The Phases of Winter Sports


Courtesy of Olivia Dillon ’21

As a school that stresses its academics along with athletics, the recent pandemic has led to a tough balancing between sports and health. First, there is the obvious concern regarding the spread of Covid-19 in sports with significant contact. Second, there is the concern of the athletic condition of students, where students need to be gradually acclimated to more rigorous activity after a few months of inactivity. To address these concerns, the Athletic Department and the Covid-19 Task Force have collaborated to present a four-phase plan that introduced a practical and safe solution to the current Covid-19 situation. 

This plan increases in contact and intensity as time progresses and applies to Hockey, Basketball, and Squash. The first phase stresses social distancing and very little contact. The conditioning remains light, allowing athletes to slowly break into more rigorous physical activity. The second phase allows for ball or puck movement between athletes. However, contact is still limited and the conditioning of athletes remains limited. Once the third phase is entered, slight contact and group drills are allowed, such as a 3v3 in Basketball, partner matches in Squash, or face-offs, 1v1s, and 3v3s in Hockey. The fourth phase has the least regulation on contact and the conditioning of athletes. Most importantly, throughout all four phases, everyone must still be masked and maintain the basic precautions to prevent spread.

Each sport slightly varies in the restrictions regarding the phases, and each phase follows the general trend of increasing in intensity and rigor of the conditioning and the contact between athletes. The athletic trainers work in conjunction with the Covid-19 task force to approve the transition between phases and to ensure that each student is safely pursuing their athletic interests.
Strength and Conditioning coaches have also been actively involved. Typically, there would be specialized workouts for each individual varsity sport — due to Covid-19, however, that is not as plausible. Instead, SNC has been working to create more spaces of time after classes or in-between flex blocks in which athletes can come individually, whether it be open lifts or movements over Zoom with Coach OJ. 

While some may think of these precautions as stringent or unnecessary, they achieve two goals: they reestablish the bubble, limiting the spread of Covid-19, and allow students to acclimate to the rigorous conditioning typical for any sport. These phases are built to accommodate the results for testing and to allow for students to proceed with their athletic pursuits in a safe environment. Mr. Low puts it best: “It’s not perfect, but we provide a safe, healthy environment for students to pursue activities with their best interest at heart.