This year, an on-going pandemic has caused a significant amount of changes to be made involving school, especially with sports. For starters, there will only be two seasons this year, fall and spring. There are only a couple of sports playing in the fall season: volleyball, football, water polo and cross country. All other sports have been moved over to the spring season.
One of the coaches affected by these changes was Max Pender, the head surf coach. Surfing used to be a fall sport, but because of changes to the surf team and restrictions within the city, Pender is limited with what he can do. The city has to give a permit to the surf team for them to be able to go to the beaches as a team, but due to safety measures, it is still not allowed.
“Surfing’s probably one of the most hands-off sports in terms of coaching. There’s only so much I can do to coach, especially when it comes to competitions. Coaching surfing in itself is kind of a trust exercise, where I can give students advice and trust that they’ll listen to it,” explained Pender.
This means that even if Pender was coaching the team as a whole, there isn’t much he can do, mainly because the kids on the team just go out and surf. There’s not many directions he can guide them with.
The head tennis coach, Lori Reimers, had a similar experience. Tennis had initially been a fall sport, but like surfing, it got pushed into the spring season. When it comes to coaching during this pandemic, Reimers says that it’s been difficult in many ways. Usually, they would have started training during summer, but COVID had other plans for her.
“The tennis courts were not open, we weren’t allowed on campus and we weren’t really given the opportunity to do practice,” stated Reimers. “We haven’t even had the chance to do our tryouts.”
Although things seem pretty scary right now, there are many changes at all times, and the tide will likely start to change for the tennis team very soon.
Reimers wasn’t the only one who had trouble getting started with their practices. Matt Soto, the boys cross country coach, also had to start late. Typically, practices would start mid-June/July, but because of conditions, they had to start around the time school started. In response to this, Soto was forced to shift his calendar by several months. Soto has been able to do in-person practices however; doing two practices at school and one virtual meeting each week. Adjustments had to be made, as an average school year would have six practices a week. This hasn’t stopped Soto and his team, for they are staying both physical and flexible with the upcoming times.
Traci Maynard coaches the girls cross country, and can hold in-person practices as well. She takes safety measures and makes sure that all the girls are staying socially distanced without taking away the spirit of it.
“We have small pods of no more than nine athletes, and the whole team, while led by the coaches, are led by the captains,” explained Maynard. “There’s one captain in each pod, and we have four pods with 31 girls in total.”
She also makes sure that the team stays healthy physically, having the pods be distanced from each other while doing stretches.
“It minimizes contact with the entire team, so it helps me socially distance them as much as possible,” continued Maynard.
Swim is in session, as the head water polo coach, OJ Vazquez holds in-person practices, but with an interesting twist. Usually Vazquez teaches boys water polo during the fall season, with training starting around mid-summer, and the girls team starts close to when the boys end. This has changed because of COVID, and he now has to teach both boys and girls during the fall season. Vazquez has to change a bunch of scheduling for both teams in preparation for the game season. He then explained how the boys and girls teams would need to have practices on different days, as both teams will have two games two days a week. This means that he has to find a work-around by holding practices on different days, making it a little more challenging for himself. However, he is focusing less on the future and more on the present, by making the teams stay as motivated as possible during practices.
All in all, this year has a lot of potential for changes to be made. The teams that aren’t allowed to practice as a team are trying to keep their athletes practicing individually, and the teams that are practicing are trying to use as much time as they can. Hopefully, all teams will be able to get back to practicing normally as our 2020 year Progresses!