The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Temporary cancellation of sports at ECC forces teams to postpone in person practice and interaction

Eagerly awaiting the return of sports after the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) announced that Community College sports would be postponed, the athletics department at El Camino focuses on off-season strategies this semester, as they adapt to being online while their enrollment and budget stay steady.

The stability in the number of student athletes enrolled is partly due to spring 2020 season not counting for eligibility. This means that students who may have transferred this year are back at ECC to play for another season.

“We haven’t seen a dip in our enrollment for our athletic programs. Some have actually increased their roster sizes pretty drastically,” Colin Preston, director of the athletics department, said.

One of the ways that the athletics department has been able to maintain their enrollment numbers is through recruitment.

“Softball would be an example where they probably have about 15 more student athletes than they have had in the past,” Preston said.

John Britton, head coach of women’s soccer and badminton, had also been lucky enough to recruit some students before COVID-19 came to America.

“We were lucky that the high school season started last November, so it started before the pandemic,” Britton said. “We had already done our recruiting before COVID-19 came around.”

The recruitment process has differed depending on the sport. Gifford Lindheim, head coach of the football team, says it has been an interesting process because they can’t do anything face-to-face.

“All of our recruitment has been through phone or social media,” Lindheim said. “I haven’t met many of our freshman class members.”

Due to the coronavirus, sports can’t meet in-person and practice. This has forced all teams to “flip-flop” semesters so that their off-season is now, with hopes of playing again in the spring, Lindheim said.

According to Lindheim, the team meets virtually for class and he works to “support guys in making sure they get in shape and that they are supported in their academics and are doing well in the classroom.”

Another focus during this off-season is learning the system and techniques that the team uses when they play. This semester, they have relied on film studies because they aren’t able to have conventional practices.

“I think the pandemic has really forced a lot of creativity, we have really discovered different ways and different modes of teaching the material without actually being there to take them through it,” Lindheim said.

Le Valley Pattison, head coach of women’s beach volleyball, says she feels bad for student athletes, but continues to support her players even though she doesn’t get to see them.

“I encourage them [my students] to play at the beach, because everyone is playing at the beach and work out with our strength trainer, and really take this time to do well in classes,” Pattison said.

Just as the on and off seasons flipped for some sports, funding has shifted as well.

For football, the funding that the team typically uses for fall has been pushed into the next semester. This includes the money for equipment, traveling and more, Lindheim said.

Britton added that he had been given the go ahead to spend their funds on uniforms and equipment at the end of spring in hopes that sports would return for the fall season. Now, they will just save the supplies for spring.

The athletics department has been discussing what the return to campus will look like since the coronavirus first hit.

“We have a bunch of contingency plans that we’ve prepared to deal with coming back on campus safely,” Lindheim said. “When we get the go ahead, if we get the go ahead, we will be able to get out there smoothly and safely.”

Even as they anticipate their return to the field, they will still have to practice following special guidelines and will be held to “no contact” guidelines when first starting back, according to Britton.

“We will be just passing, and we will be able to shoot on the goal, but don’t think we will be allowed to work close together,” Britton said.

As a coach, Lindheim has found different avenues to best serve his players, one of which is that the team breaks into different position groups on Zoom so that players get more time with coaches in smaller group settings.

“Before the pandemic I didn’t know what zoom was, so we have all had to adjust and I think we have adapted well and I think we are doing a god job of teaching this group and keeping them engaged,” Lindheim said.

More to Discover