CHANGE OF SEASONS : Transition From Sport to Sport Is No Easy Task for Area Athletes

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Redondo High's Ted Silva did not have much time to relax after playing against Atascadero in the Southern Section Division VIII football playoffs Nov. 29.

Four days later, Silva was starting at guard for the Sea Hawks against El Segundo in the Pacific Shores basketball tournament.

But Silva was not alone. At Redondo, five of the 10 varsity basketball players also competed for the football team.

The story is similar at other South Bay schools. Most have at least one prominent player who competes in both sports--a situation that often develops out of necessity more than choice.

"At South, our enrollment is low and we don't get a lot of good athletes who just come out for basketball," said South Torrance Coach Lamont Henry, who has six football players on his 12-player roster. "So for us, it's nice to have some football players to turn to."

But that can create problems for basketball coaches at the start of the season, especially when it comes to scheduling practices.

"It's just a shame you have to start the season so soon after football because it's really unfair to your players," Redondo Coach Cliff Warren said. "In the first two weeks of the season, we played seven games and had only two days of practice. Practice time is very limited, anyway, when you're playing in so many tournaments.

"I still wouldn't advise players against playing in more than one sport. It's just that it can be very difficult for them at the start of the season."

The physical aspect of the transition also can be difficult, even for the best-conditioned athlete. Such has been the case for Stais Boseman of Morningside, an All-Southern Section guard who scored 17 points against San Fernando two weeks ago, only five days after leading the football team to the Southern Section Division VIII title.

"It's very tiring at first because in football you can rest a little in between plays, but in basketball you have to go up and down the court all the time," said Boseman, a quarterback.

Morningside Coach Carl Franklin agrees.

"Right now, I'd say the players get winded a little quicker than they usually would," he said. "They try to hide it, but they do get winded quickly."

Franklin said the transition is probably most difficult for linemen.

"Even if they are in pretty good shape, they're not used to running as much as they do in basketball," he said.

Morningside center Pauliasi Taulava, a 6-foot-9 240-pounder who plays on the offensive line, is still getting used to the change of seasons.

"Most of the kids we have from the football team are already in good shape," he said. "For me it's just that in football you don't have to do much running as a lineman. In basketball, the difference is you run all the time."

Boseman said athletes also have other adjustments to make.

"You have to control your aggressiveness and intensity because in basketball it's five fouls and you're out," he said. "In football, you're out to destroy (people), but in basketball you have to play in more of a routine and have some finesse."

Taulava also said there are other adjustments to make, such as regaining his shooting touch.

"I've really got to work on my form a lot more," he said. "Every time I shoot, it just seems to go off the backboard. I just have to work a little harder to get (my form) back."

But Henry thinks the physical adjustments are the most difficult.

"Mentally, if you're a good athlete, you know the game well enough to come right in," Henry said. "You may have a tendency to make a few mental errors, but I think it's more physical things that you have to adjust. A lot of the mistakes you make at first are because you're not prepared physically for the change."

Warren said making the transition is more mental than physical.

"There's a definite physical adjustment, but for the really skilled athletes like Ted Silva, the playing transition is not that difficult," he said. "To me, it's more mental than physical because, mentally, I think it's tough to play football for 12 weeks and then try to get yourself thinking about basketball."

Silva agreed.

"You have to adjust to using your body in a different way in basketball," he said. "But I would say it's more of a mental adjustment than anything else."

Silva is accustomed to making transitions from sport to sport because he is a three-sport athlete. In addition to being a quarterback in football and guard in basketball, he is pitcher in baseball.

But he says the transition from football to basketball is the most difficult.

"I think baseball's the easiest one to switch into," he said. "It's not as difficult physically or mentally as it is when you're coming from football. The only thing I have to worry about is getting my pitching arm into shape."

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