NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The University of The Bahamas’ (UB) athletic teams have returned to practice adhering to strict COVID-19 protocols as national restrictions were recently eased.
The university’s 11 teams have not practiced in earnest since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown orders that followed.
During the lockdowns, teams had virtual practices focusing on conditioning but have only recently been able to practice in person with many restrictions.
Head Track and Field Coach Ednal Rolle said his team, like all teams, had to adjust. He added that the athletic training team has been a big part of the teams returning to practice.
“The athletic training team has put protocols in place to allow the teams to train safely,” he said. “Most of the time, their procedures are more stringent than what is recommended but that means they are making sure our athletes are practicing in a safe environment.”
Rolle added that the protocols may actually help the team’s performance.
“We are training in smaller groups where the athletes get more one-on-one attention, so they benefit from that extra attention.”
The athletics season starts locally with the Odd Distance Meet December 19 and Rolle said the team is in a good position this year.
“We are actually doing the same training that we did last year,” he said. “We didn’t get to complete that season and now they are ahead of where we were last season. I’m expecting some outstanding performances this year.”
Rolle is also looking at qualifying athletes for the Olympic Games and other international meets.
“We have some CARIFTA-level athletes on the team so we are hoping to get them on that team with a chance to medal.”
Mingoes Men’s Soccer Coach Dion Godet ran practices with the team in small groups as well — per the protocols set by the athletic training unit.
“We are practicing with small numbers and it’s a challenge,” he said. “We would usually have the full team four times a week and only group work maybe twice a week.”
He said because of the lockdowns and lack of practices, the team is not at the fitness level he would have preferred the team to be at.
“We’ve made some adjustments because at this point in the year the team would be a lot more fit,” he said at an early morning practice. “We didn’t get to go through our regular summer routine and pre-season camp. We are making the best of a challenging situation.”
Godet added that he feels good about the team’s progress and preparation for the upcoming season.
“We should be in a position to challenge for a top spot this upcoming season,” he said. “We have gotten a number of quality players and I think we will be a strong representation for the university”.
UB Men’s Head Basketball Coach Bacchus Rolle said the team is enthusiastic about being back on the court after such a long furlough from the game.
When sports shut down in March, the Mingoes were in the semifinal round of the New Providence Basketball Association’s post-season.
“We’ve had a long layoff and we’ve tried to do some stuff via Zoom in terms of conditioning and training but we’re just excited to be back on the floor,” he said.
The team practices at the open-air courts at the university and, like the other teams, is sticking with small groups.
“Safety is the number one concern for us,” he said. “Too much caution cannot be displayed at this time given the pandemic.”
The team has been focusing on one-on-one training including dribbling drills and off-balance layup drills along with standard shooting drills.
“Each player has their own ball and each player has a dedicated rim and we work in small groups,” Rolle said. “It’s been a challenge but it’s been exciting. We are happy just to have our hands back on the ball.”