Moffat County athletes switching focus for winter season |

Moffat County athletes switching focus for winter season

Nate Waggenspack
Lauren Samuelson, left, puts up a jumper over Mattie Jo Duzik Wednesday during an open gym at Moffat County High School. Many members of the girls basketball team started attending open gyms since the end of their fall sports seasons.
Nate Waggenspack

With the fall sports seasons finished at the high school, many multi-sport athletes from Moffat County High School are switching gears to get ready for whatever winter sport is coming their way.

Many of the athletes are moving on to basketball, which will require some obvious changes in their training regimen. Instead of throwing or catching a football, or passing a volleyball accurately, players start working on their jump shot form and their ball-handling skills.

But getting ready for basketball requires more than just developing the game’s specific skill set. It’s brand and fast-paced, up-and-down the court action is a different animal than many fall sports.

“There’s lots more conditioning and a lot more vigorous activity than volleyball,” said Tiawna Smercina, a junior setter from the MCHS volleyball team who now is getting prepped for basketball. “Volleyball doesn’t have as much running.”

That makes the first couple of weeks of changing sports a challenge. While players can’t be out of shape for volleyball, it’s a different style of condition, often with longer segments of play before a break.

“I usually don’t feel like I’m in condition for basketball from volleyball,” Smercina said.

For boys moving on from football, basketball also can require continuous effort for longer than football’s one play then huddle format. But Colten Yoast, a senior lineman on the football team and post player for basketball, said the extreme effort required on each play in football makes conditioning less of an issue.

“There’s not a whole lot of changes (in training),” he said. “There’s a lot of running in both, and you’re pretty physical in both. Obviously in football you’re more physical, but you still have to be physical in basketball.”

Strength is a bigger focus in football, with a full weightlifting regimen an important part of training, but Yoast said coming off a season of lifting makes it easy to keep doing so for basketball.

Lifting “is still about the same because the first few times you lift you’re sore, but after that it’s fine,” he said. “So you can keep going with it.”

The senior added that a change in mindset is important. Channeling aggressive play has to change from the pads and tackling mindset necessary for football.

Smercina also said her mindset at basketball practice changes from what she was doing during volleyball season.

“I always go in with the mindset of practice going good,” she said. “I’m going to go hard the whole time because that’s what you have to do or you could fall behind.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or

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