Setting up the season: Athletics in the summer

Jul 15, 2014

Quite often, Heidelberg staff members are asked, "What are you doing this summer?" In a series of web features during the month of July, we answer the question by profiling several offices who are busy during the summer months, preparing for the upcoming school year. In fact, for some, summer is the busiest time of the entire year.

Ron MartinIn the athletic department, summertime is not quiet time. It’s the time when fall sports coaches are busy preparing for the upcoming season.

New head cross country coach, and ’75 alum, Ron Martin has been teaching and coaching for over 30 years and is no stranger to the prep work. However, this will be his first season as a collegiate head coach.

“Heidelberg’s cross country program has had five coaches in four years. It’s difficult on athletes to not have consistency,” Martin said. “My goal is to create that for them.”

Consistency is good for every team and the athletic department uses the summer to prepare and plan for the season. Coaches work on and send out the summer training programs, organize fundraisers, work on budgets and transportation paperwork, order equipment, and review scouting reports.

Head women’s soccer coach, Nick Spell, is in his 8th season as head coach.

“Being here has helped solidify my coaching philosophy,” Spell said. “I’ve matured a lot and am trying to build a strong program.”

Building a strong program means recruiting new players.

“It’s fun to scout new talent and new players to bring to Heidelberg,” Spell said. “I spend more time trying to find the right type of player, not just the player with the most talent.”

Recruiting involves a lot of traveling and phone calls. Spell also hosts ID camps in June where recruits visit Heidelberg for the day. He gets to see their ability and they get to see his coaching style.

Spring and early summer is high recruiting season for Martin as well. Cross country coaches attend high school track and field regional meets and the state meet to watch recruits and networking with other coaches.

Nick Spell“It is time consuming, but it pays dividends,” Martin says. “Making a connection to a recruit is important.” 

It’s not just the fall sports that are active in the summer. Men’s and women’s basketball, football, baseball, and men’s and women’s soccer all hold their respective shootouts, summer camps, and clinics. Some are recruiting efforts, while others are outreaches into the community.

Martin has been running a high school cross country camp in McCutchenville, Ohio for over 25 years. It encompasses four one-week long sessions with anywhere from 150-230 runners.

“It’s my way to giving back to a sport that’s given me so much,” he said.

With so much going on, summer often flies by, and in no time at all, fall athletes are back on campus early for pre-season camps.

“The point of camp is to develop team unity,” Martin said. “It’s also great for the incoming freshman to get to know everyone.”

It’s a crash course back on campus practicing, bonding, and getting ready for the season. Women’s soccer also has two scrimmages during that time where coach Spell can evaluate the strength of each player and team weaknesses to address.

“Some players need more time to develop and get ready and they do that by playing,” Spell said.

After a long summer of hard work, coaches are just as anxious to start the season as their athletes, and they’ve put in the time to prepare for a great season.

“I can’t wait to get outside and start the season,” Martin said.