The Journal Gazette
Monday, May 25, 2020 1:00 am

Prep, elite athletes face similar challenges

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

The Coach's Pep Talk series continues with a conversation with Homestead gymnastics coach Jodi Hardwick. She is also the mother of Homestead football and baseball player Braeden Hardwick, who hoped to return to the diamond this spring after tearing his ACL last football season. 

My son Braeden was bummed about the canceled season at first, and I was like, you have to understand, you're not the only team in this situation. You're not the only school, you're not the only state. Every single spring sport, in every school across our entire country, they're not playing this season. And that put it into a different perspective for him. 

I told him, all the teams you love, LSU, Alabama, Florida baseball – all canceled. 

He was still supposed to be going to physical therapy when this happened, and he couldn't go to therapy for a long time. Our neighbor had a gym in his garage. So he talked to another Homestead football player who's a couple of years younger than him, and they would meet over there four times a week and work out. And he would help this kid work out, but it was also getting him motivated to keep doing his therapy. I told him, as soon as you start doing it again, you're going to want to keep going, and you're going to get excited about getting back in shape. 

I usually talk to the girls when they get back in the gym, and we haven't had that, so I haven't talked to them a whole lot. I've sent them videos and said, you should be doing some kind of exercising, definitely make sure you're stretching. And I tell them to do the easy stuff, as long as they have room in their houses: the jumps, turns, simple stuff like that, just to keep their flexibility and keep their strength.

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