Students reflect on in-person practices

The school started its first phase of athletic practices Aug. 24, allowing athletes to return to campus while still practicing social distancing protocols.

Athletes in the baseball, boys basketball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls swimming, boys and girls water polo, field hockey and football programs all made their way back to campus to begin their new seasons.

Field hockey goalkeeper Caitlyn Dovel ’21 attends the practices on campus and said she was eager to get back on the field.

“I was really excited to get back into practice, especially after hearing that we could potentially have a season this winter,” Dovel said. “It was also really nice just being back on campus in general.”

Dovel said she has found socially distanced practices to be more effective than online meetings, during which her team reviewed plays and exercised together on Zoom. However, she said she still feels restricted when it comes to training on campus.

“I think practices are generally productive,” Dovel said. “It’s obviously really tough because we are given new guidelines. Doing shooting drills, for example, is a lot harder to do if we can’t get near each other and feel like we are in the game. However, it’s a lot better than what we were doing before over Zoom.”

Girls water polo player Ayva Magna ’22 said she believes that in-person practices have helped her get back in shape. Since there was a long period of time when athletes were not practicing, Magna said she believes anything to help her game is effective. She also feels like social distanced practices are similar to practices from previous seasons.

“Even though we’re not allowed any contact, we’re still swimming, passing and shooting,” Magna said. “We’ve been able to get back into shape since we had so much time off, and most of the drills that we’ve been doing are the same as we would be doing during a good portion of our normal practices.”

Football player Anthony Holly ’22 said he is thankful for the time he gets on campus, since it has prepared him for his upcoming season.

“It is still very productive because we get to learn the plays in-person, and that will help me for the upcoming season,” Holly said. “This will help build a relationship with my coaches and teammates, as well as helping to get my strength and endurance up.”

The school has also placed many restrictions on students who practice on campus, including routine temperature checks.  Both Dovel and Magna said they feel that the school is doing all it can to keep the environment safe, but Dovel notices that her teammates come in close contact with each other, especially when pursuing the same ball.

“The only concern would be that players can get too close during some drills, but it’s difficult to enforce that every second of practice,” Dovel said. “I also think that the players’ contact with the balls and then sharing balls with other players is a little risky too, but [the school] gives sanitizer to clean the balls.”

Magna said that there are multiple steps that students must clear to practice on campus with the team everyday. Not only are temperatures taken before walking in, but the school also monitors any health issues that may arise.

“Each day we have to fill out a health screening questionnaire that asks about COVID-related symptoms, and if you are cleared to practice, you’ll get an email that you have to show the coaches when you arrive,” Magna said.

Holly said he is grateful for the time he spends with his coaches because they have helped him improve his game immensely. Also, he said he is thankful for their ability to help his team improve as a whole.

“My favorite part about practice so far is the time spent with individual coaches because I get to learn from them and practice their plays,” Holly said. “I am very thankful that they show up to practice everyday and continue to help our team get better.”

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