CARTERVILLE (WSIL) --
We continue to make our rounds to different high schools in the area. We swung by Carterville High School today. The Lions football team was on the field and they were one of the first to start conditioning workouts. They've been going at it for about a week.
“The biggest right thing right now is getting everybody back together, we're not trying win games right now,” Carterville Football Coach and Athletic Director Brett Diel said. “We're just trying to re-establish some these relationships and enjoy each others company and put in a little work while we are doing it.”
This continues to be a process for everyone.
“We've got to be careful in some of the things we are doing. We had the assumption kids weren't doing anything and we know a lot of our kids were during the break, we wanted to start slow, build some stability in our program and ease into this for the next, last week, this week, and probably one more week after that, we'll take things slow, kind of total body workouts and once July comes around we'll start to put on some weights and get a ball out here if the state allows us and make some progress toward the season.”
With the current return to play guidelines, Coach like many coaches, has had to learn to adapt.
“I think one of the things everybody has to be is very flexible. We've got to establish lines of communication during the break. Have to make sure we can reach all of these kids. Checked in on them during that whole time and that calendar we originally had for the summer has essentially been torn up. We are going to meet up as a coaching staff tomorrow night and try to put together a game plan for July, right, it's three days a week, let's get everybody moving again, back around one another and we'll go from there.”
Coach Diel says he's had an opportunity to learn more about who he is as a coach.
“Another weakness I've always had is I tend to try to do things on my own. I tend to micromanage a little bit but you just can't. This is so much bigger than any of us, that I think I've done a little better job reaching out to other athletic directors, other coaches, being a little more patient in the process. Getting other ideas and not really being afraid to say you don't have the answer and that's not something I've done very well over my career so I'm more aware of that and I think just relying on other people not just in the area, out of the area, northern part of the state, other states. I feel like I've really improved as a coach and athletic director during this time away.”
Like many teams the Lions have had to take a new approach during this process.
“There's no question patience, I'm not out here screaming at kids yo another set, we're not doing that right now. It's all about trusting there's going to be a process, trusting that we're going to spend a couple of weeks establishing some of that baseline work and then we'll gradually build up. We've got to be patient. You're not going to do anything to help yourself win a game on the field right now other than just getting our kids back together and being around one another, that's what it's all about right now.”
Being away from his student athletes is giving Coach Diel a new found appreciation.
“I know it's something I know as a coach I need to improve on anyway. I think we get so tied up in the x's and o's and just the competition on Friday night that sometimes we lose sight of the most important part of it all and it's making these kids better people and we can't do that when we are only playing football or basketball or whatever it might be. We've got to spend time having conversations. One of the nice things about small groups, we're in groups of nine and they rotate through, is there's more conversations being had right now between a coach and a player than I can ever remember and that's awesome. That's the foundation, I think we will all come out of this better because we are spending more time on those relationships as opposed to a play so yeah I think that people had so much taken away like a spring season and school so abruptly that I think people are so much more appreciative of every opportunity we have right now and we don't want to take any day for granted . We talk about that on day one. We're back so let's just appreciate what we're able to do and you're not going to hear a complaint from us ever. This is awesome and if this is all they let us do until August tenth, I'll be fine with that.”