Sophomore goalie Jon Dawson wasn’t shy when discussing how difficult the team’s preseason fitness test is when he said, “The fitness test that we do as a team is the hardest fitness test I have ever done.”
Dawson and I spoke about the fitness test the whole team needs to complete prior to the season. Not every player completes the test during their first attempt, but are supposed to.
What could this grueling fitness test be? What requirements could be so difficult that they cause one of the top ranked men’s soccer teams in the nation so much stress and pain?
The test consists of running a mile, taking a 90-second break and then running 400 meters (one lap around the track). It has to be run in that order and it all has to be completed in less than eight minutes.
The best-case scenario and goal for most of the players to run a mile in five minutes and ten seconds and then an 80-second lap around the track after the required break.
Dawson said he would go to his local track and run it as his training.
“Most of us play at a high level during the summer anyway, so we maintain our fitness,” he said.
Dawson said maintaining their fitness is a huge benefit to all the returning players.
However, the fitness test isn’t just for getting in shape and testing the team’s running abilities. It has a much deeper purpose.
“From this, we build a sense of toughness,” Dawson said. “We feel that if we can push our bodies that hard, by the time the game comes, for that 90-plus minutes, we have all the opportunities to play well and get a result.
“So our best reward is just the satisfaction of knowing we can outlast our opponent.”
After a summer of hearing about the fitness test for the Washington Redskins’ defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth and even ESPN analyst Mike Golic’s attempt, it seems that the Butler men’s soccer team’s test makes the National Football League’s test sound about as hard as shooting a layup.
For those wondering what the Butler women’s soccer team has to do as their fitness test, it gets interesting.
Senior defensive player Cara Burchett said that they call their test “cones.” They line up six cones with five yards between each, making the total distance between the first cone and the sixth 25 yards.
They start at the first cone, sprint to the second, sprint back to the first, then to the third, back to the first, and so on and so forth until they sprint from the sixth cone back to the first.
They must to do that routine, or one “cone,” in under 35 seconds, and they must complete seven cones, although the ultimate 10 cones.
The fitness test is not without some ounce of mercy. Each player gets a 25-second break between each cone, and there is an extra 15 seconds of break time after the third, sixth and eighth cones.
“My freshman year, I felt miserable after running the fitness test,” Burchett said. “I struggled to learn how much you have to prepare for the season.
“After the fitness test, I had a new respect for the upper classman who passed it,” she said.
“You can be in the best shape of your life but if one mess up occurs while running the test it can throw your off for the entire test,” Burchett said.
The purposes this test serves to strengthen both the men’s and women’s teams in their mental and physical preparedness every time they take the field.
Dawson and Burchett said they wouldn’t share the results.