The lockdown and social distancing enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unforeseen challenges to the sports community.
This global pandemic has made it difficult for coaches, teachers, and instructors to play their professional roles. There has been limited access to training facilities, events have been canceled, and athletes are confined at their respective places.
In these circumstances, sports coaches, personal trainers, including all fitness and wellness professionals, have few options but to adapt and be creative. A complete pause is not an ideal solution, neither for you nor for your team.
Below are some helpful tips for maintaining sufficient support for your team, and to help them stay motivated and keep their physical activity.
Even though your coach or trainers are allowed to meet their team members at the present moment, it’s crucial to find a way to communicate with them a few times per week through platforms such as phone calls, video conferences, social media or emails. It will allow you to understand how they are dealing with the current crisis and be a helping hand. It will also allow you to discuss their training individually and how to better their performance. Building such a relationship will likely result in a better coach-athlete relationship when practices return to normal.
Provide Appropriate Guidance
The impact of the pandemic will be different on athletes and their respective families. Some of them may not be affected as much as others, who are struggling to stay safe, not having proper access to food and other essentials, or being financially stable.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on other aspects of athletes’ lives, primarily their motivation. Some athletes find it challenging to train alone as they feel motivated when training with their teammates. Some athletes are dealing with the feeling of loss as they were unable to finish their senior season. All of these collectively produce discouragement. By taking a willing effort to understand athletes individually and catering to their needs, you can provide relevant guidance and make a difference in the way they view this crisis and their identity in the long run!
Keep Going & Staying Motivated
With the newly established restrictions, adjusting training plans, and reorienting goals is necessary. Instead of adding to the anxiety of your athletes, use sports as a tool to destress them. You can suggest some creative ways for them to stay involved in their sport, which can include exploring sport-specific trivia questions, books to read or listen to podcast episodes. Provide insights on their continued training options, suggest some home-based workout via credible online programs or apps, healthy recipes to try, or opportunities to get outside and indulge in physical activities like hiking, walking, running, and biking.
Remain Neutral or Hopeful
It is crucial to be mindful of the present situation and try to be open and neutral regarding any update of canceling or postponing sports events. It is imperative to help athletes to understand and take the news in stride and not take it personally. Any negative information can create a feeling of impending doom or hopelessness. It is the time when athletes will look to you for how to respond to this crisis and maintain their composure and be hopeful for the future.
Take Care Of Yourself As Well
It is critical to take care of yourself to stay motivated and help athletes that you are coaching to remain positive amid this negativity. Community effort is required to overcome the challenges during and after the crisis. We are stronger together, and the current situation demands coaches and teachers to seek help from their community.
Rely on your support network. Connect to other coaches, talk about how you are doing, and share best practices, resources, referrals, and troubleshooting tactics.
You can find Certified Mental Performance Consultants or mental health professionals online that provide support to athletes, including coaches and other support staff.
Dr. Richard Oelberger, a Certified Mental Performance Consultant in sports psychology, specializes in working with athletes, individuals, sports teams, coaches, high profile personalities, and more.
Feel free to schedule a free 30min consultation call to discuss your specific needs!