Coaching During Coronavirus

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By Corey Picard
Staff Writer

While the COVID-19  situation was unexpected, coaches have had to coach their team from home in the past, over the summer. For Jenna Liljeberg, the hope is that the current training can lead into their usual summer work.

“We’re just hoping this ends soon so that we can have a normal summer session,” said Liljeberg. “We’re making a lot of protocols right now for what we’re going to do when kids return to campus, just to make sure we’re acclimating everyone back in a healthy manner.”

Head coach Jessica Mannetti talks about how the virus put a end to her team’s season.

“We were at a shootaround at Robert Morris at 12:30 p.m. prepping for our game that night at 7 p.m. and, when the NEC announced the tournament was suspended,” said Mannetti. “I saw seniors hear that their careers ended without ever getting to truly finish them, and it was one of the toughest moments I’ve ever had to experience as a coach.”

For the coaches of the Division I teams at SHU, adjusting to coaching from home during COVID-19 is a new challenge. Since the school cancelled all Division I sport practices on Friday, March 13, the coaches have experienced many struggles.

“When we learned that everyone had to leave campus, we made a bunch of home workouts and put them together in a big packet and sent it to every single student-athlete at Sacred Heart,” said SHU strength coach Jenna Liljeberg.

The strength coaches have utilized social media to coach their students. They created group-chats with coaches and students to share their workouts. They also send links to their Twitter, where they post videos every day. 

Due to NCAA off-season restrictions, the amount of coaching they can do is limited. 

“We’re not really allowed to check in with our students to see if they’re doing the packet,” said Liljeberg.  

Along with these restrictions, lack of access to workout facilities can make training difficult. 

“The big concern is that everyone is going to lose strength and get out of shape,” said Liljeberg. “We wanted to give people workouts that they can do at home with little equipment since not many people have access to anything right now.”

For men’s basketball head coach Anthony Latina, supporting his athletes through this time is very important.

“We are just trying to use every tool at our disposal to be here for each other to the best of our ability,” said Latina.

This includes using FaceTime and Zoom meetings to talk to his players. Mannetti has a weekly Zoom call with her team in order to stay connected. Liljeberg said that daily communication is essential.

“My expectations for our players the next time we see them will be the same as always. We want them to be great teammates, have a great attitude, and give their best effort in everything they do, on and off the court,” said Latina.

Maintaining physical conditioning is also important while at home. Mannetti wants her team to pick up where they left off, on a five game winning streak.

“The streak was a positive experience for our team, so it has kept them hungry and inspired looking ahead to next season.” said Mannetti.

She trusts that her players will continue their hard work throughout the off-season.

“Looking ahead, I know the team is inspired,” said Mannetti. “We left off playing some of our best basketball. I know the team is hungry to get back on the court soon.”

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