Coach faces unprecedented challenges.

Jessica Gust faces new challenges


Used with permission from Jessica Gust. Science teacher and strength and conditioning head coach Jessica Gust poses in the weight room Feb. 22. Gust was nominated to serve on the advisory board for the National High School Strength Coaches Association.

Jordyn Deschamps

As distance learning has been going on, many classes have run into challenges. Strength and conditioning has faced some difficulties, but has its perks. According to strength and conditioning coach Jessica Gust, changes have been made to enhance the weight room.

“Pre-COVID-19 we were in a totally different space, our weight room was only open for two and a half weeks,” Gust said. “Lots of things are different, mainly we have amazing new space to use, which has turned out to be a life saver. Our old weight room was much smaller;  there was no way that we could have socially distanced in there.”

Junior Abby Turcotte does strength and conditioning during the summer and the school year, and enjoys taking the class.

“We did the same thing from before, but now, we wear masks and there are a limited number of people who could go into the room,” Turcotte said. “Now it’s on Zoom, we are doing weights at home, but they are not as heavy or professional as the ones at school.”

Although equipment usage has posed a challenge, Gust has found a way to work around it.

“From a programming standpoint, it is different. Kids aren’t sharing equipment, and I have to make sure the way I write the workout will work with the equipment that we have,” Gust said. “But for the most part we have been working with people only having their own equipment, and not having to share.” 

According to Turcotte, she hasn’t experienced much change, as she is still doing what she did before, just in a new setting.

“It’s not that difficult, I wish we were back in school doing weights, but it’s easy,” Turcotte said.

According to Gust, distance learning has hindered motivation amongst students, but she has found ways to help alleviate it.

“We would do Zoom workouts, where we would all hop on and piecemeal some stuff to do at home together,” Gust said. “We would do trivia during our rest periods while we were doing our workout, and try to keep things light and fun and give kids some ways to engage with each other.”

Turcotte said she stays focused and engaged by keeping her camera on while she is working out.

“We have to have our cameras on and we have to have it somewhere where she can see us and how we are doing, then she would coach and tell us what she noticed, and what we can improve on,” Turcotte said. 

Along with teaching strength and conditioning, Gust also teaches biology. According to Gust, having strength and conditioning built into the day has been a stress reliever this year.

“My classroom is literally the furthest room from the weight room, so having the weight training classes built into the day was awesome, and I really love it,” Gust said. 

Gust said she misses high fives and working together with her students and staff, pre-COVID-19 was easy-flowing with classes.

“Having strength and conditioning along with my other classes it definitely keeps me busy, but it also keeps my mind off of Covid.”

— Jessica Gust

“It’s definitely easier to just open the doors and let kids in, and be in big groups and work together, with this dynamic is more energy. We can high five, work with each other and share equipment,” Gust said. “But we learned a lot, there is a lot of formatting that we really like, we’ve tried dividing people into different groups. We have been trying to make the best out of the COVID(-19) situation.”