Taking Care of Your Athletes

  • April 06, 2020

Tips for supporting your athletes from home during COVID-19

Everyone in the sports community is feeling the impact of COVID-19, and as a coach, you’ve likely spent a lengthy amount of time figuring out how you can best help your athletes stay positive and motivated.

While we all understand that practising distancing and staying home is essential in protecting ourselves, our loved ones and our communities, it has certainly been tough on athletes who were looking forward to finishing up or starting their seasons.

Although social distancing from one another is vital to flattening the curve, that doesn’t mean we can’t reach out to our colleagues and athletes to check in on how they are coping at this time.

So, if you’re a coach or an administrator looking for ways on how to support athletes on your team, or in your organization, this article’s for you.

We would also like to note that while this article contains information regarding how to assist your athletes in this time that ultimately, you know your athletes best. What is provided here are researched ideas that may or may not be entirely relevant for your age grade, gender, or class of athlete.

Maintain virtual communication.

Just because we have to stay home and keep social distancing, doesn’t mean we need to be limited in our communication with our coaching staff and athletes. There are many free, digital platforms and apps that allow people to stay connected. Check out our list of available virtual communications:

It’s also important to acknowledge that The Rule of Two – which may not seem as relevant right now as during physical interactions, is still an important practice. Remember to copy other members of your coaching on emails and direct messages with your athletes, and always ensure there is at least one trained coach and one screened adult on any of the voice or video call platforms that we have included in this article.

  • WhatsApp – Fast, simple, messaging, calling and video. (Android, iPhone, Mac or Windows PC)
  • Zoom – One Consistent Enterprise Experience. Meetings, chat, video webinars, conference rooms, and more…
  • Skype – Skype makes it easy to stay in touch. Calls, chats and conferences of up to 50 people.
  • Facebook Messenger – Be together, whenever. A simple way to text, video chat and plan things all in one place.
  • Marco Polo – Best of texting, social media and video chats – all in one private, easy to use app.

The Coaches Association of Ontario advises that you utilize caution when downloading or installing any app or program on your device. The CAO is not responsible for any and all costs, claims, expenses, demands, actions, causes of action, and any liability for damages to property howsoever caused arising out of or in any way related to third-party software.

Continue to be a source for your athletes.

While this period leaves lots of uncertainty for adults, children are also feeling the impact of not seeing friends, playing sports and going on playdates. Some valuable information from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health informs us that ‘Young people may also sense the anxiety of their parents, and worry about their own health and that of other family members.’

Provide recipes, workouts and training that athletes can do at home. Provide resources to have them review and look over. Set up group calls during the would-be practice dates and times to maintain a social connection within the team and let them know you are there for them. And don’t be afraid to ask what they need at this time.

As a first step, you may consider to:

  • Acknowledge their fears and emotions
  • See who would be interested in getting workout plans, at-home-training schedules or other resources to help stay active or invested in the sport at this time
  • Were you planning to hand out any awards? Hold a small awards conference on a virtual conference call with the athletes
  • Ask what you can do for them in this time

While contacting your athletes is important – don’t forget about their parents. Parents have played a vital role in youth sports in getting kids to practice, tournaments and being their biggest supporters. They are seeing first hand the effects of this pandemic and what it is doing to their children. They can potentially help provide info on what the kids may need from you. If you are a coach that has parent meetings from time-to-time, see what the interest is in hosting one virtually.

For more information about speaking with youth on COVID-19, click HERE.

Your source for healthy & easy-to-follow recipes to send to your athletes.

Provide them with credible and reliable health resources.  

There’s a lot of “fake news” out there. Let them know about credible resources on the virus:

For more information on COVID-19: Awareness Resources, click HERE.

Looking for personal support?

Check out our newest article with tips and tricks on supporting yourself during this time.

Supporting Yourself

Need more support? Let us know! Fill out our Support Through COVID-19 form to let us know how we can help. You can find that HERE.  

If you would like to reach out to CAO directly, you can contact info@coachesontario.ca.