It is a challenging time for many local athletes right now, as recent COVID-19 restrictions have put a hold on games, and restrictions on the amount of people that can attend a practice or a workout. Thomas Bresciani, a strength and conditioning coach at Level 10 Fitness and the head strength and conditioning coach for the Regina Thunder, recently stressed the importance of following the guidelines, and wearing a mask to protect others, and the athlete themselves.
“It is important that we all work through this situation and follow the guidelines that are put in place. It can be challenging as an athlete, as you might feel like you have lost your identity since you do associate yourself with your sport and with your team. But by facing this curveball together, we can get through this, and can get back to playing games again,” said Bresciani.
He has been pursuing his dream to coach for an elite level team. He has been coaching at Level 10 Fitness and helping out with the Regina Thunder for the last two years. “It is a good step. Having the Thunder under my belt is a great resume booster and was a great place to get my feet wet.”
As an alumnus of the Regina Thunder, Bresciani said that he sort of knows what the other coaching staff expects from their players. “I played for some of the coaches. I played for Scott MacAulay during his first year as the head coach; it was my third year on the team. I have always seen these coaches as the authoritative role, and now we are co-workers.”
“We have our leadership teams, our veteran players, who get to voice their opinions and are the middle man of the coaches and the players. I was part of that leadership team, so that relationship still stands now that I am a co-worker.”
“Especially with COVID-19 protocols, the coaching staff are communicating all the time to ensure that the players are getting their workouts in, and have a safe place to do those workouts,” said Bresciani.
When COVID-19 restrictions were first put in place in March, and everything was shut down, the Level 10 Fitness facility broadcast all their workouts through Zoom. For the Thunder, “there was usually was 40 to 50 guys on a Zoom call, I would be down in the basement leading the workout, and they would be at their homes following along,” said Bresciani.
When the Level 10 Fitness facility opened back up, there were still restrictions in place, which included 15 players at a time at the inside facility, and gatherings of up to 30 outside. “We ended up having four different groups, using both of our Level 10 Fitness facilities. They would do 45 minutes on the field, as a practice.”
He said that it was important to create groups and schedules, to help coordinate with the contract tracing of the athletes. It was also important to find a cost efficient way to get the groups in the facility, and respect the social distancing guidelines that were recommended by the Saskatchewan Health Association.
There was only so much that the coaching staff was able to accomplish during practices this year, as football is a contact spot.
“The players have to be big and strong, on top of being cardiovascular fit. Having them at home we can only accomplish so much in terms of body weight and lightweight. Due to the demand of the sport, they do need weight training to perform at their highest level.”
As someone who played football, Bresciani understands the importance of maintaining the workouts, and finding a way to work within the restrictions in place. He noted that for many collegiate and junior level football players, their goal is to reach pro football.
“Every workout is a chance to reach that next step. They treat it more like a part time job, then a pastime activity.”