Sports may be on hiatus, but local athletes still have to prepare for whenever they can finally get back to athletics. The challenge is finding the best way to do that.
As the entire country is trying to stay at home and practice social …
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As the entire country is trying to stay at home and practice social distancing, student-athletes can't just unofficially get their teams together and hit the practice field. As a result, kids have had to get creative.
Some athletes have the luxury of being able to use some privately owned facilities during quiet hours, so they can get in some work without risking anyone's health. That's exactly what Sumter High School baseball player Jackson Hoshour is doing. He's using a privately owned facility where he can use a batting cage and lift weights, where he goes with his grandpa, Jim Hoshour. The two are able to work on his game four or five days a week so he's ready whenever he can get back on the field.
"I go to hit and lift four or five days a week to stay in shape for the (Sumter American Legion) P-15's this summer and, if we ever get back, for SHS," said Hoshour. "I also go mainly because it's the only reason I'm allowed to leave the house, but it keeps me on my toes and ready for whenever we get back out there.
"It can't hurt to improve yourself for future events."
Lakewood's Landon DeLavan has taken a similar approach, working out on his own at a private facility to make sure he's ready to hit the field as soon as he can.
"It's helping me out a lot just because I'm out here still practicing and lifting, while other people are just sitting at the house," said the Lakewood sophomore.
Not everyone has the luxury of a small facility where they can get their exercise. George Kosinski, who coaches junior varsity softball at Laurence Manning Academy, knows this, so he came up with a simple workout routine for his Lady Swampcats.
Kosinski posts a workout to his team three times a week on its groupchat. That workout is some variation of jumping jacks, pushups, squats, crunches and running. He asks his players to do that and take at least 50 swings off a tee. Kosinski also has his pitchers throwing regularly. He's seen fantastic results from his players.
"We have a fantastic group of girls, and they are very self-motivated," said Kosinski. "The response has been fantastic; they all want to get back on the field ASAP."
Wilson Hall's Kaylan Boudreau has her own routine for staying game ready at home. Boudreau is a catcher for the Wilson Hall JV, as well as her travel ball team, Generation Seahawks. On top of regular hitting drills, she has a number of catching-specific drills like crab walking and ball framing. Because she doesn't have the ability to workout with teammates, Boudreau gets a lot of help from her parents and grandfather as she works through her drills.
Boudreau also has the major benefit that kids in this generation have: technology. She and her teammates are able to send each other videos to inspire each other to keep working and remain in good spirits.
"We send each other videos in our team group chat to show that we are all working hard and will be ready to play when we can," said Boudreau. "It's important for me to stay on top of my game, so I'm in shape and ready to get back when the time comes.
"I have a dream of playing softball in college, so I know I have to work extra hard and put in the extra work to make that dream come true."
The advent of sites like YouTube has also made working out from home so much easier. Kaitlyn Smith runs track at Wilson Hall and she's taken to the internet for workout tips during her time at home. After a morning run, Smith does a workout she finds on YouTube, typically from fitness star Chloe Ting.
"My friends have been using her workouts too and they recommended her to me. I thought I'd try it out and it's been good," said Smith. "Since I know track season is probably over, I've mainly been working out just to stay in shape, rather than prepare for races.
"Working out is the only thing keeping me sane!"
The most popular app for people in quarantine - other than Netflix - has been Zoom. Zoom let's people video chat with a large group of people and has let teachers stay connected with their students or allow businesses to have meetings with their employees at home. It's also helpful for athletes who want to get together for a virtual workout.
That's what Kenzie Hyder has been doing with her cheer team, Palmetto Xplosion Cheer's Bomb Squad. While it's tough to play catch over video chat, you can work on a cheer routine a little bit more easily.
"Coaches either send us a workout ahead of time and tell us what to do or they tell us what to do while we stand in front of the camera," said Hyder. "Since it's competitive cheer and we have routines, they can play our music and we can try our best to remember our routine. It's not ideal, but it's the best we can do."
Hyder says the best part about her team's Zoom workouts is the feeling of community that so many people across the world are seeking right now.
"It definitely helps me stay in shape for when we hopefully get to go back," said Hyder. "It's more fun to do it with all of my friends rather than just alone at my house."
All this preparation is in hopes of eventually returning to the sports these kids love. When will that be? No one knows. Schools will be closed through the end of April, which means sports won't be back until the beginning of May at the earliest. In the meantime, athletes will have to stay creative as they wait to get back on the field.
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