The offseason for a varsity coach can be filled with anything but downtime. Especially for a coach in charge of two teams.
After finishing teaching at Bishop McGann-Mercy High School, Jeff Doroski would head to Hampton Bays High School at least twice a week during the winter to oversee offseason workouts for the Baymen football team. Often, on the same days, Doroski would follow that with a trip to Riverhead for offseason workouts with the Blue Waves’ softball team.
“Then I’d walk through the door at 7:30, 8 o’clock at night,” Doroski said. “It’s a long day, but it’s good. It’s been nice for me.”
At this time a year ago, Doroski was just getting to know his new team at Riverhead. As a late hire shortly before the season began, Doroski had little time to get acclimated to a new team and a new sport after years of coaching baseball at Mercy.
When the 2015 season began Monday, Doroski found himself in a much more comfortable position.
In preparation for this season, the Blue Waves hit the weight room in addition to the sport-specific training that many of the girls were doing.
“They embraced it,” Doroski said. “I think a lot of the kids know nowadays, kids are in the weight room, they’re training. A lot of these kids are going out on their own to some of these sports-performance gyms and doing things with personal trainers besides the softball stuff.”
Doroski said he wasn’t sure what to expect when the team started workouts in September. He was pleasantly surprised to see a consistent turnout of about 20 kids each time.
Doroski said 33 girls came out Monday for the team between varsity and JV. Among that group, he plans to keep between 12-14 girls for the varsity team.
After an 8-12 season in League III last year, the Blue Waves bumped up to League II for this season. The Blue Waves found themselves in a tremendously competitive league last year, especially considering that Half Hollow Hills West and Hauppauge played for the Class AA county title and were both from the same league.
“We fought to get to 8-12,” Doroski said. “We played hard. A couple things here and there and maybe we’re a .500 team and we go to the playoffs.”
League II will present its own challenges with the likes of a perennial power like Bay Shore now on the schedule two times.
The one downside for Doroski is he’s now facing a new set of teams he’s unfamiliar with. To help with that transition, he’s traded notes with Adam Barrett, a former assistant football coach with him at Mercy. Barrett is a softball coach at Centereach, which switched from League II to III.
“That’s been nice to get a little insight into the league,” Doroski said.