Sports

Moving volleyball season to winter impacts coaches and players

With the ongoing uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, coaches in almost all sports have had to make adjustments this year.

That includes Mountain View High girls volleyball coach Dave Winn, whose Spartans won’t play this fall as originally scheduled. The season has been pushed to the winter, when Winn is usually coaching club volleyball.

“High school season has been shifted to start the middle of December and go through to the middle of March,” Winn said. “NCVA (Northern California Volleyball Association) ... has started scheduling (club) events in January and February. There’s definitely going to be conflict between club and high school.”

Winn – who works at the Mountain View Volleyball Club – has been coaching high school girls varsity volleyball for nearly 20 years. In all that time, there were few, if any, years that could be considered as complicated and unprecedented as this coming season.

One complication coaches are facing is the California Interscholastic Federation rule that does not allow players or coaches to participate in a club and school team simultaneously.

As the Town Crier previously reported, Winn and other club volleyball coaches are not allowed to work in person with their high school teams – not even for conditioning – until the high school season begins. This year that will be Dec. 14 – right around the time club volleyball would be starting if COVID-19 hadn’t reared its ugly head.

Until then, coaches who are already coaching one team, either club or high school, can only train their athletes of their secondary team via sending workouts and ball-handling skills to try at home, according to Winn.

As of now, Winn has had to adjust any plans he made for the upcoming high school and club seasons and is trying to find new and safe ways for his teams to bond, hone their skills and motivate each other for conditioning.

“We’re training three times a week, a couple of times in the grass, on the sand as well, since we have our own sand courts,” Winn said of his club program. “We’re in stable groups of 12. They have to stay in that stable group of 12 for three weeks. And, of course, if anyone gets COVID, their entire group gets shut down.”

Recruiting impact

Not only is this season affected, but future seasons as well when it comes to recruiting for college and club teams.

Winn’s daughter, Logan, the former standout setter at Mountain View High, can attest to this – her first collegiate season at Puget Sound University has been delayed.

“Right when everyone got sent home, instead of just having the current team do Zooms and stuff, the coach actually just decided to incorporate all the freshmen then, too,” she said. “We got sent workout programs in March and then we had three Zooms a week from, like, March to May.”

Logan added that facilities near campus have been allowed to reopen, so she and her teammates now have a place to train a few times a week for a season that has no set starting date.

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