During Thursday’s coronavirus briefing, Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced a plan that will allow contract sports (football, basketball, wrestling and soccer among them) to resume skill training, which includes weight training, agility and conditioning, for Ohio high school athletes.

It is the first step in the resumption of OHSAA-sanctioned competition. This will now allow coaches to work with athletes on school facilities.

“We’re very excited,” said Napoleon football coach Tory Strock. “We feel like we’re ahead of the curve. We’ve been meeting with our kid regularly since the shutdown on Zoom, and have been prescribing at-home workouts since March. We will hit the ground running.”

As of now, tournaments, games, competitions and scrimmages will not be allowed. No decision has been made from the governor’s office when any competition could be allowed.

With training now allowed, the OHSAA also Thursday lifted its rule on a coaches non-contact period which was to go until June 30.

“There is still a lot of that up in the air,” said Rafael Manriquez, who coaches both girls soccer and basketball at Defiance. “We’re still working out a lot of details. It would be nice to get a little normal. It’s good for the kids.”

With all sports soon to be open for workouts, Manriquez looks at it like a typical offseason. With two sports, he wants to continue with what would be normal workouts.

“I try to do a lot with both groups,” he said on conditioning. “Actually, I invite all of our girls sports teams to work out with us.”

This year, he’ll have to take a slightly different approach.

“We’ll have to ease into it,” admitted Manriquez. “We’ll take it one step at a time.”

There are some mandatory rules that will be in effect. All individuals must avoid physical contact with each other, which includes high fives, huddles, or other close contact. Also, all equipment must be sanitized before, during and after every event.

“Right now, we can’t pass the basketball,” mentioned Manriquez. “We can do a lot with shooting and dribbling.”

Not all schools will open right away. Citing short notice to implement the safety protocols, Patrick Henry has set a date of June 3 to open sports facilities.

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