Fullerton College’s sports teams anticipate a return to campus at the end of March in preparation for a condensed spring season.
Among the sports returning to campus for the competition are the men’s and women’s tennis teams, coached by Yolanda Duron.
Duron has been the tennis coach for men and women at Fullerton College since 2016.
Although the return of sports is exciting, Duron is also hesitant due to the possibility of contracting COVID-19.
“I’m all for [sports returning], but I’m also cautious because I don’t want anyone to contract COVID-19 because someone wasn’t being careful…we’ll have strict protocols this year, such as the players will have to drive themselves to matches,” Duron said.
The pandemic lockdown forced athletes to get creative about working out and maintaining physical fitness, and Duron experienced that firsthand.
The team utilized technology to keep conditioning and practicing for the season.
“We used the Nike training app to do workouts that don’t require a lot of equipment back when we were in person,” Duron said.
Tennis players were able to have an offseason conditioning class last fall, but since the stay-at-home order was imposed back in November, all activities have been forced back online.
“Now, we meet on Zoom and do a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout that focuses on tennis movements and uses minimal equipment like a chair. It’s difficult but we’re sticking through it,” Duron added.
Sports have become especially important in the lives of student-athletes without much other social interaction.
“[Sports] can be an escape from reality and also a great way to bring people together who are from different walks of life,” Duron said.
Coach Duron also acknowledged that when competitions start again, many players will need some time to get back into the flow of the game to be able to keep up with the shortened yet demanding season.
“They’re as ready as they can be for practicing on their own, but it’s much different when competing at full speed against someone else,” Duron said.
As in any sport, there is always a concern for injuries, but the team’s priority is maintaining the wellbeing of its players.
“We have to make sure everyone is taking care of themselves. If we will need to have a rest day, then we’ll have one,” Duron added.
This season, the team’s goals are to have fun playing tennis and take advantage of the privilege they have been given in being able to compete.
“There’s a lot of people that have had something taken away from them and I just want [the athletes] to honor this privilege that we’re able to play,” Duron said.
Along with the other spring teams, competition for the tennis team is allowed to begin on Apr. 10.
“I want [our team] to represent ourselves, the parents, the college well, “Duron added. “That’s all I really care about.”