Music plays in the background as Rika Yahashiri ‘21 exercises. Like at any regular practice, her coach watches her form and she can hear her teammates talking. However, they are not in the room with her, but at their own houses. Due to the spread of COVID-19, Iowa Flyers’ practices are being held over Zoom.
“I feel like it definitely helps with staying together as a team and getting up and staying moving while you’re in your house,” Yahashiri said. “Usually [the Zoom meetings] are high intensity and they are pretty hard. [Having] everyone there, it’s like everyone is doing it with you so you have that as a motivation.
While she is not able to swim, Yahashiri participates in three 30-minute dryland practices from IFLY each week, as well as running and YouTube workouts.
“Being alone, you have to find another motivator to get you to work out,” Yahashiri said. “When I go back, I don’t want to be so out of shape that I can’t keep up with everyone. I use that motivation to stay kind of in shape by running and keeping my muscles moving.”
Keeping players motivated to stay fit and continuing training during the pandemic, is also an issue that the Iowa Soccer Club is facing. ISC has been pre-recording skill sessions for specific age groups and using google sheets for players to track progress. Through social media, primarily Instagram and Twitter, coaches have been trying to keep soccer on the brain for players looking to improve their skills.
“It’s hard to stay motivated because you have to do [it] all by yourself. It’s obviously harder when you just have yourself and not a big field,” Stella Foster ‘21, an ISC athlete, said. “I [personally] like to make a workout plan every Sunday to know what I’m going to do each day.”
Coaches have incorporated a variety of soccer-related skills, yoga, and stretching exercises into independent training. They have also been working with the staff at Midwest Physical Therapy in Coralville to film different core strength exercises for athletes. However, nothing is required for club members.
“We’re just trying to make it optional because we really don’t know when the return to play is going to be,” Jon Cook, the ISC Director of Coaching, said.
While ISC has not been utilizing Zoom for athlete training, they hope to do so in the future.
“I think Zoom is effective for meetings and interacting with staff. Small group training with kids is just something we haven’t explored, partly because on our end we’ve been responding to so much on the business end of the club,” Cook said.
Since members are not able to get the same benefits as they normally would, such as in-person practices, ISC has refunded all fees for April and May.
“In my opinion, we’re really not providing enough services. This online stuff is okay, but it’s not really what we do,” Cook said. “We felt as an organization that we needed to refund.”
Finance wise, ISC has applied for the Paycheck Protection Program and was approved, enabling coaches to continue receiving pay as long as the club remains closed. However, club leaders are unsure of their future financial situation if the pandemic drags out.
“It’s a financial challenge we just have to work our way through,” Cook said. “If things aren’t back to normal pretty soon, like this summer, that’ll be that will be a big challenge coming up.”