Junior Linebacker David Salser. Photo/UNCP Athletics.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted everyone in many ways, and the short-term future is plagued with uncertainty. On campus, student athletes might feel this the most. What is certain: several of the contact sports have been suspended, at least until the spring season.
The Braves football team can’t hold team practices because of social distancing requirements. Head football coach Shane Richardson said he can still keep his guys in shape. Richardson said he has been successful in scheduling individual workouts for the players. “We are trying to establish a good rhythm and routine to get our guys into some workouts,” Richardson said this week. “There are obvious challenges when trying to get the athletes back into the swing of things, but we’re working things out.”
Despite having access to individual workouts, the football players still aren’t getting as much training and conditioning compared to previous years. Linebacker David Salser said the players are being resourceful so they can get the best personal workouts outside of the gym.
“The football athletes have a trailer full of football equipment near the tennis court that they can utilize in their own personal training,” said Salser. “We can run sprints, do all sorts of bodyweight exercise, and we can train movements in the sand areas at different apartment complexes.”
Some players and staff worried that social distancing would impact team chemistry because of the lack of face-to-face communication. “We’ve had to transfer to WebEx more to make up for the inability of face-to-face communication, but we have done a good job keeping up with our athletes,” said Richardson.
Despite the drastic disruptions, coaches and players are hopeful they’ll be well prepared for their Week One matchup, whenever that may be. The Mountain East Conference, where UNCP is an associate member, has not announced a revised schedule.