• Evien Berry

Girls Basketball Modifications

The past year has, undoubtedly, been an unprecedented one. Last year, the Spring Lake Girls Basketball Team were able to complete their entire basketball season. This year, they have barely started. Tryouts occurred as scheduled at the beginning of November. However, one week later, the governor of Michigan put out a mandate halting sports for the time being. The mandate was extended into mid-January. With the teams already set, coach Rich Hyde continues to motivate the varsity girls, even if they can’t be in the gym.

When the sports shutdown started, Hyde scheduled several meetings with the varsity girls basketball team via Zoom. He continues to meet with the girls weekly through Zoom. There, they are able to stay in touch and keep each other motivated. Hyde is also able to give updates on the status of the season schedule. He gave the girls workouts to do at home and, when the weather was warm enough, ball-handling drills.

Early December, Hyde decided to get the team together. They met in the school parking lot by the tennis courts. Wearing masks, the girls arranged bag chairs in a spacious circle, close to six feet between each other. Hyde served ice cream, hot chocolate, and cookies while team captains Jennifer Judge and Macy Carey put together a team Secret Santa. The girls filled out papers with their favorite snacks, drinks, and hobbies, before drawing names. Secret Santa was a fun Christmas activity the team traditionally puts together. Being able to participate in it this year, with the future of the upcoming season uncertain, brought forth some normality. Even though they could not exchange the gifts in person, finding a gift on the doorstep added a nice Christmas surprise to an otherwise dormant season.

Girls varsity basketball coach, Rich Hyde, demonstrates his love for his team and for the game of basketball through his constant communication and motivation of the team, even when they can’t be together on the court. Staying in touch and creating an atmosphere of unity will certainly translate to the game of basketball once the no-contact limitation ends on February 1. I, personally, am on the varsity basketball team. While in remote school throughout November and December, logging onto Zoom with the team at night was a nice change of pace. I was able to see and speak with my friends and teammates about the sport we are all excited to begin again. The other girls made me more motivated to continue working out and staying in shape. Instead of feeling like our season was completely shut down, it felt like I was still a part of the team, even when we were unable to practice or play.

It is important for coaches to remain in contact with players during these times when playing is impossible. A lack of communication and motivation can lead athletes to feel as if they are no longer playing a sport and don’t need to practice in their time off. Worst of all, athletes may lose interest and excitement in the recontinuation of their season. Being a part of a team is valuable during seasons of uncertainty and isolation.

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