A Different Approach to Athletics this Fall

Despite the cancellation of interscholastic competitions this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sports and competition at Loomis Chaffee are alive and well, thanks to a redesigned and robust program created by the Athletics Department, coaches, and other faculty and staff. 

After-school practices look a little different, but students are still training every day at the varsity level, the JV level, and the recreational and club level. Students are required to wear masks while they practice, and social distancing rules still apply, so coaches are focused on skill development, team bonding, and fitness and conditioning.

“As a runner and a cross country coach, I was nervous about what it would be like to run with masks on, but so far it hasn’t been a big problem for our runners,” said Becky Purdy, the girls cross country head coach, adding that the team has not yet done any all-out workouts. 

Fall athletes practice with their teams on Monday through Friday, while winter athletes are able to practice on Mondays and Wednesdays, and spring athletes practice Wednesdays and Fridays. Multisport varsity athletes can choose which practices to attend on days when more than one of their sports hold practices. 

The athletics program also features several activities for online learners. They can take part fitness classes at the beginner, intermediate, or is advanced level. Online learners also can participate in online workouts that strength and conditioning coach Nhat Mai runs through Zoom. These workouts include bodyweight training, yoga, stretching, meditation, dance, Zumba, and high-intensity interval training. Online learners are required to participate in four activity sessions a week. 

Online learners also have access to a program called PLT4M, an online classroom where students can follow along with workout videos and record their progress. The program has a deep database of exercises and videos on how to do them, and students also can design their own workouts. 

“The beauty of PLT4M and the new curriculum for online learners is that students can log in any time and complete workouts when it is best for them. It helps to alleviate the stress of time zone conflicts and allows for me to track their progress and make sure they are practicing healthy habits,” said Coach Mai. 

“We feel strongly that our athletics program provides all our students with what they need to meet their goals,” Director of Athletics Sue Cabot said. “Whether they want to play at the college level or they just want to say in shape, our program gives our students the structure they need to pursue their athletic and fitness goals.”