With only three months into 2020 and this year is not what I imagined it to be. AT ALL. As coaches we thrive for new challenges because we know that ultimately that is what makes us stronger and unites us as a team, well in this Covid-case, as a nation. Yet no formulated plan can prepare us for the pressure that comes with the uncertainty for the future.
If only we had a banner next to the field saying, “Hold tight, this Covid-19 pandemic will only last XYZ long, your upcoming competitions are scheduled and your athletes will be prepared”. Instead you might be faced with the reality of feeling like you should be more in control than what you currently are.
Focus on this sentence for a moment: There’s no banner on the side of the field, everyone is at home, staying safe and doing something productive in preparation for their future.
Did that sentence make you feel excited because you too have been productive? Or, did that sentence make you feel uncomfortable because you haven’t been as productive as you should be? Whatever the answer may be, we are all in this together, quite literally. If you are unsure whether you are doing enough as a coach, for yourself and your athletes- Lets’ step up a gear and lean on one another during these difficult times and encourage improvement in productivity from all sides of the spectrums.
Here are 5 steps for you on how to get out of a self-quarantine slump;
- Broaden your knowledge
There is currently a lot of sad and negative things on the media and I want to remind you that, as important as it is to know what is going on in the world, it is also important to not be consumed by it. Use this time to educate yourself on the latest coaching books, podcasts, research articles and webinars available to you. There are tons! Knowledge is addictive (and attractive), once you start exploring new horizons, you will make time for it even after lockdown.
- Design a home workout for your athletes focusing on specific targets
Although you are not able to coach the way you are used to, does not you’re your coaching needs to stop. This is an opportunity to design home-workouts that you feel will best improve your athlete’s performance, especially if it’s something that has been neglected in normal training sessions. It will allow your athletes to focus on important factors such as balance and stability, core- strength training and high intensity interval trainings. By doing so, you will be able to stay in contact with your athletes allowing them to give you feedback regularly and provide updates on their physical and mental well-being. Remember that you also need to keep your limbs moving!
- Delve into self-reflection
This could be valuable time that might not come around again in our life-time, spend it wisely by reflecting on who you are as a coach, what you think you mean to your athletes and explore possibilities in your mind on how you can be more for them, not only as a coach but as a mentor.
- Be creative
Take this time to let your creativity flow. Think of ways to keep your training sessions unique that will leave your athletes coming back for more no matter how painful it was. This can also be an opportunity to plan your next team bonding activity or training camp to strengthen team cohesion. Although you will not be able to put a set date on it, imagine how great it will be when all you still need to do is to put a date on it!
- Read up about the latest kit
Technology is constantly changing and it’s a matter of staying on top of your game. You want to be able to advise your athletes with the most suitable, comfortable and specific kit in order to prevent injuries and maximize performance.
Written by Gianna Marais(Final year coaching specialization student – Department Sport Science, Stellenbosch University).