By: Kayla Uytengsu
Pre-IASAS tournaments serve as a chance for individuals, teams, and coaches alike to scout opposing teams prior to the anticipated IASAS event. Furthermore, as a shortened version of the IASAS tournament, Pre-I does not encompass the entire IASAS experience, but nonetheless provides athletes with a taste of what is to come if they are to be selected for the IASAS team. The event is also a crucial opportunity for coaches to assess the performance of athletes, thus ultimately playing a large role in the outcome of final IASAS selections. Whether it be a team or individual sport event, Pre-IASAS is definitely a valuable experience with regard to these aspects; however, the extent to which Pre-I is valuable and/or beneficial for both individual and team sports isn’t quite as definite.
To help in structuring a general consensus among the IASAS community about whether both kinds of teams benefit as much as each other from Pre-I, senior Sophia D. has provided some insight. As a member of the IASAS swimming, volleyball, and track & field teams, she has participated in a significant amount of both IASAS and Pre-I events, for both individual and team sports.
Sophia states that individual competitions require you to become more independent, and to “Find a greater drive within yourself,” as they lack the support that a team provides. This is the reason that many find individual sports to be more pressure-indusive. One of the many benefits of teams is that when placed in a high stress situation, it creates a bonded atmosphere and forms a cohesive mindset. In doing so, Sophia says, “The whole team understands their cohesive potential, pushing everyone to work harder to achieve that shared goal.” For these reasons, from Sophia’s perspective, these tournaments serve as more beneficial to teams rather than individuals. However, Sophia recognizes that Pre-IASAS, despite the kind of sport, still presents individual athletes with a competitive atmosphere that helps them prepare for IASAS, and allows for practicing the motivation and drive needed to be successful at that tournament. Overall, she feels when she participates with the team, it has more strategic benefits, whilst individual sports hold more motivational importance.
Coach Dodd, of the touch rugby and track teams, has an opposing view. Coach Dodd believes that “Pre-IASAS is more beneficial to individuals, especially track athletes, than it is to teams.” From a coach’s perspective, the benefits of Pre-IASAS for team sports falls more under the bonding factor, rather than their game performance. This is partly attributed to the fact that “the game schedules, in length and in distribution, are not a true reflection of IASAS, especially for touch rugby. However, the track meets are a more accurate representation.” Because of this, the coaches focus on assessing the opposition’s tactical plays and selecting the group of athletes that complement each other best in team sports. In his experiences as a track coach, he finds it easy to make the final team roster as it is a simple comparison of statistics. Under pressure, individuals are tested amongst their competitors, as well as themselves, revealing their potential for growth and for success, which helps in assessing whether they are prepared for IASAS.
All in all, it is not entirely clear which group of athletes benefits the most, but the fact remains that across any sport, Pre-IASAS events are critical in shaping athletes and are advantageous for all teams in one aspect or another.