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A few thoughts about coaching during the pandemic – The Collinsville Press
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A few thoughts about coaching during the pandemic

Canton field hockey coach Margaret Bristol, right, watches her team play under the lights against Simsbury.

Special to The Collinsville Press

CANTON – So many facets of our lives have been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic for athletes and coaches. Grace Bilodeau spoke with Margaret Bristol, the head coach of the Canton High field hockey program about coaching during the pandemic.

Practice didn’t begin until late August and then it began with small groups or cohorts. The full team didn’t practice together until Sept. 21 and games didn’t begin until early October.

To limit travel and potential to spread the virus, Canton and NCCC rival Granby were placed in a regional group with five other teams from the Central Connecticut Conference – Avon, Farmington, Southington, Simsbury and Lewis Mills.

Avon, Farmington, Southington and Simsbury are significantly larger schools than the schools Canton normally plays in the regular season. The Warriors played a 12-game regular season with two extra post-season contests against the teams they played throughout the season. Canton went 6-8.

Q: What was it like watching your athletes navigate through the fall season? 

A: This fall season was definitely different than any other season we have had. I was very impressed with how quickly my team adapted to the changes within the season. They seamlessly were able to adhere to and follow the (COVID-19) guidelines put in place while continuing to put all out onto the field. I give my team all the credit for showing up, working hard and maximizing the opportunity to play field hockey.

Q: What did you and your team get out of your season? 

A: Due to COVID and having very few field hockey teams in the NCCC, field hockey was divided into regions. We were put in a region with some teams we don’t typically play.  We had a tough schedule, but my team is resilient and we took this opportunity to focus on working together as a team on the field. Although we didn’t end the season with the record we were used to or the teams we were so used to playing, I can say we were extremely grateful to just play.

Q: Any other thoughts about the fall season? 

A: As a team we were just so grateful to get a season in. We were able to grow and bond as a team this past season and are looking forward to the next season.

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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