Behind the beat, Animo Squad rallies on

Training is a prime factor for athletes, enabling them to boost their skills, carry out their goals, and polish up on their craft. The pandemic brought many sports to a halt, affecting how athletes interacted with one another. Despite the limitations, online training has persisted. Estelle Cerutti (III, BS-MKT) and Mico Sillo (IV, AB-BHS), members of the DLSU Animo Squad, share how their team has adjusted to the new setup, faced challenges, and continued to improve their performances.

Keeping in sync

With the lack of physical practice, the Animo Squad’s online training regimen has drastically changed as they have to maintain a crucial point in their team performance—synchronization. Cerutti shares some of the obstacles they face regarding connectivity issues, “It is difficult online because even on call, it’s not even in sync because of the lag and the internet”. Nonetheless, Cerutti also remarks how their experience has been smooth, since new members of the team could easily pick up on the beats.

But setbacks still remain as some team members struggle with connectivity issues or personal concerns. Even with the new setting, snags may come unexpectedly along with other priorities that student athletes need to attend to, but the team is able to work through difficulties and adversity. Sillo further shares that sending a list of workouts to do would be given to members who were not able to attend the training session.

Staying ready

Much like every other sport in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, the challenge of not knowing when the next season will start clouds the pep squad as well. Even with this uncertainty, the squad has consistently taken steps throughout the pandemic in order to stay prepared and conditioned despite the challenges that it entails.

But a pause in the season does not mean that the student athletes have to pause, too—such is the mentality that the Animo Squad upholds. Sillo reiterates, “We want to make sure na even if there are no games, we still know, and we still master the beats that we usually play during games.” Sillo expounds that they constantly check up on each other, especially the newer members in order for everyone to remain consistent and perfect.

As vice captain, Cerutti makes sure that, despite the separation that the pandemic brought, she tries to keep all the divisions of the team together and connected. To keep activities interesting and engaging, she mixes different approaches. “I merged the game night with the beat check,” she explains,” so it’s checking each other’s mastery for the beats, but at the same time we also have fun with it and I think that’s what’s important. Our coach tells us that is what’s important, to keep the team together and our fitness.”

Shaping the mentality

In being a student athlete, health is another crucial factor that affects the capacity and performance of an individual. Sillo expresses how he managed to train despite contracting the virus,“Because of my COVID [illness], I couldn’t run anymore tapos ‘yung mga workouts that they do, nakakamatay na siya sa ’kin, ‘di ko kinaya.”

(Because of my COVID [illness], I couldn’t run anymore and for the workouts that they do, [it already felt] deadly for me; I couldn’t handle it.)

Being able to juggle academics, training, and one’s personal affairs during the pandemic is difficult. As a student athlete, having the ability to balance all of these is a number-one duty. For this reason, the members of the team would be willing to tackle any challenge that may turn up.

“[With] this whole new setup, although it has taken us back a bit, it also enabled us to be more creative.” Mico shares that in face of the online training, the team still manages to be productive. Being able to willingly manage and make the time for collective and personal training is a mindset they share. They are flexible to the adjustments made, opening themselves to new ideas and creativity.

“If kaya, kakayanin.” That is the mentality that Cerutti has practiced in her entire stay with the Animo Squad—one that she hopes to bring to her teammates. Cerutti values her team in a way that goes beyond the sport, saying, “We’re not a team, we’re a family. If there’s [a] problem on one end, we do our best to fix it.”

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