With all high school sports across Bartow County and the state of Georgia cancelled for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, local coaches are having to find unique ways to connect with their players. In order to get an idea of what is going on with some of our local athletic programs, Bartow Sports Zone reached out to several local coaches with three general questions: 1. What are some things you and your staff are doing to aid your players with strength, conditioning, morale, and nutrition during this disruption?
2. With this lengthy disruption, how do you envision summer schedules and workouts to change if they are allowed? 3. What message do you have for your players, parents, boosters, and fans as this “shelter in place” mandate continues?
Cass football head coach Steve Gates:
We are having our position coaches keep in regular contact with their players just as we would be doing with normal morning meetings to prepare for Spring practice. Technically, we are still in the off-season and want kids to go be kids and get away from football. With the current situation, however, we can accelerate that process with no other activities going on at this time and get after it on their own. I know for a fact several Colonels are doing just that! In the summer, we will normally be on a three-day-a-week schedule. However with the possibility of only six to seven weeks to prepare for the season, we will likely go to four days per week. We have a new offense to install. I love the challenge! Be patient and be active. I’m asking our players to be in the best shape possible. Fatigue is undefeated. If (players) show up out of shape, they will struggle tremendously grasping new terminology and concepts. Coach Gaddy and the defensive staff will be going full steam but offensively we will have to be extremely focused mentally. As for the parents, boosters and fans — hang in there, some are struggling financially, needing daycare for their children, etc. but keep in mind, we shall get through this! This is not a battle, this is a war!
Adairsville football head coach Eric Bishop: Coach Scoggins, our strength conditioning and nutrition coach, has been communicating with all our student athletes, not only football players, in two ways. The first on Schoology and second thru Hudl with two different workouts for each day of the week. One workout is for those that have access to weights. The second is a body weight, cross-fit, style work out for those that do not have access to weight lifting equipment. He has also been fielding questions on conditioning and nutrition on an daily basis.
In my opinion we are still too far out to anticipate how our return will look. I have basically asked our staff to sink their time and energy into things we know what and how the outcomes will be. We are putting a lot of time an energy into a new software program that we plan to use in the future for weights and conditioning for all athletes going forward.
The message I would send is simply this and it is something we talk about all time at AHS — It is not what happens to you, but how you react that is the most important. We also talk a lot about “not trading what you want right now for what you are going to want once we return to normal daily routines. I really do believe that high school sports will be a big part of our return to what we call “normal.” I don't think anyone has looked at this as a way to cut corners or get an unfair advantage.
Cartersville head football coach Conor Foster:
Our coaching staff is always concerned with meeting the needs of our student-athletes, our families, and our community. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our focus hasn't changed but the ways in which we meet those needs have. We have divided the team into small groups with each coach being responsible for hosting weekly on-line meetings with their small units. During these meetings we discuss academic issues as well as any physical, mental, and emotional needs that our young men and their families may be facing. As a program, we are talking about dominating the things that we can control. For example, we are encouraging our players to make a daily checklist of activities to make sure they are taking ownership of their academic and athletic success. We have had great discussion groups and our leadership council will begin to host mini-lessons with their teammates. Our coaching staff is also hosting offensive and defensive staff meetings to discuss personnel and to create an installation plan. We have weekly position meetings to review film and to preview new installation plans for the fall. Lastly, our coaches have done a tremendous job of self-scouting, future opponent scouting, and pursuing new information through professional development.
My primary concern when we return will be preparing our young men to safely compete. With respect to limited time, conditioning, weight lifting, teaching safe blocking and tackling techniques, and safe acclimation to the heat will be at a premium. How we approach each of those issues will be dependent upon our timetable for return. Right now, we are preparing to have a full summer schedule and once the GHSA has given us more information we will adjust our schedule accordingly.
I am so thankful and proud to be a Purple Hurricane. In light of our current pandemic, I am reminded of the way our community steps up, steps in, and selflessly serves those in need. Times are tough for so many, but I am forever grateful to be a part of a community that loves beyond circumstance. And, when the time is right, our community will once again rally behind its beloved Cartersville Purple Hurricanes football program. I want our players to know that they are loved and cared for. I want to encourage our young men to stay safe and to respect social distancing guidelines. When we return to football, our young men will have a tremendous opportunity to provide our community some much needed hope and a small sense of normalcy. Lastly, I want to encourage our coaches to continue to love and guide our families, our students, and our athletes because as this pandemic worsens our job as mentors, leaders, and servants will be needed more than ever.
Woodland head football coach Tony Plott:
Our coaches are staying in contact with their position groups. We are sending out weekly workouts for the guys. We also use Remind, a communication software, to send out motivational and inspirational messages.
In my opinion, I think we will be shut down until July. I would anticipate the GHSA sending out a revised schedule for us in the coming days. I also think we will be allowed to add another scrimmage in the Fall. In return, I don't think we will be allowed to participate in summer 7-on-7 or padded camps and I would agree with that position.
I love our kids. Be patient. Stay safe and follow the guidelines for social distancing. If you or your family needs anything, please let me know. I will do all I can to help!
Adairsville boys basketball head coach Alex Disbrow:
I’m staying in constant communication with our guys. We are taking a wait and see approach as far as summer workouts are concerned. Our summer plans are in place, but I am sure we will have to edit those when GHSA provides our guidelines.
Adairsville head baseball coach Billy Roper:
We check on our players weekly. We’re trying to make sure they are staying on task with their digital learning and reminding them to practice safety and social distancing. Right now, I’m not sure what the summer holds but we will adapt.
Cartersville boys basketball head coach Mike Tobin:
We have been emailing and sending info out on social media. We have provided them with a shooting workout as an option if they have a hoop at home and the desire to improve. We are still hopeful that we will be able to start individual and team workouts in June.
As for a return and summer schedule, we will cross that bridge when we get to it. If we are unable to play the scrimmages we have scheduled we will still have very productive skill improvement sessions. In many ways, those may be more beneficial than the scrimmages.
Everyone please continue to wash your hands and follow the social distancing recommendations.
Cass boys basketball head coach Sean Glaze:
I’ve been reaching out via text messages and phone calls to check in regularly. I want to make sure our players and their families are okay. I hope we can still have summer activities in June to work on strength and skills. It is also important that we have time together again as a team. Honestly at this point, however, I have no idea how this summer for sports will look. We still have the same goals as always. So while we are not physically together right now, we are still a team to care for one another and encourage each other to prepare both mentally and physically for the season we strive to enjoy.