Changes to LFA sports protocols: Volleyball


Photo by Kirstin Palasz

New outdoor courts set up on LFA quad in the center of campus.

Kirstin Palasz, Photo Editor

As Lake Forest Academy continues to navigate in-person schooling amidst a global pandemic, sports are continuously changing. The athletic department is currently in the process of working out the best methods to cope with an ever evolving safety protocol, making every effort to keep students safe. As we continue to adapt to these changes, the volleyball team has had a significant shift in the way practices must run. 

Changes have been made across all teams in order to protect students in the best way possible. The girls tennis program requires that each athlete has their own set of tennis balls, which are the only ones they are allowed to touch. However, volleyball has been heavily impacted more than others. The volleyball team, which is currently a PE due to that the main season being moved to spring, now has to practice outside on the quad. The team also has to wear face masks at all times, inside and out. For everyone on the team, this has been a huge adjustment, as volleyball is a completely different sport outside. 

The changes started occurring after there was a positive case on the team. This made Becky Arrowood, assistant Athletic Director and coach of the volleyball team, have to rethink the whole way the sport had to work. She said, “The main idea was what extra precautions can we do,” said Arrowood.  Arrowood and Pam Dye, Athletics Office Manager, had to talk to many people to figure out what the next step was. Discussions with the head nurse, Anna Kliner, and the use of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) guidelines were involved in making it as safe as possible. 

After a week of deliberating, a new system for the volleyball team was created. The team must now practice outside, with fewer people in the gym. Arrowood talked about extra precautions that included “in the gym [players] are masked, not with gators (a type of mask that goes around the neck) ,” and to make sure players are always “ six feet away,” at all times. It was decided that the outdoor courts would be used because the concern was that “Inside will be miserable,”  Arrowood states.  “We have to be outside. They can get fresh air as well as move around. They also can be in the gators,” Arrowood. She stated that this would allow the best safety and comfort for players. 

Players are required to follow many new restrictions, which can be hard to manage. One player participating in the PE noted that, “Playing outside does not even come close to playing inside because of the wind, the bees, the nets not being the right height, and the courts not being the right size.” Players feel that it is a completely different experience outside and would much rather be inside. However, they understand it is the best way to stay safe. The same athlete mentions that, “It’s understandable, but it’s kind of tough because you’re playing a sport and you’re breathing the same air which makes you feel a little weird and really uncomfortable because it becomes hard to breathe.”

Even with the discomfort from the players, Arrowood has been incredibly impressed with the athletes’ ability to stay within these standards. “The athletes are happy that they can have sports,” Arrowood mentioned. Dye also mentioned how, “at the beginning there were some reminders, but now everyone is used to it.” 

With all the changes occurring, the volleyball team has done an incredible job at trying to keep everyone safe for the greater goal of continuing the sport.  With the new practice, it is hoped that the team will have no other problems regarding the pandemic and continue to practice.