High schools use social media to help train

Posted at 3:31 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 17:42:10-04

BELTON, Texas — As Central Texans enter another week under shelter-in-place orders, high school athletes are finding unconventional ways to continue training as a team.

The UIL announced on March 19 it was suspending all sanctioned activities until at least May 4th due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Texas, leaving teams to find inventive ways to practice without meeting as a group.

At Belton High School, several teams have taken to social media to motivate each other to continue practicing.

"It was our coach's idea to start the page on Twitter," Maddison Parker, a Belton senior softball player, said. "But we thought it was a good idea to start tiktoks, move it to twitter, so that would keep us all together so we feel like we're all one."

The team has started using #BeltonStrong to share workout videos with their teammates and hold each other accountable.

Lady Tiger Head Coach Alan Driggers said it is all about showing strength in the things they can control right now.

"We can't control any of this," Driggers said. "What you can control is your effort, your energy, how hard you're working, what you're doing."

Remote training is not what senior pitcher Hannah Kelley expected when she took the field to start the season. But as the virus continued to spread, she began to fear her season might be canceled.

"As they started to push back the date of going back to school, I was like, 'this is getting real,'" Kelley said. "I'm not gonna be able to see my friends, and I'm not gonna be able to work out with my teammates."

Both Kelley and Parker say they are eagerly awaiting the chance to practice with their team again.

"Not being able to go to the weight room and work out and yell for everybody and lift each other up, it's different. But, we make the most of what we can," Kelley said.

The team has also used Zoom and other video conferencing apps to stay connected and meet as a team. Under UIL rules, teams are only allowed to meet for a maximum of 60 minutes per day.

Belton is not the only school using social media to connect during the extended break. The Harker Heights High School volleyball team has been employing similar measures to keep in touch and prepare for the 2020 season.

"They want to still be connected to us," Harker Heights Volleyball Coach Alina Wilder said. "They want to still do something and work out and say 'Look Coach, we're doing it,' and it warms my heart."

Despite the success of online coaching, both players and coaches say there is no substitute for the real thing.

"For a lot of the players, they're missing their teammates, definitely missing the relationships and the being together," Driggers said.

For now, the teams will continue to sit in limbo as they wait to see if high school athletics will return this school year.