Coaches find new ways to involve their athletes during COVID-19


Jada Miller, Sports Writer

During this hard time, many people are having to adapt to many changes, sports athletes included. All spring sports for the 2020 season were canceled with some teams only having a few weeks of activities, while others didn’t even make it to tryouts. We reached out to the coaches of a few spring sports teams to see what they have been doing about this time lost. 


Girls’ Lacrosse—Caitlin Hart


Girls lacrosse coach Caitlin Hart has a unique way of getting through to her players despite the circumstances. Hart uses the BAND app to check in with her students, along with weekly Zoom meetings for workouts. To Hart, Zoom is harder to do, but they’re still getting through it. “As a coach, being able to physically talk to someone is easier. Zoom is hard to get a read off of the players, and the sound quality isn’t great.”


These virtual workouts are necessary to everyone because team sports help immensely with relationship building and making connections. “It’s important to have connections with teammates, and to connect with the kids and let them know that I’m here, I still care for you, and I’m looking out for you,” Hart said.


As for the players, some of them are having trouble adjusting to this big change. As Hart stated, “It was very hard to hear at first. Kids were holding out, hoping that there would be a normal season or even a sense of normalcy. A lot were disappointed that the season was canceled. I’ve heard stories about other coaches and friends that are committed to still being there, and still show up to practices.” 


Softball—Christian Duncan


The softball varsity head coach, Christian Duncan, also has some similar methods of teaching his students. He does Zoom meetings weekly or bi-weekly, and also uses the BAND app. With the band app, he assigns challenges and lets other coaches put drills up for them to watch and do. Duncan claims this keeps them “active, involved, and makes them better players.”


“It’s definitely harder than in person, I miss being with them and it’s harder to critique them if I’m not physically there. It is hard to adjust, but I think some players are adapting well” said Duncan. “My daughter is a junior at Apple Valley High School, so I spend my time coaching her. Hopefully this will change next year. Maybe guidelines for the near future will change, including the 2021 season.”


Girls’ Track and Field—Rob Graham


As for the girl’s track and field team, their coach does things differently. Rob Graham, along with other spring coaches, has decided to try to make it as normal as possible. They will still do lettering, awards, and practices. “Now, athletes have to train and check in every week. We broke the teams into groups of 20, and coaches are in charge of separate groups” said Graham. The athletes also check in with their coaches and talk about how workouts are going and how they are doing personally. For the Zoom sessions, they do workouts every week on Saturday morning. 


Graham states, “It is easier to talk to the person in person because I can see what’s going on. I can get an idea of if you understand, and it’s harder to do it remotely. Some kids call me because they would rather talk, and some text while others email.”  When mentioning the current construction work on the Eagan track, Graham said “If we were doing in-person track and field, at the stadium, there are trucks digging down 5 feet where the tracks used to be. We would have been doing something different anyways.”


Although we are living through a pandemic, forcing major changes among spring sports, teams are still connecting with their teammates and coaches. Through Zoom meetings, BAND meetings, and workouts, these athletes are already preparing for next season and are continuing to find new ways to show their love of their sport.