Athletic Workshops Provide Virtual Training for Student-Athletes

By Isabella Giallanza, Photo Editor

In mid-March, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the spring sports season one week after it started, leaving many student-athletes disappointed and frustrated. With underclassmen missing out on opportunities to grow their skills, junior athletes missing a vital season for college recruitment and senior athletes missing their final season, the athletic staff worked hard to accommodate student-athletes and ensure they remained healthy despite limited accessibility to gyms and exercise equipment. Athletic Director Alison Le Vine Pugsley, Athletic Trainer Sam Fanok, in collaboration with CBA Athletic Director Vito Chiaravalloti, implemented athletic workshops in late March to promote the mental and physical wellbeing of Trinity Hall and CBA student-athletes.

Student Athlete Workshop Number 9

Trinity Hall alum Caroline Gmelich ’17 shared her experiences with overcoming adversity to reach her goals as a swimmer at the University of Virginia. (Image courtesy of Trinity Hall)

Pugsley and the school’s coaches have used the workshops, which were held every Monday and Thursday throughout the spring trimester, to further the students’ athletic education virtually by introducing mental and physical exercises that students could perform in order to prepare for the future seasons. Pugsley organized sessions focusing on mental conditioning and taught girls how their mindset affects their athletic performance. Key focus points for the workshops were preparation, motivation, focus and thought management, adversity and pressure. In addition, senior student-athletes representing a variety of sports teams attested to the highlights of their athletic careers and the positivity in their experiences, motivating young students to continue to cultivate their athletic skills. Student-athletes also benefited from welcoming alumna Caroline Gmelich ’17 to share obstacles she has overcome in her career at the University of Virginia and how her mindset ultimately led her to success.

Trinity Hall student-athletes remained committed to their continued positive development,” Pugsley said. “Both the attendance and engagement in the workshops demonstrated the high level of motivation our student-athletes possess regardless of adversity. I am confident they will take the strategies and skills learned in the workshops and apply them to their pursuit of excellence in sports, academics and life.”

Joint athletic workshops with Trinity Hall and CBA students have fostered conversation between both schools in dealing with pressure and training with a positive mindset. Guest speakers from Rutgers and Empowered Learning Transformation Centers have joined the Zoom meetings to educate students on the importance of mindfulness and vision training to help improve sport performance. 

“I really enjoyed the joint sessions with CBA and Trinity Hall,” junior Madison Kelly said. “Everything they taught us was really important to me, especially as a softball player. I really appreciate the school’s effort to continue athletics, even if it is on a virtual platform.”

Although it was disheartening for athletes and coaches to be unable to participate in their sports, team huddle meetings on Fridays served as outlets for students to bond as a team and check in on each other. “I was very disappointed there were no sports this spring season, especially for the juniors and seniors,” head track coach Tony Avallone said. “With that said, I thought the virtual team meetings were very helpful. Our captains did a good job, and it was good for me to see many online faces at least once a week.”

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