Staying Motivated in Year-Round Sports

Article by: Andrea Manalac

Photos by: Jiyoon Kang

Athletics- Staying Motivated in Year-Round Sports - Week 5 (Jiyoon Kang) (1)There seems to always be something going on in the athletics hub of ISM, including both the seasonal and year-round sports teams and clubs. It can definitely be said that most of the hype throughout the school community is focused on seasonal sports, including events like IASAS tournaments and Friday Night Lights. However, there are a vast amount of students who train year-round for their sport or activity, who unfortunately don’t often share the glory of those seasonal athletes who have the opportunity to showcase their talents to our ISM community in these events.

Some of the sports and clubs that train year-round include chess, wall climbing, gymnastics, and the Sailfish swim team. The major difference between these teams and our seasonal sports teams is the fact that they train all the way from August until early June, meaning there is no specialized season in which any IASAS-like event is held. Although year-round training two to four times a week does sound extremely rigorous, each of these teams still share annual competitions and events to train towards and look forward to. A prime example includes the gymnastics team, who travel annually just as IASAS athletes do, but for their very own overseas tournament. The host nation of this annual meet rotates through a mix of Asian nations; Last year, the gymnastics team traveled to Singapore to represent our school in the annual Singapore American School gymnastics meet.

Sailfish swim team provides the exception to year-round teams not being involved in IASAS. The ISM Sailfish team refers to the year-round team as opposed to ISM’s seasonal swimmers, and are the only year-round sport to participate in IASAS. Students who are part of the year-round Sailfish team are eligible to train for and possibly compete on the IASAS team; however, not all IASAS swimmers choose to be part of the year-round Sailfish team. The majority of the team only trains with ISM during second season. As a Sailfish swimmer who trains longer than second season, Maia Ner says, “The difficult training sessions are often underestimated and may discourage people from continuing [outside of season]… For me personally [year long] training can sometimes make me lazier or think that training isn’t that important.” Although training for swimming throughout the year is strenuous, Maia N. comments that, “I am able to stay motivated because of my family and friends, who are constantly encouraging me to keep improving and to not give up”.

Marielle Olenjniczak is a gymnast on the ISM team, as well as a current senior feeling the pressures of the IB, who expressed her agreement with Maia. Although action hours are abundant for Marielle, the time commitment is tiring. Marielle commented, “Some days, I have good days where I’m excited to train, and other days I could fall asleep right on the gym floor.” Because of her passion for gymnastics, Marielle is able to stay motivated by looking forward to her favorite type of training: tumbling.

It seems that although our year-round athletes share feelings of high demands and tire of lengthy weeks of training, it is things like support from family and friends, and passion for their sport that keep these athletes motivated all year long. Both of these athletes, among many others, work hard throughout the entire year. Although they may not have an IASAS to compete in, their year-long commitments still provide a range of unique events, competitions, and showcases that are definitely worthy of similar hype to that of the seasonal teams. Check out the ATAC blog ( for more information about upcoming events for our year-round teams!