Fall sports adapt to new normal

By Spencer Jacobson, Staff Writer

Gyms, fields, and tracks across Kansas are empty amid a statewide stay at home order.

But this is not stopping Newman fall sport coaches and athletes from preparing for their coming seasons.

Jose Lugo, the head volleyball coach, said that the limitations have had a profound impact on the team’s training schedule.

What would have been hours spent practicing, training, conditioning, lifting weights and watching film, Lugo said, is now fewer hours of home workouts and zoom meetings to discuss offensive and defensive systems.

“Some have home gyms — bar, rack, dumbbells.Others don't have that same luxury. So each student-athlete will have to tailor their workout for what they are able to do,” he said.

Lugo said the volleyball team usually makes its biggest strength gains in the spring, so losing that training time may lead to some stress situations in the fall, when doing too much too quickly could lead to injury.

“The concern right now is how to be healthy when the workload increases considerably in the fall,” he said. “We had some goals this spring to get stronger and faster in the weight room, and we had some technical skill work that was going to help us moving forward. Not getting that work done sets us back, so we will need to play catch up in fall camp.”

Cliff Brown, the head men’s soccer coach, said that he is in regular contact with his players.

Brown said he is encouraging them to do a strength and conditioning program but has not put any specific soccer training together for them.

“I trust them to know what needs to be done,” he said.

Jeff Lovgren, the head triathlon coach, is challenging his triathletes to stay active and is encouraging them to come up with their own activities.

“In this time of uncertainty, I don't want them to feel like its work. I want them to have an outlet for their anxiety. I would rather have them do some kind of activity they enjoy than dread the run workout I sent them,” he said.

Lovgren said that the best thing triathletes can train is their ability to adapt, which he says this system will do.

“By not providing them with workouts but encouraging them to work out I am having them confront change and learn to work around it — even if they don't know that's what is happening,” he said.

Despite the unique situation, Lovgren said, his off-season goal for the team has not changed: He wants to see improvement.

“I ask for small, consistent changes,” he said. “Enough of those and it will equal a huge change. Plus the small stuff is more repeatable. I will challenge each athlete to look inside themselves for what is their weakness and change it to a strength.”

Courtesy photo, Newman Athletics