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12 things for coaches to be mindful of as we return to Level 2

Friday, May 15, 2020

As we return to Level 2 begin to play the sports we know and love coaches should be mindful of a few things in our new normal, explains our Coaching and Sport Development team leader Dave Clarke.

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12 things for coaches to be mindful of as we return to Level 2

Find the fun

As a coach a return to sport needs to be about fun and playing again as much as possible rather than performance. We have to re-ignite a young person’s love for the game in those first few weeks back. It is as much about connection as it is about sport, so ensure everyone is connected and included in the sessions.

Play it safe

Before you start ensure that you and the athletes are familiar with protocols around illness, group numbers, sanitisation of hands and equipment and that all have been registered for contact tracing, you will need to have this in place prior.

Manage expectations

Keep your expectations realistic as to where you believe your athletes should be on their return. Speed, strength, power, movement, timing and decision making are unlikely to be at their peak, so stay grounded around what levels of performance you can expect.

Focus on warm up

Ensure that you warm up your athletes appropriately for some time prior to playing. This includes raising a sweat, dynamic stretching and some sport specific movements. Athletes may not have been making those movements in the lockdown, period and you may find their range of motion is not where it once was.

No surprises

On the first outing organise a few fun routines or closed skills which are set. They then know what’s coming, and there's no surprises or unusual movements that the body is not quite ready for. Then progress onto playing the game as soon as is reasonable.

Ease into it

Stay away from going for long runs and high intensity physical sessions as bodies need to readapt to the loads being placed on them just to even play.

Aim for shorter sessions

Keep the first few sessions shorter to medium term in length so as to avoid potential injuries and the inevitable cramp for young athletes.

Bring the right kind of energy

Bring energy to the session, in a positive way, encourage, encourage, encourage, now is not the time for too much coaching/critical evaluation, plenty of time for that down the track.

Connect and reflect

Connect and reflect at the end of the session, whilst staying socially distant. What was great about getting back to sport? What’s one thing you did well today, tell me about a time your helped out a team mate?

Warm down in a fun way

Warm down appropriately in a fun way, there will be some tired and sore bodies over the next couple of days. Explain that this is normal and they will come right in a couple of days ready for the next sessions.

Manage the load

Be aware that there is potential for some sports to have overlapping seasons, you must manage the volume/load of your athletes. Check in with them around other activities they are so encourage conversations with athletes around what else they are doing.

Have fun yourself

Have fun yourself, remember why you coach and the positive impact you are having on these young lives.

Questions?

Dave Clarke_Snippet

Dave Clarke

Coaching and Sport Development Team Leader

davec@sportbop.co.nz

027 299 5110

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