Athletes and coaches adapt to COVID-19 guidelines during practices

Through enforcing social distancing and cleanliness rules, the athletics department is following guidelines in order to keep players safe during practice. These guidelines include the use of masks and social distancing during scrimmages and workouts.

Going+the+distance...In+order+to+follow+COVID-19+guidelines%2C+the+cross+country+team+is+having+a+socially+distanced+practice.+Cross+country+runners+Owen+Hershberger+and+Simon+Hershberger+were+spaced+out+evenly+while+running+in+accordance+with+the+administrations+guidelines.%0AArrowhead+photo+by+Charlton+Allen

Going the distance…In order to follow COVID-19 guidelines, the cross country team is having a socially distanced practice. Cross country runners Owen Hershberger and Simon Hershberger were spaced out evenly while running in accordance with the administration’s guidelines. Arrowhead photo by Charlton Allen

In order to keep their players safe and healthy, coaches are following strict safety guidelines during practices. Coaches are using COVID-19 and PIAA guidelines such as social distancing and sanitization to keep players safe.

Athletics Director Dennis Stanton is “meshing” different health and safety plans together in order to create a safe and clean environment for the athletes when they practice.

“Every school develops their own health and safety plan in accordance with the CDC, the department of health, and the PIAA guidelines. We try to mesh all three of those entities together to create a safe environment for the student-athletes,” Stanton said.

Stanton says that the biggest changes are the precautionary measures coaches and players are taking outside of active play. Coaches are honing in on the use of social distancing and masks when the players aren’t participating. Coaches are also told to “air on the side of caution” every time they aren’t scrimmaging.

“Our verbiage has been anytime that you don’t need to scrimmage air on the side of caution. When you’re in lines, try to be six feet apart in those lines, if you have a drill where everyone can have their own ball that’s better,” Stanton said.

Boys Cross Country Coach John Donahue says that coaches are taking precautions such as doing health screenings and meeting outside in order to make sure their players remain healthy.

“Before practice, [the players] have to do online screenings that go to our trainers to make sure they don’t have any symptoms, and at the start of practice I have to take temperatures to make sure they are below a certain amount,” Donahue said, “The other change is we try to be outside more, no meetings in the locker room. Any type of cool down or conditioning, we do it all outside.”

Girls Cross Country Coach David Klein says that the guidelines have impacted the intensity of his teams training and workouts.

“Usually we race a lot more in a season but we don’t now, so that means the workouts have changed,” Klein said, “We now have to do a lot of high involvement workouts, higher than usual in terms of intensity to make sure we were prepared for our races.”

Stanton believes that the guidelines don’t affect a players performance during practice or games.

“We started pre-season training on July sixth which was sooner than pretty much every school in our league, so you would think that would put us in a better position to be successful,” Stanton said. “I don’t think [the guidelines] are so harsh that they’re going to affect competition or performance. It’s a pretty equal playing field because everyone’s playing to the same [rules] when it comes to those restrictions.”

Klein believes that his athletes can still be well prepared regardless of the limited races and practices.

“I think that individually, athletes can make up for missing out on races. I think they can still be well prepared, it’s just a different style of training,” Klein said.

Stanton says that he feels very fortunate that athletics has been able to accomplish what they have in the past few months.

“I feel very thankful that we are able to do what we have done over the course of the last three months based on the belief and confidence that the school board and the administration have in our coaches and our student-athletes,” Stanton said.