With autumn sports delayed until the spring semester, The Hatchet checks in with head coaches from affected programs to gain insight into how each team handles the break in the competition. Come back every week for new installments.
Baseball and men’s and women’s cross – country skiing and athletics have spent the semester looking for silver liners in their vulnerable seasons.
Cross-country and athletics manager Terry Weir said that coaching during the online semester is similar to a typical summer for his programs, but losing personal time has been “tough”. Baseball head coach Gregg Ritchie said the “hardest part” of the fall season was not coaching his entire team at Foggy Bottom.
This is how the two programs practice and keep in touch this autumn:
Of its 33-member list, 20 baseball players are back on campus practicing this fall.
Baseball competes in the spring, but spends up to 20 hours a week – the maximum number of practice hours the NCAA allows off-season teams – working to hit, hit and hit. Ritchie said that fall practices allow the coaching staff to expand the team and identify what it needs to focus on before the spring competition.
Ritchie said the team has adopted social distance measures and the COVID-19 protocol, such as disinfecting equipment, wearing masks when players are unable to stay six feet apart, and creating separate pods off-campus and at regular temperatures.
The team’s Fassnacht Clubhouse, som opened in 2018, has been declared off-limits this fall, Ritchie said. He said the facility is usually a good place for team building, but does not contribute to social distancing.
“Being together right now is wearing the mask and staying socially distant and cleaning your hands,” Ritchie said. “Because if you do it together, you will be together soon enough. Otherwise, if we do not, we will hurt each other. ”
For the players who failed to return to DC this semester, Ritchie said he and his coaching staff keep an eye on training through frequent Webex meetings.
External players are briefed on what was covered in Ritchie’s practice and work on these skills alone, he said. Ritchie added that the team uses different group chats to check in and keep in touch with each other.
“Webex – I’ve already noticed that this is not the best way to be together,” said Ritchie. “But it’s a way you can see faces and smiles and body language and some tone to understand people’s relationships and where they are.”
Cross-country skiing and athletics for men and women
Only two players from the men’s and women’s squad will practice on campus this fall, Weir said.
He said that several other runners are from the DC area, but chose to train off campus. Under NCAA rules, athletes can choose to participate in personal training this semester.
The two players who chose to train on campus this season are jumpers and sprinters, Weir said. He said the duo should be on campus to access the weight room for training, and the players who opted out are distance runners who are less dependent on GW’s facilities to practice.
Weir said he and his coaching staff talked about training over the phone or during virtual meetings. Players who train off-campus can also compete in individual competitions, such as local races, he said.
“Every locality is a little different,” Weir said. “Some of them have some races going on, but in the DC areas there will not be much competition here. But some other areas of the country have them. ”
With 31 students practicing externally, Weir said the fall was “one of the most challenging times” he has ever experienced as a coach. He said that while his coaching methods and training plans have not changed much, the lack of personal contact has been an adjustment.
“I knew my athletes well enough to read body language and see how they were doing,” Weir said. “It’s hard for me to miss this connection.”
Weir said a group of male runners took advantage of the circumstances and organized a six-week stay in Colorado. He added that they were able to train at altitude while taking courses remotely, but the most valuable part of the trip was the time they spent together.
Weir said that virtual training is similar to summer training. He said he talks to each athlete individually once a week, usually over the phone, and the team has a weekly check-in via Zoom.
“We have done a very good job of keeping in touch with ourselves with group chats,” Weir said. “We are a close team. They keep in touch. ”