Athletes continue practicing virtually

How students use online tools to continue training during quarantine

Jayanti Jha and Jefferson Le

Video conferencing apps like Zoom have become almost an essential for school due to shelter-in-place restrictions. In particular, student athletes at MVHS use apps like Zoom as tools to host virtual workouts and practices and maintain a line of communication between coaches and their athletes. Sophomore Anika Mishra, for example, attends Zoom practices to further her training in kathak, an Indian classical dance. 

“Since we’re learning a new song right now, each person individually does whatever they remembered of the dance, and then [my teacher] starts to make corrections and tells us what to fix,” Mishra said. “And we just do it multiple times, then in the last half hour, we do theory, so she asks us certain questions about dance and the background.”

Sophomore and golfer Calvin Kong uses CoachNow, a digital coaching platform to make coach to athlete communication more efficient through the use of sharing videos, to communicate with his coaches while simultaneously honing his skills in his backyard.  

“I just go to my backyard and really pay attention to the technical side in what I’m supposed to be doing, what it’s supposed to look like,” Kong said. “And it doesn’t matter how the ball goes, because you can’t even tell. I just keep on working on that.”

While Kong is able to focus on the technical aspect of the sport, he finds that he cannot “see the whole picture” while simply playing golf in his backyard. Mishra agrees that her physical classes were much more effective, as they didn’t have to deal with any technical difficulties, even though her Zoom classes follow schedules similar to her typical classes.

“I don’t like [calls] because it just takes unnecessarily longer than it needs to be,” Mishra said. “And there’s so many technical difficulties with video and audio and stuff, but it’s really hard, so I prefer in person classes.”

Unlike Mishra, who calls her teachers to replicate in-person classes, junior Rohun Agrawal, who runs in Varsity Track and Field, receives a training plan from his coach specifically for his event: distance running.

“As per distance events, we’ve all been training separately based on a training plan that our coach has given us online,” Agrawal said. “In addition to that, we’ve been doing races by ourselves, where our coach would tell us to go out and do a race on a certain day. And then we could tell our coach and could compare our time together, almost as if we were running a race but we’re all running [separately].”

Although Agrawal is taking advantage of the opportunity to increase his speed and stamina, he notices that running by himself has negatively impacted his performance. Although the team does call regularly over Zoom to compare times and distances with their coach, he still looks forward to resuming in-person training with his team.

Courtesy of Anika Mishra
Mishra attends her online kathak class.

“I think it’s actually worse because … [with] distance running in particular, the team helps a lot in your personal improvement,” Agrawal said. “I know personally sometimes I lost motivation, just because my teammates aren’t there to support me on our runs. And so I’m really, really hoping this gets over quickly so that I could return to my teammates and we can train well together.”