Sports Tryouts Adapt in the Face of COVID-19


Jaein Kim

Although coaches have been doing everything in their power to conduct fair tryouts considering COVID-19 restrictions, athletes and coaches alike look forward to a day when players will truly be able to play together, both mentally and physically. Freshman Andi Ruiz is shown shooting a ball during tryouts.

As the future of high school sports seasons remains uncertain in the face of COVID-19, sports tryouts have been conducted in a more individual manner, adhering to safety protocols of being 6 feet apart and wearing masks. 

Girls’ basketball coach Brian Barham drew on knowledge of players from previous years in the program when making decisions and followed safety protocols throughout their tryouts, which were held on Dec. 10.

“We kind of knew who our players were because they have been there with us since day 1, so it was like no one was really trying out,” Barham said. “We had 3 kids trying out that I’ve never seen before, and we ended up sticking with the original group of players.”

Boys’ soccer also had its own way of conducting a socially-distanced tryout. Without player contact or scrimmages, the athletes showed off their individual skill sets through dribbling drills and paced running.

“All the players wore masks and got their temperatures taken, and we were limited to doing certain things that required contact, but we could at least do some running and skill sets,” soccer player and senior Sherwin Salehi said. “The coaches didn’t have a good insight on how the players could work with teammates because we weren’t allowed to pass the ball to each other or do scrimmages, which take teamwork, and technically we weren’t able to showcase our leadership skills.”

Boys’ water polo tryouts were similarly individual, with athletes swimming in their own lane and not passing to anyone when working with the ball. In previous years, players shot at goalies and participated in a scrimmage. 

“Coaches everywhere are doing the best they can to judge how students are, but it’s really tough when players can’t pass or shoot at goalies, which is very different from shooting at an empty cage,” boys’ water polo player and senior Jun Kim said. 

Water polo players took a survey 20 minutes before practice with questions regarding COVID symptoms and traveling in order to minimize COVID-19 infection risks. Lanes in the pool were staggered, and players wore masks up until they enter the pool.

“This year all we did was swim by ourselves in separate lanes, and we didn’t interact with any other students and work all together as a team, which is one of the most important aspects of waterpolo,” girls’ water polo player and sophomore Danya Radwan said.