Students are back in school, and players are back on the field. Things may look a little different but our players have adapted well. Our players report to a designated meeting area to wait for their time to go into the fieldhouse to change. Tarps hung around court #3 of our fieldhouse create our makeshift locker room. Players bring all their belongings to the field. Weightlifting equipment is moved outside at the end of practice for our athletic performance training, and thoroughly wiped down when complete.
Some things haven’t changed. We ended our first week of practice by lining up all of our first-year players then invited our returning players to pick a rookie they want to go up against in a best-of-three game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Losers had to carry the winners’ helmets and cleats back to the fieldhouse. While such an event may at first seem insignificant, it does two things: veterans and rookies interact face to face (appropriately distanced, of course), and each has equal opportunity to compete and win. New and old members of the team interact, establish rapport, and are reminded of both the importance of competition, equal opportunity, and interdependence amongst teammates.
We also were able to give back to our community. For the past five years, we have met as a team on a Sunday in September to join the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. For health and safety reasons, this year’s walk was not a large in-person event. Instead, we walked as a team along our cross-country trail to our stadium before practice wearing purple leis, the color of the Alzheimer’s Association. Such an event reminds us to be grateful for our blessings, to be mindful of the challenges others face, and remind us of the importance of pulling together as a team while helping others and giving back to our community.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!