How athletes are training during quarantine


Noah Neri, Sports Editor

The Paw Print is continuing its look into how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected students by interviewing West Ranch athletes about their training at home.
For many West Ranch students, athletics is a passion, another area in which they can strive for excellence. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic closing schools and shutting down gyms and sports training programs, many athletes have been forced to modify their training routines.

Varsity volleyball player Kaitlyn Jizmejizan told The Paw Print, “It’s been tough not being able to practice with other players. This year my team has added new players so it would be nice to get to know their habits on the court and practice next to them.” In order to stay in shape during quarantine, she has been taking private lessons with a local volleyball club, and her coach has given workouts to do at home. Despite a delayed season, she remains hopeful about returning, as she believes “this year we have a great chance of winning the league.” Jizemjian hopes to make a deep run in the CIF playoffs.

Another West Ranch athlete, swimmer Harrison Kim, described how with the pandemic,  “procedure has changed.” He told The Paw Print sign-in to club practices is much stricter now, and how “it is always six feet apart, masks on, unless you’re in the water. In the pool it is max four to a lane and two per side.” Kim is maintaining healthy habits, as he described his daily routine, as “working out separately in the mornings” then “training with my club and sleeping right.”

The Paw Print also asked West Ranch Varsity Basketball Coach Jeff Bryant how he’s keeping his players in shape and motivated for a potential season. He told The Paw Print that West Ranch Basketball “has a full regimen players can do on their own” and that he “encourages athletes to be creative with their workouts to challenge themselves and to find some type of motivation to push through.” Bryant also described how the quarantine has created a skill gap between some of his players. When asked if there was noticeable changes in team conditioning at the beginning of practice this year, Bryant replied, “I have seen a change, some athletes really took advantage of no school and no team activity and really worked on their individual game/conditioning and stayed positive as if the season is guaranteed. Some athletes didn’t do anything and it really showed on the first day of voluntary camp. We understand it is tough to find motivation if you don’t know what the future holds.” 

Motivation seems to be the key for athletic success as this pandemic seems to drag longer and longer, seemingly without an end in sight. “Before COVID came, the track and field team was in excellent shape. We were ready to put down fast times and do some damage in the league,” Track and Cross Country Coach Jonathan Choi remarked. “After the sudden shutdown of spring sports and months of uncertainty, I have noticed most of my athletes came back a little bit rusty both physically and mentally. The end of Spring and Summer was hard for both coaches and athletes. I think just being able to come back and condition as a team in the Fall really helped the team’s mental health, morale, and physical fitness.” Choi described how he has been recommending High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and other dynamic exercises and drills to his athletes, in order to keep them in shape and motivated. “The main thing that makes a successful runner is consistency,” Choi told The Paw Print. “No matter where you are, you can always get a workout in, and even on the days you don’t feel like doing it, that’s where the discipline comes in. Those who truly love what they do will find a way to get it done.” Finally, Coach Choi expressed optimism for the upcoming season and gave credit to the administration, stating that he “would like to thank our awesome Athletic Administration (AP Kristan Hinze, AD Dody Garcia, AD Anne Konrad, AD Ryan Lindgreen) for making that happen. My Boy’s Cross Country team has been crushing workouts and we are ready to chase after our 6th straight Foothill League title!”

Many West Ranch athletes have been forced to turn to individual training and private coaching more than ever with high school shut down. Hopefully this will pay off as they can now return to their teams and get ready for the upcoming season. Stay positive and healthy Wildcats!