The first challenge is getting prepared to play
How will COVID-19 affect indoor sports?
According to Dream Sorrell, who played volleyball during the fall season, volleyball practices changed since COVID. She stated that there were certain situations where you had to wear a mask at practice. Some examples were when sitting on the bench, going to the bathroom, or even just talking to someone for longer than needed. The impact will be felt even more this winter, with athletes being required to wear masks during games. Attendance at games will be very restricted.
Lance Johnson, Minnehaha boys head basketball coach, will be following the same rules for basketball this year. He commented that the players have been “pretty accepting of the fact that this is something that we needed to do.”
With kids not being able to practice with each other, coach Johnson is encouraging his players to stay in shape by saying, “I keep telling them one of the best things you can do to stay in shape, is simply get running shoes on and run.”
He commented that with each kid having different space at home, to really do anything to help them stay fit, because they don’t have weight rooms or gyms so they have to get creative.
Athletic director Josh Thurow said that he is in contact with other schools athletic directors and coaches to see what they are doing to keep their athletes active.
On December 16, Governor Walz loosened some of the rules that have been in place for high school sports. Teams were able to practice together starting January 4. For larger teams, they have to practice on pods no larger than 25 people and the pods need to have the same people in them throughout the practices as much as possible. Teams were not be able to compete against other teams until January 14. There have been rules released for games including allowing only one team in the locker room at a time, only teams being allowed in the facility and having the teams come in only to warm up before the games and leave immediately after.
Not having many fans will create a unique atmosphere.
“We’re going to have to generate or try to teach our kids to generate their own enthusiasm and not rely on a crowd to do that for them,” Johnson said.
Thurow said limited access to games will disappoint many fans, especially “after last year, when you know we’re packing our gyms out and you know people are coming out to watch our great teams play.” Thurow said fans can always watch our teams online through the NFHS network.
Johnson feels that the team has already had to become more resilient because of the August 2017 school explosion.
“They’re really patient, and don’t panic if schedules change,” he said. “I think our team is well experienced at handling adversity.”
The team is all going through the same emotions and frustrations, so they are able to form better friendships on the team.