With the spread of COVID-19 closing down team facilities across the country, remaining physically sharp has stayed a priority for many athletes. In addition, coaching staffs have tried to keep their teams emotionally connected during this remote offseason. Entering his 31st season at the helm for the North Carolina volleyball team, head coach Joe Sagula has enough experience to understand the importance of both of these aspects.
“Everybody has become an expert with using Zoom,” Sagula said.
In place of practicing on the court with one another, one way the team is hoping to improve is through optional weekly positional meetings on Zoom to break down film from last season. The assistant coaches have even incorporated footage from USA Volleyball to help players improve their technique. In addition to this group setting, Sagula and the coaching staff have created ways to give individual feedback to the players.
“Every day, one coach would call three people from the team as part of an individual check-in to see how they are doing. We broke up the team so every player would have a one-on-one conversation with a coach,” Sagula said.
To ensure the Tar Heels are physically prepared for a return to competition, the team has been in contact with the medical staff regarding physical programming that will help players progress. The strength coach and athletic trainers have even started to send optional workouts to the players in lieu of in-person practice.