Menlo Coaches and Trainers Face Challenges During School Closure


Robert Tomkinson

Menlo track team runners Lauren Hamilton and Michelle Louie finish their race in the 2019 WBAL meet at Sacred Heart. Photo courtesy of Robert Tomkinson.

Lexi Friesel, Staff Writer

With the closure of school also came the suspension of all games and practices for Menlo student athletes until the school reopens. For the athletic department, this suspension has been tough, especially for the coaches of spring sports.

“With the outbreak, I’m not with the boys working to be better,” varsity boys tennis coach Bill Shine said in an email. Although the tennis team could potentially train on their own, the time away from the other members of the team presents an issue to players who play in doubles matches since they cannot practice together. “They can’t work together to get that good chemistry,” Shine said. 

Shine also shared that during the break in the season, he is coming up with ideas to get the boys playing their best in case the season resumes. “The plan for the boys is to take this time to do their academics and rest up because we are going to hit the ground running when we get back.” Shine said. “I expect the team to look great if we get back because that is who they are.”

The school closure has also had an effect on Menlo’s lacrosse teams. “The outbreak has completely disrupted our spring season,” varsity boys lacrosse coach, Blakeley Kim said. 

During his team’s time apart, Kim along with the rest of the boys lacrosse coaches are sending instructional videos to give the players ideas on how to improve and practice. “If school returns on April 13 we will have an abbreviated 2020 season and then look to compete in this season’s CCS Championship.”

  Another problem caused by the suspension or end of the spring athletic seasons is that many sports will be missing important events that will not be rescheduled. “We are missing three important meets,” varsity swimming coach Laura Reynolds said in an email. “These meets would have been three separate opportunities to show improvement, make CCS cuts and otherwise reach the goals that the athletes set at the beginning of the season.” 

Missing events is not the only setback for the swimmers that Reynolds sees from the halt on athletic activities. “Any conditioning the swimmers have gained since Winter Break will be obliterated unless the athletes take it upon themselves to stay in shape by swimming daily,” Reynolds said. 

On the other hand, some sports teams do have the ability to practice and condition while being off campus. “We have a document online that we’ve always had since two seasons ago with a week worth of workouts all planned out for the kids,” varsity track and field coach Jorge Chen said, “Once I couldn’t be physically there for them, the kids just follow those workouts.”

According to Reynolds, another major disadvantage to being away from her team is that she is unable to give them individual instruction or race strategy. However, she is writing and sending practices to her team in case some of them have access to a pool. 

The team coaches and athletes are not the only ones affected by the school closure. The Menlo Performance program has also had to adapt to the new policy of social distancing. “Sam, Kyler, Isaac and I are trying to help kids be successful when they come back into season,” Director of Sports Performance and Wellness Jesse Lindenstein said. “We are giving athletes the option to be emailed their training sheets.”  

One major disadvantage Lindenstein noted about at-home workouts is that the trainers cannot monitor the athletes. “We have a pretty good track record inside Menlo, but there is a higher risk of injury outside our facilities,” Lindenstein said. “Here on campus we usually give advice to make sure the athletes are safe.”

Lindenstein has also been working on helping athletes stay fit not only with workouts, but also with advice about nutrition and wellness. However, if school were to come back in session in April, Lindenstein is planning on starting from scratch. “I want to take care of everyone to the best of my ability and not everyone is going to train at home,” Lindenstein said. “If we resume workouts we’re going to assume nobody did anything.”