Photo courtest of WCHS Boys Basketball Instagram
With the first quarter over, the 2020-2021 school year is heading into the winter season. Students have adjusted to virtual learning but have many unanswered questions concerning extracurricular activities vital to high school, one of which is sports.
Winter sports are popular with students of all grade levels and include sports such as basketball, wrestling and cheer. There is no doubt that the winter sports season will look different this year. The question is how different?
“I really am not sure what winter sports will look like this year. It seems like everything is up in the air for now,” Jake Schuman, a WCHS basketball player, said. “The county hasn’t come out with much information regarding what they will look like.”
The county has been surprisingly organized regarding virtual school, but the planning that took place over the summer can only go so far. Students are beginning to notice that the county does not have everything figured out and will need extra time to prepare.
“Winter sports seasons are a lot shorter and have been pushed back a lot,” Schuman said. “We haven’t had preseason workouts and our time to prepare for the season is a lot shorter.”
It is understandable that the county is having some trouble figuring out how contact sports can be done in a virtual or socially distant way. Nonetheless, not having workouts and a regular season could put student-athletes at a disadvantage when things finally return to normal.
“Every team is at a disadvantage compared to other years but we just have to work with the time we have,” Schuman said. “It may be a challenge getting back into things but it will be fine.”
In an effort to keep students in shape, many sports have been having virtual workouts over Zoom. It is definitely not the same as going to the weight room in school but at least students are getting a chance to stay in touch with their teammates.
“We started our online season and have workouts that we all do at home over zoom to get in better shape and prepare for the season,” Schuman said. “We are also going through film from last year[s games].”
That is what virtual basketball meetings look like, but what about other sports? Tim Lowe is one of the wrestling coaches at WCHS and also has experience with the adaptations made to winter sports.
“Not being able to actually participate in the sport of wrestling, this year’s season is more similar to pre-season workouts,” Lowe said. “It’s a great opportunity to improve cardiovascular endurance, increase strength, and gain deeper knowledge of the sport.”
Student-athletes have an opportunity to focus on getting in better shape for next year since they have more freetime. Like so many other people who used the quarantine to focus on physical health, student-athletes can and should also continue this trend.
Students participating in sports usually have a pretty demanding schedule during normal school years. However, with virtual school being only four days a week, it seems like everyone has more time on their hands. For students who struggle to find time to get physically active between virtual Zoom classes, a winter sport is beneficial.
“We meet on Zoom three times per week, where students complete wrestling specific workouts that are designed to prepare athletes for a seamless transition back to in person athletics,” Lowe said.
While students can not return to in-person athletics right now, there are still ways for student-athletes to interact with their own teammates and students that go to other schools. While it is definitely not the same as competing against other schools teams, these virtual events give students much needed social interaction.
“We have Zoom fitness competitions among our team members and with other teams around MCPS, as well” Lowe said. “For example, wrestlers will compete in a “how long can you plank” contest.”
Many people, especially students, had hoped to have some sort of plan to transition back to in-person school, but with none in sight, students will need to make due with what they have and be physically prepared for next season.
“I feel that the biggest challenge is not being able to actually be on the court in the offseason and preseason” Schuman said. “The team hasn’t been together yet in person.”