FGCU softball competes in a team decathlon
The stress of the annual fitness test can be an added weight to an already demanding student-athlete workload. David Deiros, the FGCU softball head coach, wanted to change that for his athletes.
Instead of a fitness test, Deiros, the founding father of FGCU softball, decided to have his team participate in a decathlon instead.
“What we have found, typically, is the high anxiety going into testing week,” Deiros said. “We wanted to go ahead and just reduce the amount of stress on them going into it and kind of disguise the testing with something that they’ll be more willing to do. So, we gave them some competition and tried to hide the fitness training in the different aspects of the decathlon.”
When athletes return from the summer, they are given a test based on different criteria to test their fitness and strength as they prepare for the upcoming season. Athletes are given grades for each test and eventually receive fitness GPAs. They are expected to achieve a standard GPA just like in their schoolwork.
“Like the president wanting a 3.2 for our student-athletes in academics, we want a 3.2 across the board for our athletes’ fitness,” Deiros said. The decathlon lasted four days, consisting of four teams competing in 10 events, ranging from swimming and canoe races to an obstacle course.
“It was awesome,” said sophomore Kelsey Huff, who medaled individually in two of the decathlon events. “It definitely made it kind of a distraction, so it wasn’t just work. There were fun things and friendly competition incorporated in it. Last year you were just focused on yourself because you wanted yourself to pass, but this year, you wanted everyone on your team to be successful, and we all interacted a lot more.”
Team Orel, which in Russian means “eagle,” finished first, totaling 200 points by placing in nine events and earning five gold medals, one silver and three bronze. Team Aquila, Italian for “eagle,” finished second with 180 points, placing in eight events and earning four gold, two silver and two bronze medals. Team Tai, Swahili for “eagle,” finished third, and Team Iguru, which is “eagle” in Japanese, finished fourth.
“They really loved to compete against each other,” Deiros said. “We put them in teams, so that instead of working toward individual goals, they’d be working to accomplish something as a team. It’s like putting sugar on medicine; it’s disguising the stresses of a fitness test with fun events.”
FGCU’s fall season will begin Sept. 19 with a green and blue intrasquad scrimmage and will continue through mid-October with several home scrimmages against junior colleges such as Miami Dade and crosstown foe Florida SouthWestern.