With the return of club sports, club teams are now preparing for a season many of them didn’t expect to play.
For Purdue Club Basketball, this means learning how to socially distance in a sport that normally requires its players to battle in close proximity to one another. This has required the team to augment its training regimen to include a variety of safety measures that will ensure as little physical contact as possible during practices.
Those measures include requirements like temperature checks at the front door prior to admission to the facility, designated seating areas for water breaks and a mask mandate. In addition, the practices — which are expected to get underway in late October — will only include drills that allow the players to socially distance. This means no 5-on-5 drills or scrimmaging will be possible.
Purdue Basketball Club President Cory Knipp, a senior in the Krannert School of Management, had been preparing for the possibility of club sports returning since the original shutdown last spring. Listening to public health experts and respecting the guidelines set forth by Córdova Recreational Sports Center officials was imperative to staying prepared for a return, he said.
“We didn’t know what the future would hold, so we prepared for either scenario, whether we’re allowed to practice or not,” Knipp said.
Although the team is preparing to begin practice in a few weeks, whether they will play in games this semester is still unknown. The coronavirus’s unpredictable impact on future plans will remain a huge concern, Knipp believes.
“We’re really just going to focus on individual skills,” Knipp said. “That’s really all we can do.”
The National Club Basketball Association, the club’s league, is preparing for a spring season, so Knipp and his teammates have at least a few months to get ready. But not every club sport at Purdue has had that luxury.
Purdue Crew, for instance, rows mostly during the spring, but also has distance events during fall semester that have since been canceled. Crew also practices year-round, but the pandemic has forced them to do only individual workouts that adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Crew member Sidney Bugaieski, a junior in the College of Engineering, appreciates that the team has been able to practice in any capacity, considering so many other club sports haven’t.
“I’m just grateful that we’re still able to work out together,” Bugaieski said, “and I can still see my teammates and work toward a common goal.”