Adjusted Summer Conditioning for OPHS Athletics

Coaches adapt to virtual world

Significant changes are being made to OPHS athletics summer conditioning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We would have started this Monday [April 27] with three weeks of spring ball. Then, we would take a week off for finals. Finally, we would have done five weeks of summer conditioning,” head varsity football head coach Casey Webb said.

Despite summer conditioning being put on hold, coaches are trying their best to incorporate some sort of preparation for their athletes.

“I set up a Google classroom for all of the players and every Tuesday and Thursday, the team meets on Google Meet,” Webb said.

Although meeting virtually obviously cannot mimic being on the field, it can provide valuable information and help the athletes grow their understanding of the game of football.

“We watch old game film, I talk about the offense, our defensive coordinator talks about the defense, we talk about expectations for next year, install plays, that type of stuff,” Webb said.

Though summer conditioning is up in the air, Webb remains hopeful.

“There will be a certain start date that is given to all schools,” Webb said. “My gut tells me July 1st, that’s what I am hoping for.”

The cancelation of on-campus education has not deterred Webb from trying to keep his team in shape, both mentally and physically, during quarantine.

“As a coach, you have to figure out what you really want to accomplish in a short amount of time. You’ve got to figure out what you want to be good at and what you want to teach, because you’re not going to have as much time as you normally would,” Webb said.

Varsity quarterback Richard Russillo has been putting time into his game to prepare for the upcoming season.

“I’m prepping by lifting everyday as well as getting my hands on a ball and throwing whenever I get a chance. My main focus is working on footwork and growing a stronger foundation to have more power in my throws,” Russillo wrote.

Russillo believes in Coach Webb’s Google Meet calls and the effect that it has on both the players and coaches.

“The team has been learning new plays through Zoom calls with Coach Webb. By doing so, we are improving our knowledge by studying our positions, so that we make little to no mistakes come game time,” Russillo wrote.

Head athletic director Tim Chevalier believes that an in-person summer conditioning is “highly unlikely.”

“It’s likely summer conditioning would be done individually, potentially with Zoom or Google Meets to put out workout plans. I’m highly awaiting the governor’s message and update on May 15,” he wrote.

As for basketball, varsity head coach Aaron Shaw has taken a slightly different route.

“At the moment, the boys basketball program is just focusing on academics and finishing the semester strong,” Shaw wrote to The Talon.

However, Shaw has kept in touch with his team and has pushed his players to practice on their own, with the possibility of summer conditioning being canceled.

“Players have been encouraged to practice and stay in shape, the best they can given the circumstances,” Shaw wrote.

Depending on how long everything remains like this, summer conditioning dates could just be shifted instead of completely canceled.

“If we are not able to play, we will come up with some basketball and conditioning drills for our players to do,” Shaw wrote.

Throughout this time, Shaw emphasizes the importance of enjoying the times together as a team.

“This has definitely been a good reminder to not take anything for granted and to cherish the times we have together,” Shaw wrote.