The grind never stops: training during quarantine

The grind never stops: training during quarantine

Linebacker Spencer Felix '21 uses a hose as a replacement for ropes while working out at home during the quarantine period. Printed with permission of Spencer Felix.

On a Tuesday night during spring season, lacrosse midfielder Brody Listen ’21 would typically be seen underneath the bright lights of Ted Slavin Field, strategizing with his teammates minutes before an important game. Now, however, Listen is quarantined at home. In lieu of on-campus practices due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Listen watches highlight videos on YouTube and reviews old game footage on Hudl in hopes that conditions will improve enough for campus to reopen and for his junior lacrosse season to resume. 

“It is honestly a challenge to find field space and practice as much as I would like to,” Listen said. “I have had to find innovative ways to stay fit and keep my skills up. Hikes and runs have been important and have also helped me maintain my mental clarity.”

In an email sent March 13, Head of Athletics Terry Barnum announced that, through March 31, the Mission League has suspended activity and all non-league competitions have been canceled. Additionally, Barnum stated that offseason training, club sports and usage of the school’s athletic facilities will be prohibited until campus reopens to students. However, Barnum encouraged student athletes to stay fit and connected to their team during this period.  The sports performance department and the sports psychologist will also begin posting exercises on the school’s social media outlets.

“Our sports performance staff, led by Jeff Crelling, Sarah Emma, and Kyle Casey, have done a really good job posting workouts on Instagram that can be done at home,” Barnum said. “Additionally, coaches and have been holding Zoom workouts with each member of the team doing exercises at home while logged into the same meeting. It’s not the same as being together and competing, but it’s be best we can do under the circumstances.”

Many athletes in the professional sports world have begun utilizing their homes as exercise spaces during the quarantine period. Toronto Raptors power forward Serge Ibaka converted his hallway into a gym after being forced into quarantine. Additionally, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley filmed himself working out at his home gym, rather than at the team facility.

Much like these professional athletes, many students have been forced to exercise on their own. Because tennis player Pat Otero ’21 and his some of his Wolverine teammates share the same coach outside of school, he said that many will practice together during the quarantine period.

“I’ve been in the gym [outside of school] and stretching a lot more than usual,” Otero said. “Most of the team shares the same coach outside of school, so we’ll just continue practicing there together.”

Unlike Otero, distance runner Isabel Lawrence ’21 said she is unable to run with her teammates, making training more difficult. 

“As much track can be about the individual, I think in many cases the team is what pushes you forward as an individual,” Lawrence said. “So this has made practicing pretty hard, as you don’t have your teammates around you to help motivate you to do your best. But nonetheless I just get most of my runs in around my house since it’s most convenient, but I do occasionally go to a local track for a good quality workout, but even that is getting harder as the situation with coronavirus continues to develop. I’m really just tying to take it one day at a time, and I’m trying to help my teammate do the same.”

Baseball catcher Bennett Markinson ’21 said that his team has stressed self-improvement during this break in its season. 

“During this time, a lot of guys on our team have been practicing by themselves, whether at home or at a park,” Markinson said. “Our pitchers have been throwing on their own, while our hitters have been going on runs and lifting in their free time. It’s an unfortunate situation, but we are all doing what we can to stay in baseball shape.”

Along with spring season athletes, many players who are currently in the offseason have taken this period as an opportunity to improve, despite not having any competitions for several months. Quarterback Marshall Howe ’21 said he has used the extra time to work on his relationships with wide receivers and to simulate the intensity of school practice with his fellow teammates.

“So far, a small group of receivers and myself have found some time to go out and work routes and timing, whether it be in a park, or we’ve also been able to get on a turf field a couple of times,” Howe said. “Also, my teammates and I are using this time as an opportunity to improve individually. Finding space to do workouts whether it’s cardio, lifting or throwing is important, and I think everyone has made it a priority to keep working as if we were still together at school.”

Despite the closures of many high schools and the indefinite postponement of sports competitions, the California Interscholastic Federation has currently not made a decision regarding the cancelation of spring sports. The organization announced on April 3 that it will cancel the remainder of the spring season, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“It is sad to believe that season will be canceled but I have tried not to let that change how I prepare and practice, Listen said. “I am still working hard to improve and put myself and the team in a position for future success.”

For the water polo program, goalkeeper Asher Schwartz ’21 said that despite not having access to a pool, his team has managed to maintain its skill through online resources. 

“Obviously, playing a sport that requires a pool is inaccessible to people when you can’t come to school every day,” Schwartz said. “It’s been really tough for our team being apart from one another, considering we spend a large portion of our time together, whether it be at school, practice or weekend tournaments. That being said, I think the coaching staff along with the resources available in the athletic department have done a great job of keeping us engaged and learning in order to keep our development as consistent as possible so this break does not hurt in the future.”

In particular, Schwartz said the team uses Google Classroom and Zoom as ways to improve online.

“We use Google Classroom to complete our assigned water polo related homework as well as using it as a platform to maintain contact with the sports performance department, who provide use workouts that we can do at home,” Schwartz said. “Because we don’t have any new film to watch, our coach has given us film of professional and international water polo matches. We also use Zoom to have weekly meetings, to see each other’s faces and bond as a team.”

The Google Classroom platform quizzes the team about the strategy used in international water polo matches, as well as facts about the different teams.

“Our coach provides us with a quarter of international water polo video and we answer questions about the game during certain time stamps, kind of like we would in a history class,” Schwartz said. “Some of the questions were related to the tactics used in the game, the skills by the players and overall general trivia about both teams playing to help makes us a fan of the sport.”

Schwartz said the team has turned Google Classroom activities into a game in order to keep the competitive spirit of water polo and maintain team chemistry. 

“We are split up into four teams and competing for an Amazon gift card by answering water polo related questions on quizzes, doing workouts created by [sports performance coach Sarah Emma] and other miscellaneous activities such as a Fortnite competition and other collaborative activities,” Schwartz said. 

For attacker Shay Gillearn ’21, interaction with his teammates has helped his state of mind during the quarantine period. 

“Using Zoom to talk to the team has really helped me to take my mind off quarantine and think about something different like water polo,” Gillearn said.

Schwartz said he believes that other programs should begin to use online resources to separate themselves from their competition. 

“From what I’ve heard, I believe other programs are going to do the same and begin to use these online resources for sustainability,” Schwartz said. “Although it is an unfortunate time right now, I think that these platforms can be used by other programs at the school to get ahead of their competition in order to be competitive for championships next season.” 

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