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Maine club sports navigate uncharted turf during coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic

Like many organizations and businesses, club sports organizations have had to utilize technology to continue coaching.

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — From soccer to lacrosse, basketball, or field hockey, thousands of kids play club sports in Maine. Not only is it a way to stay in shape in the offseason through travel tournaments, but these student-athletes also get noticed by college coaches across the country.

Club sports are among the many things on pause right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, but through this difficult time athletes and coaches are getting creative.

One way they are getting creative: team pep rallies and encouraging messages shared in video montages.

"We're just a big family," Corrin Hasty, a junior at Marshwood High School in South Berwick, said.

"I've been playing field hockey since I was in second grade."

Corrin is one of 500 kids who play for MAINE STYX Field Hockey. Most of them will eventually play in college.

"If you put in the effort, you're going to see results," she said.

The organization includes weekly practices and travel programs including tournaments where college coaches can recruit athletes like Corrin.

"Junior year is pretty much the biggest recruiting year and this spring especially."

But practices, tournaments, and college tours are all on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We're sort of left dangling figuring out what we're going to do," Danielle Bishop, a coach and the founder of MAINE STYX Field Hockey, said.

"Everything's on pause right now. We don't want to put our coaches at risk, we don't want to put our kids or parents at risk."

With some creativity, she re-designed some of her programs to provide online coaching and team building. She's also launching a digital platform called the Field Hockey Zone to help her athletes keep pushing towards their goals.

But as a business owner, she's feeling confused and frustrated.

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And as a coach, she's missing her athletes.

"As coaches, we're on the field...we're talking, and we're interactive and it's hard," she explained.

And it's hard for athletes like Corrin, when so much remains unknown, even that senior year she's worked many years for.

"You can't replicate that senior year."

Meanwhile, Heidi Allen, the co-owner of Maineiax, a lacrosse club program for boys and girls says the pandemic has hit their club hard and they also have had to get creative. Maineiax has nearly 700 boys and girls in its program.

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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