Courtesy of Kristy Schroeder
As we enter the second half of a fully online fall semester, coaches and athletes are in the midst of virtual conditioning and interacting, aiming to sustain cohesion and positivity until play can be resumed.
Cosumnes River College Volleyball Coach Kari Nahlen and Women’s Softball Coach Kristy Schroeder have been hosting weekly conditioning classes for their teams, filled with team workouts, team bonding, and fundamental skills training.
“You have to find the silver linings with everything that you do. It’s learning how to communicate in different ways,” said Nahlen. “As a teacher and a coach, you are always needing to learn how to communicate in ways that maybe aren’t comfortable for you, but are more comfortable for your student or your athlete.”
Nahlen said the team meets two times a week for two hours each day, with everyone required to turn their cameras on. During the meetings, the team engages in a variety of workout sessions, fun team bonding activities and watching film to break down technique, said Nahlen.
“We do some fun team bonding things where they make funny faces, or we have done things like having a toothpick and marshmallows and they have to make a volleyball player out of just toothpicks and marshmallows, and whoever wins got kudos for the day,” said Nahlen.
Nahlen said it is important for her athletes to stay positive on and off the court, while also pushing them to do well academically.
“You could totally be focused on your sport, and then forget about the academic side,” said Nahlen.
Softball Coach Kristy Schroeder acknowledged the ongoing discussion of when her team can practice in-person again, and how she has adapted to working under the uncertainty.
“We kept getting that carrot hung in front of our heads saying we’re gonna get on campus here, then we’re gonna get on campus at this time, well now let’s switch back to this time,” said Schroeder. “We got to plan like we’re not getting on at this point, and if we do great. But what other things can we do to get our team excited about CRC softball.”
Sophomore infielder Mary Baccay said conditioning online has been challenging, and not being able to see and hang out with her teammates has been difficult, saying the original plan was to start practicing on Oct. 1.
“Coach is doing as much as she can to keep us fresh, we are going over a bunch of fundamentals and working out a lot online,” said Baccay. “For me, I think it has strengthened my mental game. Coach has made us do quite a bit of strategy and goal setting.”
Baccay said she did not expect the virtual conditioning to last this long, but is still able to maintain a positive outlook by approaching every virtual practice like it’s their last.
“I think for me it’s knowing that we can get called out to practice any day,” said Baccay. “We don’t know, it could be we aren’t getting a season this year, or we could get a call saying we can go out and practice today.”
The softball team has stayed well prepared and oriented, focusing on fundamentals which include hitting and throwing instruction that Schroeder and the other assistant coaches help out with.
Schroeder said the team will also be participating in a couple of fundraisers and a pumpkin carving contest within the next few weeks.
“These are all things that we’re trying to do to keep everybody excited and to stay in it,” said Schroeder. “Each day we kind of keep reassessing and going, how can we do more?”
Many CRC coaches are hosting their own virtual conditioning classes, collectively working together to enhance their team’s experience until they can get back to playing.
“I just would love to get on campus with the team and have them have a regular season,” said Schroeder. “I think about it for my kids. I know I can get through it, I just want to help the younger people get through it.”