The pandemic is rapidly affecting millions of Americans – and especially student-athletes at their colleges.
Many freshmen haven’t even had the opportunity to step on campus, or train in a team-like environment for the past several months. With that being said, there have been the lucky few that have had the opportunity to practice and even compete this past fall season. Prior to Thanksgiving, a majority of student-athletes have had to leave campus and head back home for good in order to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Athletes that returned to school this past fall have faced the challenges that performing during a pandemic presents. With many virus scares, and interruptions to training, no one has had a consistent program running. Some athletes didn’t have the luxury to train with a team. Beckford had to send at home workouts for athletes to do in their dorms. Those that were close to home would come on the weekends to speed train with Beckford.
To continue to stay open during an ongoing pandemic is not something easily attained – but it was something Beckford felt obligated to do to ensure his athletes were well equipped.
How does Beckford ensure the safety of these college athletes during a global pandemic?
Overdrive is proud to be within the rare set of performance centers that sustained a safe and successful season during the fall of 2020. There are many keys to Beckford’s success, but first and foremost, the athlete’s safety was always a priority. Athletes are put in groups of 4-6 based on sport and by the Connecticut COVID-19 protocol, while practicing social distancing, and limiting the chance of it being spread.
They are working closely with CDC guidelines & governmental health agencies to apply all possible measures to ensure their staff and members are safe. They continually encourage staff and members who feel they may have been exposed to the virus or have concerning symptoms to self-quarantine for 14 days and contact local health authorities. Some of the other measures put in place include additional cleaning & operational procedures:
• Hospital-grade cleaning products, these procedures include sanitizing all high touch points (including weights and turf)
• All Overdrive staff wear protective face coverings at all times
• Hand Sanitizer
• Training Distancing
• Deep cleaning after every class and personal facility usage
Beckford is happy to have many of his college athletes’ home and training in the new facility based out of New Canaan, CT. His main goal is to prepare these athletes for a potential spring season. With most not returning until late January or early February, it’s a long period of break for them to be home. It’s important that they maintain and build on what has been set from prior training. Beckford explains his programming style, “The program is put together in a periodization format on when they’re potentially leaving to head back to school hopefully having a season or spring sport”.
Beckford coaches a wide variety of college athletes ranging from lacrosse, baseball, football, and soccer. His athletes attend schools such as UConn, Stanford, Cornell, Merrimack, USC, University of San Diego, Michigan, Trinity, Brown, Scared Heart University, Duke, George Town, Yale, Wagner, LIU, and Colgate.
In terms of the Spring, Beckford is hopeful that there will be a season. Some conferences such as the NEC have already announced that a spring season will be taking place. The NEC has also announced that fall sports will be taking place in the spring as well. Beckford explains, “Well, I’m always on the student side so I definitely think they will have a spring season. I believe in our country and the NCAA and I think we will have a cure and a legit plan moving in the right direction by March”.
He continues to explain how huge of an impact this pandemic has on his athletes, “They’re strong-minded individuals that are taking this time to better themselves as student athletes. Something we preach and discuss all the time. At the end of the day, they’re kids that need a direction in each category related to being a student athlete. They’re getting after it each and every day and keeping that competitive edge.” Beckford’s main focus is to not only better an athletes’ strength and performance, but also increase mental strength. His athletes are prepared for anything whether it’s a global pandemic, or stepping out on the field
The atmosphere at Overdrive is what sets them apart from other programs around the Northeast. Beckford preaches, “If you don’t bring that upbeat energy, competitive edge, willing to learn and that will to be better than you were yesterday! You’ll hear it from me and the other athletes! You don’t want to be the bad egg in the gym trust me!”
Overdrive Elite Performance Systems is a highly respected program that’s known to train some of the top athletes in the state on Connecticut. Beckford’s main message is that he wants his valued members of the Overdrive community to know that their safety is Overdrive’s top priority. He’s excited to be training some of his best athletes at this time and is hopeful that this will continue into the future!