Stillman Valley coach Lalor reacts to ‘Return to Play’ decision/guidelines

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO-WQRF) — The waiting is over for high school athletes and coaches. They finally have permission from the IHSA to proceed with organized group weightlifting, conditioning and fitness activities.

The guidelines for Return To Play including having athletes and coaches workout in groups of ten or fewer. They must maintain social distance or wear protective face masks. The temperatures of athletes must be monitored and coaches need to keep daily records of athletes who participate.

Administrators at each school must also give their permission for organized group workouts to resume. All workouts are voluntary.

Longtime Stillman Valley football coach Mike Lalor shared his thoughts with me on the IHSA’s announcement and guidelines in a phone interview Friday afternoon.

[INTERVIEW WITH MIKE LALOR, STILLMAN VALLEY FOOTBALL COACH]

((MIKE LALOR, STILLMAN VALLEY FOOTBALL COACH)) “I think it’s a good first step and I think that’s what everybody was kind of hoping for is just some sort of date to work off of. We knew it wouldn’t be back to normal 100 percent workouts, but you’ve got to take that first step before you can get to that third, fourth, fifth step, and so that’s a promising thing today.”

((SCOTT QUESTION)) Do you forsee any challenges or difficulties in complying with any of these guidelines?

((LALOR)) I personally think the big thing in talking with other coaches too is just to take our time here and make sure that we’ve got our plan down. You’ve got a real set protocol about how you’re going to do it and give yourself a couple of days to really let it sink in because it was just so different than anything we’ve done before, so I think it can be done, it’s just that we’re all going to have to kind of slow things down a little bit and maybe even the pace of a workout has got to slow down so we remember to do everything. We’ve got to keep everybody’s safety as the number one priority and their health here.”

((SCOTT QUESTION)) Phase one is strictly conditioning and weightlifting. No specific football drills are allowed. We’re in them month of June here is that typically what your guys would be doing anyway is focusing on conditioning, or are your players missing out on some valuable football drills and repetitions here?

((LALOR)) ” I know we do it a touch different here than other schools, but we primarily do the conditioning and weight lifting. We just had a handful of days of camp so in our case it’s not that big of an adjustment. I think as you get towards the end of July I think there will be a hope that you can move into that next phase and maybe can incorporate some of those things and get kids up-to-speed a little bit. I think the one big overall thing, if we’re all playing by the same rules then it’s going to work out. If we’re behind we’re all behind and that’s going to be okay.”

((SCOTT QUESTION)) Have you been doing Zoom meetings with your guys and if so has that been working out?

((LALOR)) “We did. We did a little bit early. We had a meeting and then we’ve been sending out some stuff by email and trying to keep in contact there, and honestly down here we’re just such a small town I see the kids here and there. They’ve stopped by once in a while, and we keep our distancing and stuff, so we’re able to keep in decent touch there, but one thing I’ve found through all of it, I think most people agree, that there’s still no substitute for the face-to-face contact. I think that’s what, even at a distance, we’re looking forward to here.”

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