While the Coronavirus pandemic has most school districts statewide closed at least through Friday, April 24, the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association “keeps pushing things back, but they haven’t cancelled anything,” said Ryan Radcliffe, boys soccer head coach of defending Class AAA state champ Bearden. “Spring Fling is still on.”
So, players must attempt to stay in shape and continue to sharpen their shooting and passing skills and coaches must cope with having no organized practice time.
“I’ve sent our guys a plan and things that they need to be doing to stay in shape,” Farragut head coach Ray Dover said. “I can’t make them practice soccer together.
“We have 15 seniors, and they’re chomping at the bit to get to play and hopefully they will get that chance to play together.
With the high school baseball season put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, area coaches are finding ways to cope with uncertainty while their teams can’t play, practice or even partake in team meetings.
While most school systems in Tennessee, including Knox, won’t return to school at least through April 24, the remainder of the 2020 campaign is in jeopardy. But the TSSAA hasn’t scrapped the season or Spring Fling.
So players must attempt to remain in playing shape.
But for Farragut Admirals skipper Matt Buckner, defending Class AAA state champ head coach, Hardin Valley Academy head coach Tyler Roach and Bearden’s John Rice, life is about more than just baseball. “It is what it is, and we’re all in the same boat,” Buckner said.
“I haven’t seen our players since the last time we practiced or played,” he added. “I’m sure that they’re all doing stuff. I just want everybody to be safe. For me, it’s about taking care of the people in my circle.”
For decades, Tommy Pharr’s springs have been spent coaching baseball, sharing his knowledge of the game with high school student-athletes while guiding Farragut and Christian Academy of Knoxville to a combined nine state titles the past 17 seasons.
But the Coronavirus pandemic has taken away “the biggest and best thing about baseball and sports in general, the chance to spend time with your players,” Pharr said.
COVID-19 has closed Knox County and all Tennessee schools at least through Friday, April 24. No school and suspended activities means no organized practices or team meetings.
But Pharr, Knoxville Catholic head coach Caleb Moore and Webb School of Knoxville’s Jordan Wormsley are holding out hope they and their players will get the chance to return to the diamond in 2020.
The biggest challenge for the players is to remain in shape with no contact allowed with coaches.
“That’s the biggest thing for me right now,” Pharr said. “They need to throw and keep their arms in shape and keep their bodies in shape. They also need to hit a little bit if they can.”