In March, HBU Athletics adjusted to a new normal and the decision from the Southland Conference to cancel remaining spring sports competitions. With student-athletes off campus, HBU athletic training and performance staffs have worked to create new ways for Huskies to stay in shape and remain game-ready.
Charlie Rhea, HBU director of Olympic Athletic Performance, said student-athletes are taught to take ownership of their goals, and this time has reinforced the need to do that. “I like to educate and empower them,” he said. “Student-athletes are being pushed to develop good self-discipline, responsibility, self-accountability and diligence.”
Rhea calls athletes to check in and encourage them. For at-home training, Rhea has sent workout programs on YouTube involving total-body conditioning, jumping, sprinting, cardiovascular workouts and endurance exercises. The training sessions will be useful beyond this season, he said.
“This has provided me a unique opportunity to create content via YouTube for my athletes for when they go home on breaks (fall, spring, and summer). It also has created great opportunities for Gospel-centered conversations, getting to learn to be creative in how we train using body weight only, and lots of good growth opportunities,” Rhea said.
The virtual coaching has been effective, Richie Valdes, HBU assistant athletic director for Sports Medicine and Performance, said. “From a sports medicine standpoint, we have sent all of our injured student-athletes that are going through long-term rehabilitation customized video rehab plans for them from an online resource called Prehab Guys,” he said. “We also do FaceTime rehab sessions one-on-one with them once a week, or every other week, with one of our athletic trainers and/or one of sports physical therapists who works with us through Memorial Hermann’s Ironman Sports Medicine Institute. Any local kids, we have tried to set up clinic visits for them to see the PTs in clinic as well.”
While the spring cancellations were an understandable disappointment for many, Rhea has emphasized mental strength.
“It is often more about how you respond than what is actually happening,” he said. “Life is hard and can be tough. But God is good and He is faithful. I have tried to encourage our athletes to work hard through this time and focus on God, the process, on daily growth, and most of all, on responding to life instead of reacting.”