Having the combination of mental and physical strength are two key attributes to a great track and field athlete.
This year, athletes can gain an extra leg up utilizing technological strength.
With their season currently on pause, Stoughton boys track and field coach Trevor Kramolis and girls coach Nate Nelson are trying to help their athletes using a variety of technological tools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stoughton started practice March 9 and got in one week of workouts before schools closed statewide. Kramolis and Nelson, both teachers at SHS, quickly made the adjustment to virtual learning for their students and athletes.
“We broke up the workouts by event groups and had event coaches in charge of those workouts,” said Kramolis, who works primarily with the sprinters and hurdlers. “Technically all of the workouts are voluntary on the athlete’s part. We have suggested workouts available to them and make videos for technical drills.”
Individualized workouts are in a Google Folder accessible to all Stoughton track and field athletes. The folder is further broken down to workouts for strength training, throwers, sprints and hurdles, pole vault, jumps, high jump, distance and middle distance.
Athletes also have access to a file classifying which group they are in and a warm-up sheet.
“I’m very glad we have the technology so we can stay in contact with the student-athletes,” said Nelson, who works primarily with distance runners. “Even if we’re not competing, I’m glad the workouts provide them with an opportunity to break the monotony of class work and being inside.”
Per WIAA guidelines, coaches are not allowed to be present for any workouts or to open any training facilities to athletes. Student-athletes can however reach out and ask for coaching, as well as post workouts to social media.
Kramolis has conducted virtual meetings with team captains and has been pleased to see other Stoughton coaches adapting to being more interactive online.
Nelson tracks his distance runners’ progress using an app called Strava. Athletes can use the app on a fitness watch and take notes of their workouts like pace for a specific event. Strava also allows athletes to see each other’s progress and keep each other accountable.
“It’s going to be easier for distance runners because they work out on their own between seasons,” Nelson said. “They’re used to free workouts without weights and they’re easier to evaluate. I’m really hoping for a shortened season. As long as there’s hope, we’re going to act like there’s going to be a season.”
Both the Stoughton boys and girls teams will each have 10 meets canceled or postponed by the time Gov. Tony Evers’ current “Safer at Home” order expires on April 24.
Nelson said both teams will need at least two weeks of practice before competing in a meet. If the Vikings resume normal team activities April 27, it would give the team less than a month to compete in hopes of qualifying for the Division 1 state meet.
“If we do start up in May, the issues will be how many meets we compete in versus practices and injury prevention,” Kramolis said. “We have to think about the results and want our athletes to peak for the state meet. When they’ve been doing low to moderate activity, it’s a lot to ask the body to put 100% effort into meets.
“On the boys end, we have a lot of good athletes where they can showcase their raw abilities. We have certain athletes that can get back into routine faster than most.”