By Kevin Price
For GCS Athletics
The Glynn Academy and Brunswick High baseball teams are back at work.
Well, sort of.
The Pirates and Red Terrors aren’t playing baseball, but they are working on their strength and conditioning on their respective campuses.
Both programs opted to take advantage of the Georgia High School Association allowing the athletic programs at its member schools to return for conditioning workouts on June 8.
Neither program can hold actual practices or summer games as no team is allowed to use sport-specific equipment or compete against other schools in any way at present time per state rules.
That could possibly change next month, however. And, both Glynn and Brunswick would relish the opportunity to return to the diamond before the end of the summer. Both teams came off their fields in mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic suspended their seasons and haven’t held a practice or played a game since then.
GCS Athletics caught up with GA head coach Trent Mongero and new BHS head coach Greg Roberts earlier this week to see what their programs are doing during this conditioning period.
Here is the breakdown:
If this were a normal summer, you would find the Terrors at Adam Wainwright Field most days during June.
They would practice a couple of times a week in addition to going through limited weight training, would participate in two camps and would play several games while participating in as many as six showcase tournaments that would have them facing off against strong competition.
Instead, the Terrors are currently restricted to working out in their usual spot which is the Old Wood Gym on the GA campus.
They are working out three days a week in three different groups as Covid-19 rules only allow as many as 20 people including coaches in a single workout session. The coaches and players go through a required screening process prior to each workout which includes temperature checks. The coaches sanitize the facility and equipment between groups each day, too.
“We’re implementing our strength program for rising ninth-graders and refreshing our returning classes and starting to build back gradually,” Mongero said. “It’s strength training, agilities and speed work.”
Each group works out for about an hour and a half each day. Their training regime includes a stretching period before they hit the weights for core and auxiliary lifts.
“We also do different types of training for athletic development, likes ladders, sprints, those things,” Mongero noted.
“We’re really taking our time with the review with our older players and the implementation with the new guys. We have to err on the side of caution and technique is huge. If we do this all summer, the kids will be ahead of the game when they go into their strength classes at school in August.”
Mongero is hopeful that the GHSA will allow teams to practice and perhaps play games in July following the dead week which is set for June 28 through July 4. The dead week is a built-in summer break when the GHSA doesn’t allow any of its member schools to participate in any activities.
If they can, the Terrors would practice five days a week and would try to enter perhaps two tournaments to get in some games before the end of the month.
In a normal summer, Glynn would get all its planned work done in June and break for the rest of the summer before school begins in August and coaches are allowed to work with players in small groups throughout the fall.
“A good portion of our players are already playing with various travel ball organizations,” Mongero said. “The high schools, we’re handcuffed right now, sort of speak.
“From an injury standpoint, you just hope they aren’t doing too much too fast. But playing is better than sitting around and playing video games all day. They’ve been doing that for three months.”
If they are allowed to practice, Mongero said Glynn’s practices would be much like their practices during the season.
“Practice is a big part of building players and building programs. We work on things in practice that are exposed when we play our games in the summer,” the coach noted.
This spring, the Terrors were 12-2 overall when the 2020 season was stopped.
Roberts was hired to take over the Brunswick program in early May, but wasn’t able to get face-to-face with his new players until almost a month later when the Pirates started conditioning last Monday at school.
The early sessions were a meet-and-greet as much as anything.
“That’s the most important thing to me,” said Roberts who coached previously at Glynn and Frederica Academy on St. Simons Island. “I wanted them to get comfortable with me. And with every day that’s passed, I think that’s happening. We went from no on saying much to some of the personalties starting to show and the kids talking more.”
The Pirates are small in numbers right now with only one workout group. Several players are also currently working out with the BHS football team. Players who participate in multiple sports are only allowed to work out with one team presently and those who play football figure to be with that program at their schools as they are preparing for their seasons in August.
Roberts is hoping to bring in rising ninth-graders soon.
“We’re conditioning, lifting weights, of course,” the coach said. “We pretty much started at ground zero. We’re doing light weight, lots of reps. We’re just implementing the things they are gonna do on a regular-basis with us.”
Roberts would have preferred to have been in the weight room and on the field with the Pirates this month if not for the Covid-19 restrictions.
He would have implemented a summer program that includes weight training, practices and games throughout June. He said some of his players are currently playing with different travel organizations which he likes.
“As long as the kids are in a good situation with good coaching, I don’t mind them going and playing with other people,” he said. “In a perfect world, we prefer our younger players to stay with our staff and practice and play with us more on a regular basis.”
Roberts also hopes he can get on the field with the Pirates next month for some practice. Soon after accepting the BHS job, he began working on scheduling games for the 2021 season and talked with coaches at other area schools about possibly playing against each other this summer if they could.
“If we can, we’ll practice two or three times a week, if not four,” Roberts said. “The weight room is getting us familiar with each other, but it isn’t really giving the players a real chance to look at what we’re doing. I’d love for us to get on the field to get a feel for what we’re looking at and give the players a chance to see what things will look like.”
The Pirates had a 5-8 record when the 2020 season was halted. Former head coach Brian Crawford was in his last season with the team as he was prepared to leave for California with his family after the school year. His wife accepted a new job which led to the family move.