Today: Jun 16, 2024

Student athletes adjust to new training policies

Abby EpsteinNews Editor

Anticipating, stressing, doubting, is how my summer went while waiting for the decision if colleges would be having fall sports. Then the text came from Coach Lisa Barbaro saying that fall sports have been postponed until the spring.

During summer and into the school year, there were still so many unknowns with how athletes would be able to train during the fall without a competitive season.

After multiple meetings with Coach Barbaro and members of the athletic staff, we finally had the answers we needed.

We have met with Lisa Dupis, the head athletic trainer who went over the new rules on the training room. We also met with Matthew Letkowski for our annual meeting about the rules and regulations of being a student athlete and what this fall will look like, plus how volleyball will be operating in the spring.

Southern and the NE10 have done a great job on exhausting all possibilities in order to give athletes the chance to play. The final verdict became allowing athletes to practice during the fall, but with precautions and having to go through phases.

The first phase of practice required athletes to wear masks unless they were 12 feet or more apart. We also have to stay in “bubbles” which is ten people in total including a coach, but no equipment can be used.

The second part of phase one allows teams to use equipment, but we players must still stay within our bubbles.

Phase three allows for groups of 25 to 30, which means for volleyball, we will be able to have full team practices. Teams are also allowed to start lifting in the weight room, located in Moore Field House.

Athletes will be required to wear their masks the entire time while lifting weights, and unlike last year, multiple teams cannot be in the weight room at the same time.

The other precautions that are being taken are 25 percent of athletes each week will be tested for COVID-19. We must complete the symptom tracker by 11 a.m. each day, and our temperatures must be taken before we enter the gym.

This situation has also taken a toll mentally with all the unknowns that are still in the air. Things are changing constantly and there are always unanswered questions. The athletic department has kept the athletes well informed by sending emails when needed.

One question that cannot be answered is what the spring season will look like or if there will be a spring season. Southern has nineteen sports which will now all be in season at the same time. I know I am curious to see how the athletic department has prepared for this.

The other part that is testing our mental strength are the phases and while we are able to get back into the gym, I am ready to put the volleyball nets up and have practices as a full team together so we can scrimmage.

There is a lot to get adjusted to, and one is not being able to show up at the training room whenever was convenient for the athletes.

We are now required to make an appointment, which can be frustrating because if we need to get something looked at before practice but do not have an appointment, we cannot.

At practice there is a trainer in case someone gets injured so they can receive immediate care.

This is far from how I planned my senior season of volleyball to go but the biggest thing, for not just me, but all athletes is to make the best of the situation. To use these three months of training to improve their game and be ready for the spring.

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