Friendly Matches: Are they worth It?

Article by: Josh Miller

First season is coming to a close and while the ISM community waits in anticipation for IASAS, the Bearcat athletes and coaches are preoccupied with their intense preparations for the competition. In addition to IASAS, however, ISM’s sports teams participate in local tournaments in leagues such as the Inter-Scholastic Sports Association (ISSA) and Rizal Football Association (RIFA). Elements of preparation for competitions include proper diet, sleep, and training.

Some sports teams, however, face the problem of having too few official matches during the season to stay sharp. In order to gain a competitive edge, or just a more competitive season in general, ISM’s teams opt to take a step further and schedule friendly matches outside of official tournaments. ‘Friendlies’ refer to matches played between two teams that are not for any trophy, award, title, or league.

The logistics of scheduling and making friendlies happen are not too difficult. ISM Athletics Director Mr. Mark Pekin shares that ISM has a healthy relationship with local schools and so it is only “a matter of coordinating available dates that do not interrupt local league match officials.” Mr. Pekin believes that there are many benefits to friendlies and that past friendlies against universities have helped the likes of ISM’s Varsity Tennis teams in their preparation for IASAS.

Senior Varsity Boys Football captain Rafa van den Brink also believes that friendlies have a positive effect on a team’s performance throughout the season. He claims that these matches allow coaches to “experiment with new formations or play people in unfamiliar positions” so that such adjustments can be made for the games that do count.

However, one thing to consider about the nature of friendlies is that without high stakes, student athletes often find it difficult to motivate themselves to give it their all. Some players consciously hold back with the fear that injury may prevent them from playing future games.  For junior soccer player Mark Winhoffer, however, this is not much of a problem as his competitive nature “provides [him] with an edge” as he especially “hates losing.” Mark also shares, “[Giving my all] allows me to clear out all my rust for the games that count.”

The nature of friendlies has proven to have its pros and cons. ISM’s players know that playing for the school is an honor and requires putting everything on the line for personal and collective pride. However, at the end of the day, everyone should remember that friendlies are good-natured competition and make sure to enjoy themselves when participating in one.