A view from my side.
We have a slightly longer Spring Break than the other schools in our area, 8 school days as opposed to the customary 5. As such, we lose an incredible amount of field time. Most of the other teams in our geographic area are practicing this week. Even though school is officially “out” for Spring Break, the athletic teams still practice. So much for letting kids be kids. We prefer to let the kids have their break and don’t schedule any practice sessions during the time we are off.
We divide our season into 3 sub-seasons. The Pre-Spring Break season is when we figure out our formation, learn our strengths and expose our weaknesses. We always schedule an Opening Day match on the first day we are allowed to play. A few days later, we play in local tournament that, if we win it, means we will have played 5 matches in a 28 hour period. The boys know this and focus on the training and conditioning to survive the schedule. By the time Saturday night rolls around, we are in shape, both mentally and physically. Then we play our early season schedule, usually against the teams we view as the weaker teams in our Area with some more competitive non-Area matches thrown in to keep us sharp.
This year, we lost our Opening Day match for the first time in years. And, this year, we did not break out of the Round Robin play in a Tournament we have won 4 of the last 5 years. We are a young team, having graduated 9 starters last year. Of our starting 11, only 5 had ever even played in a Varsity level match before. We got hammered by our cross town rival, losing 4-0. Still, overall we are 6-2-2 when the Pre-Spring Break season ended.
When school starts up again on Monday, we will enter our Mid Season Restart. We will train that afternoon. Then, Tuesday starts our Metro area tournament. We have matches scheduled Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. If we finish in the top 2, we will play again on Saturday in the Championship match. While we always play to win, we enter this tournament more for the training and field time it gives us as we return from Spring Break. We use it as our Mid Season Restart. It is a way to quickly get the boys back into the rhythm of the game.
After that tournament ends next weekend, we begin the final push to through the Area. Every match matters. We will play 7 matches in 13 days. 2 more Area matches 5 days after that. Each of them an Area match. We also have other, non-Area matches through the end of April, but each Area match goes to determine whether or not we will be playing in May. Should we win them all? Yes, we should. We are capable. We have the talent. We have the knowledge. We have the skill.
What we are about to find out is do we have the drive. Do we have the determination. Do we have the dedication. Do we have the desire. We are about to find out what our team is “made of.” This year, the Mid Season Restart will be the key.