Athletes and coaches adjust to lack of space-The Brown and White

This semester, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a lasting effect on the available training locations, times and protocols for many sports teams in Lehigh.

With all 23 sports being played at the same time, players and coaches have had to change the way they prepare for their season.

In addition to the rowing team, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams are more affected than others. The practice times have changed, the capacity figures have changed and the practice locations have also changed.

“COVID has affected the training plan in terms of timing and duration,” said Ella Imhof, a second year tennis player. “Since the weather has a huge impact on whether we are inside or not, we need to be aware of that.”

You will also need to coordinate with the men’s tennis team when planning the exercises as they cannot share seats due to the lack of space.

The tennis team also went through a “rehabilitation phase,” which meant that practice times were changed, reducing the time players had to practice on the courts.

Senior tennis player Casey Zhong said the women’s tennis teams experienced shortened drills first.

“We started practicing for an hour, then the exercises were increased to an hour and a half, and so on,” said Zhong. “We now train for two hours, which we did before, but less practice time made it difficult to train for certain games.”

Imhof said they need to train at less than ideal times, either early in the morning or late at night because they usually share the tennis facility with the men’s tennis team, but now they can’t.

The tennis team still trains five to six times a week, a typical training schedule for most sports teams.

Similar to the Lehigh women’s tennis team, the rowing team also had to make changes to their schedules and training times due to the pandemic.

The rowing team usually holds their meetings at Lake Nockamixon, but the lake does not allow Lehigh to hold their races there because of the pandemic. Instead, they have to travel to every single race.

Head coach Brian Conley stated that the rowing exercises are still at Taylor Gym, but the floor plan has changed drastically.

“The setup on the fifth floor is split and we can’t have the entire team up there at the same time,” said Conley. “There is a lot of cleaning that we have to do.”

He said the standard exercise schedule was the same, but there were morning exercises during the week that they hadn’t had before.

“Some members of the team were uncomfortable with other sports teams, which is totally understandable,” said Conley. “So we were able to incorporate these morning exercises to give our rowers a safe environment for training.”

The head strength trainer has given the rowers additional work and exercise routines. Rowers now have a body circuit system linked to water training so rowers can exercise and condition out of the water as well.

The pandemic has had a lasting impact on these teams, but there is optimism for the future.

“The new protocol has worked pretty well and if rowers continue to follow this we can foresee a more normal training schedule for the next year,” said Conley.

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