Since the University Interscholastic League (UIL) suspension of all practices, workouts and sanctioned contests and competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, coaches and players have been having to practice social distancing making it difficult to practice and stay "game ready."
On Mar 23, the UIL released a statement allowing for remote coaching utilizing electronic, video and teleconferencing methods. According to the release, schools are required to limit instruction for UIL activities to a maximum of eight hours per week per activity, in addition to a maximum of sixty minutes per day Monday through Friday.
According to Rusty Miller, head baseball coach and assistant principal at Banquete high school, being able to utilize these methods is still difficult.
"There’s still not a lot of opportunity because you’re talking about kids having to social distance so they’re not around each other," Miller said. "If a kid goes to a batting cage, who’s hitting with him?"
"If a kid says they are going to FaceTime the coach and say, ’Watch me hit and tell me what you think,’ which is a great idea if you have two or three kids there and one is doing the filming and one is hitting and the other is throwing, then you can talk to them while each hit but you still have three kids there hitting and that’s what they’re (UIL) telling everybody to avoid," Miller said.
Miller adds that there is opportunity for players to do video with their parents involved, for example a father throwing with his athlete while the mother shoots video for a few pitches or a player hitting the ball off the tee and sending a video clip to hitting coach, Johnny DelaPaz.
"We’ve been doing a lot of social media stuff like sending out ReTweets and telling our kids to check Twitter and Facebook," Miller said. "We put drills on there that they can be doing at home."
Still, Miller thinks that there is still some difficulties utilizing video conferencing or sending clips.
"I understand they (UIL) are trying to help us and I think it’s wonderful that the UIL is trying to do something to keep the kids going. It’s just so hard," Miller said. "You’re trying to tell the kids to stay away from each other and then you’re trying to do some video thing. It’s still kind of tough."
Banquete’s coaching staff has been maintaining contact with his players by sending out texts and voice recordings utilizing a reminder app and other apps that are available for coaches. He also said that his players will call him to report their own personal training progress during the mandated suspensions but he’s looking forward for everything to clear so they, like other teams, can get back to work and play some ball.
"I’m anxious to get back out there and hopefully get something going," Miller said. "If nothing else, to give the kids a little bit towards the end so that they have the opportunity to play one more time."