New coaching staff blocks volleyball conditioning

Girls+volleyball+gear+collects+dust+as+the+season+struggles+to+find+its+place+in+the+school+year.

Georgia Brewster

Girls volleyball gear collects dust as the season struggles to find its place in the school year.

Despite a majority of Carlmont sports practicing, the volleyball coaching staff decided to abstain from preseason workouts due to the popularity of club volleyball and school regulations surrounding sports and COVID-19. 

The Sequoia Union High School District’s sporting restrictions include not going inside any facilities or sharing any surfaces, including volleyballs, without sanitizing between each use. The restrictions make holding a proper practice nearly impossible for Carlmont’s teams. On the other hand, club sports have been able to hold mostly typical practices, with fewer adjustments due to COVID-19. For club sports, the main limitations are masks and a loose social distancing policy.

“It just didn’t really make a lot of sense for [players] to come in and do that when most of the girls are involved in club and they’re part of a typical practice,” said Patrick Smith, Carlmont’s athletic director. 

With many players practicing for separate clubs, the Carlmont team is unable to build chemistry and become a single unit on the court. 

The decision not to [practice] was a decision that I and my staff made together, and we stand by our decision.”

— Matthew Walker, head coach

Chemistry and team bonds made during practices and preseason activities like open gyms have been put aside for the safety of players and coaches. Some players say the team can pick up where it left off from last year due to its depth and large roster, while others say the absence of key players who graduated or moved away will alter the team’s ability to get in sync on the court.

“Hopefully we will still be pretty synched up but it will definitely impact us more than it has in the past, just because it’s been so long since we played together,” said Larkin Chock, a junior.

Other players like Jennifer Xu, a senior, and Georgia Brewster, a sophomore, share Chock’s views on a potential lack of chemistry. 

“With us wearing masks and having to practice social distancing whenever we can, I feel like it’ll be pretty hard when we’re in huddles and that sort of thing,” Xu said. “It’s definitely pretty important to be able to support each other as much as we can.”

Brewster also commented on other teams that are working together.

“I don’t think the team connection will be as good as other teams who are practicing together and learning each other’s playstyle,” Brewster said.

Carlmont’s in-person team activities are set to resume at tryouts, which will be held from Dec. 14-18. When the time does come for players to practice together, things will be different.

“It’s gonna be pretty hard for [Carlmont] to regulate everyone from touching each other and being normal… I haven’t heard anything new, but I’m assuming they’re gonna be more restrictive on the six-foot distance. Most likely masks,” Chock said.

Some players also stated volleyball’s priority was a reason for the lack of conditioning, with the athletic department prioritizing the start of other sports over volleyball.

“Volleyball isn’t prioritized as opposed to how football or basketball… [They] are doing things and we aren’t,” Chock said.

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