US Football Organization Continues Training amid the Pandemic

Category: Sports


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. offseason / ˈɔfˈsi zən / (adj) – referring to a time when there are no ongoing sports tournaments

    My team usually scouts for new players during offseason period.

  2. build up / bɪld ʌp / (phrasal) – to develop or strengthen something

    My coach said that running at least five kilometers each day will build up my stamina.

  3. game plan / geɪm plæn / (n) – a strategy to achieve something

    Their coach’s game plan successfully took the team to the championships.

  4. shoulder / ˈʃoʊl dər / (v) – to take something as one’s responsibility

    The team shouldered the medical bills of the athlete who broke his ankle during the game.

  5. ease / iz / (v) – to lessen or lighten something strict or unpleasant

    The cinema eased its restrictions on food, so moviegoers can now bring their own snacks.


Read the text below.

The National Football League (NFL) has decided to push through with its annual offseason program despite the lockdown.

The offseason period runs from April until the start of the season in September. To prepare players and build up their game plans for the next season, the NFL’s 32 teams all conduct training in the offseason. The training, which involves both veteran and rookie players, is held at each team’s corresponding facilities.

However, due to restrictions brought by the global pandemic, the NFL made changes to its offseason activities this year. The modified trainings now include virtual workouts in place of the usual field trainings.

This year’s virtual workouts ran from April 20 to May 15. The workouts were done through online sessions, and athletes who participated were required to use wearable health devices for monitoring.

Participating in the three-week program was not mandatory. However, athletes who joined the optional workout sessions were paid for their participation, just like in normal offseason workouts. They were also each given a maximum $1500 allowance for training equipment, the cost of which was shouldered by their respective teams. The allowance was used to purchase resistance bands, smartwatches, and kettlebells for athletes who needed them.

Now that the optional workouts are over, the teams will have to participate in mandatory minicamps next. These minicamps will involve field trainings once lockdown restrictions are eased. However, if even one team cannot meet up due to pandemic restrictions, no team will be allowed to do any field trainings. In the event that field trainings are still impossible in June, offseason minicamps will also have to be done online.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think online workouts and trainings are good alternatives to field trainings? Why or why not?
• Do you think that it’s fair that none of the NFL teams will be allowed to do field trainings until all of them can? Discuss.

Discussion B

• In your opinion, should sports training be prioritized even in the face of a pandemic? Why or why not?
• After this pandemic, how do you think sports training programs will change in the future (e.g. more virtual sessions, better home workout plans)? Discuss.