Picayune’s athletes finding ways to stay active

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 26, 2020

With the suspension of all sports by the Mississippi High School Activities Association until April 17 due to the outbreak of COVID-19, athletes on local teams are wondering if they’ll get to finish out their seasons.

Organized practices aren’t allowed and even contact with coaches has been minimized, leaving athletes on their own when it comes to staying in shape.

Conditioning that would normally occur during practices or competitions is no longer a possibility, so the players from several programs are doing their best to keep the rust off.

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While there are some drills and exercises that can be replicated at home, athletes are struggling to find ways to mimic the intensity of in-season workouts.

Kylie Burnette is a sophomore pitcher for the Lady Maroon Tide softball team.

Burnette said that while she can’t be on the mound, she’s finding other ways to keep her arm conditioned.

That includes pitching to her dad once a week in a Slidell facility, while also using a series of workouts given to her by her travel ball coach.

Batting practice has become nearly impossible without the proper facilities, but Burnette said she’s confident her teammates are putting in the right amount of work to stay prepared for when or if the season starts up again this year.

“I definitely think they’re going to try and stay in shape. Softball means a lot to everyone on this team,” Burnette said.

Anna Comeaux is an 8th grader on the Picayune tennis team who competes in singles matches.

Conditioning is an important aspect of tennis, but when it comes to racket skills Comeaux said the suspension has really hindered her ability to practice.

“It’s been kind of hard because they’ve closed the (tennis) courts in Picayune. I mean I’ve been getting some physical activity here and there, but it’s kind of hard because no one on the rest of the team can play,” Comeaux said.

Closure of local courts and the necessity of social distancing has made getting together to compete with teammates impossible. Comeaux said because of all the restrictions she wouldn’t be surprised if the athletes aren’t as sharp when they return as they were prior to the suspension.

Austin Samples is a junior shortstop for the Maroon Tide baseball team and said certain aspects of the game are much harder to work on at home.

Things like working out and trying to fix minute aspects of a swing are doable at home.

However, the unpredictability of fielding ground balls and the glove work he’d get in practice with the team can’t be replicated outside of practice.

“Getting ground balls was never the same, you never knew where the ball was going to hit. Now at home (I guess) you can have someone hit a ground ball to you, but it’s never going to be the same (as in practice),” Samples said.

There’s still a possibility the season won’t be completely canceled, so Samples and his teammates are doing their best to stay prepared.

Samples said once the players are back on the field things will start clicking. “I think we’ll all be alright when we get to playing again. It’s the game we love and it’ll be just like the first game we ever played when we get back out there,” Samples said.