Student athletes at the University of La Verne have been partaking in different ways to remain fit and active, as well as staying connected with fellow teammates and coaching staff, with the campus shutdown for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Athletes are used to spending a lot of their time playing outside and connecting with teammates and opponents. So unsurprisingly, when isolated to the boundaries of their house or backyard, they have become irritated with the situation.
Daniel Ortega, a junior midfielder for the men’s soccer team, has been struggling with his new life in isolation. Among watching highlights of legendary games, Ortega has been doing a range of soccer drills at home that head coach Trevor Persson has challenged him to attempt during the quarantine. Although Ortega has jumped at the opportunity to practice his skills, he struggles with the realization this is far from the real deal.
“It has been hard,” Ortega said. “I’m getting frustrated because you can only pass a ball against a wall a certain amount of times. It’s just not the same as playing with someone else or against competition because a wall doesn’t have any emotion.”
Along with being sent drills to practice by their coaches, athletes are also being sent workouts to do at home by strength and conditioning coach Matt Durant. He has sent exercises such as squats, lunges and shuttle sprints that only involve body weight for athletes to do and help remain fit during isolation.
Rylee Callen, freshman middle blocker for the women’s volleyball team, said the three workouts a week Durant sends her and her teammates are vital in helping them stay productive and in shape.
“I am working out to a schedule every day so that I can keep to a routine and test myself, and that helps block out so many distractions and keeps me motivated because if I don’t, I am just going to go insane,” Callen said.
Durant has also been sending out instructional workout videos via the ULV Athletics social media for everyone in the ULV community to follow along to during the lockdown.
Along with Durant’s homebody workouts, Athletics Communication Director Anthony Avila has been posting highlights and interviews on the ULV Athletics Instagram account in order to keep fans connected.
In the past weeks, Avila and his department have been posting content on senior athletes from all teams on campus.
“We wanted to do something to recognize our spring seniors, since their season was cut short unfortunately. We wanted to give them a virtual senior day to recognize their accomplishments, how much they mean to the University and some way for them to get the recognition they deserve,” Avila said.
Also using technology to help stay connected is Becca Fischer, sophomore midfielder on the women’s soccer team. Like other ULV sporting programs, the women’s soccer team has been keeping active with Durant’s workouts and has also been doing multiple drills such as keepy uppy challenges and ball control exercises which they have been sharing via social media.
As important as it is to keep active and fit during these times, Fischer said Zoom calls and group chats among her and her teammates are just as important in helping stay in touch with one another.
“With us all in quarantine and us being just so bored, we are on each other’s lines all the time talking about everything, so I think we are doing a really good job staying connected,” Fischer said.
Due to the team not being able to practice in person with each other, Fischer said it’s extremely important for her and teammates to stay connected so that they are best prepared for their conference season which will hopefully start in the fall, COVID-19 depending.
Even though the current situation is not ideal, Fischer said she is confident her team will be ready for competition when life returns back to normality.
“The really good thing is that our team is very susceptible to change and we are adapting well to the current situation, so I don’t think we’ll be affected as much as others,” Fischer said.
Charles Green can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.