With the conclusion of season 3 IASAS sports, the offseason for every Taipei American School sports team has officially begun. Many athletes still have a lot of time left, but for season 1 athletes, their offseason ends in approximately three months. For some, this period of time means finally taking time off to rest, but calling it “the offseason” may be misleading for others as it signifies one thing: even more training.
With that said, training is not exactly an expectation for TAS student-athletes. Athletics Director Ms. Kawamoto says that, “I don’t expect them to train, our athletes to because it is an individual responsibility. If you want to improve, the offseason is the most important time for that.”
Benjamin Kao: volleyball
After winning a second consecutive IASAS gold medal at home, the boys’ volleyball team hopes to continue their streak next year.
Benjamin Kao (10) believes that “as a team, we need to work harder this offseason because we’re losing three crucial players.” With the team losing its co-captains Jack Tobey (12), Andrew Hu (12), and Jesse Kao (12), Benjamin understands that he needs to work even harder to compensate for the losses. He plays volleyball about three times a week, but instead of viewing training as a burden, he sees it as a time to take risks, make mistakes, and to improve on his libero skills before the actual season. Although some may believe that winning a gold medal would put more pressure on the team to win a gold medal the next year, Benjamin believes otherwise: “I actually don’t think there is more pressure…Instead, our focus should be on improving the chemistry and familiarity of our new team this offseason.”
Garett Huang: cross country
After improving from fifth place last year to fourth place at the TAS hosted IASAS tournament this year, the boys cross country team is working hard to continue improving .
With two years of IASAS cross country under his belt, Garett Huang (11) understands the necessity of offseason training: “I think the key to offseason training is running at least 5 to 6 times a week, having a maximum weekly distance of 90 kilometers.” He does three easy long runs (10 to 16 kilometers), double runs (morning and afternoon runs) twice a week, and one tempo run (5 miles at 6:30 mile pace) every week. Along with running, Since Garett also believes that core strengthening is important during the offseason, he goes to the Fitness Center at least twice a week to train his core. After failing to medal in the past two years, he believes that “there is definitely a bigger drive for me to work harder after falling short last year. However, because cross country is a team sport, I need all my boys to train hard with me!”
Cheyenne Hsieh: basketball
Leaving Manila undefeated, the girls’ basketball team has won its first gold medal since 2008.
After winning her first gold medal, first time all-tournament selection Cheyenne Hsieh (10) had a change in mindset on the offseason: “I think the offseason is pretty tough because I have to find the motivation to train, but after winning my first gold medal, there is even more pressure for next year because everyone will be training to try to be better than you.” Although she feels a greater pressure to practice basketball, Cheyenne also welcomes the stronger incentive to train. She currently plays basketball two to three times a week with a local coach, along with her teammates, while also doing strength and conditioning training at the Fitness Center frequently. Over the summer she hopes to perfect her shooting form at IMG Academy, a boarding and sports training school located in Bradenton, Florida, along with her teammate, Anya Lai (10).
Rose Hsu: touch rugby
Although the girls touch rugby team dropped to fifth place at IASAS this year after gaining the fourth seed, the team improved from sixth place last year to fifth this year.
After her second year as an IASAS touch rugby player, Rose Hsu (11) hopes to improve in time for next years’ tournament at home: “When I have the time, I play touch rugby once a week with the Taipei Touch Association at the Bailing Rugby Fields in Shilin on Saturdays, but I plan on going regularly once school starts again in August.” Time management has always been a struggle for student-athletes at TAS, and Rose is definitely not an exception: “with my duties as the new student government president, involvement in dance, and college applications coming up, along with my studies, it is pretty hard to consistently train for touch rugby sometimes.” Although Rose does not get as much time to train play touch rugby as she would like, she enjoys the offseason because it allows her to do the core exercises that she likes.
Stephanie Loo: badminton
Coming off their 14th consecutive gold medal, the girls’ badminton team is continuing the IASAS dynasty that began in 2003.
In her first year in TAS, Stephanie Loo (10) has already procured the 1st singles position and an all-tournament selection. However, leading this historic run is not without its pressure: “it would be terrible and heartbreaking if we were the ones to end up breaking the 14-year streak. Because of this, I definitely feel the pressure of having to train in order to maintain the streak.” Immediately following IASAS, Stephanie has decided to take a break from badminton: “I think it’s pretty important to take a break during the offseason to rest my body while also spending more time on my studies and friends.” However, she plans on playing badminton once a week for two hours with a local coach in a few weeks and unlike Cheyenne, Stephanie says, “I don’t think the off-season is tough or tiring because I don’t train as often compared to during the season.”
Eugene Kao: golf
The TAS boys and girls golf teams have each won three gold medals since IASAS golf’s introduction in 2013 and hope to secure a fourth one next year in TAS next year, which will be hosting golf.
Surprisingly, two time all-tournament winner, Eugene Kao (11) says matter-of-factly, “I don’t really train.” While he currently is not concerned about training, Eugene will have four tournaments starting from June to December: “leading up to these tournaments, I play golf every other day, but other than that, I really don’t train that often.” As for the pressures faced by gold medal winning teams, Eugene’s viewpoint is different from that of Benjamin Kao’s: “I think there definitely is more pressure to win gold next year, but it is mostly because TAS is hosting IASAS golf. But even though there’s an added pressure for us to win next year, I still don’t think I need to train that hard in the offseason because I’m confident that our team will win.”