At this point in the year, most athletes for fall and winter sports are training for their next season. The coronavirus outbreak changed those plans when Missouri State — like the majority of the sports world — put everything on hold for the rest of the school year.
With athletes being off campus, all workouts are voluntary due to safety reasons, forcing coaches to adapt.
“Because of not having someone that is CPR and AED certified around when training remotely, it cannot be mandatory,” said Chris Steck, who is the strength and conditioning coach for the men’s basketball and men’s golf teams at Missouri State.
The lack of facilities also changes what athletes are able to do in terms of workouts.
“I’ve given (the athletes) a packet that included workouts if they had access to a weight room as well as substitutions if they don’t,” Steck said. “I talked to the athletes to see what they had, and you tweak their workouts from there.
“For kids without access to much, you have to make things more challenging because they’re not going to have much weight to push. The challenge might be higher reps with body weight or outdoor stuff like uphill sprints.”
Even with the workouts being voluntary, Steck said he believes his athletes will have no problem doing them.
“I’m pretty confident they’re doing the work prescribed to them,” Steck said. “They take it very seriously when we’re at Missouri State — I don’t see why they wouldn’t when they’re at home. Let’s face it, there is not a lot to do for anyone right now.”
Michael Seabolt, associate head coach of the men’s soccer team, said the soccer staff is avoiding duplicating the training the team would have on campus.
“We’re not trying to recreate what we have in Springfield,” Seabolt said. “We’re trying to give them the tools to do their best.”
The men’s soccer team was beginning to start an active time in its spring schedule — it played two matches against Oral Roberts and Rogers State with more planned.
The team is coming off of a program-best 18 wins in 2019, and Seabolt said this spring was going to be used as efficiently as possible to prepare for the fall.
The football Bears are in a similar situation — with a key difference: while men’s soccer has had the same head coach since 1992 in Jon Leamy, the football team is going into the first year with Bobby Petrino.
Petrino told the media a few weeks ago the lack of a spring season will mean simplified playbooks in the fall.
Along with keeping the athletes physically fit, Seabolt said there is a concern for mental health.
“Our biggest focus is keeping the guys mentally healthy,” Seabolt said. “A lot of them are isolated like all of us. So we support their psychological side and make sure they’re on top of their schoolwork and being safe.”
Maintaining a family dynamic for men’s soccer has been a goal for Seabolt and the other soccer coaches.
“We’ve created a family environment, and even though we’re all across the world, we’re staying connected,” Seabolt said. “We’re trying Zoom and all the other things to stay connected with team phone calls and individual calls. It’s shown what an amazing group of people we have here at the university.”