Athletics department accommodates training regimen amid pandemic

The+varsity+volleyball+team+is+celebrating+junior+Vaughan+Anoa%27i%27s+kill%2C+which+later+contributed+to+their+win+against+Buckley+School.+To+support+the+2020-2021+remote+learning+atmosphere%2C+the+Archer+Athletics+department+is+implementing+a+new+virtual+program.+This+strength+and+conditioning+program+will+run+through+the+TeamBuildR+app%2C+an+online+platform+for+coaches+and+trainers.+

Photo credit: Rebecca Aranda

The varsity volleyball team is celebrating junior Vaughan Anoa’i’s kill, which later contributed to their win against Buckley School. To support the 2020-2021 remote learning atmosphere, the Archer Athletics department is implementing a new virtual program. This strength and conditioning program will run through the TeamBuildR app, an online platform for coaches and trainers.

By London Sinclair, Podcast Editor

As the 2020-2021 academic year continues with remote learning due to COVID-19, social distancing guidelines have also made the athletics department adjust to the virtual space. To make the change, the athletics department, led by Athletic Director Kim Smith, are introducing a new approach to fitness.

“The athletics program this year is designed to be flexible and adaptive to provide athletes opportunities to lead, connect, train, compete and apply new tools to their sport and beyond,” Smith wrote in a school-wide email. “While we are remote, Archer will provide opportunities for all athletes to strengthen their mental and physical approach with a division-specific training schedule.”

According to the Archer Athletics design presentation, “Sports offered and timelines are subject to change based on health and safety regulations. Head Coaches will be reaching out 4 weeks prior to the start date.”

This new athletics initiative is a 12-week program, that started on September 21, dedicated to strength and conditioning. Middle school and upper school athletes will have access to their daily workouts through the TeamBuildR app. The app is a software in which coaches can “write training programs, build questionnaires and access athlete and client performance data,” according to the TeamBuildR website.

“The TeamBuildR app is a way for the whole athletics department to connect. The platform will also allow us to share our success’ through a virtual whiteboard, track personal progress as well as overall performance,” soccer team captain and Athletics Leadership Council member Stella Chuck (’21) said.

The platform will also accommodate sport-specific coaching to support the return of inter-school sports in the second semester.

“We look forward to returning to interscholastic team sports next semester and have drafted a tentative return-to-play timeline, dependent on the health and safety recommendations of public health officials,” Smith said.

According to the 2020-2021 CIF [California Interscholastic Federation] calendar, varsity sports will be condensed into two seasons due to COVID-19: fall and spring. Fall sports will include cross country and volleyball, while the spring sports will encapsulate basketball, soccer, softball, swim, tennis and track & field.

According to the Archer Athletics design presentation, “Sports offered and timelines are subject to change based on health and safety regulations.”

Due to the new CIF schedule and the athletic department’s subsequent virtual initiative, Chuck expressed her excitement for the future of this virtual setup and its role in promoting team bonding.

“I feel like it’s really rare that we get to all connect as Archer athletics as opposed to just individual teams or individual sports and I think that this new initiative is going to help us achieve that connection on a wider scale,” Chuck said.

Junior Layla Huber-Verjan echoed this sentiment while also commenting on some of the positive “mental health benefits” that this program will instill in young athletes.

“The new athletic program that we are getting started with this month is really encouraging, and I know it will motivate me to get up and moving,” Huber-Verjan said. “I have spent so much more time on screen because of virtual learning, so I am looking forward to getting back into the habit of working out and spending some time much needed time outside. I can’t wait to start preparing for the sports season.”