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Addressing the Social and Emotional Crisis in Youth Sports
Taking a look at the impact of covid and youth sports.
Amy Masters is a D1 sports mom, Founder of a field hockey club and the new Head of Marketing for iSport360. With an eye towards mental health in our young athletes, Amy and iSport360 are helping over 100,000 youth sport coaches, parents and kids keep their teams connected, active and strong….through the COVID-19 lockdown and as we return to play. Click here to try iSport360 for free.
Unless you’re an educator, “Social and Emotional Learning” (SEL) for kids probably hasn’t been on your radar. We are currently dealing with an invisible youth sports crisis. But without a doubt, in the midst of a pandemic and on-again-off-again school and sports, our kids’ social and emotional health is more important than ever. During this time of elevated depression, anxiety and fear, many coaches would probably even argue that your athletes’ social and emotional health is more important than their actual skill development. We agree wholeheartedly, and that’s why iSport360 is working hard to bring the SEL competencies from the classroom to the ballfields RIGHT NOW:
Five Social and Emotional Learning Buckets:
Student athletes need to understand their own strengths and weaknesses. Our platform helps athletes set goals and then, just like progressive educators, we ask athletes to self-assess and reflect. Similar to a teachers rubric, coaches are looking for ways to develop players that can positively impact both on and off the field activities.
At present, nothing is more important than kids managing their emotional well-being. This means recognizing emotions. And responding to those emotions and learning to keep them in check. We are opening lines of communication between athletes, their coaches and their parents. We want to make sure they are staying healthy and strong. As a coach, it is important to be transparent, honest and caring.
If there’s anything that can heal a sick nation, it’s empathy, tolerance and respect. Fortunately, these come naturally for teammates in sports. And we believe that youth sports will help bring our nation back to health. To foster social awareness in young athletes, we built a Virtual Team Locker room where teammates can bond, share, celebrate, support and grow.
We all know that the key to success in sports is building relationships with teammates, coaches and parents. But the pandemic and restrictions on play have jeopardized the ability to build these relationships. Gone are the days (at least temporarily) of fist bumps and high fives. So we foster healthy virtual communication. We focus on collaborating with all stakeholders. The goal is to make sure young athletes can maintain and build healthy team relationships.
Certainly good decision-making is a life skill. But now more than ever our young athletes are fragile, nervous, anxious, and rightfully so. We need to encourage them to take time to weigh options on and off the field, then forge ahead and own the outcome (positive or negative). Our platform promotes empowerment of our athletes and this is where kids in sport will be the tip of the spear that kills COVID-19.
Wishing you a safe and healthy return to play.
Learn more or request a demo of our youth sports software that is helping teams improve communication, organization and player development.