FNF Coaches Talk — Zoom workouts, coaches getting Zoom-boozled, Florida coaches struggle with fundraising ideas

Good afternoon, Coaches. We hope you’re continuing to be productive and proactive. Here are three stories.

1. Virtual workouts, technology connect Michigan-area athletes during pandemic (Michigan Live)

We’ve heard of many coaches who are holding team and position-group meetings over Zoom, and plenty more who are sending workouts through apps. What we haven’t heard a ton of is coaches hosting live workouts on Zoom.

Montrell Dockery and Josh Wall, assistant coaches for the Muskegon High football and basketball teams, respectively, are in Week 3 of conducting Zoom workouts with Big Reds student-athletes.

The 35- to 45-minute sessions feature home-workout activities such as pushups, situps, body squats, split-leg jumps, calf raises sits, running in place and high knees. Dockery said that an average of about 30 student-athletes – a mix of football and basketball players, and some who do both – join the Zoom workouts held at noon Monday-Friday.

The benefits are two-fold: People stay active and somewhat in shape, while they’re also able to keep in touch with those close to them.

“Sometimes, you know how they say you don’t realize something until it’s gone, and we didn’t realize how much value our kids, our players, are to us,” said Dockery, who also is the Muskegon Middle School athletic director. “We miss them tremendously and obviously none of (the workouts are) mandatory, but it’s just the opportunity for us to get together and see our guys.”

Mona Shores football coach Matt Koziak said that the Sailors are utilizing technology as well to keep in touch with each other during the pandemic, as well as a means of disseminating info among coaches and players.

From group text messages to FaceTime discussions to email, the Sailors are trying to keep things moving forward and they have the same objectives as the Big Reds during this shutdown period. Koziak said that all sports teams are in the same boat.

“You just try as best as you can to communicate and stay in touch with them, but there’s so much time away from them where it’s tough,” Koziak said. “I’m really struggling with that aspect of it. Not that the kids aren’t working out or that they’re not doing their workouts, but the day-to-day interaction with them.
“Those relationship pieces, (that’s) why you should get into coaching. Not for how many trophies you’re going to win – it’s that relationship piece and that’s the part I’m struggling with bad. I mean, it’s miserable for me – it’s absolutely miserable.”


What technology are you using to make sure your players are working out?

2. California high school football team ‘Zoombombed’ during online practice (Los Angeles Times)

One question we have as the season draws closer and more teams are continuing to meet via video conferencing apps is whether internet security will become a bigger issue during the fall season.

Sure enough, we found a case of internet security being breached.

The first day of spring football practice at Claremont High School (Calif.) — held via the Zoom video-conferencing platform — was interrupted Tuesday when an unknown user bombarded the group with inappropriate images.

Varsity coach Shane Hile posted about the incident on social media to warn other coaches about the pitfalls of using Zoom, which has skyrocketed in popularity as millions turn to online conferencing in an attempt to stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic.

As more school districts and colleges turn to Zoom classrooms as a substitute for in-person classes and sports practices, internet trolls have seized a new space to disrupt and spread offensive material. So-called Zoombombing has upended online learning, public meetings and social happy hours with hateful images and other vulgar content displayed through screen sharing.


What has been the biggest challenge to video conferencing with players?

3. Florida high school football coaches concerned over funds for fall (YourSun.com)

As the outbreak of the coronavirus continues to cause many businesses to reduce costs and spend frugally, the impact is being felt even in the world of high school football.

The spring and summer seasons are when local football teams do most of their fundraising for the year — maximizing the time when they don’t have to focus on games.

For many programs, the money raised during this time goes to pay for essential aspects of running a team that the county can’t fund such as transportation, pre- and post-game meals, proper uniforms and equipment and much more. It can add up to at least $40,000 a year, some coaches estimate.

With most local businesses struggling, few have the extra cash to sponsor teams. It appears that programs will have to find new ways to balance their budgets in the upcoming school year.

“Our community is fantastic,” Lemon Bay football coach Don Southwell said. “Our local business owners, everyone here in this community supports our school and our football program. They’re taking a hit right now and the last thing we want to do is go around and ask them for sponsorships for golf tournaments or sponsor some pre-game meals.
“The last thing we want to do is ask for that when places are hurting right now.”

The Lemon Bay Touchdown Club — the team’s group of boosters — has already canceled its annual spring golf tournament and may have to postpone or cancel other fundraisers such as its annual fishing tournament and sales of its discount card to local businesses.

Some teams, such as the Port Charlotte Pirates, rely almost exclusively on community support as its booster club is primarily made up of a small group of players’ parents.

The team has already canceled its annual fishing tournament — one of its biggest events of the year — and head coach Jordan Ingman estimated that the team will miss out on a minimum of $10,000 during the spring and early summer alone.

“I’m very, very concerned,” Ingman said of his team’s finances. “The spring is our biggest time for fundraising because our kids are so busy in the fall, you don’t want to overwhelm them.
“We’ve looked at our budget and we’ve cut some things out we normally do. We have a couple more ideas right before football season that we’re gonna do that we haven’t done in the past to try to generate some funds to limit how this affects the kids.”


What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk