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First-year head coaches dealing with COVID-19 and transitioning into new role

Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 6:40 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - More often then not, coaches aspire to one day be the leader of an athletic program. However, COVID-19 has made 2020 not the most ideal year to become the head coach of a high school sports team.

“It’s definitely not what you would expect your first year of a being a head coach to be like,” said Max Chaney, Franklin-Simpson’s football head coach.

Coaches, both veteran and new, have had their typical routine completely flipped upsidedown do to COVID-19. Teams can’t meet in groups larger than 10. If that wasn’t limiting enough, teams can only do the bare minimum when it comes to workouts and conditioning.

Coaches entering the season as a program’s new leader are tasked with laying down their program’s foundation while jumping through the many restrictions put in place by the KHSAA.

”The thing is, there’s no one you can really talk to about it,” Chaney said. “I can talk to coach Schlosser, who’s our superintendent, or Mark Peach or Brad Hood or Brick Thompson or Jeff Griffith or whoever about coaching and head coaching and all trials and tribulations of that. But you can’t talk to them about a pandemic because they’ve never endured that.”

The current restrictions keep teams from being able to implement any offensive or defensive strategies. Some first-year coaches, like South Warren Volleyball’s Lindsey Sheffield, are using their time under restrictions to better build their relationships with their players.

“It’s kind of giving me more, and my assistants, more of an opportunity to meet the player and kind of get to know them more on a personal level,” Sheffield said. “You know I’m able to kind of step back and have them work on more skill related things that might help us bounce back in the season a little bit.”

Under the KHSAA guidelines, coaches aren’t able to get an effective evaluation of the current state of their team. This means many new head coaches will have to play catchup once formal practice is allowed.

For some first-year head coaches, they served as assistants prior to being promoted. Chaney was an assistant at Franklin-Simpson so has a good idea of where his team stands going into the falls sports season.

“All the guys that are helping me, coach, they coached last year. I brought one guy up from middle school,” Chaney said. “So they know our kids.”

Meanwhile, South Warren’s new boys’ basketball coach Jason Holland is new to Bowling Green. However, two of his assistants coached the Spartans last season and have helped with assessing the needs of the players.

“When you’re doing individual improvement, they can let us know what the kid struggled with last year,” Holland said. “If it’s a kid that needed to work on shooting if a kid needed to work on ball handling.”

At the end of the day coaches, whether new or experienced, are dealing with the same dilemmas. From having to take temperature checks of each of your players to the extensive cleaning of equipment, no coach has seen anything like what they’re going through.

Coaches are still trying to stay positive going forward as a way to help keep their players’ spirits up and remain hopeful the upcoming sports season will happen.

Copyright 2020 WBKO. All rights reserved.

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