Once it became clear that the University of Richmond would be moving to online classes, Richmond Athletics began using virtual applications to keep track of its athletes and their training.
The first thing the coaches needed to know was what their athletes could do while home, said Scott Brincks, director of strength and conditioning for the football team.
To make sure students continued training, the strength and conditioning coaches created personalized exercises based on the athletes’ needs and resources, Brincks said.
Some athletes have in-home gyms, others have only weights and some have neither, Brincks said. Some students are injured or have special health needs, he said.
UR coaches are using the platforms CoachMePlus, Teamworks and Instagram for communication, Brincks said.
CoachMePlus is an app used to distribute workouts to athletes based on their sport, the equipment they have access to and whether or not they have injuries.
There are checklists on the app with assigned exercises that athletes can cross off as they do them, according to CoachMePlus. Students can also log their mood, muscle soreness and sleep quality so coaches can determine whether routines need to be changed, Brincks said.
The football team uses the Teamworks app to video call, send mass messages and share documents with nutritional guides and workouts, Brincks said.
"We have to establish a consistency of what we do and how we do things," Brincks said. "So we think about what has to be accomplished from a performance-based model."
Brincks and the main strength and conditioning coaches who oversee different athletic teams — Jay DeMayo, men’s basketball and swimming and diving; Beacher Porter, women’s basketball, golf, women’s lacrosse, football; and Tony Carney, men’s lacrosse, baseball, women’s soccer, football — all create content for the programs and social media pages.
Although students and trainers have easily embraced the virtual training, they miss working out with their teams, Brincks said.
“The way we push one another and our bonds with each other is something you can’t experience at home alone,” said Tyler Dressler, a senior linebacker on the football team. “We have a special culture and intensity about us that I am certainly missing right now.”
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On March 16, two Instagram accounts were created: @spiderssportperformance, managed by the UR athletics' strength and conditioning department, and @spiderssportsmedicine, run by the sports medicine department.
The @spiderssportsmedicine account is run by Emily Brode, an assistant athletic trainer who focuses on the swimming and diving and football teams. The account’s posts include physical therapy exercises demonstrated by Head Football Athletic Trainer Joe Olivadoti and trivia about the sports medicine department.
Brode said the page’s most popular post had been a video in which student-athletes were asked to pronounce a list of medical terms. Some of the words were acetabulum, tensor fascia latae, olecranon and acetaminophen. All of the athletes struggled to sound them out, laughing as they failed, Brode said.
“We’re really just trying to stay connected with them in a fun way because they really count on us, and that’s why we chose athletic training and why we love our jobs so much,” Brode said.
There are nine full-time employees and three interns on the sports medicine athletic training staff, Brode said. They were communicating regularly on information to post and other ways to assist students through Zoom, she said.
Although the transition has run smoothly with current athletes, working with incoming freshmen has been more difficult, Brincks said. The coaches have been using the same programs but haven’t been able to personalize them because they aren’t familiar with new team members, he said.
“It all comes down to them moving, pushing, pulling something, throwing something,” Brincks said. “With being a college athlete, you’ve got responsibilities that you have to do. You just have to get it done and come back in the best shape possible.”
Contact contributor Jada Frazier at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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