Student Athletes Find Ways to Train During Lockdown

Since the announcement on March 13 that all PSAL sporting events would be cancelled for the school year and that all NYC public school buildings would be closed for the remainder of the school year on March 16, Francis Lewis student athletes have been working out at home and finding ways to still practice and improve in their chosen sport.  

Although the future of the fall sports season for high school and college students is still undetermined, student athletes are focused on staying motivated to be ready for possible play in summer leagues and the fall.

At home I’ve been trying to stay in shape by working out and doing baseball activities,” senior and Varsity Baseball team member Joseph Salerno said. 

“Since the season is cancelled I still need to be in shape for summer baseball and college baseball so I throw about 3 times a week and usually hit off the tee in my backyard during those days too.  Even though I don’t have much equipment, I use what I have to workout.”

Although coaches cannot do much with their team during the lockdown, they still find ways to communicate with them and assist with their training. 

“I have zoom calls with my coaches and it’s just simple activities to keep us on track and get us ready for high level play,” said junior Nikolaos Matsis, who is a member of the Varsity Tennis and Soccer teams. “We don’t conduct this everyday so I have to train on my own as well, including walks, runs, and goalkeeper training at home.”

For some students, working out at home can be challenging when there might not be enough space or equipment. When asked which is harder to practice at home, tennis or soccer, Matsis said tennis is much more difficult. 

“Tennis, because if you don’t have the space or a wall with enough space it can get tricky,” Matsis said. 

In addition to not having the space or equipment to practice, motivation can also be challenging, especially when there are so many other things to focus on during this time. 

“My motivation usually depends on the day,” senior and Varsity Softball team member Megan Bell said. “Most of the time I am motivated to keep working out, but some days I’m so overwhelmed mentally and I don’t feel like getting out of bed.  I think that’s okay though, since we’re all going through a lot, considering the circumstances in the world right now.” 

Teammates are very important to athletes as they are there to help push them to keep working hard. However, during the lockdown there are no teammates and athletes are feeling the difference. 

“For me the biggest difference is that when I’m with my teammates we can push each other and motivate each other to get better, and to push ourselves further,” Salerno said. “When I’m by myself sometimes it’s hard to find that motivation.  Nobody’s pushing you to keep going except yourself.” 

Some students believe that staying positive and focused during this pandemic will ultimately strengthen their focus and skill in their sport. 

I think this time can help me improve my mental health as well as physical,” Bell said. “If I can figure out how to overcome my mental challenges, it’ll make me a stronger player. 

I feel like I’ve made mental improvements,” Salerno said.  “I accepted what happened and that it was out of my control.  Now I just need to do things to better myself.”