For TBT teams in the bubble, staying in game shape presents unique challenges


By: Meghan Carroll

Staying in shape takes extra discipline in the bubble

Staying in shape during the pandemic may have been hard for some, but during a two-week fully quarantined tournament, it is a whole other story. When 20+ teams are sharing four practice courts, with scheduled practice times and having all three meals a day provided, it can be hard to keep a regimen.  

With coronavirus health restrictions closing down most gyms and large gatherings it wasn’t easy for teams to prepare for TBT, but it was a necessity and teams made it work for them.

“I was playing outside, I didn’t have a gym to have access to every day,” said Sideline Cancer forward Duane Johnson. “Prior to TBT the workout schedule wasn’t a thing unless it was outside.”

Herd That’s Rondale Watson and Golden Eagles’ Mo Charlo said their teams were able to meet up prior to TBT to practice. For them it was almost another quarantine experience with making sure everyone stayed healthy and could make it to Columbus. 

Once at the hotel in Columbus teams had to go straight into isolation and could start scheduled practices once every player received a negative test result. Every team was also given conditioning and recovery tools from Addaday to help with preparing for games and staying in shape during the day.

“We ended up having practice for about two hours a day and then we had to be back in our rooms,” said Johnson. “Personally I was just in there doing pushups and I wasn’t doing much else other than that.”

For keeping a good eating regimen, Johnson said he opted for the vegetarian and vegan options that TBT provided for teams. 

Given that teams didn’t have scrimmages against other teams, it had been months since players got to compete, so the first games lit a fire for the entire tournament.

“We kind of had a lot of time to prepare,” said Watson, “so once we were able to play against somebody else honestly I think that gave us a little excitement.” 

After the first round games the teams had less time in between games so each practice was vital. For the Golden Eagles each practice was working towards their goal of avenging what happened in the 2019 championship game.


“Unfinished business was our motto,” said Charlo. “We went into training camp and worked extremely hard. Getting into the bubble every practice, every shootaround we were on a mission.”

That goal was what helped them stay focused and eventually win it all. Charlo noted it was one of the best memories he’ll ever have. 

“I got to really bond with my team and really get to know them and their families on a personal level,” said Charlo. 

As the games went on the teams were able to get into a routine with practice times. As losing teams left the bubble, the remaining squads got more time on the courts, which was beneficial for staying in game shape. 

“As we advanced in the tournament we were able to have optional shoot arounds for about two hours, so we had about four hours in the gym every day,” said Johnson. “I took advantage of all of those.”