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Will there be a season? Local coaches talk about getting back to practices amid uncertainty

This week, high school and youth sports teams were allowed to start conditioning again after these activities were postponed due to COVID-19

CLEVELAND — But how are these practices going to look?  

There are a lot of changes. Like most things with this virus, the fact is we just don't know how it's going to look.

3News’ Dave Chudowsky talked to three local coaches about how they're preparing through the uncertainty.

"It's just been a wild adventure trying to get it all figured out," says Bay High School football coach Ron Rutt.

Every coach would agree that this wild adventure is far from over. From the west side to the east side, high school football coaches are trying to figure out how to practice during this unprecedented time.

“Right now, how does a practice look for you guys, being a contact sport, is social distancing is it wearing masks how does it work?” asked Dave.

Kirtland High School coach Tiger LaVerde says, “Well that's a great question, because I don't think anybody knows the answer to that. You know going into August first, 60 to 70 guys on the same field, running around, doing drills with each other. Nobody knows how that's going to look."

At Kirtland, Bay High and everywhere else, there are plans to help keep athletes distanced.

They will work in phases. Phase one includes pods of nine kids in separate areas, with one coach. Each pod stays together for two weeks. If that goes well, they can move into phase 2, increasing the number of kids. Phase 3 includes a larger group of athletes.  

They are not allowed to gather in locker rooms or after practice and everyone has to wash their hands. Teams will take other precautions, as well.

"Definitely a 6-foot rule for social distancing. Masks are highly recommended,” coach Rutt says. “The coach has a chart that he'll fill out or she will fill out, that goes through a checklist for each athlete, asking them if they have a temperature, if they have any symptoms, so that we can make sure that everyone is symptom free."  

Other sports including club teams like Upper 90 North FC are navigating through these guidelines and taking it a step further.

The kids go right from the car to their sectioned off area, where they remain 6 to 10 feet apart. They are not allowed to share water bottles and each player gets hand sanitizer. Parents can't come on the field and the coaches all wear masks.

Upper 90 North FC director Attila Csiszar says, “I think that we have one shot to do it right. We want to make sure that every child is safe, every parent is comfortable and we are doing our part. We are going to put a lot of it on us, we have to. We have to be accountable for what we do."

Dave asked, “Have you thought about at all when you can see them playing games again?”

Csiszar sais, “I wish I could answer that. I want to get back on the pitch. I would love for all this to get behind us and back to where we were, but I think everything is going to be done in phases."   

As we continue to wait for competition, the coaches agree, the hardest part in all of this has been not seeing the kids.

"They can do workouts at home, but most of it is, I don't know how you don't care about these kids,“ says coach LaVerde. “You spend that much time with them over a four-year period," 

Coach Rutt echoed those thoughts.

"I mean, that's what coaching is all about. It’s those relationships with the kids and everything, and not getting to see them on a daily basis has been tough."

One thing that will help, is the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) eliminated the 10-day coaching contact restriction for team sport coaches this summer. That means from May 29 through August 31, they can practice as much as needed.

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