Potomac’s First Session Virtual Workouts: Hit or Miss?


Potomac Sports Instagram Account

Henry Boehm, Sports Editor

In the words of Potomac’s athletic director, Ms. Woda, “The goal of our virtual off-season was to create a team-based atmosphere where student-athletes can connect with their teammates, get in a great workout and connect with their coaches. “

In response to the daunting challenge of prioritizing safety during the pandemic while students took classes from home, the school’s administration decided to require students to participate in virtual after-school sports or a handful of other co-curricular activities. Students tuned into virtual workouts, yoga sessions, and team meetings following school hours.

For members of the golf team, “Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays were all virtual workouts and Tuesdays and Thursdays were team meetings. The workouts were very good and kept us in shape,” said freshman golfer Jackson Wiley. 

 Senior captain of the field hockey team, Courtney Vold, said, “The Zoom workouts weren’t super intense, and there was a lot of jumping and it could be a little bit more awkward than in person workouts are. In person practices have a lot more running, but it’s more fun because you can actually see people.”

Though much of the initiative was intended to provide the opportunity for team building experiences that would have normally taken place at post-practice dinners or upperclassmen carpooling, athletes were continuously reminded of the impact of COVID-19.

“Occasionally we would have team meetings, but normally everyone was too tired of screens to be fully invested, and it was really hard to get to know the new players who weren’t on the team before,” Courtney said.

“We understandably weren’t able to get as much position-specific attention until we moved to the yellow plan and were able to practice on the field. By that time though, we had already transitioned into the second offseason period,” junior wide receiver Timmy Mellis said, speaking of the football team.

Likely as a result of foreseeing this dilemma, coaches made sure to do everything they could to provide excellent instruction. Led by returning strength coach Nate Sisson, the athletic department required everyone to have their screens on so that their coaches could watch their movements.

“I definitely felt like I was getting enough attention. Even if it really wasn’t that important to me, I felt like I got lots of opportunities to ask questions or state my opinion and my thoughts in workouts and meetings,”Jackson said.

“Coach Sisson always did a great job of incorporating every one in the Zoom call. He was always tuned in and made sure that not one was skipping reps,” said senior soccer midfielder Haley Smith.

Despite the best intentions of the athletic department, for many students, the required calls quickly began to take their toll on their already inflated daily screen times. After logging on at 8:30 and clocking out six hours later, students had already been reporting feeling dizzy, nauseous, and ocularly strained after hours of staring at their screens during classes.

“I do wish I had been able to get off of screens instead of having to join a zoom, because I have gotten constantly nauseous from blue light this year,” Courtney said.

“It was hard after a full day of screen time just to go to more screen time,” Haley added.

As the school enters its yellow phase and upper school students resume in-person learning, athletes once more have opportunities to master the skills and life lessons of high school sports. Though the community hopes that Potomac will not have to revert to its red or orange phase, Potomac’s athletes are prepared to continue their development no matter what.