Practice must go on

Girls basketball creates Zoom practices during quarantine

Oak Park High School’s girls basketball program has tried to think of creative ideas to keep athletes conditioned and connect to their teammates. Some solutions for the team have included weekly emails with workouts, individual contact between coach and player, and having team practices over Zoom.

“I decided to do practices over Zoom because after checking in with everyone via FaceTime I realized how bored most players were. The majority also expressed that they had not been motivated to keep up with their fitness. I thought scheduling Zoom workouts would help keep players busy, active and promote team bonding,” OPHS girls varsity basketball head coach Doris Park wrote to the Talon.

Park holds practice on Tuesdays for intermediate players and Thursdays for advanced players. Each practice is an hour and includes circuits that target different muscles, ball handling, and core strengthening.

“I implemented a lot of conditioning with a basketball and after asking players after the workout it seemed it went pretty well considering the circumstances,” Park wrote. “The second week we were able to be in an outdoor space so I think it was a bit more fun since I could incorporate ball handling. The girls were pretty tired after both.”

Other than practicing, the girls from frosh-soph, junior varsity and varsity have been meeting on Fridays via zoom to discuss a journal prompt assigned earlier in the week. Park believes it is important to check in with all the girls and openly discuss how they are feeling during these times.

“I think it’s a good way to stay in contact with the team considering we can’t physically see each other,” junior and Varsity player Mackenzie Mori wrote to the Talon. “Meeting allows the program to bond more because usually we’d be having open gyms and seeing everyone who’s playing next season, but we can’t.”

In addition, Park has been sending out workouts for athletes that want to go above and beyond.

“This includes different ball handling, conditioning, cardio and YouTube videos each week,” Park wrote.

Oak Park is not the only athletic program that is trying to keep teams conditioned and united. Westlake volleyball player Jasleen Schefrin has been having Zoom practices with her team three times a week for an hour.

“We workout and watch film and sometimes random fun stuff,” Shefrin wrote to the Talon.

This “fun stuff” includes activities such as talent shows and dress up days. Schefrin, however, believes that their practices are “not that effective” and “more busy work or space filler.”

Freshman at Oak Park, Hana Chizzo has also been practicing with her club volleyball team, LAVA West Volleyball Club, via Zoom. They hold practices two to three times a week doing workouts and team bonding activities to check in with one another. The team will also watch college matches and discuss them.

“I would seriously rather be with my team practicing on an actual court, but since we can’t I am glad we can still do workouts and practice skills over Zoom,” Chizzo wrote to the Talon. “I know some people who are playing club and don’t do any practices, so I’m happy my team still tries to do practices.”

Looking into the future, Park has high hopes for her team and what they will be able to accomplish while still at home.

“As we approach summer I will be implementing more Zoom activities hoping to continue to promote unity and give the girls something to do,” Park wrote.