Coaching During the COVID Crisis
As the weeks of isolation wear on and the timeline for the end of this seems nebulous at best, routine has, for many, fallen by the wayside.
Millions have been laid off and millions more have seen their childrens’ schools close, daycares shuttered and activities canceled. As we continue to attempt to adapt to our new (albeit temporary) way of life, many are searching for ways to remain active and “normal” in any way possible.
While practices, tournament and games around the world are being postponed or canceled (read: virtually every major sporting organization around the globe) it can be difficult to keep the kids you may be in charge of committed to honing in their skills without putting anyone in any danger.
Fortunately, resources and ideas for coaches have been floating around the web since this outbreak began, and I’ve compiled some of the ones that could be effective below along with a few ideas of my own.
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that, during this time, many young people will look to leaders around them — their parents, teachers, and even coaches — for clues on what exactly going on right now and how they should be responding. Take a realistic approach to any interactions you may have with kids you’re coaching — you want to ensure that they’re aware of the dangers that do exist right now (as well as the precautions they should take to remain safe), but aren’t looking to you to feed them a doom-and-gloom outlook every day.
Remain positive instead, taking this opportunity to instill in your young athletes that this will pass, that the world will go on, and that one day, hockey will be back.
Drills, Drills Drills
When cooped up at home with your family, the worst thing you can do is veg out all day. Many of the same drills you implement at actual, on-ice (or on-court, on-field, etc) practices can also be modified to be performed at home with a set of rollerblades or on foot. Ask that your team continues these drills at home with their siblings and parents to keep them on-point and active.
Continue to Educate Yourself
The website TrainingPeaks.com has put together a long list of approaches, activities and concepts that coaches during COVID 19 can use to remain at the top of their game and involved during this crisis.
Celebrate and Share
Celebrate those around you who are committed to improving themselves and perfecting their craft. Ask parents to send you pictures, videos, etc of the kids running their drills, playing catch, or firing wrist shots past dad in his old goalie pads. Compile these and celebrate them, create a group email thread with the parents on your team and encourage that everyone participate.
These can be scary and turbulent times; as a coach your job comes secondary (or tertiary) to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of you and your family, as well as those around you.