As Binghamton University students head home for summer break, they can look forward to a swift getaway from school activities for the three-month period. For Binghamton’s student-athletes, however, the summer is a busy time.
With the season beginning immediately in the semester for Binghamton’s fall teams, the academic year starts early for many athletes. BU’s soccer and volleyball teams arrive in town in early August to begin their preseason.
But the preseason is not the only form of training done by student-athletes throughout the summer. Prior to arriving on campus, members of Binghamton’s women’s soccer team play soccer for a different team throughout the summer.
“Everyone’s required to play in some sort of summer league; usually within your area there’s a ton of girls that play club together that play in college,” said midfielder Abby Wick, a rising senior. “I play with a girl from UMBC that I know from high school, and a lot of the Long Island girls play on teams together.”
The work isn’t limited to just playing in a summer league — there are also expectations placed on athletes by the BU coaching staff to stay in shape during their time away.
“Our coaches give us a fitness packet and a strength packet,” Wick said. “So, three days a week we’re supposed to do some sort of lift routine, and three or four days a week we’re supposed to do some sort of fitness activity. They give us different ideas.”
Wick said student-athletes are also expected to hone their soccer skills throughout the offseason. Each player is given specific aspects of their game to work on.
“We have end-of-the-year individual meetings with our coaches and they give us certain technical things they want us to work on,” Wick said. “I think I’m focusing on long passes and my strike.”
In her time off this summer, Wick, a native of Yardley, Pennsylvania, said she plans to spend time at her family’s beach house on the Jersey Shore, and hopes to visit her Bearcat teammates on Long Island.
Just before the fall teams arrive, during the Summer II session, Binghamton’s winter teams are in town from early July to early August, preparing for their upcoming seasons.
“We have our entire team, including our incoming freshmen and transfers, all here for summer semester two,” said BU wrestling head coach Kyle Borshoff. “They’re all on campus. Many of them take classes, and they’re typically wrestling and lifting four to five days a week.”
Although the season doesn’t begin until November, members of Binghamton’s basketball and wrestling teams use time over the summer to develop their skills and maintain strong conditioning.
“The offseason is typically the biggest opportunity for personal development for players, but also this is where we do probably our most intense workouts, just because the season is so far away,” said guard Kai Moon, a rising senior. “This way you try to become stronger, lifting heavier weights and doing more reps, and you can kinda push your body a little bit more to prepare for the season.”
Moon said the summer practice session also provides an excellent opportunity for incoming freshmen to adjust to the experience of being a student-athlete.
“I think that’s probably what prepares them the most and gets them acclimated the best in terms of what college basketball will be like,” Moon said. “They’re thrown into the fire a little bit when they first get here, but they’re not thrown into it right as the season is about to start.”
With the basketball season spanning both semesters, players are often unable to go home during the Thanksgiving and winter breaks. Even with team activities, there is still time off, and Moon said she looks forward to spending time with her friends and family in Bolingbrook, Illinois and taking a family vacation to Seattle.
Borshoff believes that while it isn’t easy for student-athletes to give up parts of the summer to focus on team activities, the benefits can pay off when the season begins. He said having team activities during the summer can be a strong attribute to the BU wrestling program’s success.
“During the summer, it’s usually us and the basketball programs with pretty much our full teams on campus,” Borshoff said. “It gives us a good chance to bridge the gap between us and some of the bigger universities that may not have their teams doing the same things.”