As the amount of COVID-19 cases rise, student-athletes are forced to continue practicing at home. Without regularly scheduled face-to-face practices, many athletes are struggling to find the motivation to stay in shape.
“We teach how to be an athlete, and part of being an athlete is holding yourself accountable for fitness goals and team goals,” said Amanda Hawkins, an assistant coach at NorCal Crew.
In March of 2020, Carlmont sports came to a halt due to COVID-19. More recently, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) postponed the start of high school sports, forcing student-athletes to remain practicing at home. Players and teams have found limited safe ways to practice together in person, but the importance of at-home workouts stays the same.
Many coaches have adapted their routines to make sure their teams continue to progress. The emphasis on developing athletes’ skills individually has dramatically increased during the pandemic.
“We’re really trying to be consistent and working on things to improve our game individually, like agility, hand-eye coordination, and we’re doing a lot of pushups,” said Lindsay Roth, a sophomore who plays softball for Carlmont.
The motivation for players to stay fit varies from love for the game to health reasons, but the opportunity to play in college one day is a significant factor. A lot of high school athletes have the dream of one day playing at the collegiate level.
“I keep practicing [while in quarantine] because I want to get better and better to eventually have a chance of playing college ball,” said Prithvi Dixit, a freshman who plans on playing golf for the Scots.
Physical ability is also a factor for players who choose not to practice while staying home. Some student-athletes are not as fortunate to have access to safe and adequate space to condition and conduct proper quarantine practices.
Factors outside of limited practices have also affected sports teams. During a typical season, players would spend most of their time prepping for a game or tournament. COVID-19 has restricted large gatherings, so games and tournaments are almost nonexistent. This makes it hard for some athletes to feel like they have something to work towards.
“There was a long period of time where there weren’t any [tournaments] going on, so it really relied on what you did for yourself mentally in preparation, and there’s just less opportunity to play,” Dixit said.
Even though players are not practicing together in person, they still seem to be encouraging each other. Coaches at NorCal Crew created a Strava for their rowers to record and share their cycling and running workouts with each other.
These changes to their workout routine have made many teams realize how much they took in-person games and practices for granted. Regardless, they stay hopeful and excited for a full return to their regular athletic program.
“There is no penalty for not doing the [at-home] workouts, but there is a great reward when you’re back on the water in a single and can row harder for longer and see yourself improve,” Hawkins said.