Local sports teams having to work around bad weather


By Chip Burch • Last Updated 10:04 am on Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Greenville’s Stankey Field, where the Yellow Jackets play baseball, shows some standing water in the infield and in foul territory after Tuesday’s rain.

All the sports events scheduled for Monday and even Tuesday were canceled because of rain.

With the exception of a few teams, most school teams have yet to take the field or the track to start the season.

“It’s frustrating but it’s part of coaching in the spring,” Belding baseball coach Mike Ostrander said. “Last year, the weather was beautiful on the first day of practice and this year we’re getting paid back a little.”

Greenville softball coach Tom Hallock noted how he would like to have played already.

“It’s tough because we start conference play next week and typically it’s nice to have six to eight games before conference starts, so you’re at your best when conference play starts,” Hallock said. “But we’re not the only one in the same boat. We’re having to work through it just like everybody else.”

It’s even affected track teams, said Central Montcalm co-coach Kris Kolbe.

“We haven’t been able to be outside,” he said. “We got everything moved outside during spring break. We haven’t had to have a full-team practice outside yet.”

Lakeview soccer coach Chris Smith said he has had only one outdoor practice with his Wildcat girls.

“The girls are probably handling it better than I am,” he said. “We were looking forward to having a game (Tuesday).”

So the teams try to do as much as they can in their high school gyms and hallways.

“I think the way we prepare them mentally, some of the drills help,” Ostrander said. “One advantage we have is we have practiced on the football field. We can do all of our fly ball drills and the ground ball drills and the field gives true bounces. Being outside helps give you a feel that you can’t get inside.”

Hallock said teams must now push through any kind of cabin fever for now.

“You work through it and do as much as you can in the gym,” Hallock said. “It’s not just frustrating for the coaches, but also for the players. We simulate as much as we can, but with the space provided it becomes difficult and a little monotonous being inside.”

Smith agrees.

“The only good thing is that everybody else is dealing with it, too,” he said. “You can’t simulate some things in a gym. You can’t figure out some substitution patterns. It’s something most of the teams in the area are dealing with.”

Track teams may have a slight disadvantage when it comes to field events, though, according to Kolbe.

“It’s hard for us because we don’t have an indoor high jump pit or an indoor pole vault pit,” he said. “So it will affect us where we don’t have a normal surface.”

But Kolbe isn’t quite panicking yet.

“We went to Grand Valley and got some baseline times there,” he said. “I don’t know how big of an effect it will have early in the season because you train a little harder as you go.”

Soccer teams have a disadvantage because there’s no grass indoors, Smith noted.

“That is our biggest issue,” he said. “We can play and do some drills in the gym but without the grass it’s different. It puts us at a disadvantage but I don’t know if it’s more than other sports.”

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