Dozens of our student-athletes have returned to campus in recent weeks for summer conditioning that follows strict health and safety protocols.
Teacher-coaches have led two sessions on each Tuesday and Thursday since July 21. Among the safety measures: Student-athletes must register online at least one day in advance; conduct a thorough self screening and state they have no COVID-19 symptoms; have their temperatures checked before they can exit cars - they can be no greater than 100.3 degrees; and clean and wash their hands before walking onto the football field. They have assigned parking spots and markers on the Wynne-Darden Stadium field, stay 15 feet apart at all times, and wear masks before and after workouts and during breaks. (Medical experts say it's not necessary to wear a mask while exercising strenuously outdoors if you're at a safe social distance.)
The hour-long sessions have typically had about 25 student-athletes. They range from grades 9 through 12, and compete in fall, winter, and spring sports. At least three or four teacher-coaches usually lead them, and Norfolk Academy trainers are also on hand. Known as “Speed School," the workouts involve a mixture of plyometrics, speed, agility, and circuit and metabolic conditioning to enhance cardio and overall fitness.
As an example, the 9:15 a.m. workout on July 30 involved quick feet and speed running, and concluded with several repetitions of burpees, lunges, and plyometric push-ups. That line-up left many dripping sweat. Still, those who finished first had the energy to encourage their peers to finish strong.
One student-athlete enjoying that workout was Keon Tavakoli '21, who plays football in the fall. He said he feels fortunate to be back on campus, bonding with teammates during the workouts, even if from a distance.
“Pretty brutal," Keon said of the workout. “But it's definitely worth it."
Steve Monninger, NA's Director of Fitness, Strength, and Conditioning and Varsity Football Coach, is helping lead the workouts. He was so excited on July 21 that he was on the field setting up by 6:30 a.m., 90 minutes before the first session began.
Coach Monninger has been pleased with the effort of the student-athletes. Hundreds have kept themselves in shape throughout the summer by completing a weekly at-home conditioning program the NA athletics department offered.
“I think the kids have done an awesome job," Coach Monninger said.
As with any coach, Mr. Monninger is thrilled to be teaching in-person again, after more than four months of helping students via Zoom and other technology; Gov. Ralph Northam ordered school campuses across Virginia closed for the spring in an effort to stop the spread of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Coach Monninger was excited to see the safety measures the athletics department put in place and the number of coaches on hand to help.
The workouts will continue into at least early August.
“It has been a great community builder," said Chad Byler, Director of Athletics. “The kids are enjoying it."
To learn about our plans for the 2020-21 school year, please visit our COVID-19 updates page. To learn about our athletics staff, facilities, many team accomplishments, and more, please visit our athletics department pages.