Athletic Practices Are Back

Picture of Laurel Nicks from

William Masselli ~ Sports Columnist 

     On Sept. 7, 2020, the University of Lynchburg began allowing in-person classes and athletic practices. When the University initially moved to Alert Level 2, many coaches were disappointed in the turn of events.

     Enza Steele, head coach of the women’s field hockey team, said, “Disappointment was my initial reaction but my primary thought was that the students and campus need to be safe. Another week of no in person contact is okay as long as the campus is safer, and we get better control on this pandemic. My players were able to get outside and do fitness training which helped with their own disposition.”

    Coach Steele also said, “Practices are now in groups of nine or less which allows a lot of individual attention. It is very difficult to incorporate team tactics with such small groups. As a coaching staff we feel like we are working a summer camp and coaching multiple sessions per day. This is extremely taxing for our staff.” 

     Steele said, “The message is that we are extremely cautious and in doing so life in this time of uncertainty can move forward. Players’ temperatures are taken, and hands are sanitized before practice. Players must bring their own water bottles. Sanitizer is available throughout the entire practice and the balls are sanitized with bleach daily. Fortunately, in field hockey, we do not touch the balls with our hands. Masks are worn when we are instructing. We set up cones so players are 6 feet apart. During physical exertion, players may need to take their mask off for proper breathing.” 

    Laurel Nicks, the senior goalkeeper for the women’s field hockey team, said, “The athletic department requires athletes to wear masks on and off the field and maintain other safety protocols consistent with the rest of the school’s policies. During our weightlifting sessions, we maintain social distancing, wear masks, and thoroughly clean all equipment after finishing the session.” 

     Nicks said, “We are all trying our best to remain safe and healthy to get back to normal as soon as it is made possible. I guess my advice would be to join this collective effort to remain safe during this pandemic and to just go with the flow and remain adaptable to changing rules and regulations. Only together will our efforts be successful.” 

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