In these uncertain times, parents of student-athletes are tasked not just with keeping kids safe and educated, but also with taking care of their physical and mental wellness. For coaches, this time is a crossroads: You can either leave athletes to their own devices, or you can help them prepare to come back stronger than ever when the time comes.
Whether you’re a coach or a parent, keeping kids active and healthy is of the utmost importance during stressful and confined circumstances, especially when athletes are used to full school and training schedules. Here are some ways to keep your young athletes healthy and happy during quarantine.
Talk to your athletes
Whether you get on a Google Hangout, Zoom conference call, or just a group email chain, staying in touch with your athletes is important in situations like this. Coaches have an opportunity to be true leaders by keeping athletes’ sense of connection, morale, and self-identity high. A weekly team meeting is a good place to start.
Another way to create healthy connection is by starting a “leaderboard” in Google Sheets for the players to record drills they’ve done, mobility exercises accomplished, minutes spent meditating, and any other healthy activities that you assign.
Thomas Cooke, a soccer and Nordic skiing coach in Park City, Utah, says that his team has started a Google Sheets leaderboard and “challenged every player to get 2,000+ touches a day, with a breakdown of individual drills and games.” He adds that the key is to keep it fun and game-like.
Parents and coaches can stay in touch too! Parents, ask coaches for specific drills and suggestions where applicable, and coaches, consider sending a list of specific recommendations to parents.