In accordance with Covid-19 guidelines, Andover Girls Basketball has shifted to a new practice format, including low-contact drills and universal masking. Although the future of the season remains uncertain, returning players have gained insight into how winter term might play out through the fall basketball skills program.
According to Hope Nardone ’23 and Katherine Marquis ’21, the team has already begun practices in the Borden Memorial Gym and is following all of the Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center and Massachusetts statewide Covid-19 guidelines.
“We make sure to wear masks, sanitize, and social distance as much as we can. In the beginning of the fall, we were only allowed to do skills and drills, but now we have worked our way up to limited contact,” said Marquis.
Nardone added, “Basketball has a lot of contact, so you’re going up for a rebound, you’re pushing against other people, you’re aggressive, you’re fighting for a ball and you’re definitely in each other’s faces a lot which is definitely not too [Covid-19] friendly. But again, we often take numerous sanitizing breaks in between drills to sanitize our hands. We’re also wearing masks and we’ve all been tested, so I feel relatively safe.”
According to Alanna Olsen ’23, practices have been far less intense in comparison to the last season due to the number of remote learners and changes in contact rules.
“This year it’s a lot more low-key because there’s still a couple girls that are on the team that aren’t on campus. So it’s basically just we run some drills, we sometimes do boxing out drills, and we do a lot of shooting. Occasionally we do 3v3s, but it’s definitely less intense than it was last year,” said Olsen.
Practices in past seasons revolved around simulating game-like plays, whereas this season the team has been limited to improving fundamentals and skills, according to Marquis.
“Last year, we did a lot more scrimmaging and full contact drills to mimic situations you might find yourself in during games. Now we’re doing a lot more skill-work and focusing on fundamental drills with limited or no contact,” said Marquis.
According to Nardone, during the fall term basketball skills athletic option, all contact drills were prohibited. Recently, the training group has been able to slowly incorporate regular drills which has boosted team morale.
Nardone said, “At first, we couldn’t do any contact drills so we were doing mostly shooting, passing, and ball handling. But now, we can have contact with up to three people, so we’ve been playing more 3 vs. 3 and doing rebounding drills, so that’s a lot more fun. It resembles more of what it was last year which is really comforting.”
According to Olsen, another change to the basketball practice format is limited time blocks. Currently, the slots for Borden gym had been shortened by half an hour.
“They used to be an hour and a half, but now they’re half that time, it’s 45 minutes. I mean, it’s kind of nice since it’s short. I feel like we are doing a lot of stuff in those 45 minutes and we’re putting them to use. But sometimes it’s a little bit annoying since we’d be in the middle of something and then the 45 minutes will be up,” said Olsen.
According to Head Coach Elizabeth Monroe, it is difficult to predict the operation of the season. A key difference for this year is the elimination of a tryout process, which will help players of all levels adjust to the program, according to Monroe.
“It’s still unclear at this point what the season will look like, but we will do our best to provide players at all levels access to training that will help them to grow their game… When the winter season starts on the ninth, we will be evaluating players for where they might fit in the program. But as of now, there will not be a formal tryout process,” Monroe said.