Originally published March 17, 2020 in the San Mateo Daily Journal.
By Nathan Mollat
As a Bay Area shelter-in-place goes into effect beginning today, many coaches, teachers and school administrators are having to deal with an ever-changing landscape when it comes to the health and well-being of their student-athletes: not only their minds, but their bodies as well.
So with schools — and by extension, school athletics — shut down, everyone is trying to figure out the best way to continue to teach and coach.
“I think the biggest thing for me is trying to give the kids a little bit of perspective,” said Steven Kryger, Menlo-Atherton boys’ lacrosse head coach, co-athletic director and math teacher. “There are a lot of people who are dealing with issues way more serious than us not coming to school or playing lacrosse.”
While many believe a high school coach is just that, many coaches and athletic directors are also teachers and look at athletics as a part of all-around, well-balanced high school curriculum. So they are also trying to do what’s best for not only the health of their players, but also for the student body at large.
Mike Parodi Jr. is the head football coach and a physical education teacher at Hillsdale. He said he spent most of Monday morning in a conference call with his school’s physical education department, as a whole, to discuss how they will address online physical education — just like math and science departments will do for their students.
“The big one we talked about (with the kids) was the environmental stuff. (About) being responsible and not doing dumb stuff,” Parodi said.
As for practical applications, Parodi said he went online and found an infographic that described the different muscle groups in the body and then exercises to work out those groups.
“You don’t need to go to the gym to work out,” Parodi said. “Just giving them body weight activities. (Telling them) how you can work out without a barbell, without a dumbbell.”
He said a general outline being considered is to have students work seven muscles group per day, perform the exercises for each group and then fill out a form and emailing it back to their PE teacher at the end of the week.
“It’s just reminding them there are still things you can do that are still helpful for your body,” Parodi said.
Unlike Parodi, whose football team is out of season until August, Kryger and the rest of spring sports were just starting to enter league play when the stoppages occurred. So Kryger has tried to impress on his players the importance of doing some kind of lacrosse training in the event the season resumes — drills and activities that can be done in the backyard or garage.
But he is also giving them practical advice.
“Don’t sleep in. Keep your routine, (one) where you’re working out and eating well,” Kryger said.