Student-Athletes Adapt to Training During a Pandemic


Photo courtesy of Hannah Harvistol

Hannah Harvistol, who is on the Chaminade cross country team, is keeping in shape by riding her exercise bike.

Knowing the gyms on Oahu were going to be closed this semester, Chaminade University cross-country team member and junior Hannah Harvistol made an investment with the money she saved working at a gym over the summer in her hometown of Kentucky. Harvistol decided to place an order on Amazon for an inexpensive exercise bike and by the time she was back in Hawaii, the bike was waiting for her to pick up in the mailroom.

“It was like $300, I got it on Amazon Prime when they had a deal,” Harvistol said. “So if you do the math it ends up paying for itself and is less costly than getting a gym membership.”

In addition to riding her stationary bike in the Keifer Hall dormitory, Harvistol makes sure to keep in shape by doing at-home workouts and even running at the track and field on campus. Working out independently gave her the freedom she needed to accommodate her asynchronous schedule, but she admitted to having missed training together with her fellow teammates. 

“It was encouraging to workout as a team,” Harvistol reminisced. “If you were having a bad day then the team would help lift you up and make you feel good. Although we’re on our own for workouts, COVID has really opened up my schedule so I have plenty of free time to make sure I make a point to go on a long [7 mile] run at least twice a week and also do 50 pushups, 100 situps, among other ab workouts in my room every day.”

With the social distancing guidelines put in place by the Pacific West Conference and NCAA, the Chaminade athletic department had to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety and health of their student-athletes, coaches, and staff by having suspended all in-person activities and by making the switch to virtual training and team meetings. CUH’s student-athletes went from training as a team three separate times a day to socially distanced virtual practices instructed by personal trainers.

The women’s volleyball team has online practices which include but are not limited to basic stretches for quadriceps and calve muscles, warm-ups such as shoulder rotations, and muscle activation exercises like burpees.  

Sophomore Alyssa Dewey, who is a volleyball team member and manager explained how socially distanced practices presented new challenges that affected team bonding and training. This year, Chaminade’s volleyball team welcomed five new freshmen, which was a big increase compared to the three new players who joined last year. The newly implemented guidelines forced the volleyball team to adapt the way they form interrelationships on the court in time for the upcoming season which has been pushed back to spring of next semester.

Normally we have practice two or three times a day where we use weights in the morning, and then practice and conditioning later in the day,” Dewey said. “Now we have workouts together over zoom so we can be separated but still have the motivation that comes with working as a team, but getting encouragement from your teammates through a screen makes the workouts lose their intensity. It’s hard that we can’t all work together as one team so we aren’t able to build connections the same way.”

In addition to online training exercises, Dewey said how the team had started to introduce face-to-face practices by breaking into groups of three or four and using the basketball court on-campus to run drills such as inside-out passing and dig sets which help them maintain conditioning and promote bonding while abiding by the new safety protocols.

Social distanced training presented new challenges that affected team bonding and training unique to each sport. Michaela Dean, a junior and behavioral science major gave insight on the challenges the women’s basketball team faced learning to adapt according to the NCAA guidelines.

“Not being able to work out and get to know each other on and off the court is challenging,” Dean said. “It’s unfortunate not being able to build that chemistry on the court because our performance depends on it. It’s all about building bonds with the team, we perform better as when we are able to collaborate during practice and get to know each other.”

No matter the sport in question, each team at Chaminade had to overcome similar challenges to maintain the same level of conditioning and bonding in order for them to be well prepared for the start of their season. The PacWest Executive Board voted this past July to push back the start of intercollegiate competition in PacWest fall sports until after January 1, 2021.

In other words, fall sports seasons are scheduled to begin at the start of next year. For more information for specific dates and times, please visit