Keith Kirby’s voice was tired and scratchy Monday afternoon.
He was grateful for that after a nearly three-month break from conducting NSM football workouts after the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic ended the school year and halted all high school sports activities.
“My voice struggled a little bit,” Kirby laughed. “It’ll get better.”
Most high school football and basketball teams in the Jackson County School System started on-campus workouts either Monday or Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Scottsboro City School System is waiting until June 8 to begin on-campus workouts.
All Jackson County football teams started on-campus workouts this week except for Woodville, which is slated to start working with new head coach Tyler Vann on June 8. The majority of basketball programs in the county school system also started workouts this week. All sports were allowed to resume workouts.
In giving teams the go-ahead to resume on-campus workouts, the Alabama High School Athletic Association outlined a number of procedures that team workouts must follow.
Section started its football workouts on Tuesday evening after meeting on Monday to go over the COVID-19-related safety precautions and procedures.
“We just kind of wanted to get organized and go over all the precautions so when we got it all going (Tuesday evening) we’d be ready,” said Section head coach Chris Hammon. “It’s definitely going to be different, but we’re all excited to be back at it.”
The Woodville varsity boys basketball team held its first summer workout Monday night with 21 players in attendance.
“It’s different with all the guidelines and things, but we had a good game plan and I thought it went pretty well,” said Woodville coach Bubba Smith. “We kept (the players) spread out, did station work (in the gym), and we sprayed down any equipment they used, like jump ropes and basketballs. (The players) did a good job of doing what they’re supposed to do. They were ready to get back in the gym.”
Pisgah cross country coach Gus Hembree said his runners are adapting to the workout guidelines.
“(Cross country) lends itself to social distance more than the other sports,” Hembree said. “We had to adjust our plan from Day 1 to Day 2. The hardest part is reminding kids to keep spacing during drills. Once the running begins, the spacing is easily maintained.”
NSM football held its first workout Monday morning, with players divided into two groups. One group worked in the weight room while the other did conditioning on the field, Kirby said, adding that players in the weight room wore masks and that all weight-lifting equipment was cleaned after each player did a set in a particular lift.
“I told them, ‘if you want to play in the fall, this the way we’ve got to do it,’ and I think they understand it,” Kirby said. “It takes a little longer, but it went pretty well. Everything went smoother than I thought it would.”