Photo courtesy of Jason Malmont
After spring sports were cancelled for the 2019-20 school year, and fall and winter sports for the following year cancelled soon after, players were very upset to not be able to play their respective sports. Coaches, however, were also affected by the cancellation of sports due to COVID-19.
After the cancellation of sports, coaches still felt the responsibility to advance their teams on mental, physical and individual skills for their players that would be returning. This resulted in many coaches having to find new, creative ways to have their players improve, without being in person to coach them.
After the fall sports were cancelled, JV field hockey and assistant varsity head coach, Laura Brager, tried to help her girls as much as possible.
“My three main focuses were to improve the girls’ knowledge of the game of field hockey and having the team bond as much as possible over zoom. I also encourage them to practice their stick work and conditioning on their own, but I can’t really enforce that, ” Brager said.
Many coaches felt the same sorrow that their players have felt and tried to sympathize with them as much as possible.
“My favorite time of the year is working with my girls in the fall and it stinks that the pandemic is happening preventing the season from happening. I feel the disappointment that all my girls have felt, especially my seniors who may not play again,” Brager said.
Spring coaches have experienced what the fall and winter coaches are experiencing now, but had less time to prepare for what was happening.
“The toughest thing for me was seeing the seniors not able to finish their season and just having all our players working so hard to not be able to play,” boys varsity lacrosse coach Danny Phillips said.
Lacrosse is a lucky sport where the players can practice together whilst being socially distanced and wearing masks.
“I do encourage my players to go to captains practices and practice as much as possible, but I care much more about how the players are doing during this time and we used to do weekly zoom calls to just see how life was going for everyone,” Phillips said.
With many of WJ’s coaches trying their hardest to do what’s best for their players during this time, their players have noticed and appreciated what they have done.
“It’s really hard for coaches to do anything at this time so I appreciate anything they do to help us, especially with track being a very hard sport to learn online,” senior track runner Chris Reilly said.
Although during the pandemic it’s very hard to teach students how to play a sport, it has brought out a great part of coaching, with coaches able to connect to players in a way they couldn’t when they are worried about how the players are playing. Coaches have learned a lot from coaching online, and hopefully they can bring what they have learned into in-person coaching when sports return.