Salamanca prepares for uncertain summer football offseason

A year into his tenure at Salamanca High School, Chad Bartoszek is leaning on digital communication to prepare his football team for the summer offseason.

Currently, state COVID-19 restrictions have schools closed, so in-person workouts — either outdoor or in the weight room — are on hold. So home workouts and video lessons will take their place until guidelines loosen, perhaps as soon as the region reaches Phase 4 in the state’s reopening.

Safety training for coaches went digital as well, as Bartoszek started a series of free webinars last week with former Alden coach Rob Currin, both in their positions as USA Football Master Trainers, through a partnership with the Buffalo Bills.

Bartoszek said the webinar setup is similar to how he currently communicates with his team, recording the computer screen as he goes through a PowerPoint, playbook or video presentation, then uploading it to Hudl for players to view. But the USA Football webinars are live through Zoom, giving coaches an opportunity to learn from Master Trainers in place of in-person clinics.

“The Bills, through USA Football, still want to reach out, still connect and that was as good as we were capable of getting,” Bartoszek said. “It was really a cool experience, we got some good feedback. I’ve never done one live before, and in terms of a webinar it’s kind of strange just speaking to a screen, you know that there’s 70-80 people out there listening, so you don’t get a lot of face-to-face there, but it was pretty cool. (Bills defensive coordinator) Leslie Frazier stepped in and talked some ‘ball.

Salamanca football coach Chad Bartoszek leads the Warriors through a drill during practice in August 2019.

Salamanca Press file photo

“And it’s just another tool for us to communicate. Even when (the coronavirus) goes away, I still think you’re going to see more of the virtual communication. Because it really does fit everyone’s schedule a little better, where you can get an extra little bit of time in with your players when they don’t have to physically be at the facility.”

— Bartoszek said he first started helping to make general workout plans for spring athletes when the COVID-19 shutdown began, seeking advice from college PE departments including Buffalo and St. Bonaventure.

“We were producing workouts, giving the kids options, and since (May 1), they officially said school was done for the year and that spring sports weren’t going to happen, that was kind of a tough day for our spring athletes, our seniors. C