While quarantine rolls on and students are off-campus, the student-athletes are also removed from their facilities. Head coach Eric Nichols and the BGSU men's soccer team is doing everything they can to stay engaged while apart from one another.
“We have daily zoom meetings. It's really important to keep everyone in a routine,” Nichols said.
In terms of keeping up physically while at home “there's a lot of challenge to at-home activities,” he said. “The team is staying physically fit as best they can.”
The program's strength and conditioning staff have done their best to be creative when coming up with at-home activities such as using jugs full of water and finding other assorted things around the house to use. The men are also doing a good amount of body weight training.
“Staying sharp with a soccer ball has been more of a challenge,” Coach Nichols said. “We have a technique plan for them to get 2,000 touches per day of the week meaning 10,000 a week. They are doing it but it's not ideal or anywhere near as good as if we were together. It's not the most fun but they are doing it.”
Among the things that Nichols is preaching to his team are to stay positive and not hibernate, or just survive over the break. The team is also using the time off to split up in different groups and really improve one aspect of their game. One group is working on diet work while another is improving meditation and visualization. The third is doing speed, agility and quickness. They have a seven week program for each group.
Coach Nichols said that his team needs to be a little more intentional with their work than normal during the time apart because to keep all of their skills up they must maintain them.
“I think we have a really good group of guys with strong leadership. We’re staying connected and holding each other accountable,” he said. “The leaders need to say ‘we need to all do our work so when we get back we need to be sharp to achieve what we want to achieve,’”
Although there is so much uncertainty with what will occur Nichols truly believes that his team will handle the situation as well if not better than any other program.
Nichols and the coaching staff are staying in good, tight communication with BGSU athletics so they can be best prepared for whatever occurs. He said they have been helpful through the process.
With the time spent not running his team through on-field practices, Coach Nichols has been able to watch a good amount of film as well as welcome two new commitments to the program last week.
One thing that Nichols is fortunate to have, unlike many other college soccer coaches is he has a son on the team in Sophomore Kale Nichols.
“Having a son helps me see what the guys are going through. I can see the experience better through their lense and be more empathetic so what they may be going through, whether it's during the pandemic or not,” Coach Nichols said. “I can better serve other players and families because I truly do get it and that's made me a better coach.”
While there is so much uncertainty in the world, Falcons coach Eric Nichols is doing the best he can to prepare his team for the future. Using every day to be intentional in improving and maintaining skills will be fundamental to Falcon soccer success going forward.