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By Gail M. Williams
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

The Muleshoe ISD Athletic Department announced Monday that student athletes will begin a a Summer Strength and Conditioning program on June 8. Students in grades 7-8 will begin their program on July 13.
The program is not required and grades or credit will not be given.
At 6:30 a.m. June 8, athletes will meet at the football field where they will answer a health questionnaire and have their temperatures taken. Boys will be screened at the ticket booth to the football field, and girls at the double gate between the weight room and football locker rooms. Coaches will also be screened.
The program will focus on physical conditioning as well as sport-specific training.
Due to the school shutdown during the initial phases of the coronavirus crisis, athletes will need to get back into shape before the start of school this fall.
“The big thing is, we lost so much time that students need an acclimation period. The last thing we want is soft tissue injuries,” said Muleshoe High School Athletic Director Jason Richards. “We want to be smart and bring them along slowly to prepare for fall sports. Summer workouts are a big part of what we are trying to achieve. Everything, girls and boys basketball, baseball, all will get time to acclimate and work on their skills.”
The program will take place under the direction of 17 coaches and a certified trainer.
“The school district sent out a Google survey for students to register and pulled rosters from last year to get rosters of kids that can potentially come,” Richards said. “We’re trying to keep the coach to student ratio at 15 to one, so the coach can supervise those 15 kids and emphasize proper hygiene practices.”
Hand sanitation stations will be available, and a Purell spray will be used to sanitize the equipment throughout the workout.
“We’ve ordered water bottles for each kid,” Richards said. “We asked at the beginning that students provide their own water. They’ll keep their own bottles, take them home, and keep them filled up.”
Students will use their own workout clothes and shower at home. Bathrooms will be available, but students may only use them one at a time under supervision.
Social distancing will be maintained at 10 feet. When spotters are required, the spotters will wear masks. Bars will be sanitized after each athlete finishes lifts, and balls will be sanitized at the end of each workout. Face masks are not required, but they are recommended.
“The good thing is we have a weight room set up outside. This is going to be big for us,” Richards said.
Richards anticipates that workouts will be held outside through the month of June. After that, indoor workout activities can be conducted up to a maximum of 25 percent building capacity.
Thought the program is not required, it is highly recommended.
“I have had kids reach out to me, telling me that they have parents with pre-existing health conditions. I’m telling kids to do what’s best for their family,” Richards said. “We have workouts posted for kids that can’t work out in groups. We’ve been posting on SportsYou every day.”
Student athletes have been isolated from each other and unable to regularly practice the sports they’re passionate about for months.
“This is going to be a huge positive experience for our kids,” Richards said. “They’ll be able to slowly work in on the physical side, get to see their friends, go to work and do their sport. It’ll be positive for their whole mental outlook.”
For more information, contact Jason Richards at jrichards@muleshoeisd.net or go to https://www.uiltexas.org/athletics/covid-19-strength-conditioning-2020.

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