The country-wide quarantine has created a tough challenge for some of the school’s elite athletes: they can’t play their sport while “[sheltered] in place.” To combat this unexpected off-season, athletes are seeking creative new ways to maintain their skills remotely.
Despite their best efforts, many students noted a lack of camaraderie, competition, and sportsmanship while training from their homes.
Varsity Football Team Junior Captain Isaac Baez (11) followed a training schedule consisting of five workouts per week, including one to two hours in the gym or on the field prior to the quarantine.
Baez enjoyed de-stressing while working out almost every day in the school gym, he said. “The biggest reason I worked out is because it was fun, relaxing, and therapeutic; it was just me and the gym.”
Baez frequently worked out with Chris Robinson (11) after school. “Before the coronavirus, Chris and I would work out every day together because he plays basketball, and he wanted to get stronger,” Baez said. “It was a benefit to have someone to push me, and he is one of my best friends, so it was a good vibe and always fun.”
No longer allowed to leave his house, Baez has “had to get creative,” he said. He now trains everyday in his living room with his older brother, using a combination of body-weight and basic dumbbell exercises. “Now that I’m doing the same workout again and again, it’s not as fun and I don’t feel as motivated,” he said.
A three-sport athlete, Catherine Mignone (10) will continue to participate in the Girls’ Cross Country Team, Boys and Girls’ Varsity Swim Team, and Girls’ Rugby Team next year. Mignone is most committed to rugby as she also plays on an out-of-school club team, she said.
“We can’t do any tackling practice virtually, so we’ve been looking at a lot of footage of players who are great examples of certain positions,” Mignone said. “We’ve also been talking a lot about game strategy.”
Mignone said that these meetings occur twice per week, and the coach also gives the team workouts to complete throughout the week. However, these virtual meetings don’t compare to normal team practices, she said.
“I really miss the team dynamic because half of a team is what happens off the field,” Mignone said. “I’m best friends with all of my teammates so I miss being able to have practice with them.”
Although many students are missing the team dynamic, some athletes are enjoying the time to work more independently. Rosy Arora (11), a member of the Girls’ Varsity Volleyball and Basketball teams, is also doing her best to stay game-ready during the quarantine. She participates in strength and cardio training almost every day to prepare her for both the fall and winter seasons.
Arora has experimented with both joint workouts with friends and solo training sessions, she said. “I’ve FaceTimed Zoe Swift (11) who’s on the volleyball team with me,” Arora said. “It’s really like working out with a buddy and I enjoy that, but I actually enjoy working out alone better. I feel like I can push myself more when I’m on my own.”
Captain of the Boys’ Varsity Tennis Team (BVT) Ishaan Kannan (12) used to play tennis every day and did Crossfit training three times per week throughout the whole year. Now that the spring sports season is canceled, Kannan will miss the team’s California trip and the rare feeling of team competition in an individual sport, he said. However, to maintain team camaraderie, BVTs coach Patric Westoo has been organizing workouts and team bonding meetings over Zoom twice per week.
Although Kannan’s high school tennis career is over, he has committed to playing college tennis at the California Institute of Technology, he said. “I’m really looking forward to college tennis, and I feel motivated in a healthy way.”
To maintain form, Kannan has been working out every day by following the daily workouts posted on social media by his Crossfit gym, he said. “I probably am spending more time working out now than ever before because I can’t actually play tennis,” he said. Kannan has two dumbbells at home, so he is now focusing more than usual on basic strength and bodyweight exercises, he said.
Baez expressed a similar feeling regarding his workout schedule. “Now I work out seven times a week but I can’t work out for as long,” he said. “In the gym, I had so many different options but now that I can only do exercises like push-ups I get fatigued much more quickly.”
However, some students still have relatively effective gym equipment. “I am lucky to have a very athletic family so we have a rowing machine, a stationary bike, a treadmill, and some weights,” Arora said. “I’m making the most by using those and doing a lot of strength and cardio training.”
Sofia Allinson (11) will play on the Girls’ Varsity Tennis team next fall. Tournaments, practice matches, group practice sessions, and private lessons are all unavailable during quarantine, she said.
However, Allinson has done her best to keep up her training regimen despite continued closures of courts, she said. “The clubs closed so I played on public courts, then they took the nets down so I played without the nets, and now they closed the parks so I just hit against a wall.”
Dedicated basketball player Ben Chasin (11) plays both in school on the Boys’ Varsity Basketball team and outside of school with his Ametuer Athletic Union (AAU) team. The tournament season for his AAU team was supposed to be this spring, but the season has been postponed to later this summer. However, Chasin sees this new reality as a chance to improve his skills for when he returns to the court, he said.
“This has given me the opportunity to stay in shape and stay ready for July when we can play games again,” Chasin said. To continue training, he now plays basketball with the hoop in his driveway for anywhere between one and three hours per day. He also participates in FaceTime and Zoom workouts with his AAU coach and at least fifteen of his team members, he said.
Madison Xu (9) fences on the school’s Girls’ Varsity Fencing team and also fences year-round at her club, she said. Xu fences four times per week for two to three hours per day with her club team, so her current schedule of working out one hour per day has been a big adjustment, she said.
Xu has been doing Zoom lessons with her club coach and has tried to make do with the equipment in her gym in her basement, she said. “We do a lot of footwork and combination drills, focusing on technique, speed, and endurance.”
Working out alone has caused Xu to “be a lot more driven and more responsible,” she said. “I have to keep reminding myself when it’s difficult that I have to consistently set time aside every day for fencing.”
Across the board, the school’s athletes are missing the feeling of competition with another person or team.
“The only thing we’re missing right now is game reps and playing against real defenses, and that will be an adjustment when we get back in the flow of playing,” Chasin said. “But in terms of work, I’m doing everything that I can to stay ready.”
“Now I don’t get to train with teammates and have a moving target in front of me, so it’s definitely not the same experience,” Xu said. “I have space below my house and a dummy that I can hit, but it’s so different from an actual person. I don’t think I’ll be improving as much as I would if I could fence in real-time with other people, but this is a good time for me to focus on specific things and fine-tune my skills.”
Chasin said that he hopes to play basketball in college, so he still feels motivated to work towards his goals. “It’s just more motivation because it’s an opportunity for me to separate myself from people who aren’t working as hard right now,” he said. “I’m motivated to do everything I can right now to perform really well when we get back.”