Indoor Sports vs Outdoor Sports In a Global Pandemic


Quinn Colburn

Players (left to right) Caitlyn Keiter, Madison Shomo, Quinn Colburn, Molly Schreiner, and Sage Newman of the State High field hockey team masked up for team pictures during the fall season. Team pictures, a highlight of each athlete’s high school season, were just one of the many aspects that were forced to adjust due to COVID-19.

Quinn Colburn, Staff Writer

COVID-19 has altered many different aspects of people’s everyday life, and one of the many things that have been forced to change is high school sports. However, the changes happening for each sport, differ between the team, the school, and the sports themselves. 

An interim plan for SCASD winter and spring sports was released in late October of 2020. According to the plan, athletes must wear CDC approved face coverings and complete a self screening questionnaire before practices. Reminders to regularly clean and disinfect equipment and to refrain from unnecessary contact with others are also included in this plan. 

While the basic guidelines for athletes to follow are the same for both indoor and outdoor sports, there are a few minor differences. Freshman Katie Uhl plays on the State High girl’s ninth-grade basketball team, and has been playing the traditionally indoor sport since she was a first-grader. Uhl explained a few of the precautions her team takes, which all follow the interim plan. 

Some precautions my team took to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was following social distance protocols whenever it was possible and staying masked the entire time we were together.” Uhl explained, “Our temperatures are taken as we come in the door as well as before practice we have to fill out a screening form that asks questions about our amount of contact with other people infected with COVID or our own personal symptoms.”

Sophomore Molly Schreiner has been playing field hockey or the school’s field hockey team since the ninth grade, and has played in both indoor and outdoor environments. Schreiner also explained some of the precautions the school field hockey team took as an outdoor sport.

My team took a lot of precautions,” Schreiner said. “We [socially] distanced, wore [a] mask on the sidelines, we got our temperatures taken, we filled out a form each practice stating how we felt.”

One of the biggest differences between outdoor sports and indoor sports during COVID-19 is masking protocols. According to the interim plan, indoor athletes must wear their approved facial coverings at all times (except when swimming and diving), while outdoor athletes must wear theirs while idle (on the sidelines, during coaches’ explanations, etc), and during drills where it may be difficult to keep 6 feet apart. While outdoor sports may have more lenient masking protocols, each contains their own disadvantages, which Schreiner and Uhl both expanded on. 

“I would say a disadvantage would definitely be not being able to play in our district game due to a covid case on the opposing team,” Schreiner explained. Situations like these are not uncommon in both indoor and outdoor sports alike. 

“The biggest disadvantage that I have struggled with is probably breathing through the mask.” Uhl said, “You think it would be easy, but when you are sprinting up and down a basketball court at full speed it gets a little difficult.” This is a prime example of a struggle that more commonly faces indoor sports athletes. 

The pandemic has given everyone new and different struggles each day. Athletics is just one of the everyday activities that has been changed to make sure every athlete is able to stay safe. Luckily enough, these modifications have allowed players of both indoor and outdoor sports to get out and compete during these unprecedented times.