Manchester University
Oak Leaves

October 2, 2020

Separate Football Practices Require Longer Days for Coaches

Emma Buuck

Due to COVID-19, athletic teams are practicing in separate groups and during different times. This has led to considerably longer practice times than usual for coaches. The football team is having three separate practices based on what “pod” they are in. Group 1 goes from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., group 2 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and group 3 from 9:45 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

This results in a 5-and-a-half-hour practice time for the coaches.

Sitting in his large office, full of family photos and Manchester decorations, Coach Nate Jensen prepared for the long practice ahead, knowing it was all worth it to keep his players healthy. “If players stay in their pods, we can contact trace who was exposed to COVID if one of our players tests positive,” he said. 

After a late-night practice Jensen heads home to come back to Manchester in the morning. “Most nights, I’m not getting home until 1 a.m. or even after 1 a.m. and then because I need to be here during the day to support our players, I try to be back here at 8:30-9 a.m.” Jensen tries to be there for his players every step of the way and while he spends a lot of time at Manchester, he still has time to be home with his family. “That is the nice part about Mondays and Fridays, is that I get to refocus and have that time with my family,” he said. Even though COVID has caused stress for Jensen, he said he is used to having stress this time of year due to conference games, but this is just a “different” type of stress.

Even though the athletic department isn’t compensating the coaches for their more-demanding schedule, Jensen doesn’t mind. “You don’t get into coaching for the money,” he said. “You get into coaching because you get the opportunity to mentor and develop young people and you get to coach the game that we all loved when we played it ourselves, so they shouldn’t have to compensate me for that.”

While COVID-19 has affected the athletic department, the coaches are more than willing to go with the flow and pick up those extra hours to help their teams fulfill their goals and come into the season with a positive attitude so they can represent Manchester in their respective sports.