With safety protocols and guidelines in place, high school basketball … – Inside NoVA

With safety protocols and guidelines in place, high school basketball … – Inside NoVA

Cloudy with periods of rain. Low around 45F. Winds SSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall near a half an inch..
Cloudy with periods of rain. Low around 45F. Winds SSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall near a half an inch.
Updated: January 12, 2023 @ 4:24 pm
Patriot’s Trey Nelson dribbles up court trying to avoid a full-court press by Battlefield during the teams’ game on Friday, January 17, 2020.

Patriot’s Trey Nelson dribbles up court trying to avoid a full-court press by Battlefield during the teams’ game on Friday, January 17, 2020.
Usually when Keith Honore tapes an X on the basketball floor during practice, he does so as a way to show a player where to move in running a play.
Honore will still use a taped X when high school basketball tryouts begin Monday for Prince William County Public Schools. But this time the Potomac High School boys basketball coach will use it to tell players where to stand if they are not participating on the floor.
The measure is one of a number of safety protocols schools will implement to have a sports season while the pandemic continues.
In addition to what the Virginia High School League announced in early November, Prince William County Public Schools issued its own guidelines Thursday for basketball teams to use in tryouts and practice that will remain in place until the county determines otherwise.
Emphasizing no contact during practices, teams will break into maximum five-player groups to conduct all drills. No scrimmages are allowed. Players “shall be issued/assigned individual balls for individual drills.” For group drills, “a ball shall be assigned to a ‘pod’ of no more than five athletes. The ball shall be disinfected after each use.”
Below is a list complied by the Virginia High School League of those Virginia public school …
Coaches will assign players to the groups and those groups will remain the same for each practice going forward. The county said “drills involving bodily contact shall be adjusted from NO contact to LIGHT contact according to local health metrics determined by central office staff.”
In addition, “hand sanitizer shall be used prior to any drill involving a basketball.”
Other protocols include no use of locker rooms or classrooms. There will also be a window of time allotted between the end of one team’s practice and the start of another to disinfect everything in the gym. Coaches must wear masks at all times during the practice, while players must wear masks on the sidelines. Basketball tryouts are Monday through Wednesday with Thursday the first official day of practice.
Prince William County high school students are currently attending classes virtually. Students in grades seventh, eighth, 10th, 11th, and 12th are scheduled to begin returning to school Feb. 2.
In waiting for this day, coaches and players have stayed positive, but also realistic. They understood events could change in an instant without any recourse. And even though tryouts start today, there’s no guarantee things won’t change in the future.
To allow all three sports seasons a chance to compete, the VHSL adopted July 27 a compressed sports schedule that will run Dec. 21 to June 26 and have each sport play 60 percent of its typically allotted regular-season games. The winter sports season goes first followed by the fall starting in February and the spring starting in April.
Basketball is the first of the winter sports to start and the first to hold contests when the 14-game regular-season schedule begins Dec. 21. Practices for wrestling, gymnastics, indoor track, wrestling and sideline cheer begin Dec. 14.
But while the VHSL set dates and postseason formats, it’s up to each school division to determine whether they will have a sports season or not or even allow spectators.
Through Dec. 2, twenty-school divisions (out of 132) and 37 public schools (out of 318) have cancelled their winter sports season, according to a list compiled by the VHSL. The City of Alexandria is the only Northern Virginia school district to cancel their winter sports season.
No jump ball to start a basketball game. Volleyball teams must remain on the same side for a…
Prince William County and the City of Manassas school divisions have already decided to prohibit fans from athletic events at their schools. 
With so much uncertainty, no one is taking the chance to play for granted.
““I’m grateful to have this opportunity,” Honore said entering his 15th year at Potomac’s helm. “There are things to think about and it’s been a challenge. We make it first to Monday. And then we try and make it to Dec. 21st knowing there’s a good possibility it might not happen. We come to the players and be optimistic.”
To help ease teams into preparing for a season, the VHSL allowed out-of-season workouts to occur upon approval by each school division.
Prince William County Public high school teams were permitted to conduct out of season workouts starting Sept. 10 with stipulations. They could only train outdoors doing conditioning drills and eventually athletes could use their own equipment, but not share it with others.
The changes required some creativity by the coaches.
Honore said Potomac’s boys worked out on the school’s football field. The location helped the players improve their dribbling since they had to pound the ball more against the hard turf.
To have his players work on ball handling, Honore placed a water bottle on top of an upside trash can. Each player dribbled their own ball for 30 yards and then tossed the ball in an attempt to knock the bottle off the trash can. Honore made sure he held the drill in front of a soccer net at end of the field so players could easily retrieve loose balls before returning to the line.
Colgan girls basketball coach Fred Milbert said the out-of-season workouts helped the kids understand and familiarize themselves with safety measures when practice begins.
“They know what to do and what to expect,” said Milbert, who is in his fifth season as Colgan’s only head girls basketball coach and in his 20th year overall as a head coach. “I feel like we’re pretty well prepared.”
Colgan senior Kennedy Fuller can’t wait for the start of practice.
“Our coaches have been doing their best to make sure we understand the precautions needed for safe practices,” Fuller said. “While I hope we can have a successful and safe season, I do understand everyone’s concerns and the safety for all of us student athletes.”
Players from Patriot and Potomac’s boys teams also profited from competing in a six-week fall league comprised of over 20 teams that was held at the St. James Sports, Wellness and Entertainment Complex in Springfield. Teams played a minimum of eight games twice a week. Patriot competed in 11 games after losing to Sidwell Friends in the championship.
“It was a great benefit for our guys to be able to play together and for me to watch them together in a game situation,” Rivers said. “Now we aren’t going into the season completely clueless of what our strengths and weaknesses are.”
Still, there are adjustments. With the regular schedule out of whack and the possibility of more changes always lingering in the background, coaches and the players are balancing all the needs with so much still up in the air. Typically at this point of the schedule, basketball teams are already in a set routine starting with practice opening in mid-November and the season starting the first week of December.
Honore said he’s bought hand-held whistles to use in practice since it’s a challenge to use a whistle while wearing a mask. He also assigning his assistant coaches extra duties like cleaning basketballs and making sure players know where they are supposed to stand.
With limitations on how much players can do at the moment, Prince William County head coaches will also have adjust how they assess the players starting with tryouts. But they will make it work.
“We will be ready,” Honore said. “We will be creative. This isn’t about basketball, but safety of the kids. We will do our best.”
David Fawcett is the sports editor for InsideNoVa.com. Reach him at dfawcett@insidenova.com

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