Off The Field: Athletes are adjusting to working out from home during the shutdown


Photo credit: Autumn Bohner

Brendan Murphy

Not everyone has equipment to train at home so programs need to be able to be done without weights. So, coaches across the nation have had to be strategic and creative help keep their players in shape.

When word came down that students would not be returning from spring break, many coaches found themselves scrambling to make programs for their players. Some sports were more affected than others due to the specific training needs of each sport. While lifting isn’t the only aspect to training, it is certainly one that is most commonly used when training athletes.

Basketball is one of those sports that was somewhat lucky, based both on the timing of the shutdown and the ability to do most specific training at home.

Marywood Men’s Basketball Coach Enrico Mastroianni has had the tough task of designing specific workouts for each player based on both on court performance and off-court fitness. Mastroianni then had Zoom meetings with every player discussing everything he wanted them to work on in their game during the offseason.

“When we learned that the guys weren’t coming back from spring break, I did individual one-on-one meetings with each guy like we would have done if they were on campus,” Mastroianni said.

Mastroianni then called the entire team together in a Zoom call with the coaching staff to talk more specifically about how they can get better while being stuck at home. He did point out that some may have issues getting weights or a hoop to shoot on.

“We talked a lot about what they can be doing in the offseason, working on their bodies,” Mastroianni said. “It’s a little bit of a challenge but what we told them is basically do something every day, whether it’s running, find a hill in your grass and do some sprints. You can always do body weight stuff. We gave them a lot of plank stuff, push ups, pull ups, things that they can do with free body weight. We also have shared some videos with them. Anything we can share with them we tell them ‘Hey this is something that could help you.’”

Another sport with a somewhat easier way of training at home is soccer. Soccer athletes don’t even need a net to practice soccer. As Assistant Athletic Director and Head Women’s Soccer Coach Andrew Smith explained, they can practice anywhere they can kick a ball.

“We can send out workouts for body weight type of drills, things they can do on their own anyway,” Smith said. “We’ll probably continue that through the summer along with adding some touches and some drill work to keep them in touch with a soccer ball rather than just running.”

The soccer teams didn’t miss out on their fall season last year since it was before the outbreak, but with the upcoming fall season in limbo, Smith is doing everything he can to prepare as if they are going to have a season, primarily by giving his players a similar workout regimen to their normal summer program.

“We’ve had a couple team Zoom meetings just to go over everything and kind of let them know where we’re at,” Smith said. “Just planning based on that we will be coming back and focusing on that just to be in as best shape as possible and keep in touch with a ball as best as possible. We can give them drill work to do on their backyard. Just skill development individual skill touch development which for many of them is kind of old school like going back to high school type of stuff just to keep in touch with a ball.”

Smith’s players are trying to make the most out of what they have and get better for next season. Junior Defender Molly Sobolewski described the workouts Smith game the team and the adjustments she’s had to make.

“We’ve had to our approach to working out quite a bit,” Sobolewski said. “We have different technical workouts such as juggling, dribbling, and passing sequences as well as assorted sprinting and long distance running workouts.”

Sophomore defender Brooke Longstreet had a similar view and is using every resource possible.

“I have been using the resources available to me to get the most out of the different workouts I have been completing,” Longstreet said.

With athletes stuck at home for foreseeable future, it will be difficult for some of them to work out the way they would if this was a normal offseason. While the fall season is in limbo, athletes across the nation are trying to train as much as possible to be prepared for when we get back to normal in the world.

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