It’s around this time of year Center Grove athletics director Jon Zwitt gives his coaches what might best be described as a spring break refresher course.
Zwitt reminds coaches what to emphasize to Trojans student-athletes as they disperse for what amounts to a two-week break beginning Saturday.
“We advise them to tell the kids that they’re not exempt no matter where they go. Sometimes kids think they are just because they’re out of the state of Indiana and out of Johnson County,” Zwitt said.
“It’s just about reminding them to make good decisions like we do all year long. You can’t hear it enough times. When you’re dealing with kids who are 15 through 19 years old … even good kids make poor decisions sometimes.”
Story continues below gallery
Lapses in judgment can come in many forms — poor diet, insufficient rest, lack of exercise or an ill-timed break from common sense — regardless of whether an athlete stays home or travels out of state during spring break.
If guilty of any or all of these, it usually doesn’t take that student’s coach long to figure it out.
“I give them a workout to take with them. We have a meet the second day we’re back, so we’re going to know who didn’t do anything,” Greenwood boys and girls track coach Blaine Williams said, referring to an April 7 home meet against New Palestine.
“The optimist in me believes the kids who are going somewhere are going to work, and the kids who are here will work at the (Greenwood) track.”
Williams, who is staying in town over break, will unlock the high school track from 10 a.m. to noon each day for those committed to maintaining or improving their level of cardiovascular fitness.
But again, they’re kids. And this is spring break.
Odds are the more accomplished the athletes, the greater lengths they will go to return to post-break practices in tip-top condition.
Franklin Community High School senior Joshua Cox is coming off a season in which he took second in the long jump at the Columbus North Sectional and fifth in the 100-meter dash.
Just missing out on qualifying for the state finals in the long jump at the Connersville Regional provides Cox all the incentive necessary to keep working.
“What I’ve done in the past on break is if we’re at a motel I’ll work out in the exercise room and do different cardio stuff. If there’s free weights, I’ll use those,” Cox said.
“If it’s a beach I’ll run for 15 to 20 minutes, but not every day because I want to give my body some rest. As a senior I’ve realized you can’t take things off. If I’m going to do something I’m going to go all out.”
The Grizzly Cubs open their season Monday at home against Greenwood before going on break from March 27 to April 5. Franklin is scheduled to run a meet at Shelbyville on April 7.
Spring break also is a time for athletes not in a spring sport to remain disciplined.
Center Grove football player Austin Smogor anchored the offensive line for the Trojans’ Class 6A semistate qualifier this past fall. Next season he’ll suit up for the University of Saint Francis, an NAIA program in Fort Wayne.
Being as large as he is (6-foot-3, 290 pounds), Smogor and those built similarly have to make a conscious effort to maintain a certain discipline when coaches and teammates aren’t around.
“The approach of staying fit is an everyday thing to me. Linemen can easily get out of shape, so my main focus is to not put on a lot of fat. I’m not worried about the weight per se. I’m worried about what kind of weight it is,” Smogor said.
“Even while on break it’s not a break from staying fit. I still have to stay focused on what my goals are beyond spring break.”
Indian Creek junior basketball player Candace Danz is playing tennis for the first time since her freshman year. This gives her two reasons for remaining in the best shape possible.
For Danz that means maintaining sensible eating habits.
“I try to eat eggs and drink water in the morning and eat in small portions,” said Danz, the 5-foot-10 guard who led her team in scoring (20.2) and rebounds (8.1) this season and was named to the Daily Journal’s All-County Team.
“When you’re on break it’s easy not to want to do anything,” she added. “You want to sit around because you don’t have to impress anyone.”