During a time when offseason workouts would just be getting underway, Charli Collier’s day-to-day life may look just like the rest of the population right now.
“I’ll wake up, I’ll eat, I’ll do homework, I’ll work out,” Collier said. “I’ll probably take a nap, I’ll probably shoot around and then I’ll work out again. That’s my day, literally.”
But working out isn't just a hobby Collier picked up to fill her newfound free time during the coronavirus pandemic. For Texas’ star sophomore center and her teammates, creating space in their schedules for training is a responsibility.
Cancellations of conference tournaments and the NCAA’s March Madness amid COVID-19 concerns brought the 2019-2020 women’s basketball season to a screeching halt. While uncertainty still surrounds the status of the fall semester and when sports activities — including offseason workouts — can resume, Collier said the unknown hasn’t stopped her from preparing for next season.
“It actually motivates me more to work out because I know that if I don’t then I’m going to be so behind,” Collier said. “You just always have to stay ready … when the season does come around, whenever that time is.”
When Collier isn’t shooting baskets on the hoop in front of her home in Baytown, Texas, or getting reps in at her personal trainer’s private basketball gym, she’s hitting the weight room and utilizing new methods to work out.
“My trainer actually came over, and we trained with just some sand in a bag, in a pillowcase, and we did a full workout with that,” Collier said.
Collier used the last offseason between her freshman and sophomore year to make strides in her game, and she blossomed into an offensive focal point in the 2019-2020 season. Freshman guard Celeste Taylor is putting in the time to try and show similar growth next year, despite the circumstances.
“When I work out now, I just put everything that I have into it and just get better at the things I wasn’t so good at my freshman year,” Taylor said. “I know that people are going to see a huge jump from my freshman year to my sophomore year as far as being comfortable, as far as knowing what to expect and things like that.”
After the abrupt end to the season before postseason play got underway, Taylor returned to her home in New York, where she’s been working on her basketball fundamentals in her trainer’s private gym and keeping up her stamina.
“I’ve done a lot of sprinting and running around my block, trying to do quick sprints up and downs, suicides, stuff like that,” Taylor said. “I haven’t really been able to access a gym, so I haven’t been able to lift weights.”
To accomodate players such as Taylor who may be missing out on gym access, Texas women’s basketball head strength coach Zack Zillner has sent out several programs for the athletes to stay in shape at home, no matter what their situation is.
“We have three different programs,” Zillner said. “One is like a bodyweight-only program. Some of the kids obviously don’t have equipment and stuff at home. The next program is a bodyweight plus minimal equipment, so they might just have like a pair of dumbbells.”
Collier has also stressed the importance of exercise during this time. Posting videos of her sandbag workout and other fitness tips on her social media accounts, Collier hopes to inspire others to stay active during the pandemic.
“I really want to promote that — staying active — because I know it can be a hard time to do stuff,” Collier said. “But people can always do stuff at home, just little things, like pushups and stuff.”