Football Prepares for Season with Socially Distanced Practices


Kate Hayashi

According to head football coach and athletics director Peter Abe, the athletics department is constantly considering the balance between slowing the spread of the Coronavirus and maintaining the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of student athletes.

Kate Hayashi, Co-Editor-in-Chief

While the earliest sports games are not scheduled to take place until January, football is one of the few sports that has begun in-person practices under strict health and social distancing guidelines. 

Football players begin the day by checking in at tables in front of the stadium. Coaches take the athletes’ temperatures and have them sanitize their hands and fill out a COVID-19 self-assessment to ensure they do not have any symptoms. One coach will also make sure that players have all the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to function; this includes masks, hand sanitizer stations and sanitizing wipes.

“The whole idea is to enter the facility sanitized and disinfected, so that when you’re with your pod, it’s a little easier to manage because when you’re doing athletics and high intensity exercise, you need to sometimes remove your mask in order to breathe,” head football coach and athletics director Peter Abe said. 

The players are divided into 14 “pods” of six or seven, based on the position they play. The coach assigned to each pod will take them through various conditioning skills, drills, warm-up activities, mobility exercises, plyometric exercises and lifting, among other exercises, according to Abe. 

“It’s been functionally pretty fantastic for us, only because we have so many [coaches],” Abe said. “We come up with our practice plan each day, and each coach has a task list of items that they need to complete, and we trust them to go out and get everything done.”

Even within their pods, athletes must remain six feet apart from each other at all times and 10 feet away when removing their masks. 

“Being able to practice with my teammates and being able to put in the work, that doesn’t make up for it, but it helps,” senior Essa Khoso said. “We still make jokes and laugh and have a good time. We’re always socially distanced, so it’s different, but we still have fun during practice and try to make the best of it.”

Despite the unusual circumstances, athletes are trying to make the most of what they have, including freshmen who have never experienced normal football practice before.

“As of now, football doesn’t seem too different from what it would be without our current situation,” freshman David Sloan said. “I don’t personally feel like I’m missing out, especially since I know that practice will eventually become what it used to.”