SIOUX CITY -- The coronavirus pandemic has forced both youth academies in Sioux City to close its doors for the time being, but both the United Sports Academy and the Arena Sports Academy found ways to continue to connect virtually with the youth for whom they provide services.
On March 13, the Arena Sports Academy released a statement on its Facebook page (Hesse-Carlson Arena) that all large events and leagues have either been postponed or canceled for the time being.
"We are committed to following all of the guidelines by Governor Kim Reynolds and we are proponents of social distancing," Arena Sports Academy partner Jeff Carlson said. "We want the community to follow those guidelines."
The United Sports Academy released a statement on its Facebook page (United Sports Academy) announcing it will suspend all scheduled activities and events through March 22. Two days later, another statement was released and the United Sports Academy announced it will be closed through March 31.
"We have to look after the well-being of the athletes and all of the members," United Sports Academy executive director Shane Tritz said. "This is the way for us to do our part and slow the spread by suspending all activities. This is above sports now."
It didn't take long for either one to stay connected to its members, though.
On March 16, the Arena Sports Academy announced its virtual sports training series for their basketball, wrestling, volleyball and dance programs, allowing those involved with each program to stay active from home with online drills and classes that are led by Arena Sports Academy coaches and program directors.
The virtual classes are free and are posted to the Hesse-Carlson Arena Facebook page. The schedule of the virtual classes is also posted on the Facebook page.
"It was always our intention to roll something like this out. We've been developing it for the last few months and we've done it to broaden our reach," said Dustin Cooper, the Arena Sports Academy basketball director. "It will serve not just the local community but also the regional community and it will be a platform that we will continue to use.
"We will have our Arena coaches and also special guest coaches will do a 30 to 45-minute workout via Facebook Live and those that watch can go through a workout through the comfort of their home."
The first virtual training session is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday and will cover a basketball workout.
A wrestling training session is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Monday. The next day will feature volleyball and dance and then the cycle returns to basketball and wrestling on Wednesday with volleyball and dance again on Thursday.
There will be a classroom setting at 10 a.m. Friday and there is a contest involved.
"We want to train the brain as well," Cooper said. "We want them to think why they are at home, too. On Friday, we may give an assignment. Maybe it's color a picture for the younger ones or write a couple of paragraphs for the others. We are going to try and take a holistic approach to it."
The Hesse-Carlson Facebook Page also will have messages on it from special guests such as North graduate Dan Tillo, who is a member of the Kansas City Royals system.
On March 18, the United Sports Academy held its first virtual class which was provided by the Fieldhouse Fitness group, the health club portion of the United Sports Academy. Natalie Olorundami Hughes led the workout session and it lasted about 40 minutes. Fieldhouse Fitness released two more videos on March 18 and March 20.
An online volleyball training video was put online by Megan Malenosky on March 20.
"Each day our directors are providing different drills and tips that our athletes can do since they are not able to be in the gym," Tritz said. "All of them are providing tips and will engage the athletes. Those will be through our social media accounts and through emails with our athletes."
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