Getting into the swingPublished 11:08am Saturday, March 30, 2013
Tigers prepare for season indoors
The baseball diamonds, golf course fairways, tracks and tennis courts may look deserted, but lingering snow won’t give Albert Lea’s spring sports teams an excuse to lounge on the sofa.
The baseball and softball teams are cooped up in the gym with their batting cages. The track team can be found sprinting down the high school hallways. The boys’ tennis team is preparing at Hawthorne Elementary School, and the golf teams are practicing in the basement of Wedgewood Cove Golf Club.
It’s a different situation than the 2012 spring season, but it’s nothing new, girls’ golf coach Shawn Riebe said.
“Last year was my first year in 15 years of coaching that we were out in shorts on the first day,” he said. “I never plan for that.
“At the beginning, my plan is always to go over the rules. Then, we go over grip, posture and alignment. We go over tempo, get their hands toughened up and their muscles loosened up.”
Golf may have the longest waiting period of all the spring sports, because conditions need to be just right. Participants don’t want to ruin the greens and fairways.
“If it gets up to 50 degrees, that’ll take care of a lot of it,” Albert Lea boys’ golf coach Casey McIntyre said. “But, once the snow is gone, we’ve got to wait for the ground to dry out a little and firm up.”
Despite being stuck indoors, the coaches have found ways to stay productive, which means talking strategy.
“We’re forced to focus on the mental aspects of the game, rather than the physical aspects, which isn’t all that bad,” McIntyre said. “We’re just trying to stay focussed on golf in other ways than actually playing golf.”
Golfers are spending time in the weight room, working on technique, going over course management and stretching.
In the basement at Wedgewood, the Tigers can work on putting and chipping, as well as drive the ball into nets
“We’re just getting back into the swing of it. Literally,” McIntyre said.
Surprising as it may seem, practicing inside actually has a few advantages.
“I don’t mind this. The kids don’t burn out, and they’re not fried from being outside all the time,” Riebe said. “I’m sick of winter and they are too, but this is golf right now.
“It’s just hanging out and getting loosened up.”
Spring start dates
April 9: Rochester Mayo at Albert Lea (doubleheader), 4 p.m.
April 9: Rochester Century at Albert Lea (doubleheader), 4 p.m.
• The original season opener against Byron has been rescheduled to May 15 at Albert Lea at 5 p.m.
Boys’ and girls’ track and field
April 9: Albert Lea at Owatonna, 3:30 p.m.
• The meet originally scheduled for April 2 at New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva has been canceled.
April 9: Albert Lea home triangular against Mankato East and Faribault (Albert Lea Green Lea Golf Couse), 2:30 p.m.
April 11: Albert Lea at Waseca (Lakeside Country Club), 3:30 p.m.
April 4: New Prague at Albert Lea, 4:30 p.m.
• The original season opener against Stewartville has been rescheduled to 4:30 p.m on April 12.