KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — While student-athletes wait until June 8 to return to the University of Tennessee’s campus to kickstart voluntary in-person athletics activities, a large number of Vols have continued to train during this unexpected offseason at D1 Training in Hardin Valley.
D1 remains a popular spot for athletes to train during their respective off-seasons, but since campus has been temporarily closed, the training facility has seen an influx of athletes from various sports all training during this unprecedented time — creating a sense of camaraderie says owner and trainer Devin Driscoll.
D1 provides an environment that is conducive to working hard while providing an enjoyable experience.
“Training is like flavors of ice cream,” Driscoll says, each session is tailored to each athlete’s taste; adhering to that specific athlete’s want and need. At D1 their objective is to listen to the athlete; find out their deficiencies then work to improve them.
“I think the biggest thing with our athletes is they trust us to to provide good training experience and they also enjoy being here,” the experienced trainer says, “I think those two things put together is why we’ve been able to be successful.”
One reason why Tennessee tight end and former Farragut Admiral Jacob Warren has trained with Driscoll at D1 since high school. “I really enjoy working with Devin, he’s a great guy and leader,” Warren says, “I’ve seen new guys come in here and he treats them like they’ve been here since day one.”
East Tennessee native and Vol football offensive lineman Cooper Mays has been training with Driscoll since sixth grade credits Driscoll for his teammates rallying around D1.
“It’s a good place to workout,” Mays says, ” Devin Driscoll is really good at what he does so everyone believes in him and what he’s telling us to do, so we’ve rallied around here.”
While the facility has seen a lot of new members since re-opening on May 1, staff members have been taking the necessary precautions to keep everyone during this time. For instance, Driscoll says they stagger workouts and training sessions throughout the day so there’s “never too many people [there] at one time.”
Other precautions the facility is taking include:
- Filling out questionnaires provided by Knox Co. health dept. before entering
- Wearing masks
- Sanitizing everything
- Deep clean once a week
- Hand sanitizing stations throughout facility
- Athletes required to wash hands when entering and leaving
- Each athlete wiping down their equipment after each use
- Adhering to social distancing guidelines in facility
- Having people enter through main door and exit through weight room
Creating a safe environment for athletes to train.
“We’ve been in constant contact with the local mayor’s department, Mayor Jacobs, and his team throughout the entire process from the first day of shutdown to now, to make sure that we’re doing everything we could to follow precautions they and the health department put forth for us and our members,” Driscoll said.
While the pandemic took out Spring football and temporarily suspended practices and workouts on campus, multiple Vol football players have used this down time to their advantage. Building muscle while also giving their body’s a chance to recover by not taking any hits and just focusing on working out.
While D1 continues to be a hot spot for Tennessee athletes especially during the pandemic, Driscoll says he has seen guys really step up and achieve incredible gains in a short period of time.
Warren who has been training hard at D1 since it reopened on May 1, says while this time has been weird and different, it has played to his and his fellow teammates’ benefits as they capitalize on elite trainers in a facility that gives them access to similar equipment they use at Tennessee.
“Coaches have been talking about there’s a team that rises above in this time and makes the best of the opportunity and that’s the team that’s going to be successful in the fall,” Warren says, “I think that’s good for us and we’re kind of getting a head start on the competition.”
D1 has also been the home for VFL’s Darrell Taylor and Daniel Bituli as they gear up for the next level in the NFL.
While this time has been a difficult time for everyone to navigate, student-athletes can count on D1 to get their work in as they gear up to face a “new normal” and pick back up where things left off.
“We’re trying to effect people’s lives in a different way by providing a positive workout experience,” said Driscoll.
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