For many of us, spring break is a time to de-stress from school and to kick back and relax. But for the baseball, softball, and track and field teams, they get to relax and travel to play the sports they love.
One word that would accurately describe their spring break is exciting. “We were eager to get off the bus to play seven games in seven days. It’s always nice when you are playing outside in beautiful weather rather than inside,” University of Wisconsin–Stout baseball coach Ben Kincaid said when asked about the excitement level for his team. Track and field coach Kyle Steiner added that for his team, “It’s not just a meet, it’s a vacation.”
Although escaping the weather is a plus, that isn’t the only benefit to traveling. Softball coach Becky Iaccino added that “Team bonding and building a team culture is a huge benefit in spring training trips,” Iaccino stated. “Although this is part of the whole process over the entire year, spring training is definitely a time where the team truly comes together.” Kincaid agreed, adding that “team cohesion is a big characteristic that I teach, and our guys are very close and play as a team.”
Obviously traveling to any warm place is going to be nice, but how exactly do the coaches decide where they travel to? “Cost is a major factor in our decision; however, competition level and the ability to compete against top division three teams is also key,” Coach Iaccino said. Coach Steiner agreed that cost was a big factor, but added that being in a place with a lot of things to do for the team was very important.
During these team trips, a lot of strides were made for the season ahead. Kincaid saw some things he really liked in his team and some things they needed to improve. The softball team finished with a record of 5-5. “I’m pleased with how we played,” Coach Iaccino commented. “However, I am still challenging our team to step up their game and maintain the high level of play more consistently.” Coach Steiner also thought his teams competed very well.