Coaching In the Middle of a Pandemic
LOCAL COACHES DISUCSS HOW THEY ARE WORKING WITH THEIR STUDENT ATHLETES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
COVID-19 has temporarily shut the sports world down, but competition in sports behind the scenes continues to go at full speed.
Teams, players and coaches have had to learn to adjust to the world we’re in right now. If you can’t adjust you’ll fall behind your opponents.
Complicating the matter is that the pandemic didn’t come with much warning.
“It all happened pretty quick. We started getting word from admin ‘you need to have lesson plans ready.’ it was just a whirlwind,” said Northside Softball Head Coach, Brandon Jenkins.
“The initial reaction was this would only last a day or two, maybe a week,” says Troup County Football Head Coach, Tanner Glisson. “Initially it was a short term plan, but that plan has had to be real fluid.”
Possibly the hardest part for coaches right now, is not being with their student-athletes to ensure that they’re ready for the upcoming season.
“When you’re in quarantine, it really tests your self-discipline and your habits,” says Auburn High Football Head Coach, Adam Winegarden.
“I had one of my Seniors text me earlier ‘how far is it around the track? I have to get in shape’ and I said you need to get off your butt, stop eating Cheetos and watching Netflix,” said Jenkins.
Quarantine and social distancing has also had an impact on their own lives.
“I’m the one that gets everybody up in the morning, feeds everybody breakfast, gives everybody chores,” says Glisson. “I have a 13-year-old, an 11-year-old and a 6 year old, so it’s kind of tough.”
“I’ve got twin boys that are 11, a little girls that’s nine, so I’ve become a school teacher to them,” said Jenkins. They have told me several times that I would not make a good elementary, or middle school teacher.”
“At night I will do some walking around my neighborhood. Parts of my neighborhood I’ve never seen before, I’m getting to see,” said Columbus State Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Robert Moore. “Most of the time during the season, I’m either going recruiting or going to a game.”
Coaching styles may be different, but all of them share the same enthusiasm when it comes to sports making its return.
“The fun thing about sports is the relationships with everybody,” said Winegarden. “Just to have the chance to high five and fist bump is what we look forward to the most.”
“I took it for granted that I’d see those guys in preseason and post-season conditioning and now I can’t go to that backdoor of the Lumpkin Center,” said Moore.
“We cut up a lot, we have a good time and that’s what I miss. I just miss being back on the field with them seeing them smile,” says Jenkins.
“Really and truly football at this level in high school, you’re coaching life,” said Glisson. “It will be like Christmas Day the first day back.”
The GHSA and AHSAA have yet to release an official date for high school athletic activities to resume.