Preparation for fall sports season

Since the season for fall sports has been delayed until December, according to the California Interscholastic federation (CIF), teams are finding new ways to prepare for its upcoming season. 

The sports include cross country, volleyball, girls tennis, girls golf, football and boys volleyball, respectively.

Like many other sports, the football team has trained through Zoom during sixth period and tutorial, primarily with coach Eric Peralta and coach Conrad White. During these sessions, football players mainly perform exercises such as squats, lunges and pushups. In addition to these online meetings, football players are instructed to run a certain distance each week while tracking their progress with the app, NikeRunClub. During the first few weeks of school, players were expected to run 10 miles per week. The expectation has since been increased to 12 miles per week. Football coach Chima Ike also provides  his athletes with non-mandatory practices at Villa Park in Chino Hills on Sunday mornings for players who want extra practices. These practices refine ball handling, cutting, hand-eye coordination and footwork.

“[The coaches say] that football can start any minute. [I’m excited] to just get back into the weight room because working out on camera is just weird. It just doesn’t feel right,” sophomore Salvador Quintanilla said. “I know working out in the gym and on the field [will make me] feel better. And I also can’t wait to be back with everyone on the team.”

Boys water polo is also preparing for its season through Zoom workouts. Players use body weight exercises such as pushups and sit-ups, engaging in one-hour workouts three times a week. The water polo team and its coaches use Strava, a running tracker to ensure athletes are doing their workouts. To encourage team bonding, water polo also participates in Zoom activities such as video game sessions. 

“Our workouts are cool. They’re not too hard and not easy. The coaches will get you in shape but it’s not the same as if you were in the pool,” sophomore Ivan Gonzalez said. “Doing pushups would help, but it’s not the same as actually swimming. [I’m looking forward] to actually seeing people and talking to the team again.” 

The volleyball team does exercises similar to those of football and water polo, but are mainly focused on building muscle in certain parts of the body like the quadriceps, calves and shoulders. Head coach Aubrey Caires also provides athletes with separate trainers outside of Walnut High School to encourage extracurricular practice. Additionally, volleyball players engage in Friday Challenges on Flipgrid in which they are given a challenge to complete. These challenges allow players to refine their ball control so that they are better focused once the season begins. In addition, volleyball holds meetings in which its athletes mentally prepare themselves for the season by holding discussions on topics such as volleyball traditions and team improvement. As an example of one of its bonding activities, the team has recently watched a volleyball anime, “Haikyu,” to discuss its relation to the Walnut volleyball team.

“[Workouts] are important. We have to do them: It’s essential to the athlete. Discussions are [also] essential to preparing our mindset because we’re not seeing each other in person. These discussions almost become the replacement for what we would do to strengthen our connection as a team,” senior Esther Li said. “It is my senior year, so it kind of sucks that we aren’t able to have a full season. Being in the gym with everyone was really important to me and I miss that a lot because you don’t get that when you’re at home.”

By Freda Lei, In-Depth editor