It has been a hard almost 2 years with covid and navigating youth sports. In the beginning it was a bit easier, we didn’t have any choice. We were told the rules and we were expected to follow them.
Navigating Youth Sports – How Our Players and Coaches Got Through It:
Control the controllables, and there were really no controllables here. As a coach in the beginning of the pandemic, it was hard. We were shut down from playing the sport we loved. We had 2 choices, do nothing or do something. The rules were no in-person contact so we fled to zoom and a no-cost list of workouts for our players.
Our zoom calls were well received. It got our players moving and active. This also allowed for them to see us on the zoom and to see their friends. It was good for the six weeks.
Then we were able to play in person, in pods, outside and standing on 1 foot. Only kidding on the last part. It was great to be at outdoor tournaments and practicing. No one could touch the equipment, this was a drag for the coaches. We had to clean everything up the entire time but it kept us playing so we did what needed to do to play.
Then we were shut down in the winter. We could still play outside but not inside so we coined the phrase, indoor season is outdoors. And we bundled up in the northeast and played
It was a trying time but we were all in it together and things started to look like it would be over then fast forward to 2022 and we are asking ourselves about masks, should we play and more.
Changing the Mindset:
About mid way through the summer of 2020, I decided that I (as the coach) would put the decision to play in tournaments on the backs of the families. The goal here was to let each family make their own decision. The decision would be open to playing in a tournament or just attend practice or do both. Some families decided that they were ok with the risk of going to practice but not the risk of a tournament. And we provided the flexibility to attend either. This gave families the ease of mind that they could have flexibility to do what they wanted.
Identify the Level of Risk:
One of the recent stories that have been out in the NY Times has been about how to manage your level of risk. In other words, what level of risk am I willing to take to do a certain activity. The NY Times compared it to driving in your car – there is a level of risk you take doing that activity.
Regardless of your vaccination status (and we are not discussing vaccines in this piece), you have to ask yourself that question. What level of risk am I, my family and my athlete willing to take to play the sport they love?
Masks have not gone away for youth sports athletes since the start of the pandemic. It has been an ever changing policy for club administrators, coaches, parents and players.
As of February 2022, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel with masks. Depending on where you are in the US, you don’t have to wear masks at all but this still keeps some parents on edge. The loosening of restrictions in some areas have put more pressure or stress on parents that want their kids to wear masks.
As a club administrator and coach, I have told my families to do what they feel is best for their family and child.
Thank you for letting us share our thoughts on how we navigated the pandemic. Basically we were all trying to do our best in keeping everyone safe while also allowing opportunities to keep our mental health a priority too.
For more information from iSport360 on Covid, click here.