Women’s basketball resumes training under health guidelines


GVL Archive

Zack Goodrow, Sports Editor

Grand Valley State University sports are finally getting back to training on the field and in gyms, but some athletes may have reservations with training once again.

The University has not been an exception to the COVID-19 resurgence in West Michigan, as new cases still spread everyday. Students have concerns with their own health over attending classes and socializing. While that extends to student athletes, there hasn’t been much concern from the women’s basketball team. 

GVSU has specific guidelines for a return to play for every sports team. Before practices resumed, there were over 600 tests for players and staff. There was a two-week acclimation period as well during which no teams were allowed to train. Now teams can train again, but coaches must implement social distancing and sanitary protocols. 

The GVSU women’s basketball team has been a model for safe practices and training. They have been having small workouts – only four players on the court together – and staggering practices to have less people in the gym. They do skill work drills every week day, and switch between conditioning on the field and lifting in the Recreation Center.  Even with health concerns during the pandemic, Laker athletes have been excited to get back to together and train again. 

“This whole summer we had to workout outside,” said junior guard Brooke McKinley. “We couldn’t get into the gym and lift or do anything. It definitely feels good to be back inside in the gym with normal hoops. It’s exciting to be practicing with the team again.” 

Last year, the GVSU women’s basketball team finished their season with a record of 28-3 before tournament play was canceled. The team looks different this year, with many seniors graduating. In order to find success on the court like the team usually has, they will have to build chemistry and train as much as possible.

That recipe to success may be difficult with the pandemic, but the women’s basketball team is up to the challenge. 

“We’re a young team and everyone is excited to get back to training,” said head coach Mike Williams. “After sitting around for awhile with quarantine, the players have been working hard together.” 

Coming back together after an abundance of time off has led to great practices with players putting in enormous effort. Williams has had to monitor the team, making sure his players don’t push themselves too hard as the season is still extremely young.

With all the obstacles in the team’s way, the Lakers are up for the challenge and have little concerns over their safety as they train together, since the coaching and training staff have implemented a safe environment to bring comfort to the players.   

“It’s definitely an adjustment but it’s nothing terrible,” McKinley said. “We’re working out in the Rec Center now. All of our normal practice times and drills that we do have switched up. Everyone has been fine.” 

Lakers of every sport will continue to practice the next few months. New guidelines have mandated that a licensed physician be present in training sessions to ensure the safety of players. The women’s basketball team will continue to work with aspirations of their winter season commencing.

There are still looming questions for all GVSU teams, not just women’s basketball. What if seasons during the winter semester are cancelled as well? What are athletes training for if there are no games? Despite the uncertainty of future competition, the women’s basketball team still sees value in practicing. 

“We have to focus on building our game,” McKinley said. “You can’t get into the mentality of saying we’re not going to have a season, so it doesn’t matter. Even if we don’t have one and it’s canceled, we just focus on growing our skills and creating bonds with our teammates. It will be different, but it’s something that we’re working with and keeping each other motivated.”