Absent official sporting events this fall, Presbyterian College coaches are addressing the issue of what they are doing since they can’t play.
Coaches are a busy sort. They aspire to improve their teams as much as the law – most often being the National Collegiate Athletic Association – will allow.
They are often prone to yell, “We gotta get better!”
Latest in the series of discussions are those of men’s soccer coach Jonathan Potter and volleyball’s Korrinn Burgess.
Once it gets a chance, the PC soccer team hopes to improve on a 6-13-1 record in 2019. As recently as 2017, the Blue Hose won the Big South Conference tournament and earned a berth in the NCAA playoffs.
Of the stoppage caused by the COVID-19 transdemic, Potter said, “We've tried to view it as an opportunity for our team to take a big step forward in terms of creating and meeting high expectations
"We are blessed with an opportunity to develop over the next four to five months and to come together as a team both on and off the field. Normally we don't get this chance. Usually, we are here for two weeks, putting on jerseys and getting ready to play games.”
Potter is not the first coach to equate a problem with an opportunity.
“We certainly had to adapt and really be creative with our planning, in what we do in training as well as the message to the team," he said. "However, I think the only choice is to view this as an opportunity, even if that means doing non-contact training because it's still a chance to get better, whether it's technical repetition or even finishing drills.
"Typically, you don't get to spend a month working in those specific areas because you're worried about the next opponent or recovering from the last game, where now you can focus each day to get better in those areas.”
It’s a shame the Blue Hose aren’t playing volleyball. Burgess has a team that seems ready to go.
“Ultimately, the athleticism of the group is what stands out the most," she said. "Our strength coaches and coaches from other teams who have watched some of our practice have mentioned to me how athletic this group is, and they really are.
“Also, even though we had a long break, the preparedness they had coming in at the start of practice was impressive. We added five freshmen and a transfer this year, and they all seem to fit it in and everybody we've added is ready to step in and compete right away.”
Not so fast. PC was 15-15 overall, 8-6 in the Big South, and they’re would-be contenders waiting for a chance to prove it.
"I feel like they're handling it really well," Burgess said. "I know wearing masks can be frustrating at times, but it's one of those things that we can't dwell on because we have to do things a certain way now. It's a way of life, so we're just trying to focus on volleyball now that we're back to being able to play.”
Burgess and her team realize the seriousness of the situation.
"My captains and seniors are a really solid extension of me, so I lean on them to relay information, for their opinion, and I trust what they have to tell me," she said. "When we have to put different protocols in place when it comes to COVID and everything else, I rely on them for help with that.
As disappointed as they are that we're not playing this fall, they've still been really, really good leaders, knowing that we can be really successful after the success we had last year and the goals we've set.
“Whether we play in the spring, or have to wait all the way until next fall, they're on board to do what needs to be done and to lead the team the way it needs to be led in order for us to be successful. We've worked our way into the top third of the conference and believe on any given night we can beat anybody, and that means we can win a conference championship and everybody really believes in that. We have lofty goals, but they're attainable goals and they know with the hard work we've put in, whenever we step on the court we have a chance against anybody, and that's a powerful thing.”