Posted On: 06/22/20 12:41 PM
In order for volleyball to resume, the toes have to be dipped into the water of what the new normal will be in the world of Covid-19. Plenty of questions, even more “What Ifs”, and hesitation in getting back to the game we all love.
For Prep Dig, we worked with local clubs out of the Fox Valley in the Green Bay/Appleton area with One Wisconsin (Green Bay), FC Elite, and Impact as well as Revolution Volleyball Academy out of the Milwaukee area in having a scrimmage at the Community First Champions Center (CFCC) Saturday, June 20.
This event would look different compared to the last event Prep Dig had at the CFCC the first weekend of January where there were multiple waves, 60 teams, plenty of fans scattered throughout the facility, and the buzz of the opening weekend of what was to be an exciting club volleyball season. With Covid-19 having other plans for the volleyball season, there was still one small window of opportunity for teams to practice and compete locally. In order for all of this to come together, plenty of planning came into play from how teams would enter the facility, team areas to be sanitized, and providing the safest way to bring together to compete.
Prep Dig and the CFCC met multiple times to discuss what would be the safest environment for the athletes to be in as well as communication with the teams participating. Here is a glance at a few new guidelines and practices put into place in order to execute this event.
So we had a scrimmage yesterday. Here are some highlights…of new safety and sanitation procedures. Thank you to the @ChampionCtr for their staff and commitment to teaming up in providing a safe experience for the athletes! pic.twitter.com/qguRZmZukx
— Chris Fitzgerald (@PrepDigChris) June 21, 2020
-All teams had a set time on when they were to enter the facility where all members of the team entered with masks, had a temperature check and were escorted to a designated area within the facility where they were to have their bags. If teams were not playing or reffing they were to remain in this area.
-The gym was split into four sections where each was essentially treated as its own facility. There were hand sanitizing stations as well in each section.
-Teams had specific ways to enter their section in order to avoid crossing paths with other teams. With this setup, teams would only be interacting with the three other teams they were competing with.
-Teams did not do any pre or post-game handshakes and gave a bit of an awkward hello/good game across the net near the ten foot line. There were also no switching sides between sets.
-Following the match, staff sprayed and disinfected the team bench, score table, ref stands, sanitizing station, and teams were to not take a bench until the previous team had left and all was cleaned.
-Teams were allowed all of their athletes, three coaches, a parent chaperone, and a video coordinator. Special shout out to the parents who hooked up a TV where they were able to watch the matches on Facebook live and enjoy the event.
For Coaches and Athletes
Coming back to volleyball was not by the flip of the switch. At One Wisconsin out of Green Bay, they started with small group sessions and then progressed to
having their whole team there which brought in new routines and procedures for athletes and coaches that consisted of more hand sanitizer, wiping down volleyballs, but the feel of being together and volleyball was a welcome feeling all around.
“I was a little nervous to see how it went because we’ve been away from each other for so long, but it’s so great to be back,” said Aubree BuchegerAubreeBucheger5'8" | LOconto | 2020StateWI who will be a Freshman at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August.
“When we first came in the gym and had all the symptom questions and temperature checks, I was a little nervous, but then it just became part of our practice and routine,” said Nicole NortonNicoleNorton5'9" | SSouthern Door | 2021StateWI, a Class of 2021 setter from Southern Door High School.
Bucheger and Norton talked about how fast they lost their touch in regards to volleyball. For most of these athletes, they haven’t had a time where they have taken more than two months off. However, it wasn’t just the volleyball part these athletes were happy to come back to.
“I think all of this made me realize that these teammates become close friends so quickly and being away from each other for so long just makes you realize how much you enjoy that time at practices and tournaments,” said Norton.
Craig and Lisa Cain are the head coaches of One Wisconsin 17 Mizuno and as coaches, it was a bit of an adjustment getting back in the gym as well.
“Once we got everything in place, the kids were really open to the changes, and all of the new procedures just became routine,” said Lisa.
Not only are coaches adjusting to the new procedures, but as a coach where do you start with athletes who haven’t been together in months?
“Sometimes you have to take a few steps back to go over footwork and basic skills. They aren’t necessarily picking up where they left off, but that’s ok, we just adjust our plans as coaches to meet them where they are at and timing between setters and hitters will eventually come back,” said Cain.
Prep Dig will be putting on the Prep Dig Sizzle at the Champions Center with a JV Event on July 8 and a Varsity Event July 9-10. Prep Dig and the staff at the Champions Center will meet again to discuss further safety and sanitation procedures as well as multiple waves in order to maintain a safe number of people within the facility.
Prep Dig is also heading to Omaha for the Summer Bash at UBT Sports Complex, which is also the home to Nebraska Elite where teams from Nebraska and Iowa are currently registered. There is still room for teams to register!
Head on over to the Prep Dig Events page to check out more information on events as well as a list of teams who have signed up!