Johnny Frank

Johnny Frank

Faribault strength and conditioning coach Johnny Frank gives out instructions Thursday at Ted Nelson Track in Faribault. Athletes returned to training this week as the coaching waiver period began. (Nick Gerhardt/Daily News)

Coaches and athletes got to reunite this week as the summer coaching waiver period started Monday.

It’s been a long three months for athletes and coaches alike. For athletes, it’s meant getting workouts done on their own and performing exercises sent electronically. For coaches, it’s been a long wait to get back to working with student-athletes.

Things got rolling Monday for Faribault football and volleyball, along with several other sports, but it also meant either not using or constantly any equipment. Both teams are conducting workouts to get athletes back in shape and are enjoying a return to a semblance of normalcy.

“The biggest thing for me is to see the players again and to see how they’re doing,” Falcons football head coach Ned Louis said. “They’re so important.”

Faribault strength and conditioning coach Johnny Frank and other coaches, are holding workouts at Ted Nelson Track on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting at 7:30 a.m. A second session concludes at 9:45 a.m. A total of 56 student-athletes showed up for Wednesday’s session and Thursday’s numbers were about the same.

“That’s the biggest thing, just to be able to see them,” Frank said. “Hear the stories and see their faces, it kind of revives you as a coach.”

Frank is working to build speed and power through a series of drills. Athletes are performing body weight exercises to build strength and work on a number of sprints to build speed. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the group works on starts from a variety of distances to build speed. Thursdays are reserved for competitions where athletes can measure their gains and compare themselves with their peers. Body weight exercises conclude Monday and Wednesday sessions.

Each athlete has access to an online calendar program that has a workout plan they can follow as well.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the waiver period was pushed back two weeks from its usual start of June 1. This year coaches can work with student-athletes through Aug. 7. There is a no-contact period from July 3-5, which has been shortened from its usual week-long no-contact period. The Aug. 7 date means student-athletes will have 10 days before the start of captains’ practice instead of the normal two weeks.

Teams are to limit groups to no more than 25 with a coach and they’re holding out hope that some of the restrictions will loosen as the summer progresses.

That’s especially true for Faribault volleyball head coach JoAnna Lane, who has her team taking part in a four-day-a-week outdoor fitness class at this time.

“Hopefully the guidelines indoors will change a little bit,” Lane said. “We’re holding out hope for a Sunday night league in July.”

For now, Lane is holding 45-minute sessions for around 30 student-athletes. Lane has taken the precaution of taking the temperatures of student-athletes when they arrive to make sure everyone is healthy prior to participating.

“It’s about getting back into shape as much as it is getting together,” Lane said.

She splits the student-athletes into two groups and maintains social distancing. She and the athletes have brought their own dumbbells for weight training. The dumbbells are sanitized between groups.

Athletes are to bring their own water bottles to the activities as well.

“It’s given everyone the chance to get back together,” Lane said. “Maybe there’s a little hope for normalcy.”

Reach Sports Editor Nick Gerhardt at 507-835-5447 or follow him on Twitter @WCNSports. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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