Athletes, coaches discuss challenges competing indoors, outdoors


Anuj Gupta

Women’s track and field team practice outdoors to prepare for their meets. Runner and Senior Elisabeth Green said she prefers to compete outside more than inside because she feels like there is less pressure.

Safin Khatri

With the start of the spring sports season being indoors for some athletes, the transition between indoor to outdoor competitions can impact how athletes train and preform. For many student athletes, such as varsity track player and senior Elisabeth Green, the differences from indoor to outdoor track can be an added challenge when training for meets. 

“I prefer competing outdoors because I like how there’s more space, so it’s like more space for the teams to kind of encourage other people to run,”  said Green. “And when it’s indoors, it’s really crowded so I feel like there’s more pressure indoors.” 

In addition, Green said because the indoor track season happens early on in the season, it is good preparation for the rest of the season.

“For training, I’d say indoor is usually kind of like a preseason (at the) beginning of the season, so we just kind of work on starting our form,” Green said. “For hurdles, we work on hurdle mobility and we do like, log drills, so when we’re outside, we have more space to train and we can do more actual hurdle workouts. And yeah, usually we’ll do hurdle mobility and we’ll do some wall drills outside.” 

 Carly Markley (women’s track and field assistant coach) agreed with Green and said indoor meets typically occur during the beginning of the season and focus on building stamina and endurance for the season.

The overall goal for training is that the athletes are at their fastest by the state meet in June,” said Markley via email. “(The) indoor season is (during) the beginning of the season, so the sprint workouts are more focused on building sprint endurance. Training is also impacted with weather. It’s not good for sprinters to run outside when it’s cold, so some training happens in the school. This limits the distance we can go sometimes.

Women’s tennis player and junior Sandhya Gopinath said tennis is also impacted by playing indoors and outdoors, and both have pros and cons.

“I feel like playing indoors is a lot faster, but playing outdoors just gives me more time (to return the ball),” said Gopinath. “I feel like I generally play better outdoors, so I probably (would prefer to) play outdoors.” 

For both track and tennis, competing indoors rather than outdoors can impact athletes performances in competitions.

Markley said, “Since the indoor track is 200m, the curves are tighter to sprint on. That can impact a race. For a distance race like the 3200 meter run, the girls have to run 16 laps instead of 8 laps like on a 400. Also, there are different events at indoor meets. For example, there’s a 4×200 meter relay instead of a 4×100 relay.

Green said she has competed on the indoor track and it impacted her mentality during her race.

“I did the 200 indoors last year and it felt longer because you’re going around in a circle instead of only like half the circle outdoors.”

Gopinath said that the weather is a major difference between competing indoors and outdoors.

“Some people play better outdoors, some people play better indoors, but I feel like it really depends on what your weaknesses and strengths are,” Gopinath said. “For me, I’m just better playing outdoors. The ball bounces a lot slower outdoors. And also outdoors, you have to think about which way the wind is going. That pushes the ball further, less further.” 

Gopinath also adds that playing indoors can impact the results of a match.

She said, “For example, if it’s raining and they have to reschedule indoors, they reschedule games from outdoors to indoors, if one of the players plays better outdoors, but then on an unlucky day it rains and they move it to indoors, there’s a chance that the other player who was not meant to win might win the match.”

Caroline Just