Spring athletes and coaches keep in touch to continue their spring sports at home

Kate Gromacki, Co-Editor-in-Chief

     On Thursday March 12, HCPS announced school closures along with the rest of Maryland schools. For many Patriots, this meant more than just a transition to digital schooling. With preseasons under their belts, spring athletes were on the verge of putting their practice to the test in another tough season.  
      This curveball, COVID-19, is now testing the drive and motivation of athletes and coaches as they are faced with the struggle of finding a way to practice at home.
While the spring coaches understand the reasoning for social-distancing, many of the coaches have expressed their disappointment with the situation.
“I was super-excited for this track season as we had the makings of really good teams with both the guys and girls,” Track and Field Coach Rob Torres remarked. Among these athletes especially, Coach Torres feels for his seniors. “This is really awful for our seniors who miss out on their last season.”
      In an effort to keep a sense of unity in the group,  he has been keeping in touch with his track athletes by “sending them workouts specific to their events.” This requires athletes to have the motivation to do the prescribed workouts and continue to get better at their sports.
The varsity baseball team is also staying in touch and keeping a routine designed by Coach Darrion Siler. “I have been sending out info to them about keeping in baseball shape, doing simulated [at-bats] with GameSense, meditation and visualization, Arm Care protocols, as well as getting their help with some fun online Spring Baseball ‘March Madness,”’ explained Coach Siler.
The team also has outside training outlets such as Absolute Sports Performance and Prime Sports Performance, both of which specialize in baseball-specific work.
Especially as a senior preparing for the sport at the collegiate level, this break in the season acts as a perfect test to an individual’s self-discipline and motivation. Senior Ryleigh Casserly, who will be playing lacrosse at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, continues to do conditioning and stickwork each day.
“I’ve been running in my neighborhood to try and stay in shape, doing wall ball everyday, and trying not to let myself snack too much even though it is tempting,” said Ryleigh. “I am super bummed out that my senior season is most likely over after having just one game, but I’m trying to look on the bright side.”
Junior Michael Gibson Robinson, a member of varsity baseball, also works individually to stay in shape over the time off.
“I have been doing some lifting in my basement using the equipment that my dad has owned for years. I have also been using my tee outside to get some swings in,” said Michael.
He uses at-home workouts designed by his lifting coach as well as Coach Siler’s at-home instruction for baseball players.
Ryleigh is currently taking Strength and Conditioning taught by Assistant Principal for Academics Jake Hollin. In the essence of online learning, the class has continued its progress digitally. “We did a workout today over the phone and will be doing that pretty frequently,” said Ryleigh.
Even for those who are not athletes or involved in this class, it is important to stay healthy.
“Listen to what Governor Hogan is saying.  Get out on your own for self workouts – run, bike, or do workouts specific to your sport,” advised Coach Torres. He reminds students of the negative effect of gathering in crowds and disrespecting the idea of social distancing.
In the words of Coach Siler, it is important to exercise the mind and body. “I think anything that creates ‘normalcy’ or routine is good, like keeping a regular schedule, getting up early, doing exercise.”
Routine and structure can provide a sense of  consistency during extreme change, according to Learning Potential, a site that purely focuses on efficient learning.
Coach Siler also advises students to practice a form of meditation and mindfulness. ‘“SmilingMind” is a great and free app that is really accessible and nice to use,” added Coach Siler.