practice and play every day.”
These days, with such a year-round emphasis on sports that includes club teams, private instruction and off-season practice facilities, keeping in shape is an everyday responsibility. Phillips said his players fulfill that in a variety of ways.
“Most of them play other sports and it requires them to stay in good shape. They’re all very active and doing other things and the ones that are not playing other sports are usually in the weight room. They’re playing basketball at open gym and various things so they stay in pretty good shape,” Phillips said. “Once the season starts, they’re not in nearly as good of shape as they’re going to be after we start playing for a few weeks.”
For junior Kyle Clearman, getting a chance, albeit a slim one at times, to break away from the grind is critical to his success as a player.
“I just take advantage of the rest time that I get. You’ve got to stay off your feet and just relax when you have the time to,” Clearman he said “It is rough [to take that time].”
Phillips had advice for young local athletes and their parents on how to stay in tip-top condition.
“Just be active,” he said. “Play less video games and play more sports. I think it’s very important. I think we’re living in a video game society and I think it really hurts the kids because many are overweight. We have a lot of kids with health problems because they are inactive.”
With the preparation of playing these stretches of games twice already this season, the Wildcats will be ready to withstand the physical grind of playing at the state tournament, should they end up there. At the state tournament, teams play as many as four games in four days, which for many teams is a tough test.